Walking the Walk


Urban design from the front lines

Kevin Klinkenberg

Using urban design to make our lives more enjoyable and create wealth

This site is for all those interested in the making of cities and towns, and especially the lives of the humans that inhabit them. Kevin Klinkenberg is an architect and urban designer who's practiced from coast-to-coast. 

Realpolitik, for American Cities

Over the past few months, I've written a few pieces specifically about sprawl repair, and my thinking that it's best to Let Urban be Urban and Let Sprawl be Sprawl. The general notion is that that these are two totally different ecosystems of human settlement, and our designs, policies and management techniques should be tailored appropriately. Trying to remake car-culture suburbia into true, walkable urbanism is as bad an idea as destroying urban places by making them adapt to cars. I hope to expand on this over the coming months, since I feel it's the best, most practical and achievable mindset for the majority of American cities in 2015.

Now, practical and achievable may not sound like a big call to arms. I admit it - hey, it's not a revolutionary slogan. In fact, it's a pretty moderate approach to reality. In some sense, you might say it evokes the old term that some of us may remember from the cold war: realpolitik. 

I fully expect conditions to be different in say, 2030, and it's critical to understand that not all metro areas are alike, but this encapsulates my advice to city leaders and planners for today.

Here's my TEDx talk, "America 6.0" which outlines where I think we are, and where we are headed.

My first piece was here, which was essentially a follow-up to a fun and spirited debate at CNU 23 in Dallas. Some friends asked, "do you really believe that?" And so, I answered. 

I then proceeded to try and look more closely at what we actually mean by "sprawl" and the four different types of sprawl as I have observed them.

Next, I penned a letter to Rob Steuteville questioning his defense of sprawl repair. 

Finally, I wrote a much longer piece that gives some detailed thoughts on what to do about the four types of sprawl, and where generally to invest our limited time.

Last week, I pivoted off the sprawl focus with some thoughts on the correct mindsets for moving forward in the Urban areas here. That's a preview of other writings to come.

I'd welcome anyone's honest feedback on this, as it feels like to me like the beginnings of a book. Do you agree or disagree strongly? What questions would you ask? What else might you like to know? 

Happy Holidays to all-

Kevin

 
Donate