ideas for cities

This Big City on tumblr is your source for ideas that can make cities better. It is curated by Joe Peach and Lucas Lindsey.

Joe founded This Big City in 2009. He is a Marketing professional and works in one of London's most sustainable buildings.

Lucas is an urbanist, futurist, and blogger. He's the child of a suburban nation, but born again believer in an urban future. He lives in Tallahassee, USA.

If you have an idea you'd like to share, click the submit button!


How making London greener could make Londoners happier – interactive map

London – with all its tarmac, brick and glass – is actually 38.4% open space and ranks as the world’s third greenest major city. Now Daniel Raven-Ellison wants to go further … and make Greater London a national park. His campaign and online petition aims to have the city treated in the same way as parks like the Peak District and the Brecon Beacons, to conserve its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage. The maps below plot open space and happiness – and attempt to show how well-being would increase if London’s green space was expanded

Further evidence that a green city is a happy city. 


Zaitunay Bay: Beirut, Lebanon

Zaitunay Bay, located around Beirut Marina, is owned and managed by Beirut Waterfront Development Company, a 50-50 joint venture between Solidere and Stow Development Company. Access to the project is through the seaside promenade to the north, the planned Rafic Hariri Wahat waterside city park to the east, and the Beirut corniche to the south. A 400-space underground public car park was built by Solidere below the corniche.

An innovative tourist attraction designed by Steven Holl (US) and LEFT (US) with Nabil Gholam et al., the project is conceived as an urban beach. Extending the existing Beirut corniche and the new sea promenade, a series of overlapping platforms, reminiscent of sea waves, provide outdoor spaces and public areas for displaying artwork.

Of the two major project components, the Quayside Restaurant Strip with specialty stores has become the city center’s new destination; the Yacht Club building is nearing completion. The Quayside Restaurant Strip, compriing 17 restaurants and five retail outlets, stretches along Beirut Marina, from the site’s western limit to the Yacht Club building on the east. The one-floor construction remains below street level, with the roofs forming a continuation of the corniche. The landscape design for the entry plaza, quayside and corniche sidewalk, create open-air terraces in the form of a ‘stone beach’ over the restaurants and shops.

The Yacht Club accommodates three basement levels; exclusive commercial shops at marina level; a yacht club and 53 state-of-the-art furnished and serviced apartments on the upper three levels, with one, two and three bedrooms.

Today we often forget that prior to World War II, every city in America was built for easy walking and biking. In fact, the idea of living in a walkable place is nothing radical. What was radical was the program we undertook to build an entirely new type of human life. We built networks of roadways and freeways like nothing any society had ever seen before. We tore down entire neighborhoods to accommodate these roads as well as the parking lots and garages required by the cars that would travel these roads; at the same time, we ripped out the tracks for streetcars and trains.

Kevin Klinkenberg on the journey we’ve taken to create unwalkable cities

The call to create more resilient cities has become a dominant theme. This can have different connotations: from disaster risk reduction to preparing for and responding to future environmental challenges. It will be a big challenge to ensure that policies, planning and design support the aspirations of poor and marginalised groups of citizens at the local level.

Mathew Wood-Hill on the challenges facing future cities.

Imagine if a private sector entity were to deliver a fully integrated solution. They would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the bikeways, the education, promotion and enforcement – yes they’d operate the cycle proficiency training and they could even go out and book the car parked illegally on the bike path. If they succeeded and met their targets, they’d get paid. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t. Many Councils in the UK privatised traffic enforcement many years ago.

Is privatization the answer for cities looking to improve cycling infrastructure?

Rachel Smith explores this option in our latest post