Hierarchy of Needs: Application in Urban Design and Community-Building

"...given the central nature of humans in the the function of the urban form, it is reasonable to consider the adaptation of Maslow’s needs hierarchy to the field of urban design.  Understanding the innate motivations influencing the human inhabitants of the built realm can lead to more humane approaches to the design, development, and revitalization of our cities..."

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We Put 31 Artists, 25 Architects and 18 Urban Planners in a Room. Guess What Happens Next.

Originally published on the Next City Network at NextCity.org

The team: 31 artists and designers, 25 architects and housing experts, 23 community members, 18 urban planners, 11 local foundation and city representatives, 2 landscape architects and between them, eight Next City Vanguards.

The deadline: 24 hours.

The result: Nine distinct sets of ideas, condensed into 10 minute presentations, focused on a bunch of little things that can be done in one month, one year, and three years on Glass Street in East Chattanooga, an area in need and unquestionably deserving of The Next Big Thing Urbanism Workshop, hosted by Chattanooga non-profit Glass House Collective and inspired by the 2014 Next City Vanguard conference held in that city.

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Zoning Codes: How should Beaufort look?

"A few generations ago, places looked the way they did because neighbors built the buildings of a community together, in the effective methods handed down without formal regulations. There was no such thing as "traditional zoning,"some sort of rulebook that determined how to construct the buildings that preservationists now refer to as "traditional" in form and style. Instead, communities locally-sourced materials and know-how and responsibility for the built environment. Towns like Beaufort were built slowly, at very high personal investment, with very little to do with today's real estate development industry.

In short, zoning codes did not exist back then; they didn't need to."

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Find a problem, design a solution | GOOD

Originally published on the website and global community at GOOD.is

"...I saw a lot of “canceling out” early in my career as an urban designer. I poured myself into the creation of so many ideas for places that would never come to be, because an elected council member didn’t like the architecture in the renderings, or because a newspaper editorial painted the designers as “outsiders” in encouraging dissent, or because a group of competing land owners rallied fear of change in locals. I still remember each one of those losses of opportunity, and I continue to regret that every one of them came without meaningful conversations involving everyone invested..."

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How I'm Empowering Everyday Citizens to Create the Communities They Desire | GOOD

Originally published on the website and global community at GOOD.is 

"The alarm goes off. My husband and I get our daughter ready for the school carpool, then make our own commute. Like many of our neighbors, it’s a short walk to a shop or office in the village, or (in our case) an even shorter walk to the office above our garage. After school, our daughter has the freedom to roam ample sidewalks and trails, visiting friends and exploring nature. While she is out, my husband and I prepare dinner using herbs and vegetables from our patio garden and local meats and dairy purchased at the neighborhood independent grocer. An after-dinner stroll with the dog, when the weather is nice, often leads to friendly visits with neighbors doing the same."

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Guest Post: Designed for Activity

Originally published on the blog Balance: Words of Wellness for your Balanced Life

"As a follow-up to last week’s post where I lamented that few children walk to school in my neighborhood, I asked an urban planner friend to give me her take on the situation.   Mallory Baches joins us today at OnBalance.

As an urban designer, I have a responsibility to people’s relationships with my work, so I took note when another study attached community form to public health.  Published in the upcoming issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, you might mistake the scientific findings for common sense: children who live in more walkable communities tend to walk more.  Go figure!"

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Why Towns Matter

"...small towns are often forgotten, in a world where size matters.  In fact it is a critical detail in the American narrative, that anyone growing up in a small town can (and as the narrative goes, should) eventually move to the city to make something of themselves, reinforcing the notion that small towns are supposed to be left behind.  Think: Jay Gatsby, Howard Roark, Abraham Lincoln, and Mr. Smith.

Still, we shouldn’t forget that without all of those great small towns quietly raising fresh new talent for it to then up and leave to the opportunities of the big city, there wouldn’t be the narrative to begin with.  Towns may seem small and un-noteworthy from the skyscraper view of the city, but they are an unsung breeding ground that serves to first support and later cheer the successes of great people, great ideas, and great changes..."

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