Two Great Resources for Reinventing & Reclaiming Our Cities

There's no question that people living in urban areas much prefer neighborhoods that offer diversity, stores, entertainment and other offerings within walking distance that meet their needs, convenient alternative transportation, green spaces, livability, and more. But when a lot of cities were built, especially as the prevalence of suburbs exploded, the primary focal point was the car. While politicians are in gridlock over creating healthier cities with more convenient modes of transportation and more vibrant neighborhoods, people and organizations are taking matters into their own hands. Here are two great resources that can help people interested in reinventing and reclaiming their own cities.

As someone who technically lives in the suburbs and who bemoans the lack of convenient and usable transportation options, I was excited to learn about the Moving Beyond the Automobile series created by the organization StreetFilms, which focuses on "documenting livable streets worldwide." Ten short videos highlight "smart and proven strategies to reduce traffic and improve street safety for all users." Topics of focus include bicycling, car sharing, traffic calming, road diets, congestion, and traffic calming. StreetFilms offers more than 350 videos about smart transportation design and policy. It's a terrific and inspiring resource (and I'm happy to see how many times my beloved city of Portland, OR is mentioned).

Also inspiring a relevant is a recent feature from our friends at GOOD, which offers examples of "DIY Urban Design." From reclaiming intersections, to citizens creating their own bike lanes, to adding seating to areas devoid of places to rest, to guerilla gardening, there's plenty to enjoy & inspire.

If you're looking for more detailed ideas and help, there are plenty of resources out there, from
On the Commons to City Repair (yay, Portland, again!).

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of Robbi Baba via Creative Commons.

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