Latest Articles in Urban Planning

Greensburg GreenTown Conversation

Daniel Wallach of GreenTown

After an EF5 tornado devestated the tiny town of Greensburg, Kansas, (then populartion 1,500) in 2007, the residents came together and did the unbelievable: Rebuilt as a sustainable town. Leading the charge were the mayor, city administrator, city council president (who assumed the role of mayor just three weeks after the storm), the governor (then Kathleen Sebelius), and two residents from nearby Stafford County: Daniel Wallach and Catherine Hart. In January, we sent photographer Alec Soth to document the town as it is today, nearly four years after the tornado struck, for our May 2011 Photo Issue. Here, we chat in further depth with Wallach about the days after the storm and the latest construction and developments.  
April 21, 2011
Mack Scogin

Mack Scogin on OSU's Knowlton Hall

A decade ago, the Ohio State University Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture called upon Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects to accomplish a formidable task: create the consummate teaching tool by designing its new building. The structure was completed in 2004 and christened Knowlton Hall. In December, we sent photographer Ian Allen to Ohio to capture the building and its occupants in the midst of final reviews (the resulting images are featured in our May 2011 Photo Issue). Here, we share our extended interview with architect Mack Scogin on the design process, the donor's mandate to use marble, and Scogin's favorite space in the grand structure.
April 18, 2011
The Big Well in Greensburg, Kansas

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

On May 4, 2007, Greensburg, Kansas, was wiped off the map. An EF5 tornado ravaged the small town of 1,400 residents, destroying or severely damaging 95 percent of the city. Less than a week later, however, the survivors did the incredible: At a meeting under a tent, they rallied to rebuild as a sustainable city.   Some community members at first were skeptical, but they later embraced the idea of following in the footsteps of their ancestors, who had lived off the land. With the backing of the city, state, and federal governments and the nonprofit Greensburg GreenTown, founded by nearby Stafford County residents Daniel Wallach and Catherine Hart, the town has become a sustainable mecca—boasting more than 25 green projects so far and attracting thousands of eco-tourists.
April 6, 2011
Transit Seats LAMetro

Best Design for Transit Seating

This weekend our pals over at The Bay Citizen came out with a very alarming report: After running a few tests on the seats of San Francisco's two main transit systems—Muni and Bay Area Rapid Transit—the fabric covering BART seats is disgusting. Beyond the spilled lattes and the occasional pool of vomit, scientists found all manner of bacteria, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a dangerous flesh-eating bacteria. I'd been chatting with an editor friend of mine at the Citizen and we agreed that Dwell would throw its design journalism hat in the ring with an interview on what separates good transit seating from bad. I had a chat with Paul Martus, senior industrial designer with American Seating about just this thing. Martus has worked on seating on buses and in public spaces. American Seating traces its legacy back to the 1880s and counts city bus lines, Fenway Park, and Madison Square Gardens as just a few of its clients. Here's what Paul had to say.   
March 7, 2011
Professor Suleiman Osman of George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Brownstone Brooklyn

In our New York issue, on newsstands now, we take a look at all five boroughs of America's biggest, most vital city. One that ends up getting quite a bit of play in Dwell is increasingly-less-scrappy Brooklyn. A subject professor Suleiman Osman of George Washington University takes up in his new book The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn: Gentrification and the Search for Authenticity in Postwar New York. Out this month from Oxford University Press, the book takes a look at the wave of "brownstoners" who moved into what was then known as "South Brooklyn" (you might now know it as Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Clinton HIll and other neighborhoods) in search of cheap real estate, a sense of neighborhoody history, and an antidote to suburban living. I chatted with Osman about the book, the future of Brooklyn, and the legacy of the brownstoners of the late 60s and early 70s.
March 1, 2011
intro march 2011

You Are Where You Live

The ads in the real estate section of the Sunday New York Times are a barometer of perceived need: what we think about when we are at our hungriest, our most grasping, our most insecure. Like the Times’ wedding announcements—which are now detailed narratives about love at first sight, missed opportunities, and second chances—the ads are a literary form dealing primarily with desire. With little more than newsprint and ink, they dangle the hope that we will someday carve out a permanent place in this turbulent city. They whisper the word “stability.”
February 27, 2011
tahrir  1962

Design and History of Tahrir Square

Nezar AlSayyad is a Cairo-born professor of Architecture, Planning and Urban History and the chair of Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He's also a lucid thinker and the author of the forthcoming book Cairo: Histories of a City from Harvard University Press. I've spoken with Nezar a couple times before, but with the magnificent success of the recent Egyptian protests and with Tahrir Square entering the popular American lexicon I wanted to put a few questions about the design, history, and spirit of the place to the professor. I was fascinated by what he had to say.
February 21, 2011
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Friday Finds 2.18.11

Every Friday Dwell's editors, designers, and interns share a handful of their favorite blogs, videos, photographs, and stories appearing on the web. What piqued our interest this week? A colorful map documenting the demographics of Chicago, flipbooks filmed and set to 1940's swing music, and the Westminster Dog Show.
February 18, 2011
Portrait courtesy <a href="">Michael Cooper</a>

Witold Rybczynski: Makeshift Metropolis

Witold Rybczynski has been called  “architecture’s voice in the world of letters” by The Weekly Standard. He writes about design and planning for The New York Times, the Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Slate. He’s been awarded the Vincent Scully Prize by the National Building Museum, and he’s the author of a number of award-winning books. He also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, where his students are primarily MBA’s from the Wharton School of Business. His new book, Makeshift Metropolis, not only addresses the past 100 years of trends and development in American cities, but also offers a wise and perceptive look into our urban future. We talked to him recently about planning, architecture, cities and development.  
January 1, 2011