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ABC's of Urbanism

ABC's of Urbanism

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Published by Yuri Artibise
http://yuriartibise.com One of the pervasive trends in contemporary urban studies is the dramatic growth in terms ending with ‘urbanism.’ It seems like every urban thinker has come up with his or her own urbanism. Some of the urbanisms are fanciful and esoteric; others are basic and rudimentary. In writing this book, I’ve learned a lot more about some popular urbanisms (new urbanism, landscape urbanism);  been able to focus on some of my favorites (adaptive urbanism and open-source urbanism); and perhaps even coined a new urbanism or two (yuppie urbanism and Zipcar urbanism).
http://yuriartibise.com One of the pervasive trends in contemporary urban studies is the dramatic growth in terms ending with ‘urbanism.’ It seems like every urban thinker has come up with his or her own urbanism. Some of the urbanisms are fanciful and esoteric; others are basic and rudimentary. In writing this book, I’ve learned a lot more about some popular urbanisms (new urbanism, landscape urbanism);  been able to focus on some of my favorites (adaptive urbanism and open-source urbanism); and perhaps even coined a new urbanism or two (yuppie urbanism and Zipcar urbanism).

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U "--The ABC s of Urbanism
by Yuri Artibise ay

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© 2010 Yuri Artibise. The copyright holder licenses this publication the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivitive Works 3.0 United States License. Find out what this means at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ Feel free to share this free publication with your friends, neighborhoods and community members; post it on your blog, email it, print it, and copy it. just let people know it came from me. If you like this publication, subscribe to my blog. You ll be notified . Also be sure to check out my archives. I ve written over over 130 posts on various aspects of urbanism alone. Did someone give you this ebook? Download your own copy.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Table of Contents
Introduction Adaptive Urbanism Big Urbanism Collaborative Urbanism DIY Urbanism Everyday Urbanism Fine-Grained Urbanism Generic Urbanism Healthy Urbanism Informal Urbanism Jacobsian Urbanism Kinetic Urbanism Landscape Urbanism Messy Urbanism New Urbanism Open Source Urbanism Paid Urbanism Quasi-Urbanism Retrofit Urbanism Sustainable Urbanism Temporary Urbanism Utopian Urbanism Vernacular Urbanism Walkable Urbanism X-Urbanism Yuppie Urbanism Zip Car Urbanism Conclusion: Now I Know my ABCs Appendix: 101 Urbanisms About the Author Photo Credits

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Introduction
One of the pervasive trends in contemporary urban studies is the dramatic growth in terms ending with urbanism. It seems like every urban thinker has come up with his or her own urbanism. Indeed,Jason King at landscape+urbanism has described this phenomenon as [Fill in the Blank] Urbanism and come up with his own lengthy list of urbanisms gleaned from a single Google search.

Some of the urbanisms are fanciful and esoteric; others are basic and rudimentary. But all have been seriously considered by at least one person. Indeed, if a term or concept is even remotely connected to a city, simply add urbanism to the end and you ll have a new theoretical construct to explore. In writing this series, I ve learned a lot more about some popular urbanisms (new urbanism, landscape urbanism); been able to focus on some of my favorites (adaptive urbanism and open-source urbanism); and perhaps even coined a new urbanism or two (yuppie urbanism and Zipcar urbanism).

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Adaptive Urbanism: A Process of Perpetual Engagement
For many urban observers, and especially urban planners, the design of the city as an end state̶a vision to be first created and then fulfilled. Adaptive urbanism takes a contrary position. It looks at urban design as a process of perpetual engagement and reiteration. In an adaptive approach, cities are dynamic ecologies that take immersion and collaboration to re-shape, not from outside or above, but from within. The concept of adaptive urbanism is often attributed to New York urbanist Brian McGrath. McGrath s approach is a significant shift from how we current plan and manage cities. It is important to consider though, especially in our current economic and social upheaval. If cities develop the flexibility and capacity to respond to shifting demands and external pressures, they will be better able to deal with future economic, environmental or political crises. For more on adaptive urbanism, see On the Origin of Cities: Adaptive Urbanism.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Big Urbanism: Not the Answer
Americans like to think big. Urbanism is no exception. Ever since architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham uttered his maxim Make no little plans, nearly every urban plan continues to be modeled on it. Despite a generation of planners brought up guided by Jane Jacobs and her crusade against the big urbanism of Robert Moses, large-scale redevelopment projects continue apace. Indeed, they appear to be regaining prominence. From Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn to CityCenter in Las Vegas to the various uber-developments in Dubai, city officials and developers continue to think big when reshaping our cities. However, as we previous learned in the post on adaptive urbanism, big urbanism is not necessarily a good thing. Indeed, these mega projects leave little room for flexibility, and as such are not responsive to shifting economic, environmental or political trends. As a result several big urbanism projects are viewed as relics even before their doors are open.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Collaborative Urbanism: The Secret is Sharing
Our urban society is undergoing a substantive shift from the hyper-consumerism and the resultant sprawl that defined the second half of the 20th century. Forces such as social technologies, a renewed belief in community, increased environmental awareness, and cost consciousness have us rethinking our old top-heavy and centralized forms of consumerism. In its place, a collaborative urbanism ̶based on sharing, aggregation, openness, and cooperation̶is emerging. The trend towards increased collaboration is explained indepth in the newly published book, What s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. Collaborative urbanism takes their concept a step further; not only is collaborative consumption reshaping how we consume, it is transforming how we interact with each other and the spaces around us. In other words, it is changing how we live in cities. Here are three examples of collaborative consumption cited by the authors that are at the forefront of collaborative urbanism: Bike sharing systems such as B-Cycle and Bixi are great but the start-up and maintenance costs are high. Social Bicycles (SoBi) uses mobile technologies and a secure lock system that Bike Sharing 2.0

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

...Collaborative Urbanism
can attach to existing bikes at a third of the cost of traditional systems. According to founder Ryan Rzepecki, SoBi could become a new form of personalized public transportation that changes the way people move through cities. [emphasis added] One Block Off the Grid (1BOG) is applying the same idea to solar power. By using social media to get neighbors to group together they can negotiate massive discounts with trusted providers. Once a group of neighbors get together they are well positioned to work towards for other home and community improvements (such as the bike and car sharing mentioned above). Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Zipcar brought the idea of car sharing to the mainstream. However, it still introduces new cars when there are millions already sitting idle on the streets, parking lots and driveways for much of the day. Peer-to-peer car sharing enables owners and renters to use the idling capacity of personally owned and underused cars. As RelayRides owner Shelby Clark explains, "This gives the community an affordable transportation option, making it easier to live a car-free lifestyle.

Collaborative urbanism is transforming how we interact with each other and the spaces around us.

Group Solar Power The rapid growth of Groupon has shown the power of consumers banding together for discounts.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

DIY Urbanism: City Building from the Bottom-Up
Do it Yourself (DIY) Urbanism provides a counterweight to traditional top-down urban planning processes. Even before the the great recession in 2008 many cities struggled with reduced public resources. This has left various urbanists, artists, and public space advocates to fill many of the voids left by the cutbacks. In addition to participating in official processes, such as writing letters to the city or attending public meetings, DIY urbanists take public outreach one step further. The result has been innovative do-it-yourself projects ranging from activating stalled construction sites, to constructing temporary public plazas and parks at street intersections, to designing pop-up storefronts. They can even include more bizarre ideas including guerilla painting, urban campgrounds and street pianos. The possibilities are limitless. Although many DIY initiatives may often be temporary, the impact is often substantial. In some cases DIY interventions have acted as pilot projects that improve the chances of city government officials eventually buying in and supporting the changes in an official way. Regardless of the type initiative, or their permanence, DIY efforts should not be viewed as disruptive violations, or frivolous novelties, but as signs of true urban vitality. With a can-do attitude and a bit of playful mischievousness, these urban pioneers are illustrating that another type of city is possible. Rather than simply seeking public input, DIY urbanism empowers residents to make the changes they seek and are create their own positive urban interventions. It is the DIY ethic on the community scale.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Everyday Urbanism: Celebrating Ordinary Life in the City
Everyday urbanism celebrates and builds on the ordinary life and reality in a city. It doesn t envision an ideal urban environment. Rather it explores ways to improve what already exists in incremental ways. The term first gained prominence with the book, Everyday Urbanism by Margaret Crawford, John Chase and John Kaliski in 1999. The book notes that the city (and its planners) ongoing quest to incorporate the elements that remain elusive: ephemerality, cacophony, multiplicity and simultaneity. Every day urbanism builds on the concept of adaptive urbanism and looks at urban planning as a process of perpetual engagement and reiteration. It views cities as a conversation between and among its residents. This leads to a dynamic urban form that evolves not from outside pressures or plans dropped from above, but from activities that occur within a neighborhood. If you have spent anytime in a city, you no doubt have witnessed small, understated, often ratty spaces that are teaming with life and vibrancy next door to large master planned developments that look like ghost towns. This is the impact of everyday urbanism. Vibrancy can not be planned in a board room, it needs to evolve on the street level through But unlike DIY urbanism, everyday urbanism isn t simply a bottom up, grass roots approach. Rather, it is a mixture of the residents bottom-up expression of their economic, political and social preferences and the top-down decision-making process of developers and city governments. Vibrancy may no be able to be planned, but it certainly can be encouraged. Developers and city governments can help everyday urbanism survive and thrive by ending their quest for the big urbanist mega projects and understanding that often times tiny gestures make the biggest different a difference. regular everyday interactions.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Fine-Grained Urbanism: Opportunities for Discovery
Fine-grained urbanism promotes small blocks in close proximity, each with numerous buildings with narrow frontages, frequent storefronts, and minimal setbacks from the street. Also, as there are more intersections, traffic is slower and safer. There are virtual no vacant lots or surface parking. This fine grained approach to cities offers many opportunities for discovery and exploration. Like high count egyptian cotton; fine grain urbanism feels luxurious and makes people want linger in or around it. Fine-grained urbanism is not imposed on a community like it s coarser cousins. Rather, it evolves over time in a piecemeal way, responding to what came before it, and adapting to what comes next. This evolutionary process creates places that are not frozen in the era when they were built. Instead, they are dynamic and reflective of a neighborhood s changing needs. The resulting urban fabric seamlessly evolves over time from lightly Urban fabric is the physical form of towns and cities. Like textiles, urban fabric comes in many different types and weaves. For simplicity s sake the multitude of urban fabrics are divided into two typologies: coarse grain and fine grain. Fine-grained urban fabric produces what is can be refereed to as fine grained urbanism. developed residential areas to mixed used retail to dense urban core̶ if that s what the community desires. In this way, fine-grained urbanism is far more resilient than mega-projects that, when they lose a single tenant, often fail. Just as the tiny gestures of everyday urbanism can makes a huge difference in the vibrancy of a community, so can the multitudes of options offered by fine grained urbanism.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Generic Urbanism: Creating Cities without Qualities OR Quality
The term generic urbanism rose to prominence with the book S M L XL by Rem Koolhaas, Bruce Mau,Jennifer Sigler, and Hans Werlemann. The book contained an essay by Koolhaas, a Dutch architect and urbanist, titled The Generic City. This essay declares that progress, identity, architecture, the city and the street are things of the past. Koolhaas writes: Relief … it s over. That is the story of the city. The city is no longer. We can leave the theatre now… Generic urbanism describes a non-specific, identity-lacking urban landscape. The generic city has no specific reference points, either to its history or its residents. Rather it responds to urban stereotypes. In doing so, it turns cities into yet another commodity, interchangeable from one another. We can see the result before us as city after city converge in a pastiche of undifferentiated cityscapes. Generic urbanism appears to have started in the American suburbs when developers creating interchangeable developments. Over the past half century it has crept into our urban cores, where the truest expression of civic identity were once found. This is, in part, a result of the effort by city governments to attract suburbanites (and their tax dollars) downtown̶not by offering them something unique or different ̶but rather the safe and familiar. The concept is an oxymoron. A generic city resists urbanism and its inherent qualities of diversity and culture. All the qualities normally associated with a great city: iconic architecture, vibrant but messy streetscapes, unique neighborhoods, etc. become subsumed by global trends. Public space becomes formulaic; there s nothing to notice to except stoplights. According to Richard Pouly, in the generic city the paradigmatic urbanite will no longer be a latte-sipping hipster but the weary sales rep who never completely unpacks his suitcase forgetting if he is in New York or New Dehli. Koolhaas declared the generic city to be a city without qualities, I would add A city without quality

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Healthy Urbanism: A Holistic View of Urban Design
Healthy urbanism advocates for a holistic view of urban design that considers health, the environment, social relations, political processes and the economy as part of the development process. It posits that neighborhood design elements including land use, design character, transportation systems, sustainability, and density impact a neighborhood s health, environment and quality of life. The connection between health and urbanism goes back almost as long as cities themselves. It was health concerns in many industrial-era cities that drove people out of polluted and unsanitary urban cores and into the first suburbs. Now the tables have turned. Evidence is mounting that the suburban lifestyle is causing health problems. Many chronic diseases̶including obesity and diabetes̶ as well as premature mortality, cardiovascular disease and poor mental health are associated with the sedentary and isolated populations exacerbated by our sprawling, auto dominated urban form. One of the leaders of the healthy urbanism movement is Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health and co-author of Urban Sprawl and Public Health: Designing, Planning, and Building for Healthy Communities. Dr. Frumkin notes that Welldesigned communities can be interventions for public health. How we build and maintain our communities transportation systems, infrastructure, and public spaces can either exacerbate or reduce obesity, chronic diseases, injury rates, poor mental health, and the adverse effects of climate change.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

...Healthy Urbanism
An increasing body of evidence backs up this statement. The doubling of driving nationally between 1983 and 2007 on auto-centric streets designed for speed has coincided with skyrocketing injury and mortality rates, exacerbated mental health problems for isolated non-drivers, and decreased air and water quality. Additionally, suburban neighborhoods̶ dominated by low density, poorly connected street networks, and limited access to shops and services̶have lower levels of walking. This, in turn, is connected to increased obesity. On the other hand, well-designed urban neighborhoods generate fewer vehicle miles and result in more walking and lower obesity rates than their suburban counterparts. Another impact of urban form on health relates to social capital and mental health. The WHO estimates that by 2020, mental ill health will be the third leading cause of disability life-adjusted years globally. Some research indicates that there are higher levels of social capital in more walkable neighborhoods suggesting that urban form is important. High levels of social capital decrease the risk of social isolation, a social determinant of health linked to increased risk of premature mortality, cardiovascular disease and poor mental health. It is clear that the quality of our cities impacts the quality of our healthy and life in general. Hopefully, this renewed interest in healthy urbanism will be maintained with doctors researchers working with planners and architects to design places that are healthy on both a personal and community level

Community design and building design have impacts both on mental health and on social capital. ̶Dr. Howard Frumkin

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Informal Urbanism: Invention Born out of Frustration
Informal urbanism focuses on communities ability to absorb, recycle, offer services, set up networks, celebrate, work and play outside the structures imposed by formalized rules. It stems from the need or want to correct or compensate for the shortcomings in existing (or formal) urban plans, whether it be expressed as a worn shortcut through a park that is off the paved path, food trucks, or shanty towns in Caracas. Whereas traditional urban planning tends to follow a formal, top-down approach, informal urbanism is about invention born out of frustration with the status quo. It views the city not as a grand vision to be imposed but as gradual adjustments to be revealed based on need. As a result, informal urbanism creates environments that are versatile and flexible̶and usually more robust that their formal counterparts. Instead of viewing informal urban interventions as conditions that needs fixing, they should be viewed as learning opportunities. Urban leaders can embrace their robustness by looking, not at what should work , but at what is actually occurring from day-to-day and season to season around their city. The informal patterns that emerge from such observations will often lead to more sustainable urban interventions.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Jacobsean Urbanism: Building on the Observations of Jane Jacobs
Jacobsean urbanism is named after Jane Jacobs, an urban writer and activist who championed the interests of local residents and pedestrians over a car-centered approach to planning. Its foundations were first laid out in an essay entitled Downtown is for People that ran in Fortune magazine in April 1958. This led to a Rockefeller Foundation grant to write what became her defining book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. This book is perhaps the most influential 20th century text about the inner workings and failings of cities and has inspired generations of urban planners and activists. Jacobsean urbanism is more than simply a critique of the urban renewal policies of the second half of the 20th century. It reaches beyond her written work and extends to her grassroots efforts to preserve local neighborhoods. Jane Jacobs believed strongly that local residents understood best how their neighborhood works, and how to strengthen and improve them. As such, her legacy is rooted in the idea of creating strong and resourceful community, instilling belonging and encouraging civic leadership. Jacobs had no professional training in the field of urban planning. She often contested the formal urbanism approach that depends on outside experts,noting that the prescribed government policies urban development are usually inconsistent with the real functioning of city neighborhoods. Instead, she promoted local expertise as being better suited to guiding community development, relying on her observations and common sense to illustrate why certain places work, and how to improve those that do not. In this way, Jacobsean urbanism is closely related to the DIY urbanism and Everyday Urbanism and the antithesis of Big Urbanism covered earlier in this series.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Kinetic Urbanism: Activity over Architecture
Closely related to informal urbanism, kinetic urbanism views the urban condition as flexible; less a grand vision than a series of small adjustments occurring over time. Often times, the frenetic quality of city life does not allow most formal planning or political systems to keep pace. Kinetic urbanism bridges the resulting gap by focusing on activity, not architecture. It views events and changes in time as more important than buildings and places in space. Rahul Mehrotra, Associate Professor of Architectural Design at the MIT School of Architecture + Planning developed the idea of the kinetic city. According to Mehrotra, the static city is the buildings and structures that architecture deals with. On the other hand, the kinetic city is the part that is making and remaking urban spaces and is in opposition to the static city. He also states that in a kinetic city, events and changes in time are more important than monuments and places in space. While Mehrotra was specially focusing on the informal urbanism taking shape in Mumbai, the concept are applicable to almost an urban area. When urban leaders look at activities such as busking or street vendors on their city streets, they should not automatically seek to control it through zoning or permits. This activity is often times not evidence of lack of regulation but rather an unmet need being fulfilled in a innovative way. Indeed it is what makes urban living so vibrant and exciting. Rather than seek to remove or regulate these activities, Urban leaders can embrace this entrepreneurism by looking, not at what should work , but at what is actually occurring day to day and season to season. They should include these patterns of activities in their plans so they can thrive in greater comfort and safety for all residents.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Landscape Urbanism: Recognizing Nature in the City
Landscape Urbanism is an evolving field of study and practice that views landscape rather than architecture as the basis of contemporary urbanism. For landscape urbanists, a city s landscape is both the lens through which the contemporary city is viewed and the method through which it is created. Harvard s Graduate School of Design has become the epicenter of the landscape urbanism movement, with three of the four founders of the concept, Charles Waldheim (who coined the term), Alex Krieger, and Mohsen Mostafavi working there. The fourth, James Corner, teaches at UPenn, and principle of Field Operations, the notable for the design of High Line Park in Manhattan. Instead of taking built volume as the determining characteristic of the city, landscape urbanists looks at cities as dynamic process characterized by fluidity, spontaneity and randomness. By doing so, they are breaking down the traditional disciplinary and cultural opposition between natural and city spaces. They recognize that nature exists in densely built-up environments and affects not only the current well being of inhabitants, but also the long term prospects of the built form of the city itself. By restoring nature s restorative cycles in urban areas, landscape urbanists hope that society will be better able to deal with the exploding urban growth around the world. Some also see promise for helping shrinking rustbelt cities like Cleveland and Detroit

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Messy Urbanism: Diversity in Disorder
accept̶most people s idea of a beautiful city that looks something like Paris or some other city with a continuous urban form. But these types of cities are rare. Most memorable places have a less-than-manicured quality to them. Part of the appeal of messy urbanism is that it leaves room for future improvements in other words, it leave creates space for people to contribute to their neighborhood. In great urban cities, you ll find deteriorating buildings sitting next to sleek modern 20-story condos. small businesses at home next door to luxury boutiques. Tree-lined streets of stately houses (some restored, many not) running into bustling commercial boulevards. Streets packed with busses, bicyclists, cars and food trucks. Coupled with a diverse population such messy cities ends up feeling kinetic and exciting, but in a practical Often architects, developers and city planners try to sell their redevelopment s with glossy brochures and vibrant mock ups. However, more often than not, these place turn out to either be dead, or sterile places. The problem isn t always a lack of uses or diversity; rather it is that these places are often planned to the last window awning or flower bed. They lack the messiness that make a city livable. The most vibrant cities I ve lived in or visited share one thing in common. They are messy. This is a difficult concept to and walkable way. In The Economy of Cities, Jane Jacobs points out that the most economically vibrant cities are usually inefficient and impractical. It s this messiness that enables a community to adapt quickly to change. Rather than seeing messiness, disorder or clutter, urban leaders should instead see the social and commercial interactions of a lively city. Indeed trying to clean up and remove the clutter of the city is to throw away the lifeblood of the city itself.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

New Urbanism: The New Orthodoxy?
New Urbanism is an urban design movement, which promotes walkable neighborhoods that contain a range of housing and job types. It arose in the United States in the early 1980s and continues to reform many aspects of real estate development and urban planning. While new urbanism covers issues such as historic preservation, safe streets, green building, and redeveloping brownfield land. If the movement were to be boiled down to a single concept, it would be creating walkable neighborhoods. New urbanist developments are more walkable, offer a more diverse range of housing options, encourage a richer mix of uses and provide more welcoming public spaces than traditional suburban developments. Although many well-known new urbanist projects are master planned communities its ideas are also incorporated into existing city cores and even in suburban and exurban neighborhoods. These neighborhoods can include measures such as traffic calming, pedestrian improvements, parking management, and commercial and residential infill. New urbanism has also inspired a new approach to building codes, called form-based codes . These codes are an important tool for implementing urban enhancements. Rather than dictating the uses of land parcels, form based codes provide guidelines that define the types of development desired in a particular area. This provides greater design flexibility and coordination than conventional, land use based codes. While once on the fringe of the urban planning field, new urbanism has risen in prominence in recent years, with new urbanist related initiatives like LEED and Smart Growth becoming common staples in the arsenals of urban planners and developers alike. This has led Andrés Duany̶one of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism̶to label it a new orthodoxy and calling for a jolt to renew the movement to face the challenges of the next century.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Open Source Urbanism: Where Data Meets Urban Form
Meaningful community input in urban development is a common rallying cry, but is rarely achieved. Power, and more importantly, information, remains tightly controlled by cities and there agencies. It is usually only shared in controlled public meetings and charrettes. Recent advances in technology and social networks offer an opportunity to change this. Open source urbanism works to develop intersections where a cities urban form connects with information to directly inform and shape our urban environment. In doing so it is changing the way we think of our communities and city life in general. It is rooted in the idea of open source, most commonly associated with free computer programs that can be shared, adapted, and further developed by anyone with the ability to contribute Cities are a logical extension of the open source movement. The city is both a product and a generator of immense amounts of data. Much of this information̶including temperature, light rail delays, population density, accident locations and stock prices̶can be mapped, recorded and shared in real-time through the Internet. Some early success in open source urbanism are Portland s TriMet transit system map and the closing. Based in part on these early successes, cities such as Portland;Vancouver, B.C.; and San Francisco passed sweeping policies requiring departments to use open source software and open data. In addition, the White House has set a high standard for federal agencies to adopt. As more cities and civic agencies see the benefit of sharing their data, such successes will multiply.

The streets are now alive with data, invisible but all pervasive. ̶ Dan Hill

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Paid Urbanism: Public Policy for Private Profits
will quickly find a tangled web of relationships between politicians, bureaucrats, developers and residents. This web entangles everything and everybody; its existence̶and more importantly, its influence̶is rarely visible to the public. Left unexposed, paid urbanism can lead to public policy for private profits; a duopoly that forgets the needs of taxpaying residents and links the profits of developers with the power of politicians. As a result, paid urbanism is largely responsible for much of the big urbanism that exists today̶the oversized and over packaged projects of a scale and nature at odds with their surroundings and the wishes of residents. These developments often need large government subsidies paid for with residents taxes. Unfortunately they are often built to maximize the profits of developers, not the benefits of residents. Contemporary cities exist thanks to a complex system of taxes, subsidies and profit generation. The impact of money cannot be ignored when studying our urban condition. In some cases, the relationship is self-reinforcing: taxes pay for subsidies which generate profit, on which taxes are paid. In others, taxes are extracted from urban activities and used for less transparent ends. This paid urbanism has created a Kafka-esque web of bureaucracy. Look beneath the visible facade of a city and you A necessary evil Without paid urbanism, cities as we know them would not exist, roads and schools would not be built, parks would not be maintained, events would not be held. There is nothing inherently wrong with the taxes-subsidy-profit (repeat) cycle just its abuse. Thus, the solution lies not in completely banning private development with public, but rather breaking the politician-developer duopoly and allowing residents back into the decision making process.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Quasi Urbanism: Missing the Mark
In the entry on Big Urbanism, I noted that in recent years developers have become interested in urban centers once again. Examples of this renewed interest are found in developments like Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn to CityCenter in Las Vegas and CityScape in Phoenix. A common word used to describe each of these is urban. In reality they are only quasi-urban. Instead of enhancing places for residents who already embrace urbanism, these developments are aimed at luring suburbanites to spend money. Just as suburbs tried to entice shoppers by incentivizing megamall developments complete with water parks and roller coasters in the 1980s and 1990s, city cores are now trying to lure people back downtown with urban styled complexes. While these quasi-urbanist developments are better than their suburban consign (hence the use of quasi), they still fall far short of creating a real urban experience. One glaring example is in the use of windows. While many quasi-urban developments have windows facing the street, they are often fake windows ̶windows showing the backs of display shelves, covered by closed blinds or reflective film, or used to display advertising (even the once popular store window displays are increasingly being replaced by generic posters). Rather than providing porosity, light and opportunities for more What these developers̶and their government boosters̶fail to understand is that people don not seek urban experiences purely for economic reasons. They definitely do not do it to increase their senses of separation and isolation. Rather, people seek urban areas for connection, vitality and local history. Most importantly they seek authenticity. Quasi-urbanism may have co-opted the urbanist language and even some of its forms; but until it offers more than blocked windows and generic products, it will never create truly authentic urban places. eyes on the street, these faux fenestrations become visual barriers that reinforce a feeling of isolation.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Retrofit Urbanism: Creating PeopleOriented Places
While sprawl remains the dominant growth pattern in the U.S., many people are leaving the suburbs for more walkable areas. Some are getting fed up with the costs of commuting (in both time and money). Others are looking to live in places with character or community. As an increasing number of people want an urban lifestyle, the question of what to do with the suburbs remains. It would be unwise and unsustainable to simply abandon them. In addition, even the most optimistic urbanist realizes that not everybody can, nor wants to, live downtown. At the same time, they want a more livable option that what current exists. Instead of starting from scratch and creating an ideal new urbanist development, retrofit urbanism is a hybrid form of urbanism that acknowledges these realities. It looks to incrementally change existing suburban forms to encourage multi-modal transportation, including transit, walking and cycling. in addition it includes a cultural shift towards an increased sense of community and interconnectivity. The goal is to transform auto-reliant neighborhoods into vibrant, peopleoriented communities. Retrofit urbanism is not as sexy as building a new urbanist utopia from scratch or building a mega development in the urban core. it does, however, represent a more effective way to meet increasing demands for the urban lifestyle and mitigate the worst effects of auto-dominated sprawl.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Sustainable Urbanism: Creating Resilient Cities
By now, most people know that a majority of the world s population live in cities and urban areas. Yet current urban planning systems are not equipped to deal with many of the challenges this population growth has brought. Some of these include: climate change and resource depletion; economic instability and poverty; and, social marginalization and exclusion. Sustainable urbanism is an emerging discipline that combines creating multi-modal places, nurturing diverse economies and building high-performance infrastructure and buildings. It is more than a synonym for green or ecological urbanism. Rather, it looks at the triple bottom line by making sure that our urban centers are socially inclusion, economically dynamic and environmentally conscious. Some key tenants of sustainable urbanism include: compact forms of residential development; mixed use centers with homes, jobs, services and shopping in close proximity; integration of transportation and land use; and, the reduction, recovery, re-use and recycling of waste materials. Many cities and urban planners are already looking at one or more of these issues. The problem is they usually look at them in isolation. This singular approach fails to recognize the overlapping and interrelation between issues. By taking on these challenges in a holistic manner, sustainable urbanism can create resilient cities that are better able to withstand the economic, social and environmental shocks of the 21st century.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Temporary Urbanism: Incubating New Ideas for City Living
Today s urban cores are redefining themselves in remarkable and lasting ways. Neighborhoods are no longer defined by only one or two activities. City dwellers are increasingly seeking a fine-grain urban fabric, with a blend of culture, commerce and housing. Empty lots̶whether filled with cars or covered with trash and weeds̶acts as holes in this fabric. Developers often talk of empty lots as short-term blanks that will be filled as soon as the economy improves. But temporary conditions have a way of becoming permanent, as countless examples in cities across North America show. As a result, many city centers are blighted with lasting scares on their urban landscape that damper the very civic revitalization the developers once promised. A movement called temporary urbanism is looking to change this. It is showing how̶with a lot of ingenuity and a little investment̶cities could transform these urban voids into urban oases. Some lots could be turned into instant parks, landscaped with fast-growing trees and shrubs that offer environmental benefits. Others could be transformed into outdoor markets, pop-up retail spaces or event locations. Still others could display art or offer casual spots for social interaction. The concept of temporary urbanism is also being taken to the streets through events, such as monthly Critical Mass bike rides or the annual Park(ing) Day events. The goal is to inspire peoples imagination to the potential of not only these vacant sites, but for urban life overall. Temporary urbanism goes beyond exhorting what should be done. It focuses is on what CAN be done by creating tangible̶if temporary̶alternatives to the status-quo. The temporary nature of these transformations enable citizens to think outside the block and use the spaces as testing grounds for new ideas about urban living. In the process, it encourages cities to move beyond developers empty lots (and promises) and engage residents about their city s future.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Utopian Urbanism: The Impossibility of Perfection
environment will lead to a more ordered and efficient society. In the 20th century, proposals as Sir Ebenezer Howard s Garden City (1902), Le Corbusier s Ville Radieuse (Radiant City̶1927 and Frank Lloyd Wright s Broadacre City (1952) were all inspired by the concept of utopian urbanism. Utopian urbanism views separating structures by function as the most rational way of ordering space. As a result, residential areas were completely separated from business are service areas. Road network connected the various functional areas. From a contemporary urbanist perspective utopian urbanism has significant shortcomings. No single plan can anticipate the needs of millions of people. Real cities have grown organically and reflect the variety, diversity and interactions of society over time. Moreover, utopian urbanism is dehumanizing as the Throughout history, there have been many attempts to create the ideal environment for the ideal society; in other words̶ utopia. Utopian urbanism is based on a concept defined in Sir Thomas More s Utopia (1518). In this book, Utopia is the name of a fictional island in the Atlantic that is home to an ideal community with a perfect social, political and legal system. Many architects preoccupy themselves with designing the perfect city. They believe that a rationally planned For these reasons (and others), few utopian communities were ever built. Those that were attempted failed to live up the their creators expectations This is a somewhat fitting outcome as Utopia has a dual meaning. Not only was it a perfect place (eutopia) as envisioned by the planners mentioned above, it was also no place (outopia)̶a place that does not exist and ultimately never can. put form and structure over the needs of residents.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Vernacular Urbanism: Creating Meaningful Places
Ver·nac·u·lar: of, relating to, or characteristic of a period, place, or group.
Instead, vernacular urbanism integrates the old and the new. It combines what a city has with what it needs based on local factors. By thinking this was, a city can economically, socially and environmentally sustain itself for generations to come. On a philosophical level, vernacular urbanism can help us understand not only where we are, but who we are as a community and why we are this way. To borrow a line from the late historian Christopher Lasch, vernacular urbanism teaches us about our basic disposition to the world around us.

Most cities̶even those with grand plans like Burnham s Chicago or Haussmann s Paris̶derive much of their character from their locality. Their urban fabric is largely defined by factors such as local building materials, climate, access to water, history and most importantly, culture. Alas, for most of the past 60 years, cities, especially those in North America have forgotten to look back. Instead, buoyed by quick and easy access to a variety of building materials and the dominance of the automobile, they have created generic places without reference to a city s location, history or even its residents. These places have focused on the needs of business and commerce and ignored the necessities of people. Vernacular urbanism is the antithesis of generic urbanism. It is an urbanism that is local in character, meaningful for its inhabitants, rooted to its surroundings and connected with history. It is based on the idea that the a city needs to know where it came from and how it relates to its past if it is to be successful in moving forward. While the roots of vernacular urbanism are found in the history of a place, it isn t simply about the old fashion and traditional.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Walkable Urbanism: Back to the Future
Walkable urbanism focuses on creating and enhancing pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use and mixed-income places. While many observers connect walkable urbanism with large, high density places like Manhattan or downtown Chicago, walkable urban places have great variability. They are found in lower-density small downtowns like Lawrence, Kansas; suburban town centers such as Dublin, Ohio, and higherdensity neighborhoods in larger cities like LODO in Denver. Such places are often characterized by efficient mass transit systems and higher density, mixed use developments. These factors enable residents to walk almost everywhere for everything̶ whether it be home, work, the grocery store or the movie theaters. Walkable urbanism is nothing new; it was the way towns and cities were designed from the first urban settlements about 5,500 years ago to the mid 20th century. After World War II, government policy began encouraging drivable suburbanism. This led to the sprawling, low-density cities most North Americans are familiar with. In recent years, interest in suburbanism has begun to wane. The pendulum is swinging back towards more compact walkable neighborhoods̶the type of places that existed before the wide-spread use of the automobile. The return to walkable urbanism is due to several factors: 1. A car dependent lifestyle does not serve an aging population well. 2. The need to drive everywhere has begun to take its toll on our health and environment, with driving and long commutes being linked to an increased rate of obesity and higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

...Walkable Urbanism
3. Creative young professional, influenced by television shows like Seinfeld and Friends, are seeking a more connected lifestyle, for both economic and social reasons. This return to pre-war urban form has led Christopher Leinberger, author of The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream to coin walkable urbanism as Back To the Future in reference to the fictional community of Hill Valley.

Walkable urbanism is nothing new; it was the way towns and cities were designed from the first urban settlements until the mid 20th century.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

X-Urbanism: Catchy but not Compelling
While an interesting premise (and a great term), it never really caught on outside academic circles. This is, in part because while Gandelsonas research is exhaustive, it is also somewhat convoluted. Another shortcoming is it falls into a common architecture trap by describing the city solely as the object of architecture, without mentioning realities such as land ownership, property values, or even urban design. Finally, as it took over 15 years to research and write, by the time it was published the book s methodology and graphic representations were dated. Indeed, while Gandelsonas was researching books such as Joel Garreau s Edge City and Jonathan Barnett s books The Elusive City and The Fractured Metropolis were published. These books cover much of the same theoretical ground as XX-Urbanism is a theoretical framework for analyzing the American city and it s architecture, particularly that of the late 20th century. The term was coined in the 1999 book XUrbanism: Architecture and the American City by architect and professor Mario Gandelsonas. The book provided a new way of envisioning cities by examining various configurations of urban space. The term serves as a visual representation of the formal properties of American urbanism̶fabric, void, grid, wall ̶that reveal the hidden structure of urban areas. Urbanism, but in a more compelling manner. Indeed Edge City has become a classic study of ex-urban sprawl, and edge city appears to have taken the place that x-urbanism sought in the urban lexicon. Nevertheless X-urbanism remains a compelling concept; it just needs a new, updated perspective. Perhaps it is time for Mario Gandelsonas to revisit his framework. After all a lot has occurred in American cities in the 25 years since the book was conceived and the decade since it was published.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Yuppie Urbanism: Biting the Hands that Serve Us
Some of the most urban neighborhoods in the country are also the most expensive. This means that only a select cross-section of society̶aka yuppies̶can afford to live, or even hang out, there. This yuppie urbanism often a direct result of urban policy planning. In the quest for a perfect city, politicians and planners seek higher end condos, retail, restaurants and clubs and even employers. These yuppie friendly establishments are seen as bringing respectability (not to mention tax dollars). A central feature of urbanism is that each neighborhood contain a variety of attractions and services that serve diverse niches. As I ve written before, the magic is in the mix. Too often, in the quest for the right type of people, planner and politicians forget this. In yuppie-centric urban neighborhoods, the residential units are often high-end condos and the retail is usually high-end boutiques. Moreover, little in these neighborhoods is more than a few years old. Thus, although the uses may seem mixed, the culture is as monolithic as a suburban gated community. Moreover, yuppie urbanism ignores the very people who make it possible. These are the clerks who work in the boutiques; the entertainers who perform at the jazz and comedy clubs; the artists who create the work hanging in the galleries; and even the fuppies (future yuppies) working their way through school Mass bike rides or the annual Park(ing) Day events. The goal is to inspire peoples imagination to the potential of not only these vacant sites, but for urban life overall. This isn t to say that yuppies do not have a place in cities. Gentrification is not necessarily a bad thing. It can reflect the transformation of neglected places into vibrant and successful areas. The problem lies when cities and planners ONLY attract yuppies (and often discourage others socioeconomic groups) or favors multinational chains like Starbucks over local alternatives. Remember that mixed use does not only refer to business types, but also the people who frequent them.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Zipcar Urbanism: Bridging a Gap in the Urban Fabric
Despite the movement back towards walkable urbanism, the reality is that most North American cities favor the automobile. Indeed, there are very few cities that you can live a comfortable car-free lifestyle. While people living in walkable neighborhoods can walk or take transit to most of their destinations, occasionally we a car for such things such as getting to meetings, carting large purchases or responding to family emergencies. Until recently, this need meant choosing between owning a vehicle that may only be used a few hours a week, or going without and facing the costs of taxis or the inconvenience of renting a car from a centralized location for an entire day. The result is that many urbanites are reluctant car owners. Car sharing helps bridge this gap. It provides access to a car when needed, but without the obligations inherent in owning one. It provides an affordable, convenient option for trips otherwise not possible through other means of transportation As car sharing companies like Zipcar becomes more prevalent across North America it will have a profound effect on our urban form. Hence the term Zipcar Urbanism. By reducing unnecessary ownership and use, Zipcar urbanism leads to less traffic congestion, fewer parking lots and higher transit ridership rates: 20+ hours a day can be put to more productive uses.

Streets once dominated by commuters can become multi-use boulevards. In many cases, reduced car use will lead to increased transit readership and ultimately better frequency and more options. Reduced expenditures on owning and maintaining a car (estimated at $6-7,000 a year), mean that we have more money to offset the costs of urban amenities.

Taken together these factors, among others, show how Zipcar urbanism can play an instrumental role in enhancing the urban fabric of our cities.

Parking lots that were once used to warehouse cars for

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Now I Know My ABCs...

Phew... it s over! I hoped you enjoyed reading these entries as much as I did writing them. Over the course of writing each of these 26 entries I have taken a peek at a range of urban theories and phenomena, ranging from the fanciful to the rudimentary. In writing this series, I've learned a lot more about some popular urbanisms (new urbanism, landscape urbanism); been able to focus on some of my favorites (adaptive urbanism and open-source urbanism); and perhaps even coined a new urbanism or two (yuppie urbanism and Zipcar urbanism). Writing this series has also taught me that these 26 urbanisms cover but a small fraction of the diversity of urban constructs that exist. On the next page is a list of 101 urbanisms that will highlight the broad scope of contemporary urban studies. In the meantime, I would love to know which of my ABC's you found most interesting or compelling. Please send me an email at yuri.artibise@gmail.com indicating your favorite urbanism.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Appendix: 101 Urbanism
While the previous 26 urbanisms may have seem an exhaustive list (it certain felt like one when writing it!), it is only a small sample of the many fields of urban study. To illustrate the number and diversity of thinking on urbanism, I have created this list of 101 urbanisms. Lest you think I pulled these from thin air, I made sure that each one has at least one meaningful link on Google; several have books or serious academic journals dedicated to them.
Accessible Urbanism Adaptive Urbanism* Agrarian Urbanism Agricultural Urbanism Agora Urbanism Anti-Urbanism Augmented Urbanism Behavioral Urbanism Big Urbanism* Border Urbanism Braided Urbanism Bricole Urbanism Bypass Urbanism Clean Urbanism Collaborative Urbanism* Dialectical Urbanism Digital Urbanism Disconnected Urbanism DIY Urbanism* Ecological Urbanism Emergent Urbanism Everyday Urbanism* Exotic Urbanism Future Urbanism Fractal Urbanism Fine-Grained Urbanism* Generic Urbanism* GeoUrbanism Green Urbanism Guerilla Urbanism Gypsy Urbanism Healthy Urbanism* Holistic Urbanism Holy Urbanism Indigenous Urbanism Informal Urbanism* Infrastructural Urbanism Instant Urbanism Integral Urbanism Introvert Urbanism Inverted Urbanism Jacobsian Urbanism* Kinetic Urbanism* Landscape Urbanism* Layered Urbanism Living Urbanism Magical Urbanism Market Urbanism Messy Urbanism* Mobile Urbanism Networked Urbanism New (Sub)Urbanism New Urbanism* Noir Urbanism Nonconforming Urbanism Nuclear Urbanism Occupancy Urbanism Open Source Urbanism* Opportunistic Urbanism P2P Urbanism Paid Urbanism* Parametric Urbanism Participatory Urbanism Political Urbanism Post-Modern Urbanism Post-Traumatic Urbanism Propagative Urbanism Provocative Urbanism Queer (anti)Urbanism Quasi-Urbanism* Radical Urbanism Real Urbanism Recombinant Urbanism Relational Urbanism Resilient Urbanism Retrofit Urbanism* Retrofuture Urbanism Second Rate Urbanism Slum Urbanism Social Urbanism Stereoscopic Urbanism Suburban Urbanism Sustainable Urbanism* Temporary Urbanism* Trace Urbanism Transnational Urbanism True Urbanism Unitary Urbanism Utopian Urbanism* Vertical Urbanism Village Urbanism Vernacular Urbanism* Walkable Urbanism* Water Urbanism Web Urbanism Xeriscape Urbanism X-Urbanism* Yuppie Urbanism* Zoomorphic Urbanism Zip Car Urbanism*

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

About the Author
About Yuri
Yuri̶aka the Incurable Urbanist̶has spent the past four years creating community in the urban desert that is better known as Phoenix. Find out more at yuriartibise.com or the links below.

About Yurbanism
Yurbanism explores urbanism, placemaking and community. It explores the Y of urbanism by sharing ways to make our cities more livable, community-oriented places one block at a time.

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ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

Photo Credits
1. (and page numbers): Flickr/Leo Reynolds/Letter and Number Mosaics MosaicFlickr/Leo Reynolds/ Alphabet 11 A collection of letter from the respective contributors listed below Flickr/quantumamyrillis/a Flickr/designwallah/B Flickr/joshfassbind.com/C Flickr/bixentro/D Flickr/joshfassbind.com/E Flickr/designwallah/F Flickr/Craig A Rodway/G Flickr/maistora/H 200 / 3 Flickr/designwallah/I Flickr/Leo Reynolds/Ben Eine Letter j Flickr/billaday/Today's photo-a-day is brought to you by the letter K Flickr/D.C. Atty/alphal Flickr/bixentro/M 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 32. 33. 36. 38. Flickr/bixentro/M Flickr/Leo Reynolds/Letter N Flickr/rachel_titiriga/ne.O.n Flickr/otherthings/P Flickr/Eva The Weaver/Q raised and pink Flickr/jeremy.wilburn/R Flickr/Rafal Kiermacz/S Flickr/mag3737/T Flickr/TooFarNorth/u Flickr/Eva The Weaver/V - Vip Flickr/Eva The Weaver/W-att? Flickr/sulamith.sallmann/Halteverbot Flickr/Eva The Weaver/Y - goodYear Flickr/ximilian/Bassiano's alphabet - Z Flickr/curtm95/Phoenix Night Owls - Oct 28, 2010 A collection of letter from the respective contributors listed below

2. 3. 4. 5. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

ABC s of Urbanism ¦ YuriArtibise.com

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