12 Decorating Scenarios When You Should Do Nothing at All (13 photos)

A lot of interior design is about finding beautiful items to fill a space. But a huge part is knowing when to stop. Negative space is often the element that goes forgotten in a home — and it’s easy to forget, since you can’t even see it. If you feel an obsessive need to overfill your home, here’s my...

 

Minneapolis Planners Are Weighing BRT vs. Streetcar

In Minneapolis, the Metro Transit is considering streetcar and BRT options with property value increases, new development and jobs in mind. (Photo by Randy Stern)

If you believe the wisdom popularized during 2014’s streetcar backlash, BRT is a more-bang-for-less-buck equivalent to the cute but costly trolley. Its oft-cited drawback is that buses in right-of-ways lack the redevelopment potential of anything with tracks.

But several case studies suggest that BRT can spur investment, and in Minneapolis, researchers are currently assessing the mode alongside a streetcar line for that purpose: to see which will more effectively encourage transit-oriented development on underutilized land, improve access to jobs and sync up the citywide system.

The area being studied is a stretch of West Broadway — a corridor that has long served as Main Street to the city’s northernmost districts. Since the ’50s, however, dwindling public transportation and the rise of the suburbs helped to isolate the street and neighborhoods around it from downtown. Now incomes and property values in the zip codes surrounding West Broadway are some of the city’s lowest.

“Historically there’s been a lack of wealth invested in this predominantly African American area,” says Shaina Brassard with the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition.

But though local press reports tend to paint West Broadway as a rundown throughway full of fast-food joints and car dealerships (an area “still waiting for a revival to take hold”), Brassard sees the community empowering and rebuilding itself.

“A lot of the redevelopment has been on a smaller scale; it’s been more grassroots and community owned,” she says, pointing to new housing, school buildings and several thriving businesses. “It’s not the case that nothing is happening. We’ve been here working hard.”

Still, while the area may not be waiting for some outside force to spur “revival,” Brassard sees public transportation investment as an important next step for West Broadway. The economic portion of the study, prepared for Metro Transit by SRF Consulting, has yet to be finalized and presented; when it is (a deadline is slated for fall of this year), it will compare the two modes for three outcomes: property value increases, new development and jobs supported. But based on community feedback, Brassard voices most support for the last.

“The overall consensus is that people just want transit improvement,” she says. “They don’t care what form it takes; they just want an efficient, safe, affordable system to get to job centers. This is an area of the city that has a much higher rate of households without access to a vehicle.”

As is, she says, bus frequency is low and none of the stops is heated.

Rob Hanson, the West Broadway coalition’s programs and outreach corridor, sits on the West Broadway Transit Study’s policy advisory committee. When asked how improvements will spur investment, he too, points back to the community.

“People will be spending less time on transit and more time with their jobs,” he says. “They’ll be spending less money on transit and being without a car will be more viable.”

Both modes would work with West Broadway’s layout and structure, according to Charles Carlson with Metro Transit. Because the agency wants to stay within financial reach of Small Starts funding, train-like buses were floated alongside streetcars.

“We’ve been looking at some case studies,” he says, citing Cleveland’s much-touted HealthLine.

But though that project supposedly generated $5.8 billion in new development, Carlson questions whether a building boom was already underway. As the authors of this 2013 study on BRT note, untangling the development effects of new infrastructure from pre-existing factors (public subsidies, basic geography) can be tricky. Because economic development is another priority for West Broadway, planners want to see a detailed, site-specific analysis of each alternative — with a clear baseline — before going forward.

For now, several alternatives for each mode have been identified, and planners are working (and soliciting feedback) to winnow them down. According to Carlson, two or three will reach “full concept development phase” later in the year, with cost projections and ridership info.

Of course, as Hanson points out, there’s also an economic argument for whichever alternative can go in soonest.

“From a business perspective we’d like to see something sooner rather than later,” he says. “Whether it’s streetcar or BRT is up to Metro to decide, but there’s a lot of need for transit improvements.”

 

Grays Work Well With Many Interior Styles

Recently gray has been called the new neutral. Before that, many considered it to be bland and perhaps boring. Now, gray color palettes have been embraced as chic and stylish and the perfect shade of gray is much sought after–perhaps obsessed over. And no wonder, there are enough shades of gray to boggle the mind [...]
 

jeppe hein asks brooklyn installation visitors to please touch the art


an exhibition of 18 interactive sculptures includes 'social' benches for sitting, rooms made of jetting water, and a dizzying mirror maze.

The post jeppe hein asks brooklyn installation visitors to please touch the art appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

Apparatus uses metal cylinders and porcelain chains for new lighting designs

New York 2015: Apparatus has unveiled two new lines of lighting fixtures, along with a table that marks the New York studio's foray into furniture design (+ slideshow). (more…)

 

Glaze pavilion by Cousins & Cousins designed to resemble a Venetian glass sweet

Clerkenwell Design Week 2015: Murano glass sweets provided the inspiration for this pavilion by London studio Cousins & Cousins, which features a mixture of coloured and patterned glazing (+ slideshow). (more…)

 

ecoisme; connecting all home devices from the fusebox


a single device that takes less than 10 minutes to setup - that uses a combination of spectrum and power analysis to identify everything that is plugged in the home.

The post ecoisme; connecting all home devices from the fusebox appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

   

Shop Houzz: A New Spin (55 photos)

Whether you call them spools, spindles or bobbins, turned knobs on furniture have become iconic, spanning many decades. This design is associated with Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind. During a sensational 1850 tour across America, promoter P.T. Barnum attached the diva’s name to a...

 

3 Steps to Choosing the Right Plants for Your Patio (8 photos)

It’s challenging to design an urban garden, and planting one even more so. Plants, even in the smallest of contemporary gardens, are important structural building blocks, and the smaller the garden, the more prominent their role in the design is.
A tiny minimalist garden may need only a few bold

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