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. 

Scale comparisons

Often the most telling drawings we do in urban design are scale comparisons, showing one familiar place against another familiar place so that people can better understand design and planning choices. For example, I did some crude comparisons several years ago to show a size comparison between Crown Center, the modernist-inspired urban redevelopment led by Hallmark Cards, and the Country Club Plaza, the famous shopping district planned by J.C. Nichols. Both are in Kansas City, MO. The drawings were meant to illustrate what a pedestrian-scaled block network looks like (among other things) and why one area is very successful but another has always struggled. Here's the sketches, drawn to the same scale, with the dashed circle indicating a 1/4 mile radius or approximately a 5-minute walk:

Amanda Graor recently completed a similar set of comparisons, after inspiration from attending a sporting event in Kansas City:

People always seem to be going up and down aisles and streets looking for closer parking – except when they’re at sporting events. Somehow, the sea of parking is comforting – you’ll walk in a lot for an undetermined distance and it seems okay because you’re headed toward the stadium. Get to a downtown area or a shopping mall, though, and if you’re more than 10 spots back you’re sure there’s another spot somewhere closer.

She has more comparisons on the site - well worth a look.