Issue 503
May 2011 to June 2011

Urban Field Notes: Five Parking Garages — an Urbanist's Reluctant Crush

Urban designers, as a rule, are not big fans of the automobile. I think it’s fair to say that rage at the depredations of cars and their accessories ranks up there with love for volumetric enclosure and street trees among the discipline’s articles of faith. But of course, violating articles of faith is one of life’s great pleasures. To that end, here are some of my favorite parking garages. In the 1950s, accommodating cars in the city was considered a pressing challenge — a means of saving the city from suburbanization. That idea — analogous in its way to the pressing challenge of reclaiming the city from cars today — drew some of the best and brightest designers and engineers, who built garages that were optimistic, ambitious and formally bold, if not exactly friendly. Modernist garages have no interest in hiding away or apologizing: they are sculptural monuments to the... Read More »

Climate Change Hits Home

Adaptation strategies for the San Francisco Bay Area
Global efforts to slow climate change by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions have largely failed. As a result we must not only intensify our efforts to reduce climate change but start preparing for its inevitable effects. In this report, SPUR recommends more than 30 strategies for local and regional agencies to begin minimizing the region’s vulnerabilities to these long-term but potentially catastrophic effects. Read More »

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