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Astor Place Redesign-East Village-NYC-WXY Architecture-3The future Alamo Plaza at Astor Place

Remember when there was a parking lot where this pedestrian plaza will be? Curbed NY has reported that the major redesign of Astor Place is beginning. As part of the plan, the Astor Place cube, which marks where three Indian tribes converged for a thousand years, will move from the traffic island to a more fitting location.

Here are some other renderings by WXY Architecture from a 2011 NYC.gov document:

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What do you want to change about your city? In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a group of citizens started the #betterKL movement, an initiative to crowd-source constructive ways to improve the city they live in. The grassroots movement sought to move the focus from quotidian gripes about urban life to ideas about how to make the city better.  “Don’t just live in the city, live for the city,” the BetterCities manifesto urges.

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Cincinnati Music Hall cartwheelers
Can the rehabilitation of a great public space restore its surrounding blocks? We know it has in New York City, where we’ve seen Bryant Park help restore Midtown, Prospect Park restore Park Slope and Prospect Heights, and Staten Island’s Greenbelt restore huge swaths of the borough. Cincinnati’s Washington Park may be the country’s most notable urban park makeover since New York saved Central Park in the 1980s. With immense drive and determination Cincinnati successfully deployed the park rescue toolkit invented by New Yorkers: fill the park with good uses and displace the bad uses, keep the territory clean and orderly, maintain a friendly but obvious police presence, and make everything as beautiful as possible. Plus Cincy added its own local touches, such as lovely Rookwood Pottery tiles at each entrance.

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Even though Toronto is engulfed in developments, experts say, it's not as dense as other cities.

Even though Toronto is engulfed in developments, experts say, it’s not as dense as other cities. Photo: Justin Robertson

Toronto is seeing a shift. Young professionals and empty nesters are being drawn to downtown as part of a North American trend where city cores are being re-invented. No longer does the suburban home with a garage constitute as “living the dream.” Living in a small space in the heart of downtown close to transit, grocery stores and theaters is the dangling carrot for the “eco-boomer” [born between 1972 and 1992] generation.

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Liangchen Proposal-Old Beijing-China-Untapped Cities-Celeste Zhou4Plan for new Beijing in Liang-Chen Proposal, via Chengji, edited by Celeste Zhou

Imagine a two-center Beijing, with the central Forbidden City and city walls intact, and high rises and skyscrapers flourishing at the western part of Beijing. This vision may be unimaginable for many people, yet once it nearly became reality.  (more…)

Ruelle verte 30e_Untapped Cities_Montreal_Lea Plourde-Archer Ruelle Verte between 30th and 31st avenues, Bélanger street and Bellechasse street

The lack of parks and greenery is a common issue in the urban planning of big cities around the world. This is often due to a shortage of space. Different solutions are being developed, like green roofs, sidewalk gardens and pocket parks. In Montreal, many of the city’s districts have been working to solve these deficiencies by creating Ruelles vertes (green alleyways).

Montreal has more than 280 miles in alleyways hiding between the city’s tightly packed buildings. Prior to the creation of the Ruelles Vertes project, they were largely underused and served almost exclusively for local car circulation and for garbage disposal.  (more…)