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Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Seeing Race in the City’s Structure

We typically do not use literature for city planning texts, but Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) deserves careful consideration. Ellison weaves a narrative through New York City’s urban spatial structure to map how race is physically built into the city’s neighborhood composition, street networks, and utilities. Using the binary of invisible versus visible, Ellison defines invisibility as the African-American experience of being isolated explicitly and … Continue reading Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Seeing Race in the City’s Structure

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Bryant Reimagined: The Creation of a Small Area Plan

Most students pursuing a master’s in Planning are required to complete either a thesis or original project as part of their degree. Ben Lykins, a 2016 graduate from the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC Chapel Hill, choose a practice-oriented route and created a small area plan for Bryant, Arkansas. Ben says that creating the “Bryant Reimagined” plan was a challenging way to … Continue reading Bryant Reimagined: The Creation of a Small Area Plan

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A New Perspective on Resilience: The Importance of Context in Durban, South Africa

As planners, many of us are familiar with Scott Campbell’s sustainable development triangle, which calls for a balance between ‘Social Justice,’ ‘Economic Growth,’ and’ Environmental Protection’.1 During the planning process, should we focus on bus services that are cheaper and accessible to lower income citizens? Or train lines that produce fewer carbon emissions? Are new developments that revitalize a neighborhood’s economy worth the risk of displacement … Continue reading A New Perspective on Resilience: The Importance of Context in Durban, South Africa

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Street Seats: a student-designed parklet in NYC

On the corner of New York City’s 13th Street and 5th Avenue, hundreds of people use the sidewalk adjacent to The New School University Center every day. For a university in Manhattan, “campus” is a loose term that defines the parts of the city traversed by its students. Union Square Park—a magnet of public life—is a proximate and popular space for students and faculty to relax outside, … Continue reading Street Seats: a student-designed parklet in NYC

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A Streetcar Named de Blasio

Two months ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio debuted a proposal for a streetcar line that would link the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts. His announcement was welcomed by many, as it addresses the inequities of travel around New York City. As denizens of the city are well aware, commuting to and from the Manhattan central business district is easy and convenient, but inter and intra-commuting between … Continue reading A Streetcar Named de Blasio

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Evolution of the Design Commission

Whether referred to as The Civic Design Review (San Francisco), Civic Design Commission (Boston), U.S. Commissions of Fine Arts (Washington D.C.), Mayor’s Design Advisory Panel (Los Angeles), or Public Design Commission (New York), major cities across the United States have established boards and commissions to ensure the design quality of our civic structures and public spaces.  Design commissions, which are typically made up of four … Continue reading Evolution of the Design Commission

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American roads were built for bikes

Five o’clock rush hour is a concept that does not exist in car-centric cities such as Los Angeles. Because in these cities, traffic is a 24-hour nightmare. This car-dominated city, which is rumored to have more cars than people, leaves very little room to share the road with bicyclists. In an effort to accommodate more cars rather than more bikes, the city is lobbying to extend … Continue reading American roads were built for bikes