Detroit and the Clash Between Ruins and Nostalgia

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Detroit and the Clash Between Ruins and Nostalgia

Second-year Taubman urban planning student Julie Tschirhart offers a postmodern reading of Detroit, writing that the city has simultaneously become a symbol for society's yearning for the past and the urban crisis of the present, neither of which do justice to the people who make the city what it is.

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A Place for Chapel Hill's Silent Sam

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A Place for Chapel Hill's Silent Sam

In Agora's second partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill's Angles planning journal, Libbie Weimer explores the controversy surrounding Silent Sam, a monument to a Confederate soldier on the Chapel Hill campus. Taking into consideration the university’s history, its values, and the relationship between its built environment and its social environment, Weimer advocates for the statue's relocation.

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Inclusionary Zoning to Improve Michigan's Communities

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Inclusionary Zoning to Improve Michigan's Communities

Though not a silver bullet, inclusionary zoning is one tool cities can use to diversify neighborhoods, expand access to low-poverty municipalities for low-income residents, and ultimately increase access to higher-quality education for low-income students. Despite cost-based opposition on part of developers, inclusionary zoning is a sensible first step to facilitating economic integration and promoting more equitable access to quality municipal services in Michigan.

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Washington D.C. and Zoning for Ideology

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Washington D.C. and Zoning for Ideology

Washington, D.C. just instituted the first major revision to the city’s Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map since 1958. This article explores how the District's approach to zoning reflects its self-referential ideology, which is rooted in the concept of ideology itself.

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On Foot: A Hundred Miles in Five Boroughs

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On Foot: A Hundred Miles in Five Boroughs

Agora editor Rich Bunnell's love of urban planning initially took root as urban wanderlust, specifically a love of taking long, meandering walks through great American cities. The peak of this obsession came in late spring 2012, when he vowed to walk 100 miles in all five boroughs of New York City — and a little bit of New Jersey.

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Ralph Ellison’s 'Invisible Man' and Seeing Race in the City’s Structure

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Ralph Ellison’s 'Invisible Man' and Seeing Race in the City’s Structure

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man weaves a narrative through New York City’s urban spatial structure to map how race is physically built into the city’s neighborhood composition, street networks, and utilities. UNC-Chapel Hill urban planning graduate Danny Arnold highlights Ellison’s argument alongside “Monopolated Light & Power,” a paper sculpture he built to visualize the interplay of visible versus invisible; being versus non-being; and access to city life versus segregation.

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Temporality: Exploring two visions of housing in Detroit

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Temporality: Exploring two visions of housing in Detroit

The siting of Ford’s Highland Park plant in the 1910s literally transformed the geography of work in Detroit's greater urban region, with workers forming ethnic enclaves and in the process expanding the geography of the city. Ford itself played a guiding role in this expansion through the provision of housing for its workers, and its two visions of worker housing represent what the city became and what it could have been.

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Homelessness vs. Houselessness in Cape Town

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Homelessness vs. Houselessness in Cape Town

During the summer, along with three other students from the School of Information, I worked at the head office of the Haven Night Shelter Welfare Organization, the largest network of centers for homeless people in Cape Town, South Africa. From this experience, I learned that housing homeless people at shelters is by itself not enough to solve homelessness — it is just a solution for houselessness.

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As Our Self-Driving Future Beckons, a Trip Down Memory Lane

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As Our Self-Driving Future Beckons, a Trip Down Memory Lane

Autonomous vehicle technology is exciting, cutting edge, potentially life-altering, and ultimately terrifying. My fear doesn’t come from the typical “oh no, robots are taking over” attitude, though. Instead, I see a lot of parallels between our current excitement about autonomous vehicles and past urban planning decisions fueled by progress for the sake of progress that had staggering and unforeseen implications.

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The Many Faces of Urban Sprawl

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The Many Faces of Urban Sprawl

The name "Los Angeles" is synonymous with urban sprawl, yet in spite of that, it is the most dense urbanized area in the United States. This apparent contradiction sheds light on what an ill-defined, psychological concept "sprawl" is, with the phenomenon coming in several distinct and widely varying forms.

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Kisses Beyond the Gate: Putting Up Walls in a Country that Values Intimacy

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Kisses Beyond the Gate: Putting Up Walls in a Country that Values Intimacy

Davor was the first one who kissed me. Let me explain. I recently spent the first month of my summer in Santiago, Chile, where I worked for an NGO called Ciudad Emergente. The organization does interventions and research surrounding public spaces in Latin America, promoting the notion that short-term action can lead to long-term change. Some examples of their work are experimental bike paths demarcated with cones and a pop-up concert/artisan market hybrid in derelict space — both of which are examples of an approach known as tactical urbanism. Implementation and evaluation of tactical urbanism interventions are growing in popularity as effective means of testing scenarios to ultimately influence policy. 

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A Word From A1 Founders and A Faculty Chair

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A Word From A1 Founders and A Faculty Chair

With A10 recently printed and the celebration over, the Agora staff reached out to James McMurray and Deirdra Stockman, two of the founders of Agora, as well as Jonathan Levine, who was Chair of URP program when Agora started. Take a look at their responses as they reflect on being apart of Agora's start and what it has meant to them in their careers.

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A Letter from Mike Lydon

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A Letter from Mike Lydon

To commemorate Agora 10, Mike Lydon, an Agora founder and now an internationally recognized planner and writer for his contributions towards rethinking how to make cities more livable, reflected on the past ten years in an introduction to this year's edition. His "State of the Journal" is published here in full. Enjoy!

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ADUs in A2

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ADUs in A2

This isn't the first that Ann Arbor has brought up ADUs. Take a look at how the Michigan chapter of Planners Network has been involved over the last year.

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