San Francisco's Plan to Bury a Freeway

April 19, 2016
The city is transforming an old, major road into a new public park.

When the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, the road leading to it, a hulking viaduct of concrete and steel known as Doyle Drive, split the northern tip of San Francisco in two, cutting right through the Presidio, the U.S. Army base that guarded the mouth of San Francisco Bay. For as long as the Presidio remained a base, the land’s division into two pieces wasn’t a huge problem.

Better Luck This Time

June 9, 2016
Agence Ter has won a bake-off to redesign Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles for the fifth or sixth time. Or is it the seventh?

On a warm May weekday morning, Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles was, as usual, a bit of a hybrid wasteland. Office workers crossed through as homeless people sprawled across concrete benches. Half the park was closed off for a row of plywood vendor booths related to an upcoming event. A father and son played alone in one of the park’s newly built playgrounds. People walking dogs veered toward the small patches of dirt that break up the park’s vast expanse of sun-baked concrete.

Transforming Blight Into a Destination

November 14, 2011
A look at the increasing role of "lansdscape infrastructure" in cities.

Alleyways. Drainage canals. Electricity transmission corridors. Spaces like these exist in cities all over the world, and almost always they are only exactly what they seem: alleyways, drainage canals, electricity transmission corridors. But in a physical sense, they offer many more opportunities. That alley could be a stormwater absorption area. A drainage canal could become a waterfront. A transmission corridor could become a linear park.

Staten Island Stink-Bomb Landfill Gets Makeover

November 1, 2010
The Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island was, for decades, the largest landfill in the world, taking in up to 29,000 tons a day of New York City trash for sequestration in what used to be a nice stretch of tidal wetland.

But after the last shipment of junk was unloaded back in 2001, the city saw an opportunity to give this 2,200-acre landfill—where the trash was piled nearly as high as the Statue of Liberty in some places—a more beautiful future.

From Parking to "Parklets"

July 1, 2010
An innovative project in San Francisco that converts parking spaces into small parks and public spaces.
Image: From Parking to 'Parklets' article - Nate Berg - Planning Magazine - July 2010

[Note: This article is not available online.]

The Planetizen News Brief - 12/10/09

December 10, 2009
A fast train from France to Spain, U.S. city folk get rural, and officials hope to pull people to cities by funding urban parks -- all on this week's Planetizen News Brief, produced for Smart City Radio.

Full Transcript (Audio available as .mp3 at Planetizen):

Park(ing) Day in L.A., 2008

September 22, 2008
Some 'parkers' faced police harassment, but on the whole Park(ing) Day 2008 was sunny and positive, as Los Angelenos put their own stamp on the celebration. In this video slideshow, we take a tour of some of L.A.'s parking spot parks.

This video slideshow was co-produced by Planetizen Managing Editor Tim Halbur.

Park(ing) Day is a one-day, global event centered in San Francisco where artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks.

Best Ideas of the Week - 3

April 18, 2008
From public transit to public parks to public space, this past week brought a lot of interesting and innovative ideas in the world of urban planning.

-El Paso on Fast Track to Transit

-Keeping Construction Projects From Blocking Sidewalks

-A New Era Of Urban Parks?

-A Holistic Approach To Planning For Traffic Impacts

-Creating A Bicycle Commuter System

-Youngstown Plans For A Smaller Future

-Creating A New Vision For The Nation's Transportation System

Best Ideas of the Week - 1

March 21, 2008
We all know there's a lot of planning going on around the world. Much of it is poor, short-sighted and generally just no good. But there are also some really great ideas being developed and adopted, and they should be considered by cities and communities all over the world as instructive examples of good planning. Here are what I think are some of the best ideas in urban planning from the last week.

-Miami Parks Plan Looks Beyond Parks

-Fueling a Town's Future

-Traffic Calmed

-Public Pianos Beckon Musicians in Suburban England