In Queens, An Artistic Alteration

Source: Jason Andrew for The Wall Street Journal 
The Queensboro Plaza has gone through quite a renewal. With the elevated subway tracks right at its brink, cyclists and pedestrians encountered a dangerous ordeal everyday. As the number 7 train approached the station, it made a screeching sound as it came to a halt causing panic and anxiety in neighboring areas. The New York Planning Commission challenged Margie Ruddick and landscape architect to renew the Queens Plaza, a 16 lane roadway with an elevated subway track. To see how Ms. Ruddick and her team fixed the Queens Plaza read full article here.
 Amna W. Khan, VERTICES Research Associate,
Source: The Wall Street Journal  


Posted in Bicycling, Biking, Green Infrastructure, Human Nature, Urban Planning | Tagged , , | 27,571 Comments

Exurbs, the Fastest Growing Areas in the U.S

Source: Reuters
One would think that the fastest growing areas in the US were the suburbs the exurbs however exceeds this. The exurbs are areas that are just outside the suburbs and less dense then their suburban counterparts. These areas have been growing rapidly even through the economic crisis and housing slump. According to the US Census Bureau these areas have encountered growth rates higher then more densely population areas. The analysis of the fast growing exurbs offer an interesting analysis between the corresponding metropolitan and suburban areas. To view the full article click here
 Amna W. Khan, VERTICES Research Associate,
Source: The Atlantic Cities  
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mapping Location Information from Flickr and Twitter

Eric Fisher, a digital cartographer has created a series of maps that shows the locations of people when they upload a message or a photo on Twitter and Flickr. This displays the density of certain areas and the distribution of resources. The purpose of these maps is to make inferences on how people live and the connection to one another that we have today. As the perspective of a city planner, Eric Fisher says these maps are both positive and negative. This data is successful in that it depicts where and what people are responding to but negative in that being able to see where people are losing interest. To view the full article click here.
 Amna W. Khan, VERTICES Intern,
Source: The City Fix 
Posted in Uncategorized | 21,964 Comments

Leaving his Footprints on the City

Matt Green a goal oriented individual and former engineer, has set out to walk every single street in New York City’s five boroughs. His goal is to understand New York City through personal experience and not by here say. He discovered in his travels just the obvious, that New York is a walking city and nothing else. During his walks he discovers the diversity and uniqueness of the city by talking to different people and noting the description of his surroundings. Engulfed in the culture of New York, Matt Green walks about 10-12 miles a day and jumps between friends couches, to be ready for the next walk. To learn more about Matt Green’s New York City, walking excursion, click here.
Amna W. Khan, VERTICES Intern,



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 27,397 Comments

Harvard University: “LEEDing” The Way With Sustainable Building Renovation

With four hundred years’ worth of historic buildings, Harvard University has the highest number of LEED-certified buildings, more than any other college or university in the nation. Because they have limited space and an inability to sprawl, they have taken on an approach to “renovate rather than rebuild.” 53 buildings and counting are currently LEED-certified on this Cambridge, Massachusetts campus.
The university has had a long-term commitment to LEED, and it also serves as a useful example of how a university can be committed to sustainable principles even when dealing with historic buildings, which can be challenging to renovate especially when seeking to use materials, products, and processes that are all in compliance with LEED guidelines. Needless to say, Harvard, with its lofty sustainability goals, is a fine example of a university committed to active participation and dialogue in sustainable initiatives.
Their carbon emissions from buildings have dropped 20 percent since 2006, greatly in part to building efficiency and “the engagement of faculty, staff, and students in activities designed to change behavior.”
 Check out the original article here.
Lisa MacCarrigan. VERTICES Research Assistant Intern.
Posted in LEED, Sustainability, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 22,613 Comments

Building a Future for Rwandan Women, Brick by Brick

Photos courtesy of Sharon Davis Design
For the women of Rwanda, the reconstruction process has begun, not just for their homes but their faith in of shumanity. Sharon Davis Designs has taken on the responsibility of helping the women of Rwanda build a community center, literally, brick by brick. Being more involved with this process will help these women in creating feelings of empowerment. The Women’s Opportunity Center will be a place for surviving women and girls of the war in becoming more financially independent because of resulting calamities such as husbands, and sons who have past on or have been recruited. These women will learn about how agriculture, as well as sustainable practices such as rainwater collection practices. The construction process of the center includes better brick making techniques by involving the women by using the ‘sand making’ technique which results in a denser, stronger, more consistent brick. To learn more about The Women’s Opportunity Center click here.

Sharon Davis Designs
Amna W. Khan, VERTICES Intern,
Posted in Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Development | Leave a comment

Spelling out the Five P’s of Sustainable Construction

Sustainability has become the single most important concept to architects and planners today. It is difficult to define as well as quantify which adds challenges to the process of construction. The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction is a non for profit organization that is dedicated to helping people across the world with innovative problem solving methods.
The Holcim Foundation has come up with five target issues that focus on improving the world socially and environmentally through sustainable construction practices which are known as the five P’s of sustainable construction. They are:
1. Progress
2. People
3. Planet
4. Prosperity
5. Proficiency
Tune in here to learn more about The Five P’s of Sustainable Construction.
Amna W. Khan, VERTICES Intern,
Posted in Sustainability | 21,065 Comments

Future Bike-Share Program in Portland, OR

Portland, Oregon- the City of Portland just released its official Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking an operator of the Portland Bike Share system with the intent to be fully operating by April 2013. Because federal funds can only be used to purchase bikes, station equipment, and other hard infrastructure, it is important that the future operator (who will be bidding for a contract) can sufficiently match the expectations sought out in the proposal.

Photograph Via

Among a list of goals for the new system, the City wishes to create an immediate increase in the number of bike trips taken, while also bringing “new people to bicycling by reducing financial barriers to bicycling as transportation.” Ultimately, the system will offer people with an opportunity to travel effectively while saving them money.
To read more about the future of bike sharing in Portland, check out the full article at
Lisa MacCarrigan. VERTICES Research Assistant Intern.


Posted in Bicycling, Biking, Transportation Planning | Tagged , , , , , | 23,222 Comments

Uncovering the World’s First Cities

Researchers at Harvard University went out to find the world’s first civilizations. What they discovered  is that areas that are accessible  to water were more successful in the long run then civilizations that were further away from water resources.
Another interesting conclusion that came out of this research is that civilizations that failed, failed because of interference between man and nature. The more unnatural environment that is created for the life of humans, the more likely an area is to be unsuccessful. To tune into the full article view here.
Amna W. Khan, VERTICES Intern,
Posted in Human Nature | Tagged , , , | 23,249 Comments

White Trumps Black in Urban Cool Contest







 New York City has been considered sustainable before its time, with having the element of the grid as well as public transportation use. However, it has also been a culprit in catering to global warming by the simple existence of black asphalt roofs that cover the buildings. The absorption or albedo level of these roofs is high because of the color of the black asphalt which absorbs the high temperatures and in turn significantly increases the temperature of the city over all. Tune in here to learn about the effects of black versus white roofs and the urban heat island effect.
Amna W. Khan, VERTICES Intern,
Posted in Global Warming | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23,486 Comments