Author Archives | Ronald Woudstra

Flemish Government Architect’s Office Abolished

As austerity measures sweep across the European continent, the freshly installed Flemish government abolished the position of Vlaams Bouwmeester, or Flemish Government Architect, last month. This news follows after the City of Antwerp had abolished the position of Stadsbouwmeester, or City Architect last year. Though it is difficult to translate this job title, the Vlaams […]

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A Love Letter To Flemish Cities

I’ve recently become enamored with the historic cities of Flandres, the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium. Whilst I used to only pass through Flandres in the past, often on my way to France, I first discovered Flemish cities on a study trip to the region in 2007. Wandering through places like Bruges or Ghent with a […]

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Becoming the Cycling Capital of the 21st Century

Last year, we wrote about cycling in Amsterdam, the world’s most bicycle-friendly city according to the Copenhagenize Index of 2013. Whilst we don’t need to repeat how the city’s urban form is very conducive to cycling, or how the city’s high cycling rates are a result of decades of careful planning, it is worth noting […]

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Schouwburgplein: More than meets the eye

Dutch cities are known for many things, but grand plazas aren’t one of them. Whilst there are many older plazas in the inner cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, one plaza in Rotterdam counters the typical image of the Dutch plaza:  the old-city center point surrounded by mainly low or midrise buildings. Schouwburgplein (Theatre […]

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The Farnsworth House

This spring I made my first visit to Chicago. And while I did greatly admire the architectural richness of that city, making a visit to the nearby Farnsworth House was irresistible. Built in 1951 near Plano, Illinois, the residence designed by Mies van der Rohe is considered one of the most famous examples of modernist […]

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Urban Design: A literature review

Whilst a grad student, I learned that the opinions on what urban design is, vary greatly between planners, architects, and landscape architects. It’s only fair to admit that most urban designers in the United States today are trained as architects. Some of them might argue that urban design is essentially a large-scale architectural exercise, where […]

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Sim City through the eyes of a city planner

Ever since the first iteration of the computer game, Sim City has been associated with urban planning, or more precisely, city building. The series’ wide reach make it one of the most successful simulation games of all time. And you know that a city building game has firmly placed itself in popular culture when even Stephen Colbert jokes about […]

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The Dutch-Belgian High Speed Rail Debacle

We’ve been talking a lot about high speed rail lately here on PlaNYourCity. That’s not just because we like the subject, it’s also because it’s one of those dynamic topics that often seems to be in the news. Last week brought us headlines about a high speed rail debacle over in The Netherlands and Belgium. […]

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Using mapping tools to make the development permitting process more transparent

It’s occurred to me that, in the era of open governments and publicly available data of all kinds, the development and permitting process should seek to connect to this emerging practice and  become more transparent. We live in a time in which governments are increasingly making their data available to the public, only to hope […]

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Using art to relieve bicycle congestion

The Dutch city of Utrecht is no stranger to a phenomenon called “bicycle congestion”—a situation where infrastructural facilities for cyclists are used so much that their efficiency starts to suffer and negatively affects the cyclist’s biking experience (much like how congestion on roads affects motorists). Whether the congestion hits suggested bike lanes, seperated bike paths, […]

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