London Underground - reimagined!

Alternates to the London Underground map

The Death and Life of...

Planning for our future (figuratively speaking)...

Urban greening in high density environments

Creating 'Vertical Forests' in high density residential developments

Building Better Bike Racks

This is certainly a case where the pictures can do most of the talking.

Also a case where the symbolism and meaning conveyed by the installation of these is as powerful as their practicality.

They are from a company called Cyclehoop, check them out here.

Where Will We Live In The Future?

This esoteric examination of where housing in western civilisation is heading comes from the Guardian. Thought provoking, even if a little all over the place.

Fournier believes the potential of tall buildings, such as those built against hillsides in Hong Kong, where access is not simply at ground level, represents a three dimensional approach that has yet to be fully explored, despite the fact that architects have been discussing the potential for many years. "We need to look at how high-density environments are created, where there might be access on the 42nd or the 100th floor. Three-dimensional, spatial urbanism hasn't really taken off yet, but it is something that is bound to happen.''

Although he points out that some architects argue that vertical living is more cost efficient and sustainable, it does involve greater spending on energy and materials. "It's a very challenging point, but the overall balance remains unclear and needs to be very carefully looked at.''
Read the full article here.

Las Vegas is So Absurd It's Beautiful

Las Vegas, America's little slice of Dubai, got severely pounded by the GFC and had quite a few housing projects go bust. Combining this with the fact that its a city built in the middle of the goddam desert makes for some amazing aerial photography. The Atlantic has put together this amazing collection of aerial imagery of housing development, just for you.

Vegas looks a lot like what would happen if you let a chimpanzee play Sim City.

If you ever wondered what the phrase "orderly development of land" meant, this isn't it.

NYC's New Zoning Laws to Promote Greener Buildings

I've been involved in many a conversation about how planning can directly influence the sustainability and efficiency of actual buildings. Do you mandate minimum greenstars? Do you allow developers to build taller buildings if they feature more sustainable features? Do you allowed levels of car parking to 'force' people to find alternatives? It's complicated, and it involves some pretty serious market regulation. 

Anyway, NYC has been finding that its existing zoning laws have been actively discouraging those wishing to install/construct more sustainable buildings and features. They are now proposing city-wide changes that do things such as allow for solar panels to exceed height limits and allow thicker, more insulating walls to be constructed and allowing some serious windmill heights atop buildings. 

Does anyone with some expertise in sustainability and our current planning scheme believe we need similar changes?

Copenhagen's Car-Free Streets and Slow-Speed Zones

Copenhagen's Car-free streets & Slow-speed zones from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

This is a great video from the consistently impressive StreetFilms. This time, we're looking once again at the street design of Copenhagen, the city by which it seems we measure all modern urban planning efforts by. They do seem to have some pretty impressive streets, with accompanying public spaces that all just 'work'. Jan Gehl makes a celebrity cameo.

Watch on. 

Melbourne In The Early 1900s

This amazing documentary is really just a series of very early film reels, each showing a different street or area of Melbourne as it was circa 1910. The architecture we had and have subsequently lost is stunning, although if you look carefully there's quite a bit that is still 'as-is' today. Original title was Marvelous Melbourne: Queen City of the South. 

It gives you a nice sense of perspective when planning and designing for today's Melbourne to have an understanding of yesterday. Also, damn we dressed classy back then!

Click here to watch the full thing.

Where's the greenfield PT?

The Age's Adam Carey has this (fantastically titled) article in Domain: "Epping hell: estate residents 'betrayed' by promises".

The crux of the story is that Aurora, VicUrban's flagship attempt at sustainable greenfield development, was meant to have a whole bunch of bus stops. Which it now does. The problem is, buses don't stop there, they just...exist. The Department of Transport are blaming VicUrban for not checking with them, VicUrban say they did, residents just wish they had some buses.

Even if there was a bus stop '400m of every house' that actually had services running, you reckon people would be using it? Or would they be getting in their cars anyway?

Meanwhile, remember those train lines that were going to go through Aurora? To make it actually somewhat sustainable and not entirely car based? Yea? Well:

But the plan to extend the rail line was frozen under Labor and the Baillieu government has said it has no plan to build it either. ''The government does not plan to extend the rail network to Epping North at this time,'' Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder told residents in August.
Epping hell indeed.

Read the full article here. 

Chicago's New Bike Lanes

For some reason, Rahm Emanuel decided being the mayor of Chicago was better than being Obama's Chief of Staff. He got elected partially on the promise to bring '100 miles of dedicated bike lanes' to Chi-town. The video below shows the first, and second, of these and how they've successfully built them into the street.

Well done Rahm, who knew Chicago bike lanes were more fun than the White House.

VYP Street Art Tour This Friday

A quick reminder that the VYP organised Street Art Tour is still taking last minute registrations from all who are interested.

The Victorian Young Planners invite you to join them on a tour of Melbourne’s largest public gallery, where the city’s walls and laneways act as a rich, varied and constantly evolving canvas. The tour will be led by well-known street-artists, and focus on the creation of public space, planning and culture in Melbourne, showcasing an aspect of the city many people never get to experience or understand. The tour finishes at the famous Blender Studios for drinks and nibbles while checking out some artists at work and chatting with other young planners before adjourning to a nearby bar.
Check out more information here. 

The Age Examines the Politics of Cycling

Cycling in Australia certainly lends itself to an interesting brand of vitriol from certain quarters. The Age's Michael O'Reilly attempts to dissect the supporters and detractors in this piece at

Cyclists. They’re nothing but a bunch of Green-voting, latte-sipping, inner-city trendoids with an over-developed sense of entitlement. 
That’s what you’d think if you believed much of the media coverage given to cycling in the past few years. From shock jocks to tabloid TV shows to newspaper columnists, there's always someone ready to have a go at cyclists.
Especially media organisations that favour the conservative side of politics. 
This vilification is curious, given that Australia is a nation of bicycle buyers. Last year, we bought more cycles than cars – something that’s happened every year this century. Of course, a lot of those would be kids’ bikes … but the increasing numbers of riders on the roads and the proliferation of cycling shops should tell you that cycling is, well, on a roll.

Read on.