Great Place Wednesday: Syntagma Square, Athens, GR

The last year has seen tremendous, grass-roots change and protest against authoritarianism across the globe.  We discussed this last February, right on the cusp of the “Arab Spring” protests in many countries of Northern Africa and the Middle East.  In recent months, increasingly large protests have shaken Athens as the populace has risen up to[…]

THIS THURSDAY: 10-11-12 Lecture Series “Coming to Our Census: Utah’s Demographic Transformation.”

Date – November 17, 2011 Time – 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Place – The Leonardo, Salt Lake City, Utah Part of the 10.11.12. Lecture Series, which features 10 urban planning professors in 2011-12. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Utah is in the midst of an unprecedented economic, demographic, and[…]

Great Place Wednesday: The Highline; New York City, NY

I’ve had several conversations in the last few weeks about the Highline Park in New York City. This is truly one-of-a-kind park was built on an abandonded, raised rail line running into lower Manhattan from the 1930′s. Abandoned in the 1960′s, the Highline lay dormant for more than 40 years, until the community organized “Friends[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Inner Harbor; Baltimore, MD

America’s been extraordinarily adept at completely ignoring its waterfronts. Most cities in America with a waterfront have turned that waterfront into an entirely industrial wasteland, with little public use, and even less quality spaces.  New York City has only recently discovered its waterfront, and has invested millions in developing more public space along the Hudson[…]

10 11 12 Lecture Series

Something’s afoot at the College of Architecture + Planning and the University of Utah.  For the last six years, the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning has been quietly assembling an incredible team of nationally renowned professors, who constantly travel the country to speak to audiences about the emerging areas of planning and how America’s[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Old Town San Diego, CA

This summer I spent a week in the San Diego area, my first visit there in many years. We spent an afternoon exploring San Diego’s Old Town, which is truly a great place: San Diego’s Old Town is unique in that it was basically abandoned for a more strategic site for the city, a few[…]

City Comforts: Prohibit Parking Lots in Front of the Building

Based on David Sucher’s, City Comforts, we continue our series on fundamental urban design elements. Sucher selects “Three Rules of Urban Design” as the central tenets of the book, “to preserve and create walkable commercial areas.” 1. Build to the Sidewalk 2. Make the Building Front Permeable 3. Prohibit Parking Lots in Front of the[…]

City Comforts: Make the Building Front Permeable

Based on David Sucher’s, City Comforts, we continue our series on fundamental urban design elements. Sucher selects “Three Rules of Urban Design” as the central tenets of the book, “to preserve and create walkable commercial areas.” 1. Build to the Sidewalk 2. Make the Building Front Permeable 3. Prohibit Parking Lots in Front of the[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Champ de Mars; Paris, FR

The Champ de Mars is one of Paris’s largest open spaces, and gives a perfect example of French garden style.  Originally part of the military’s marching and drilling grounds, the park space has hosted the Worlds Fair four times, in 1867, 1878, 1889, and 1900.  It was in 1889 that the park’s most famous feature[…]

City Comforts: Build to the Sidewalk

David Sucher’s definitive book on urban design, City Comforts, documents the fine details of “creating an urban village.”  Each mini-chapter documents a single concept of urban design that makes urban life possible, and even enjoyable.  No one experiences the city on the scale that many planners think: large blocks of “zones” intended to prevent “incompatible[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Preseren Square; Ljubljana, Slovenija

Preseren Square (Presernev Trg) lies at the physical and psychological heart of Ljubljana, and the nation of Slovenia.   Several auto and pedestrian routes converge on this relatively small space, and as a result it is the place where people meet up, hang out, and spend time enjoying the idyllic setting of the city.  Having spent[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Salt Lake City Library

Here at VODA, we aspire to help our clients design great places.  Whether its a private residence or a community general plan, we use our design experience and policy understanding to craft great places of many different sizes.  We’ve seen great places all over the world, and are starting a weekly “Great Place Wednesday” to[…]