Archive for July, 2011

Florence in the Fall

A course for those interested in built heritage … and Florence!

Through extensive and often rapid re-development of our North American cities with little or no consideration for our architectural and urban heritage we are witnessing the erasure at an alarming rate of our cultural heritage and built legacy.

The Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation® in collaboration with restoration experts of the University of Florence is offering an intensive four week specialized course on restoration and preservation of built heritage and cultural heritage in Florence, Italy with excursions to Rome, Tivoli and Val D’Orcia from October 16 – November 13, 2011.

The aim of the course is twofold: (1) to provide course participants with the theoretical and philosophical framework for built and cultural heritage preservation, conservation, and restoration; and (2) to engage participants on the sites of restoration projects so that they may experience first-hand the types of problems encountered and best practice solutions. Topics covered will include international standards, guidelines and values, restoration and preservation techniques, historical building materials, structural restoration (masonry, stone, timber, iron, and steel), adaptive use of historic buildings and monuments, and new directions for the protection of urban heritage.

Details here.


July 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Insights into Jarrett Walker’s “Transit Network Design”

Christopher MacKechnie took Jarrett Walker’s Transit Network Design course – and had some interesting insights:

How Psychology Can Affect Urban Planning – Comments From Jarrett Walker’s Course

The class, which was two full days, had very little lecture; instead, the students were tasked to design a transit network of a fictional city called Newport which Mr. Walker designed himself. The actual design of the games was fascinating and would be a very useful exercise for any transit system to employ in a variety of situations. …

The class characteristics certainly can explain why walking was encouraged and bus stops infrequent (because the students had the personal ability to walk a long way to a bus stop and, being choice riders, wider stop spacing would result in improved operating speed, thereby making transit a more attractive choice), why almost no bus service was provided in the suburbs (people who choose to live in the sprawl do not deserve public transit), and there was a rush to spend all available resources, even if the result was inefficient (in government, if you do not spend your entire budget your budget is likely to be cut for the following year).

It would be very interesting to me to rerun this game as an experiment with a wider variety of participants. Some of the groups I would include would be the elderly, the disabled, social workers, suburban residents, the urban poor, conservatives, and representatives of different kinds of transit systems. How would the design of the transit network for Newport change based on these different groups? Let us hope Jarrett Walker chooses to find out.

July 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment