Design Better Mass Transit with Systems Thinking

We need ways of designing better transportation systems.

As U.S. cities grow more gridlocked and Millennials adopt mobility services like Uber out of desperation, transit becomes a crucial social good. Without the ability to easily move people and goods, cities become paralyzed. We need a way of designing better transportation systems.

Continue reading Design Better Mass Transit with Systems Thinking

City Design: Redesigning Failed Shopping Malls

redesigning failed shopping malls

According to Credit Suisse, up to one-quarter of U.S. malls will close by 2022. During the past 60 years, malls served as a major public commons in the U.S. The design and stewardship of commons is a crucial component of public-sector marketing. Redesigning failed shopping malls could be an huge public-sector opportunity.

Continue reading City Design: Redesigning Failed Shopping Malls

How to Take Back The Night from Light Pollution and Enjoy The Stars Again

reduce light pollution

Light pollution at night is a growing urban problem. Most of us city dwellers can no longer see the stars at night, and this will only become worse as we become more urban. Dark skies at night is a common pooled resource that we can reclaim when we reduce light pollution though proper governance of the commons.

What, you may be asking, are dark skies good for?

Continue reading How to Take Back The Night from Light Pollution and Enjoy The Stars Again

Two Hacks For Designing A Happy, Social City

From more than 60 years of experience and research concerning car-dependent suburbs, we now know that these environments create people and lifestyles with less social interaction: less civic volunteering, less participation in recreational team sports, even less voting. We’re uniquely social animals, wired to cooperate and interact with large numbers of our fellows in novel and unpredictable ways.

With urbanization, more of us are living in city environments, but this isn’t an automatic answer to the suburban blues. Living in a downtown residential tower can be just as isolating as the suburbs. How do we build denser places while also designing a happy, social city?

Continue reading Two Hacks For Designing A Happy, Social City

The Power of Audience: Urbanization and megaregions

According to the United Nations, a majority of the world’s population now resides in urban areas. The trend towards urbanization shows no signs of slowing, either. By 2050, two-thirds of the planet’s population will be urban. Urban areas are organically connecting into megaregions that don’t always respect existing political or natural boundaries. Marketing in urban areas and megaregions demands that social and public sector marketers think in new ways about their markets.

Continue reading The Power of Audience: Urbanization and megaregions

Infrastructure: recycling Olympic venues

ParqueOlimpico

Wired  published an article at the start of the 2016 Rio Olympics showing how some of the games’ venues would be recycled once the competition ended. Parts of the aquatics venue (above) will be used to create two public pools. The beachside volleyball stadium will become four elementary schools.

I like this design concept. It reminds me of other innovations in public infrastructure, such as prefab bridges that cut both costs and construction times. But will Rio actually follow through on the promise?

Continue reading Infrastructure: recycling Olympic venues

Infrastructure: Build sidewalks to build community

sidewalks build community
Flow chart showing benefits of sidewalks and walking

Sidewalks are infrastructure and infrastructure is a reflection of our social nature. Sidewalks are, or can be, important public spaces. They might, or could, be the public space with which we’re most familiar. Sidewalks build community and promote the healthy lifestyle and walkable neighborhoods that many people say they want.

Consider what happens on sidewalks: chalk drawings, tricycle rides, dog walks, hopscotch, jump rope, lemonade stands, neighborhood conversations, holding hands.

Continue reading Infrastructure: Build sidewalks to build community

The power of program design: housing first – Update

Homeless Paul

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently called for $100 million in the city’s 2016 budget to help change the homeless crisis in his city. At this point, this is just a budget proposal so it’s hard to know exactly this money, if eventually appropriated, would be spent.

Continue reading The power of program design: housing first – Update

City design: Redesigning failed municipal golf courses

failed municipal golf course

More golf courses have closed than opened since 2006, according to Bloomberg. Many a failed municipal golf course opened during the stock market bubble of the 1990s and the housing market bubble of the 2000s, only to suffer during the Great Recession. In 2013, 14 new courses opened in the U.S. while 157 courses closed.

Continue reading City design: Redesigning failed municipal golf courses