Taubman College

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Kelbaugh Publishes Essay in Consilience – The Journal of Sustainable Development

Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning Douglas Kelbaugh FAIA, recently published an essay titled, "The Environmental Paradox of Cities: Gridded in Manhattan vs. Gridless in Dubai."

The abstract of the essay published in the Journal of Sustainable Development, Consilience, reads as follows:

On the occasion of the Manhattan grid's bicentennial, this essay looks at New York City and Dubai through the lens of sustainability and their patterns of land use and street layout. It demonstrates that the virtues of the grid are based on the environmental paradox of cities: when humans inhabit dense urban space, they decrease their impact on the global environment faster than they increase their impact on the local environment; in other words, their ecological footprints per capita are smaller than in both low-density sprawl and cities of similar density with coarser, less permeable networks. Dubai, a modernist city of superhighways, superblocks and superhighrises, rapidly developed a disconnected pattern of homogenous enclaves that has served to limit physical accessibility, especially on public transit and foot, as well as to undermine the inherent vibrancy and sustainability of the compact, complex, connected, and complete urbanism of gridded Manhattan.

Kelbaugh worked in Dubai for two years as the Executive Director of Design and Planning at Limitless LLC, a government owned international real estate development company with a portfolio of mixed use, walkable, transit-oriented projects in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He worked in Manhattan during summers while in college, and has since visited countless times.

Visit the Consilience website for the complete essay.

Apr 10, 2013


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