Blog : Urban design

Why Can’t We Just Look Up to See When the Bus Is Coming?

Why Can’t We Just Look Up to See When the Bus Is Coming?

By Scott Kolber, CEO, Roadify Transit // 

How civic partnerships can create Transit Information Networks (TINs) to spur economic development and promote transportation equity.

Civic collaboration = shared success

A central theme of the recent CEO’s for Cities national meeting in Columbus was that a culture of civic collaboration between public and private organizations, including business, government and everyone in between, can deliver shared success. Columbus’ success in winning the $40 million federal DOT Smart Cities grant, along with $100 million in additional grants from Vulcan, and local business and organizations, is measurable evidence of this culture in practice.

In an innovative collaboration, committed local leadership, including business improvement districts, foundations, economic development boards, chambers of commerce, advocacy groups, local employers, franchises, merchants, transit agencies and city government, can fund and establish Transit Information Networks (TINs) –indoor electronic screens on which transit arrival times and related information can be distributed and displayed. This model can deliver immediate, highly visible benefits to many stakeholders at a modest cost.

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Building A Walkable City

Building A Walkable City

By Daniel Drees, Cleveland Foundation Summer City Fellow, CEOs for Cities // 

Walkable Cities

Jeff Speck’s book, Walkable City, might have been published in 2012, but his ideas are still revolutionizing American cities. It’s not written for the car-dependant urban dweller.  If you are adamant about continuing your white-knuckled commute, then you will not be friends with this book. If you think that people on bikes ruin the roads in your city or you might only consider the bus an option if your car breaks down, you will not like what Speck has to say about walkability, bikeability, and transit. Speck’s steps to achieve a walkable city are unapologetic odes to those for whom cities were first designed: the people.

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Seven Planning Principles for Successful Community Design

Seven Planning Principles for Successful Community Design

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

Bialosky ClevelandWe asked Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP, Senior Principal of Bialosky Cleveland to discuss the Seven Planning Principles his firm uses for successful community design. Want to dig deeper? Join us on Wednesday, July 20 at 2 p.m. EST for a free webinar featuring Jack and his colleague David W. Craun, AIA, LEED AP. Principal and Director of Design at Bialosky Cleveland.


Bialosky Cleveland follows seven basic planning principles for community design that we believe apply to all types and all sizes of our projects – from residential to institutional – interior to urban planning. These principles, we believe, help stage a safe pedestrian environment that encourages community interaction and create the sense of place that so many spaces are missing.

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Planning Principle #1: The Grid

Planning Principle #1: The Grid

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

We have heard much in recent years about New Urbanism and Traditional Town Planning. On the one hand is nostalgia for what is called Main Street America; that is a well-scaled pedestrian friendly environment with human scaled storefronts and defined architectural character. On the other hand there is an aversion to so called big box retail developments and suburban sprawl- that is relatively unplanned hodge-podge developments with no consistent architectural character or sense of place. If these themes sound familiar, how can we design for the former and avoid the latter?

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Planning Principle # 2: Small Blocks

Planning Principle # 2: Small Blocks

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

Over the last 60 years, the biggest impediments to human scaled urban environments and a sense of place have been the preeminence of the automobile, with a need for vast areas of parking, and large blocks with uninterrupted expanses of blank walls. With the return to the concepts of Traditional Neighborhood Design the automobile is no longer preeminent and pedestrian environments seek to prevail. The second in our series of 7 Planning Principles for Community Design addresses block size. Once the network of streets and pathways is established, how is it best to define the size and scale of the individual blocks?

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Planning Principle #4: On Foot

Planning Principle #4: On Foot

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

One of the goals of great community design is to put the car in its place and to get people on their feet as soon as possible. This means that we have to design the pedestrian experience from door to door. In doing so, we can maintain the importance of interaction on public sidewalks and allow for chance encounters. The antithesis of this idea is the creation of hermetically sealed passageways and gerbil-tube links which might protect us from the weather but severely limits community interaction. It’s OK to be out in the weather!

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Planning Principle #5: To Dwell

Planning Principle #5: To Dwell

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

In order to really focus on pedestrianism, along with a hierarchy of pathways, shorter blocks, and activated facades, is a desire to make a sense of place. One of the best ways to design safe and comfortable walkable environments is to stop thinking of sidewalks and corridors only as places to pass through on the way to somewhere else and to begin to think of them as places to inhabit and to linger. To do this, it is often helpful to think of the street section as a series of outdoor rooms.

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Planning Principle #6: Mixed Up

Planning Principle #6: Mixed Up

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

Many people hold an idealized view of Main Street America with the flats over shops and small sized blocks of the turn of twentieth century. The advent of the automobile and unfettered urban growth with increased densities in the next half of the century engendered the need for zoning regulations to separate uses deemed to be noxious, to deal with light, sound, and pollution and to keep the peace. As is often the case, the pendulum must swing from extreme to extreme before finding its way back to the center. Successful (urban) Community Design seeks to find a middle ground with increased density and mixed uses.

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Planning Principle #7: Simplify

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

Our goal is to provide a vibrant and safe pedestrian environment that encourages community interaction and helps to create a sense of place. In looking at organizing principles, we have learned that there are many layers that underlie a successful community design. Undoubtedly there will be conflicting interests in reconciling all the design factors, and it would be easy to lose the forest for the trees, so this brings us to our 7th principle:

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