The Greenwich Village plan

The Village has the right stuff to explain the genesis of New York City. Not too long ago the World Trade Center towers—built cheaply on spec—were visible in the southern skies of the Village beckoning the value of this location due to its proximity to downtown, and the humanness of its character. Heading uptown, Times Square and the many iconic towers of Modernism, are too far from the Village to be seen. Yet, they confront us with the same dilemma. Suspended between these two nodes of the most powerful of the financial powers, and the most modern of the hyper-urbanism, Greenwich Village is one of the few places in North America where we can draw the best lessons in built form and neighbourhood footprint. The Village story is also a tale of survival. It exists side-by-side with one of the greatest urban crimes perpetrated in the name of progress: the needless intrusion of Seventh Avenue as a Haussmannian percée through the heart of the Village. Read more.

The Skytrain-and-Towers Urbanism

Skytrain and Tower Urbanism has been blighting our neighborhoods since Day One. As more Skytrain lines build, the conditions multiply.


In the Greater Vancouver region (also known as Metro) has have been buildIng Skytrain since the 1986 Class B Expo was hosted in the city that year. There are two lines: Expo and Millennium, the latter going into operations around the year 2000. Expo handles some 230,000 trips per day; Millennium only 60,000, or about one quarter the trips for the same system. What most people have forgotten, or chosen to ignore, is that the towers date to the same fair.

Continue reading “The Skytrain-and-Towers Urbanism”

Bonsoir, Paris

Considered by some as the best example of Baroque Planning, the Paris we see today is actually more modern than Manhattan. While the Commissioner’s Plan for NYC dates from 1811, Paris was re-invented between 1855 and 1871. The urbanism of the Belle Epoch was so good that three Exposition Universelle, held every 11 years, showcased the city as much as any agricultural or industrial product. Eiffel’s tower, built for Expo 1889, remained the world’s tallest structure until the Chrysler Building opened in NYC in 1930. Read More.