A new report jointly produced by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and EMBARQ, “The Life and Death of Urban Highways,” re-appraises the specific conditions under which it makes sense to build urban highway and when it makes sense to tear them down.
A quirky documentary on urban living and placemaking, How to Live in a City (1964) was produced in cooperation with The University Council on Education for Public Responsibility. The Council, which operated from 1961 to 1975, funded a successful project on urbanism, examining the…
We’ve all read about San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway, Boston’s Central Artery, and the Alaskan Viaduct in Seattle. Each have one thing in common: during the 1950s they were built smack dab in the middle of thriving downtown areas ripping out neighborhoods and destroying communities. They also have another thing in common: all three have been ripped out (they’re working on the Alaskan Viaduct) and replaced with more ped-friendly parks and green spaces.
Here in Portland, there was a similar situation with the Harbor Drive (pictured above) that was demolished in 1974, to make way for the Tom McCall Waterfront Park (now a thriving community gathering place).
Portland also has an abundance of abandoned freeway ramps (built but never finished when the Mt. Hood Freeway was scrapped) as well as viaducts or obsolete highway alignments- a few that could be removed and transforming neighborhoods in the process.
The structure or alignment in question ought to be of limited transportation value. The Lovejoy Viaduct served a useful purpose when it crossed a railyard; not so much when it crossed a vacant lot. Absent from this list are proposals to remove freeways—while some of us may like doing that, such things are, obviously, a harder sell. In general, if removal of the structure would create a bottleneck where none exists before, it’s not on the list.
Some potential for urban transformation is also required.
The Chicago Tribune unveiled plans from design teams for the redesigned of public spaces at Navy Pier in Chicago. Five design teams will begin showing their plans for redesigning the public spaces of Navy Pier at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday and Wednesday.
They’re hated; they’re ugly; no one likes them or wants to work or live in them. They are ugly buildings - and they ain’t going anywhere. In fact, these architectural monstrosities might be getting saved from any future destruction.
Downtown Portland food carts not only provide delicious and quick meals for hungry office workers, students and residents, they also offer “fourth places” and even, as this post from Portland Food Carts lays out, a rejuvenation of once-ignored places.
“It is so easy to blame the decay of cities on traffic…or immigrants…or the whimsies of the middle class. The decay of cities goes deeper and is more complicated. It goes right down to what we think we want, and to our ignorance about how cities work.”—Jane Jacobs (via pdsmith)