Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Community Building Tip: Urban Design

For my current set of tips, I've decided to use the one I wrote based on how to make your hometown more like Bluehill in Terramagne-America. I took a close look at the town's positive features with an eye toward replicating them here with local resources.   Next up: "101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City."

* Urban design. Bluehill is in a not-too-crowded part of Missouri, but look how they manage their space. Cambridge Commons is a planned community with densely packed amenities. They have a ton of things for people to do and very concise living space crammed into a small footprint. Mass parking is consolidated into a few places, with most downtown travel on foot, bikes, or mass transit. That leaves them room for big parks and little greenways everywhere. The hardscaping includes things like pull-throughs for buses and food trucks. The live-work buildings in several configurations, and the urban planning like townhomes near the hospital, mean that most people can live right next to where they work if they want to. The design supports the ideals. This is another place to watch for local politics and initiatives in need of support.


Urban design is the art of creating effective towns by combining different elements. These concern the layout of streets, which may be more or less efficient. A need for high density points to increasing demand for live-work buildings and other mixed-use structures. Consider the truths of live-work planning. The principles of sustainable design offer many benefits.

This relates to placemaking, which follows the principles of community involvement to encourage connections and activities in public space. Consider what makes a great place and how many things there are to do in a place. Follow the steps to make great places.

Parking poses many challenges, because mass parking is a blot on the townscape but adequate parking is essential for the accessibility of those who can't walk or have short distance limits. Urban design should offer alternatives by supporting citizens who want to walk, bike, or use mass-transit instead of cars. Changes should be tested for efficiency, accessibility, and sustainability.

Parks are important and cities need more of them. Greenways provide natural connections for both people and wildlife. Rails to Trails is one organization that encourages greenways.

The physical structures need to support the social goals. For instance, if you want to enjoy good service from buses and food trucks, provide pull-throughs for them to get out of street traffic. Traffic-calming measures may help too.
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