We are endlessly fascinated by cities. What makes some work and others not? Here are some observations from our travels:
Some cities just have great bones. Some grew organically over centuries (Rome, Madrid, and London). Some were recreated during the City Beautiful movement (1890-1920’s) like San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington DC. But even cities that did not benefit from history can be reimaged through intentional planning and intervention.
The best cities find large and small ways to incorporate nature to make them more livable. This is not about big open spaces, but deliberate ways nature can be celebrated and welcomed into city life – the community garden, green roofs, street-level planters, building set-backs that open a corner to light and air.
Great cities care about the details. There is a reason great designers flock to certain places. It’s not just about money, it’s about how much people in that city care about great design and local government insists upon it. There is a reason Atlanta recently hired a Commissioner of Planning to spearhead the future quality of city design not leaving it to chance.
We travel to places to experience the unique character of each place. Place DNA/Character largely lives in the historical roots of a city, but great places are able to preserve what made them special and then allow and plan for the dynamism of the future.
Since we are all about small “interventions” that lead to big change, below are some ideas we’ve gathered along the way. All of these inform and inspire our work at URBAN INTERVENTIONS.