A student's take on Urban Planning and Design.


7 Oct 10

UPDATE (Good News)

It’s been forever since I’ve had a chance to post anything legitimate on here. I feel like its time for an update!

1.) I got hired at Citizen Planner today! This will be my first “real” planning job, finally getting away from the pharmacy and walgreens.

2.) School started up again and I’m cramming my brain full of little planning tidbits from here and there in my Urban Design class, Hypocity Project, and Cartography class. Expect an update soon with the individual projects from each class.

3.) The Urban and Regional Planning Student Association (URPSA) is in the full swing of things for the 2010-11’ school year. As a board member, it has been keeping me busy.

22 Sep 10

I know I havent posted in over a month, things got real busy with moving in and school starting.
This photo is of Shanghai City comparing the view of the water front in 1990 to how it looks now.

I know I havent posted in over a month, things got real busy with moving in and school starting.

This photo is of Shanghai City comparing the view of the water front in 1990 to how it looks now.

4 Aug 10

Transportation Tribulation

Today’s definition of the “American Dream”, a large house in the suburbs, 2.2 children, financial stability and of course a car, cell phone, and t.v. for every member of the family stems directly from a single generation, the Baby Boomers, which had a profound effect on shaping America. With WWII over, the great depression defeated, and America emerging as the world’s newest super power it was high times in our country. Every newly wed couple wanted a house for themselves and for the first time could get one at a cheap cost. After that the babies just kept on coming for over 2 decades. As these new children began to age they continued in their parents footsteps, spreading ever outward for the newest and best land to land a house on  a trend which continues to this day.

Most realize the strain urban sprawl has on the environment but what is a dream today can quickly become a nightmare over just a few years. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this; Can I walk to and from the grocery store with ease? Is it possible to schedule doctor visits without an automobile. Are there even sidewalks to priority locations if they are within walking distance? Does mass transit cover where I live? If you live in 99% of suburban America the answer to this is obviously no.

Americans have been quick to expand outward and what may have seemed like good planning at the time has left nearly all of America’s metro areas riddled with death traps at literally EVERY (street) corner.

Take Atlanta’s Buford highway for example. For the average citizen trying to live as a pedestrian along this stretch of road the conditions are nearly comically treacherous. The pedestrian steps off the bus but once the bus pulls away they are left standing on dirt at the bottom of a hill; inches away from trucks and cars who traditionally speed 10 miles per hour over the 55 mph speed limit. Where to next? oh yeah, across the street! …but wait the nearest cross walk is over a mile down the road which has no sidewalks and when you get there the buttons don’t work anyways. So what’s the alternative?

Answer: A real life version of Frogger across 7 lanes of traffic.

Everyday dozens of people take part in this game of chicken with Ford F-150s, semi’s, and hundreds of soccer moms in too much of a hurry to let a pedestrian cross safely; a game the automobiles always win.

What’s alarming is that this is the reality for most of America’s suburbs. As America quickly matures into a population of elders this matter will become a more and more pressing concern. Traversing the expanse of homes and express ways for 8 miles by foot to arrive at a grocery store becomes is a nightmare if you can no longer drive safely.

transportation buford highway Sprawl Baby Boomer Frogger

Blueprint America: Dangerous Crossing

3 Aug 10

Green Design: Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen looks to become the world’s first carbon neutral city.

"Copenhagen has set itself the ambitious target of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral capital by 2025. To meet this ambitious goal we need ambitious measures. Therefore we have now decided to ensure the City adapst to extreme weather conditions by making new requirements for getting grass on top of as many buildings as possible"

- Mayor of Technical and Environmental Administration, Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard.

To fulfill this plan the city has passed a new ordinance which requires any new building with a roof slope of 30 degrees or less to be covered by soil and grass or some other sort of plant material. This ordinance also requires any repairs done to older roof’s with a pitch less than 30 degrees to also include a green roof. However, for these repairs municipality money will be rewarded to help cover the additional costs of repair.

The reason for such a strong policy stems from the statistics. Copenhagen presently has over 20,000 square meters (that’s 215,000 square feet!) of flat roofs within city limits. In addition to this, about 5,000 meters of new flat roofs are built each year. Over 30 green roofs exist in Copenhagen already painting a drastically different image of what the modern city looks like…

Putting vegetation on top of structures is not a modern invention. The technique has been employed for centuries because if the reduced costs its provides.

Green Roofs:

  • Reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Cleans the cities air reducing exhaust from cars and other emission sources.
  • Lowers energy costs for the buildings they cover by as much as 40% in some instances
  • Double the lifespan of roof membranes by reducing the amount of UV light they absorb
  • Absorb water during peak rainfall times reducing stress on drainage systems in the area.

26 Jul 10

Understanding 3DI’s

What’s a 3DI you say?

3-Digit Interstate Highway, of course! Most people wouldn’t give this topic the light of day but when I stumbled upon this primer I was stricken by the simplicity of it all and had to re-post it. Everyone can relate to the stress of traveling on vacation only to wonder if that exit you took was the correct one when switching highways.

Luckily for us the entire country follows a set of rules when numbering each highway; once you understand these few simple rules it becomes much easier to avoid switching onto incorrect highways. 

For Starters:

Each primary interstate highway, or 2di, uses either one or two digit numbers such as I-96 or I-5 (out in Cali). Odd numbers run in a north/south direction while even numbers travel east/west. These numbers are unique nation wide so there is no confusion from state to state.

Auxiliary highways are either spurs, loops or beltways which branch off of primary highways. These have 3 digits, where their nick name comes from. 3di’s get their identifier by taking the number of their parent highway and adding it to a multiple 100.

Once again these number carry additional significance. If a 3di begins with an even number it means this highway meets an interstate highway at BOTH ends or is a loop. These usually consist of bypasses or connectors. When a 3di starts with an odd number it means it does not connect with another interstate highway. These 3di’s are most often spurs which branch off of the main highway to a location a short distance away.

The rules for 3di’s and 2di’s are not the same either. The even/odd convention used for identifying a 2di’s direction does not apply to 3di’s. This is because a 3di often branches off in a different direction from its parent highway. Also, 3di’s are only unique to the state they reside in.

This graphic explains it all!

Highway interstate 3di

14 Jul 10

Inspired by…

Hello Everyone!

This is my New Blog! Which I decided to create because over this past summer I have learned a couple things…

     1) East Lansing is a really, I mean reallllly, boring city in the summer
     2) I miss my classes. Yes; I actually miss the droning on of Dr. Norman and the cynical jokes made by “Dark” Dr. Strauss day in and day out in our back to back to back planning classes a dear amount.

Also over the past two months this summer I feel like I’ve accomplished very few things which needs to change. Each summer I tell myself I’ll work out, save up some money (which I have actually done thankfully), Keep working on my education and write a resume. Well that resume I started, but never finished; working out has been a failing attempt all over again and I’m sick of being cooped up in my little apartment with one roommate that plays video games 50+ hours a week. The little I have done to further my education amounts to adding planning articles to Stumble Upon for others to see in an attempt to spread the good word of urban planning but not much else.

It is ironic that stumble upon would inspire this blog but I cannot say it had a small part in creating The Cityscape. As I’ve scoured the many articles and blogs on planetizen I felt an urge not just to share them with others but to throw in my two cents as well.

Tune in as a try my best to write at least one entry a week on all things urban planning and design related.


28 Jun 10



14 Jun 10

hey all

Just wanted to make a test post to look at formatting and such!