An abundance of asphalt and concrete increases air temperatures locally, which can exacerbate the effects of heat waves and generally cause unpleasant conditions. This is known as the urban heat island effect and it can be true for both sprawled suburbs and dense cities. Savannah’s beautiful green spaces offer a prime example of how the benefits of dense development can be achieved while mitigating or eliminating the urban heat island effect.
Weekly Links: The EPA Loves the NHL, Snow Leads to Better Urban Design, and Atlanta’s World-Class Traffic
A weekly roundup of interesting stories from around the country. The National Hockey League is not just one of the biggest buyers of green energy among sports leagues, but among all US companies. Philadelphia created better designed streets simply by looking at where cars drive in the snow. And a stress-relieving simulation of traffic moving through various types of intersections.
Buckhead has sometimes been referred to as the Jewel of Atlanta, though this title is severely threatened by its increasingly underwhelming user experience. Its lack of vibrancy, identity, and walkability make the neighborhood a shining example of poor urban design and undercut its ability to attract residents and businesses. In its attempt to remain relevant, Buckhead should look to Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, Virginia’s Tyson’s Corner, and Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood.
Pro-helmet and anti-helmet advocates both make compelling arguments in the quest to make cycling safer. While better urban design principles would fundamentally solve the safety problem, courts may find that cyclists have a duty to wear a helmet.
While building large infrastructure projects is needed, the enforcement of basic traffic laws is an essential, and often overlooked, element of good transportation networks.
We’ll likely see an increase in the number of poorer suburban communities. While Cobb and North Fulton will still have enclaves of wealthier residents, they will increasingly become the destination of lower-income individuals when they are priced out of the walkable Atlanta area. While quality-of-life is an issue even for wealthier residents in auto-centric communities, it is much more of a problem for their poorer residents. Try getting to the grocery store or your job when you don’t have a car and your community doesn’t support sidewalks or alternative transportation. While sitting in traffic on the way to work is stressful, having no transportation options to safely get to that place of work is arguably more stressful.
Dictating what people can and can’t do with their property is perhaps one of the most controversial forms of regulation, particularly at the local level. Most generally agree that factories should not be located next to schools, but once we go beyond the more obvious incompatible uses the topic can become quite heated. Throw in the touchy subject of adult entertainment and the debate escalates to new levels.
Aside from being a geographically small city, Tybee creates walkability through a grid network of narrow, shared streets. Additionally, most streets on Tybee eschew the implementation of sidewalks. The narrow streets encourage slow driving and the lack of sidewalks requires pedestrians to be in the street. The shared street concept requires drivers to be more cautious, which produces a more relaxed street atmosphere that increases accessibility for walkers and cyclists.
Density doesn’t have to be a bad word. Allowing more people to live in strategic and desirable areas in closer proximity to one another doesn’t necessarily mean turning all parts of the region into Manhattan. While we aren’t talking about San Francisco or New York levels of density, we are talking about raising the density levels in certain parts of the region to something a little less Mayberry and a little more DC or Seattle.
To start off, we should address one of the claims by Eugene: that the state of New Hampshire should not be in the business of telling people what to do because its motto is “Live free or die.” Although clearly intended to be humorous, Eugene’s interpretation of the motto is philosophically lacking. Freedom is not always encouraged by doing whatever you want whenever you want.