Levy often mentions automobiles throughout the text and even states that “By 1990 there was one automobile for every 1.9 Americans.” That was roughly one car for every other person in the county. That number is over thirty years dated though, and a more modern statistic would say that there are now four cars for every five Americans. Further, it is estimated that there are also 8 parking spots for every car, and about 4 million miles of paved road for us to get to each of our 24 parking spots. So what exactly are we doing with all of that space? Continue reading
One of the largest public works project in New Jersey is the Hudson- Bergen Light Rail. The Hudson Bergen Light Rail, also known as the HBLR, is located mostly in Hudson County connecting Hudson County waterfront communities to a station on the border of Bergen County. The Hudson Bergen Light Rail is a part of a smart growth strategy in New Jersey. In terms of New Jersey, the Department of State describes smart growth as “well-planned, well-managed, growth”.
The HBLR has been a success! During the 1980s, the Hudson waterfront area was undeveloped, but was seen as a vital site due to its unique view of The Big Apple. After construction, the HBLR began operating in 2000 to its last expansion project in 2011. It has increased transit oriented development in older areas within suburbs and urban communities. This can be seen with the Hudson waterfront, which has been a great success. The only issue is the HBLR is it is the Hudson BERGEN Light Rail, but only Hudson County is benefiting so where is the light rail in Bergen County.
Where can I find it? The only stop, which is the end of the line, is in North Bergen, which is near the bottom of the county. An enhancement of this smart growth development would be for the HBLR to expand into the northern branch of Bergen County. Discussions have been going for almost a decade, but improvement is needed for inner-state transportation. As a resident in northern Bergen County, I am fully aware how life is car-oriented due to the poor public transportation in the area unless you’re going into NYC. As the most densely populated county in the state, Bergen County would highly prosper with the new infrastructure. Proposed projects are foreseen into North Bergen, Fairview, Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia, and Englewood. Commercial development in a city as in Englewood would highly flourish. The downtown core has seen new development projects adding a parking garage and apartments complexes with storefronts, as a result, with the light rail, successful economic development can be seen as the Hudson waterfront exhibited with the input of the HBLR. This is one example of why the HBLR is needed so now think of how positive this will be for the mostly residential suburbs that are in need of commercial redevelopment such as Leonia and Ridgefield.
A part of the metropolitan area of New York City is the spectacular city of Englewood, New Jersey, which has transformed from a colonial town into a populous developed suburb. Some may consider this suburb of New York City an utopian due to its organization, diversity, affluence, and land uses. As I walk throughout the town and the surrounding areas, I notice Englewood is very distinct mainly for its vast commercial area including its downtown region. Additionally Levy in “Contemporary Urban Planning” mentions good urban design must improve conditions, such as walkability, economic development, safety, and aesthetics. Despite the gloomy day attributable to weather conditions in the pictures look past the gray skies and focus on the downtown strip.
Palisades Avenue in Englewood begins with a residential neighborhood leading into its commercial district. Good use of design is the placement of the divide between the two areas with the usage of a rotary circle, which also unites other main streets from other residential communities in Englewood.
Within the traffic circle, they built a monument, as seen in the picture above, to commemorate the WWII soldiers from the City of Englewood which will be seen and remembered by all residents due to its fundamental location. This was a perfect place to give a sense of pride and community to its residents and illustrate our patriotism and significance. As you circle the roundabout, you then leave the world of homes entering the realm of the downtown, which seen in the picture below displays a minimized scope of the strip or locally known as ‘The Ave’.
Briefly observing the main boulevard in the picture, you can get a grasp of the vastness of small and large retails through the width of ‘The Ave’ along with the amount parallel parking and large sidewalks. As I further into the street, there are great examples of mixed and diverse uses of buildings. as well as new and older infrastructure.
Within the above intersection, newer design approaches can be seen with the Chase Bank. It has a contemporary distinct building and color design. Within the design of the building, there is a mixed use approach because office space is available on top of the bank. In addition to the city’s street lighting, a part of this newer development is the additional street lights and crosswalks that improve the already mentioned conditions, such as walkability and safety, for good urban design. Compared to the nearby buildings, a better approach can be taken to enhance the aesthetics of the older buildings. A smaller Latino bodega next door on Williams Street needs to be revived to coincide with the newer development, and although it lacks in aesthetics it fills in the needs of the large Latino population making it a useful asset of the town similarly to the other Latino clothing stores and Colombian restaurants. Just across the street of Chase Bank, another mixed use of the building is present with a barbershop and this time residential space together. Beside the barbershop, a Church can be found which is the only of its kind in the downtown area, which gives the ‘The Ave’ a unique character. While walking up the street even further to the tip of the strip seen in the picture below, I am able to appreciate the diverseness in ethnic foods, retail stores, services, and the residents. Most importantly that I have not mentioned at all is the ease of traffic flow within the downtown. They transition the streets from one-two lanes near turns and seen in the picture side streets are one way so they simplify driving making it flow fluidly while giving an excess amount of parking options including a hidden parking garage on the side.
Although the strip ended above, economic development still continues along the side streets. Businesses make good use of the sides of buildings with advertisements. Also, the City continued the streets with large sidewalks and large, vibrant crosswalks making the ‘The Ave’ and the surrounding streets walk-able and excellent for more economic development, such as on Grand Avenue, so this shows development plans the city has coming.
While walking, I can tell the downtown has been able to fit every ‘walk of life’ of the town so you have to remember that this is all within the mid-section of the suburb surrounded by thousands of residential spaces including houses, estates, public housing, and apartments. Sometimes it is hard to remember or even fathom it is a suburb because of its largeness and what the city has to offer in commercial and residential spaces. Some may consider this an urban area because it does not fit within the rigid image of a suburb. However, I see it as a suburban utopia, where future areas impacted by suburban sprawl, can experience this similar transition or transformation of development.
During the 1900s, in the early days of our modern urban cities, they were prosperous. Businesses were reaping in huge profits. Immigrants were able to work in factories and make livable wages to support their families. By the 1890s to mid-1920s, automobiles expanded from a few wealthy elites to over 25 million due to the rise in the average income. As the cities were expanding to meet demands in new businesses and housing, urban cities became hot spots in the country. However as cities’ populations grew, during the 1920s, many city residents chose to live in nearby surrounding areas since they have the economic power to do so. As these residents moved to the suburbs, there was also a suburbanization of economic activities; therefore, jobs that were once city jobs are now suburban jobs. This stripped our once highly dense moderately affluent communities in central cities of its affluence. The residents that were the main powerhouse for economic activity transitioned their economic power away from the central city to the suburbs.
Later during World War II, there were openings in the job and housing market in the cities. This triggered changes in the demographics because the Great Migration occurred, which is in reference to the millions of blacks journeying to the northern urban cities. According to the NPR article “Great Migration: The African-American Exodus North”, it discusses how this relocation process caused cities’ such as Detroit and Cleveland to see their black population grow by 40% and the number of African- American industrial workers double. This Migration was not a singular event, but in fact a spatial process in which the rural blacks of the south were now becoming an urbanized population in the North. Although blacks were freed from slavery, during the early 1900s due to certain factors, blacks had incentives to move to the northern cities. As more rural blacks heard about the opportunities for social mobility and improvements on the quality of their lives, they left their lives in the south, as a result, millions of other Blacks moved to the northern urban cities. The migration of these people became the largest internal migration of a population during peace times in history. The demographics in the city, the workforce, and the consumer population all changed. This created the black identity and association to urban central cities since older, larger cities have large black and now, minority populations, specifically seen in America’s 10 Most Segregated Cities. Also, below visually presents the racial divides among races in a city all too familiar known as New York City.
A major tool to negatively impact the black population was the use of redlining, which was a common tactic by banks, governments, and businesses to stop any financial input into these communities. According to “Contemporary Urban Planning”, during the era of urban renewal it cleared the slums out of the cities and displaced populations. This process became to known as Negro removal since it were black communities that were blighted areas. It seems these areas became slums due to racial zoning, segregation, and redlining. Now these communities have more than the black populations, but also many other minority groups including poor immigrants. Although there has been a use of discriminatory tactics in planning in the United States history, what are we to do now? Are we as future planners need to incorporate a social justice thinking in our work? Can we make positive change for communities that are economically or politically disadvantaged? Or have our discriminatory practices been erased?
Im back.. I posting one more comment. I came across the May issue of the Smithsonian Mag (in April) and on the cover it said” “The Future is here” LIfe in the City is one big giant math problem. I went to read the article b/c I knew it was about urban planning. The article which I wanted to post about introduced me to a new planning term “quantitative urbanism”. Sadly it showed how math (I do not love math) is heavily involved in urban planning-from the bricks to the pipes to all the angles… Since my planning classes at Rutgers I do not look at cities, suburbs, transportation or buildings the same. This article took me even further. I think this is a must read for all the future planners out there. It does also show how my work in social services relates very closely to planning and most people do not think to connect the two. Some researchers basically found equations that link population, city growth, employment to all to the size of the city.. They could even get a number for crime rate..
I also love the article because they help support my theory on how to manage by data. They go on about how important data collection is as it can save time and money.and above all create lasting decisions. . Again, everything I have learned in my Principals of Urban Planning was mentioned in this article one way or another. Please read and enjoy
Here is a paragraph from the article: “Cities are particular: You would never mistake a favela in Rio de Janeiro for downtown Los Angeles. They are shaped by their histories and accidents of geography and climate. Thus the “east-west” streets of Midtown Manhattan actually run northwest-southeast, to meet the Hudson and East rivers at roughly 90 degrees, whereas in Chicago the street grid aligns closely with true north, while medieval cities such as London don’t have right-angled grids. But cities are also, at a deep level, universal: the products of social, economic and physical principles that transcend space and time. A new science—so new it doesn’t have its own journal, or even an agreed-upon name—is exploring these laws. We will call it “quantitative urbanism.” It’s an effort to reduce to mathematical formulas the chaotic, exuberant, extravagant nature of one of humanity’s oldest and most important inventions, the city”.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/ideas-innovations/Life-in-the-City-Is-Essentially-One-Giant-Math-Problem-204138731.html#ixzz2TEvkQZdc
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