Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Neighborhoods of Tomorrow

Every day in class a few students are given the opportunity to "show and tell" something they found interesting in the world of Urban Planning. On Tuesday one of our classmates shared the following video about an apartment building remodeled:

I was extremely impressed by the drastic change and feel this apartment building had, and all they did was enhance what already existed. They didn't tare the building down, they envisioned what it could be.

For this post we were asked to compare the housing and neighborhood where we live to those described in the reading and in this video and the video at the bottom of this post. I put the other video at the bottom of the post because the narrator is horrific, and background music makes me want to vomit therefore making it hard to watch. Despite his voice and the music there are some cool examples of what we could do here in Orem, Utah.

In that video it states that "Freiburg is...a window to the future," and it is because they use solar energy and have built their city to be strongly oriented towards "walking, bicycling, and public transport, with car-free areas and high levels of accessibility for people of all ages."

The streets are clean and the buildings are colorful, attractive, detailed, and made efficiently. The city looks as though nature is there with dots of civilization, instead of Orem's civilization with dots of nature.

Before I get into the topic of the post, and answer the question we were asked to answer (Are you satisfied with the way the buildings and neighborhoods that engage your life, fill your spirit, preserve your wallet, and allow you to sit more lightly on Earth?) I wanted to share some of my observations, and I guess in sharing them I will be answering the question and getting right to the topic.

In the link that was shared with us it states that Freiburg "is a compact city with car-lite systems, and seeks to be a city of short distances."

In the spring, summer, and fall I bike all over Orem, which is 18.3 square miles, and never feels like a city of short distances, in a car on foot or on a bike. Freiburg, which is 59.1 square miles three times the size of Orem is. Both cities receive massive amounts of sunlight and have a massive road leading through them, but that is where the similarities end.

Orem's population is less than a fifth of the amount of Freiburg, and is built to be a car-heavy system.
"Two-thirds of Freiburg’s land area is devoted to green uses. Just 32% is used for urban development, including all transportation. Forests take up 42%, while 27% of land is used for agriculture, recreation, water protection, etc. 
Freiburg made the saving of resources the most vital factor for all future planning which included the clear prioritization of public transport over individual traffic and goals to reduce energy consumption of buildings and realize future planning areas through self-financing schemes. 
Freiburg’s success owes much to its democratic strength. Three key factors are direct citizen participation, dynamic planning, and consensus."
This all stemmed from Freiburg coming to a giant crossroads of rebuilding. Orem is currently in that phase, and more than ever needs help on those three key factors, citizen participation being the most lacking despite Orem's history of planning.

I am not satisfied with how Orem is developed, and am participating in trying to reshape it. The consensus of Orem residents is they are too busy to care about what is happening around them leaving me one of the few to try and push for this redevelopment to be geared around efficiency of transportation and energy, and addition of green spaces and good methods of pedestrian, bike, and public transportation.

Street sweepers come fairly regularly to wash our streets of the oil, and garbage that stain them. The streets of Freiburg are pristine because the people take care of them. We in Orem seem to want to have that work done by others. We want it "washed away" from us so we don't have to deal with it. House are inefficient and UGLY for the most part, boxy and boring to look at. Lack of easily accessible green space is a huge problem and the smoke cloud that Orem alone causes due to high car traffic could create bad enough inversion to block our view of the mountains and sun.

I would love to bike all year around by streets are plowed of snow onto the sidewalks making it even more difficult. Hills make it almost impossible to cross the line that runs north through Orem at about 800 West, and cars dominate our paths making it dangerous for bikers. Do I want change? Oh course, this city could drastically use designers like those in the video above to remake its buildings to be more attractive and drastically more efficient.

Where do you or I start? Here:


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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.