ARCHITIZER IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE NEW A+AWARDS CATEGORY OF MASTER PLAN. SUBMIT implemented master plans THAT OFFER comprehensive long-range planning efforts HERE.
At a time when worldwide populations are shifting to become primarily urban, city planning is more vital now than ever before. In order to accommodate the increasing number of urban-dwellers, the art of Master Planning has emerged as a preferred tool for the industry, in both local municipalities and private firms. The following trends exemplify the bold ideas of planners and designers in their attempt to maximize quality of life, smart design, social equity, and accommodate for future growth with long-range, comprehensive plans.
Scale Lane Bridge, United Kingdom
As car usage and ownership continues to decline, and urban populations opt for alternative transportation modes, many cities are waking up to the notion of a walkable city being a desirable city. More feet on the street is leading to renewed focus on pedestrian amenities in master plans such as sidewalks, street furniture, crosswalks, pedestrian-exclusive bridges, and the overall “human scale” of cities at the ground level.
Erasmus University, Rotterdam
Whether suburban or urban, many university campuses serve as a city within themselves. As campuses grow and transform into the future, some are leading the charge with smart growth plans for academic buildings, student amenities, transportation, and dormitories to accommodate future generations of enrollment and academics.
Times Square, New York
All the rage during the recession, pop-up parks are exhibiting staying power, culminating in a verifiable placemaking typology. Whether it is a parklet replacing parking, a street-turned public plaza, or an open air greenmarket, many of these once-temporary installations are becoming permanent urban fixtures.
As urban populations rise, so do the prices of rental housing units. In an attempt to combat inequality and provide housing to all, affordable housing endeavors are getting creative to better serve the needs of low-income residents. Check out the latest trends in affordable housing here.
The strive for cities to brand themselves is evident even in such granular elements as street graphics. Well-designed wayfinding now plays a major role in master plans, serving as step-by-step guides to cultural, art, civic, and other urban institutions and points of interest.
A streetscape is defined as the appearance or view of the street. In short, the aesthetics, down to the intimate details and designs. Street trees, bike racks, lampposts, signage, bus stops, sidewalk configurations, curb bump-outs — all the elements that a ground-level user will experience. Streetscapes take aspects of walkability, placemaking, and wayfinding, and wrap them up into one product to maximize a neighborhood’s visual attractiveness, often in the form of Streetscape Design Guidelines.
Bioswale via EPA.gov
Sustainability is arguably one of the most prevalent present-day day trends in urban planning, and in the wake of climate change and record-breaking weather events, its role in planning has proven more than a trend. Flood mitigation, water management, permeable pavements, bioswales, and rooftop gardens are among the many innovative developments in sustainability efforts.
Infill Parkveien 5, Norway
As the dominant car culture in many cities deteriorates, countless vacant lots remain surface parking spaces. Intended to accommodate for rush hour influxes of automobiles, these are often situated right in the downtown core. Rather than development occurring on the outskirts of town, many municipalities are focusing inwards, to add density and vibrancy to the existing downtown through the reuse of obsolete or underutilized buildings and lots, to stitch together once-severed urban fabrics.
Armstrong Place, San Francisco
Transit-oriented development (TOD) is often a mixed-use area designed to maximize access to public transportation. Once again, the generational shift away from automobile usage is adding to this effort’s success. Cities are rapidly developing land in close proximity to rapid transit stations to capitalize on millennial attractiveness and renewed interests in public transportation.
Technology / Innovation
Silicon Valley is about to be a thing of the past. According to the Brookings Institution, “a new complementary urban model is now emerging, giving rise to what we and others are calling ‘innovation districts.’ These districts, by our definition, are geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators, and accelerators. They are physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically wired, offering mixed-use housing, office, and retail.”
Boston’s Innovation District is by far at the forefront of this movement, and is aiming to transform the South Boston waterfront, a predominantly vacant area, into a bustling hub that fosters innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.