Urban Planning

Guangzhou, China

My hometown is Guangzhou, which is located in South China and is the third biggest city in China. With its convenient location, Guangzhou serves as an important national transportation hub and trading port. It has a total population of 14 million people and it’s an urban downtown city. Transportation in Guangzhou is really convenient, you can choose from subway, BRT, train, ship and so on. Like many other big cities in the world, life is convenient and busy there, it’s also a city with long history and great food. However, environmental pollution is also problematic there, water quality and air quality are the two major concerns and the government is working on improving them. To me, Guangzhou is a great place to live in with its conveniences and stunning culture. Although there’s a lot of differences in urban planning between Guangzhou and State College, I always miss the life back in Guangzhou.

Curitiba, Brazil

In the lesson, we learned about the BRT system in Curitiba, Brazil, which reminds me of Guangzhou. Since it was more expensive to build the subway system, Curitiba chose to design a bus-friendly city and provided subway-quality performance for a fraction of the cost. Guangzhou has both BRT system and subway system, so it’s easy to get around. But subway is still the more popular choice for people to get around the city. I think one of the reasons is that BRT in Guangzhou doesn’t run as frequent as in Curitiba. In Curitiba, BRT comes one minute apart. But in Guangzhou, sometimes it takes longer to commute in BRT because of the bad traffic, and during peak hours, it’s even harder to get on the bus. So I think one thing Guangzhou can learn from Curitiba is to add more BRT buses, especially during peak hours and populated areas.

Detroit, U.S.

In the lesson, we also learned about urban farming in Detroit, U.S.. Detroit has a lot of abandoned lands after the city’s economic fortune declines, so people used these lands to farming. Urban farming is organic and locally produced, which is good for the environment. It also helps with the local economy and provides vegetables and fruits to local people. There aren’t many urban farming in Guangzhou, but I think this is an important thing we can learn from Detroit. Although Guangzhou may not have as many open lands, we can still make use of rooftops and balconies to farm. Back at home, my parents plant some vegetables in pots on our little balcony, although they couldn’t provide our everyday needs, I think it’s a good way to relax and keep up a sustainable lifestyle. If we can have a larger scale of urban farming in the city, I believe it would be a big success since more people are concerned about food safety now.

Urban Planning

Living in my area, homes are generally located in rural areas, but the nearest city is Erie, PA.  Erie has a population of 100,000 people and many surrounding areas with different predominating methods of transportation.  The city of Erie itself is almost exclusively traveled by cars.  There are not many concentrated areas, necessitating some form of faster transportation.  Very little infrastructure exists for biking or walking.  Also, many neighborhoods are deemed dangerous, limiting people’s desire to travel in a more exposed form of transportation.  Erie has many issues with storm water management and lack of greenspace.  There is very little public transportation which also enforces the use of private vehicles instead of alternative methods of transportation.  There are significant amounts of farmland around Erie so I do not believe that urban agriculture would be a good fit.

The first city that I saw in this lesson that could really lend some solutions for Erie was Copenhagen, Denmark.  Once you get past the general problem of economic decay in Erie, much of the city could be much more easily navigated by bikes than by cars.  Erie would need to implement bike paths similar to Copenhagen.  The bike paths could replace space currently used by car traffic, but also there is surplus of roads, so bike lanes would not congest car traffic.  Incentives like Copenhagen uses would be very beneficial.  Many people in Erie are used to the ease of car travel, and the additional effort of bike travel would be an issue for some people.   Erie is renowned for its miserable weather and snowfall; exceptional maintenance would be needed to keep bikes paths usable

The second city that has promising solutions for transportation in Erie is the Brazilian city of Curitiba.  The implementation of an effective bus system in Erie seems much more doable than a similarly scaled train or subway system.  The downtown area in Erie is small, so a bus system seems better suited to service both city and suburban districts.  The current bus system is rarely used and very hard to catch most of the time.  Also, a subway or train system would be hugely expensive to build.  The current bus system would just have to be expanded instead.  A lot of information would need to be collected in order to satisfy demand yet remain efficient.

Dorish Nguyen – Urban Planning

  1. My hometown is South Bend, Indiana. It is located in Saint Joseph County on the Saint Joseph River nearest the southernmost bend (hence where the name South Bend is derived from.) South Bend has a total of about 100,000 residents and has a neighborhood I would consider as an automobile suburb. Though not a huge city, South Bend requires for a car to be able to go from place to place. My neighborhood itself does not have sidewalks and everybody has cars in order to get to work, school, or around the city. Though South Bend is most known for being home to the University of Notre Dame, I love this city for so much more. Our current mayor, Pete Buttigieg, has made so many economic development projects within the city that work towards rebuilding the community. South Bend also recently saved $100 million by tracking its sewers and installing a new water system. I grew up in South Bend my entire life and cannot imagine anywhere else I could call home.
  2. The first city from the module I am discussing is Chicago, Illinois. My hometown is just an hour and a half drive to Chicago, but they are two very different areas. The largest difference is that Chicago is pedestrian based whereas you need a car in South Bend to get around. Many places in Chicago are just within walking distance of each other and many people live within the city whereas many people in South Bend live in neighborhoods. However, South Bend and Chicago both share the same transportation system for trains. The South Shore is the interurban line between South Bend, Indiana, and Chicago. Trains are a much more effective and sustainable transportation system when there are more people to go from South Bend to Chicago. However, Chicago’s cities provide better urban agriculture that South Bend could take after. In South Bend, there are not community gardens present, however, in Chicago, they have turned community gardens into artwork and created parks to increase plant coverage and improve the air quality there.
  3. The second city I am discussing is Curitiba, Brazil. It is not even remotely close to where I live. Curitiba has the best bus system in the world. Their bus system is efficient and very easy for people to get around quickly without having to wait a long time for a bus since the uses run a minute apart during peak hours. South Bend, on the other hand, has a terrible bus system. I could not even tell you how to use the bus system or where to find a bus stop. South Bend has become so dependent on cars to get around that the city neglects those who do not own a car or are able to drive to help get around. During peak hours, South Bend streets also get very crowded. South Bend could take from Curitiba’s bus system by implementing a better bus system than the one currently. This way, pollution would be reduced since fewer cars results in less carbon emissions.

Urban Planning – Julie Cardillo

My hometown is Dunmore, Pennsylvania. This borough is located in North-Eastern Pennsylvania and in Lackawanna County.  Dunmore is most likely an automobile suburb because the transportation mode is cars and not many people walk. There are roads without sidewalks on main streets, and there are sidewalks on side streets. Buses sometimes run through Dunmore, but there are very limited bus stops. Therefore, transportation is difficult if you do not own a car. The population of Dunmore is approximately 13,966. My connection to this borough is that I have lived here for most of my life, and I have mixed feelings about it and this area. For all of you Office fans out there, I live 5 minutes away from Scranton. However, the Dunmore- Scranton area has went downhill over the years, and many people in the area also feel this way. In fact, Scranton has been ranked one of the most miserable cities in the United States. The reason why is because crime has went up, transportation is difficult without a car, poverty increased, and there is not much to do here.

The first city that I will discuss is Boston, Massachusetts and how it is pedestrian oriented. Out of all of the places discussed in the module, Beacon Hill was by far my favorite. I really admire how the people from this part of Boston have the money to buy almost any car that they desire, yet they still choose to walk. This is relevant to Dunmore because here, walking is not that much of a norm. Also, just like I stated in the first paragraph, there is nothing to do in my area. However, Beacon Hill has many places to work, shop, and be entertained, all in walking distance! Not only is this beneficial to resident health, but also this is beneficial to the environment in the sense that less automobile use means less pollution. I think that my town should be more like Beacon Hill, because if walking (or other non-motorized forms of transportation) was a social norm here, then I believe that crime, poverty, and pollution would significantly decrease making the Dunmore-Scranton area more sustainable. Also, I think that Dunmore should become more of a mixed-use area (like Beacon Hill), since this would also encourage walking, lesson environmental damage, and people would be happier.

The second city that I would like to discuss is Rochester, New York and how it is automobile oriented. Out of all the cities in the module, I felt that this one was most like Dunmore. There are many areas in Dunmore (as shown in the picture) that do not have sidewalks, since automobile use is a social norm here. The only difference is Dunmore does have sidewalks, but only in developments/ neighborhoods. Other than that, getting to stores, work, school, and other places of interest requires automobile transportation. This causes an issue with sustainability because since walking is not encouraged, people will obviously choose automobile transportation. Moreover, this can lead to the collective action problem of traffic (due to the large amount of cars on the streets) and pollution from the gases emitted from the exhaust. Places like Dunmore should build more sidewalks to encourage walking as a transportation mode. Not only will this reduce pollution and improve air quality, but this will also be beneficial to people, since they will be exercising more (resident health).