Home Fire Insurance In High-density Urban Areas: Unique Challenges

Home Fire Insurance In High-density Urban Areas: Unique Challenges – This article was originally published in Ending Global Sprawl: Urban Standards for Sustainable and Resilient Development, written by Peter Calthorpe and published by the World Bank’s Global Platform for Sustainable Cities. Ending Global Sprawl explores forward-thinking planning strategies for the urban form.

Principle 6: Create streets and small blocks on a human scale Increase the density of road networks with small blocks and streets on a human scale. Rationale and challenges

Home Fire Insurance In High-density Urban Areas: Unique Challenges

Home Fire Insurance In High-density Urban Areas: Unique Challenges

Human streets and small blocks are the essential elements of an efficient urban transport network and human scale neighbourhoods. They create a dense mesh of narrower streets and paths that are more intrinsically pedestrian-friendly, helping to move people away from car use and thereby improving air quality. At the same time, they can help optimize the traffic flow for remaining cars by creating distributed, parallel routes. Small blocks also allow for a greater variety of public spaces, architecture and activities, thus increasing the vibrancy of the neighbourhood.

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In new high-rises, superblocks have been a dominant planning paradigm because of the convenience they provide in building, parking and infrastructure. Ironically, the large arterial streets that result from superblock development automatically restrict flow compared to a denser network of smaller streets. With superblocks, all traffic is concentrated on a few main roads with large and slow intersections. The net result is traffic congestion and barriers to pedestrian and bicycle movement, thus encouraging more people to drive.

The concept of small blocks and streets on a human scale is not an innovative idea. In fact, these are common features of cities around the world built before World War II. The legacy of these older urban forms is still prominent in central cities today, which not only contributes to the diversity of cityscapes, but also offers a possibility to explore and contrast the impact of urban form on household travel behavior and transport energy use.

Internally, small blocks provide a private space where residents can gather, relax and play in a safe environment close to their homes.

6C: Establish car-free corridors that accommodate dedicated and connected bike and walking paths, which may include transit lanes

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Ensure that at least 70% of blocks in residential areas are 1.5 hectares or less and commercial blocks in non-industrial areas are 3 hectares or less

Reduce setbacks to a maximum of 1 meter for retail, 3 meters for commercial and 5 meters for residential

Automatically create free streets for any combination of pedestrians, bicycles or transport at an average distance of 1 kilometer

Home Fire Insurance In High-density Urban Areas: Unique Challenges

A rendered image of a car-free street in the Zhuhai North TOD study area. The car-free street runs through the heart of the urban core and is lined with a high-density mixed-use development that provides a thriving retail environment at ground level.

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Peter’s long and distinguished career in urban design, planning and architecture began in 1976, combining his experience in each discipline to develop new approaches to urban regeneration, suburban growth and regional planning. In 1983, Peter founded the award-winning firm Calthorpe Associates, dedicated worldwide to sustainable urban design and planning. In May 2019 Calthorpe Associates joined HDR. Throughout his career in urban design, planning and architecture, he has pioneered innovative approaches to urban regeneration, community planning and regional design. For his contribution in redefining the models of urban and suburban growth, he was awarded the Urban Land Institute’s prestigious J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development in 2006. He is one of the founders and the first board president of Congress for the New Urbanism. Metropolis Magazine claims: “The titles of Peter Calthorpe’s books define the recent history of urban design in its most vital and progressive manifestations.” Left: Row houses on the block where London Terrace would be built, 1925. New York Public Library. Right: London Terrace (1930) on W 23 St., developed by Henry Mandel. Photo by Irving Underhill, c.1932. Library of Congress.

Left: London Terrace apartment, promotional photo by F. S. Lincoln. NYPL. Right: Newspaper advertisement for London Terrace. The museum.

Left: Knickerbocker Village (1934), developed by Fred French on the Lower East Side, circa 1940. NYCHA Collection, La Guardia and Wagner Archives, LAGCC, CUNY. Right: Dedication of Knickerbocker Village. Former Governor Alfred E. Smith of New York is shown making a speech at the opening ceremony, on October 2, 1934. Press photo, ACME. The museum.

Invitation to the opening ceremony of Knickerbocker Village, by the Fred F. French Companies, October 1934. Fred F. French Companies Records, NYPL.

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Before the Wall Street crash of late October 1929, real estate development in New York was in full swing, with s growing in number and scale. The Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street were competing for the title of the world’s tallest building when the announcement of the future Empire State Building surpassed them by 200 feet. Residential projects of unprecedented size were likewise erected by a few daring private developers, notably Fred French and Henry Mandel. Both men began their careers in real estate in the early 1900s by constructing single buildings — first high-rise apartments, then office buildings. Key to their larger ambitions and vision was a talent for assembling large sites from many smaller lots and for obtaining financing for their massive projects.

Located at the eastern end of the major thoroughfare of 42nd Street, just two blocks from Grand Central Terminal, Tudor City rose on a hilly site of nearly four city blocks occupied primarily by dilapidated tenements that backed up to the First Avenue waterfront. and a range of slaughterhouses. French’s concept was to form an enclave of residential towers with a Tudor theme in a landscaped park. The small apartment units were marketed to the “average wage earner” and were made attractive by the generous open space of private gardens, amenities and careful community controls. French called his approach to development “scientific rebuilding” and maintained that destruction is necessary to change the entire atmosphere of a neighborhood so that it can compete with the suburbs. His vision for a new district in the city was as bold as his innovations in finance, pioneering the sale of small-denomination shares – which he called the French Plan – in his real estate company.

As Tudor City flourished, the dangers of private-sector redevelopment emerged at French’s next major project, Knickerbocker Village, located on the Lower East Side near the Manhattan Bridge. When his plans, which included demolishing the infamous “Lung Block,” faltered in the Depression economy, he had 14.5 acres of rental property, at about $14 psf. In 1933, French went hat-in-hand to the federal government’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation to beg for millions to realize his dream. Federal officials provided just enough for part of the project: two massive perimeter blocks that, at 12 stories, towered high above the surrounding tenements, yet covered only about half the ground. The project achieved a density of 800 people per acre. NYCHA’s first chairman, Langdon Post, called Knickerbocker Village “new kinds of slums,” but the tenants disagreed after repairs were made to the hastily constructed buildings.

Home Fire Insurance In High-density Urban Areas: Unique Challenges

Right: Plates published in the 1937 report “A Note on Site & Unit Planning,” commissioned by Frederick L. Ackerman, and produced by Herbert S. Swan and George W. Tuttle, “consultants on natural lighting.” NYCHA.

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In 1934, as the Great Depression deepened, New York State established the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) as a vehicle for housing reformers to continue their campaign for both slum clearance and government assistance to provide low-income housing build families. Between 1934 and 1936, the authority demolished 1,100 Old Law dwellings. NYCHA planners and architects developed a program of density reduction that went far beyond any previous models. Both in number of units and use of large sites, NYCHA’s scale provided the opportunity to adjust the various site planning factors with the goal of maximizing open space and sunlight. This goal is one of the least understood aspects of NYCHA’s history.

The person most responsible for NYCHA’s housing models was Frederick Ackerman, the head of the Technical Division’s staff of architects and planners. A 1937 report titled “A Note on Site & Unit Planning,” prepared by Ackerman and his assistant William F. R. Ballard, outlined site diagram scenarios of various building configurations. These methods explore maximizing openness by adjusting the height, open space and cost, as shown on the back wall. NYCHA eventually shifted from bar buildings to Y-plan buildings, seen in the Queensbridge model, and slowly moved toward the high-rise. The range of land cover and people per acre set by Ackerman in the 1930s remained and even declined during the following decades.

Ackerman’s obsession with open space stemmed from his desire to provide residents with more light and air, as he believed that light should be maximized at the expense of other conditions – especially population density.

Left: Rendering of Queensbridge houses, by architects William F. R. Ballard, Henry S. Churchill, Frederick G. Frost and Burnett C. Turner, c.1938. Queensbridge Houses under construction, June 15, 1939. NYCHA Collection, La Guardia and Wagner Archives, LAGCC, CUNY. Right: Model of Queensbridge Houses at an architect’s office at 625 Madison Avenue, March 13, 1939. NYCHA Collection, La Guardia and Wagner Archives, LAGCC, CUNY.

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Left: Aerial view of

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