Now in its third year, Urban Land Online’s web traffic reached new heights in 2013, thanks in part to record attendance at the ULI Fall and Spring Meetings in Chicago and San Diego respectively.
While we hate to play favorites — Apgar Award notwithstanding — we did want to recognize the articles and authors from last year that helped make our traffic numbers possible. Below are the most popular articles from all of 2013.
For the January/February issue of the magazine, visiting ULI fellow Richard Florida talked about his book The Great Reset and how the recent financial crisis has brought about structural changes that are becoming permanent. Said Florida, “The decline of the old manufacturing economy and the concurrent rise of the postindustrial creative economy have been every bit as traumatic as the decline of the agricultural economy and the rise of industry in the 19th century. . . . It is more than just the crisis itself; it is the fundamental changes that follow crisis—changes not just in how we make and consume goods, but in how we live and work.”
As part of a partnership with the Wall Street Journal and CitiCorp, ULI helped organize a contest to name the world’s most innovative city. The finalists included New York City, Tel Aviv, and Colombia’s Medellín. After the votes were counted, Medellín emerged as the winner. Since the award was announced, the city has been honored by the Rockefeller Foundation as part of the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge and is increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination. The three articles on the finalist cities were written by Michael Mehaffy, Bendix Anderson, and Leslie Braunstein.
As part of our record-breaking month for traffic in July, D. Jamie Rusin, Sean Slater, and Ryan Call of ELS Architecture and Urban Design in Berkeley, California, cowrote a piece on how inner-ring suburbs are incorporating urbanist principles, such as more densification and mixing of uses, with a lot of great images of projects like Mueller Town Center in Austin, Texas. The piece concluded: “Whereas the revitalization of the core of cities was the siren call for previous generations of urban planners, the focus now should be on redeveloping the anonymous arterial roads, dispersed uses, and strip centers that dominate so much of the American landscape.”
This was an excerpt of ULI’s latest publication Pedestrian- & Transit-Oriented Design, authored by Reid Ewing and Keith Bartholomew of the University of Utah. The book synthesizes nearly a half-century of urban design theory in ways that are meaningful and useful to urban planners, planning commissioners, city council members, developers, and citizens who desire more livable environments.
Another piece that contributed to our record traffic month in July was Jeffrey Spivak’s piece about rebuilding around America’s train stations. With renderings from the renovation of Washington, D.C.’s Union Station among them, this book contains a lot of great examples of how rail-centric development is increasing across the country after decades of decline. “Ten or 15 years ago, it was rare for a community to propose a new Amtrak station, but in the past few years, it has just ballooned,” John Bender, a program manager for Amtrak station planning, says in the piece.