urban design

The Westport Post Office recently moved to shut down the DIY herb garden in its front lawn. The gardener, and neighbor of the post office, shares her story.

Plus, a rebroadcast of our conversation with queer artist Carrie Hawks, whose film black enuf* encapsulates a childhood search for black identity. The Kansas City native returns to their hometown for a showing this Friday at the Kemper.

Guests: 

Empty Houses

Aug 31, 2017
Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

In Kansas City, there are so many vacant properties that the city tried to sell some of them for a dollar. We take a look at the stories of abandoned homes — why are they empty and how do they affect communities, both urban and rural?

Guests:

Searching for a place to park is just a fact of life in Kansas City. Or is it? A look at how parking — or lack thereof — shapes daily life in KC, from Westport to the City Market.

Guests:

Hickok Cole Architects

What do artists in the Kansas City metropolitan area want when it comes to space? What are the top creative space priorities? 

To find out, Artspace, a nonprofit real estate developer, conducted a regional arts market study from October 2016 to January 2017. A total of 515 artists and 101 arts organizations or creative businesses responded to the online survey. 

United States Department of Energy / Flickr -- CC

On July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb exploded in the desert of New Mexico. We examine the complicated legacy of President Truman and the atomic bomb.

Then: a popular local Facebook page highlights houses around KC, from mid-century abodes to charming bungalows and more. It's also stirred up its fair share of debate about real estate and gentrification. We talk to the couple behind the page.

 

Guests:

A KC native has made a documentary, black enuf*, which is about a quest for belonging ... and for an answer to the question of what it means to be black enough. Then, a look at how e-commerce is changing the physical layouts of our cities.

Guests:

  • Carrie Hawks, filmmaker
  • Derrick Choi, Senior Architect/Principal, Populous

IFC Films

City planning flare-ups, folk-rock, and a poetry biopic ... if these aren't movie topics appropriate for a public radio audience, nothing is. This weekend's recommendations from Up To Date's independent, foreign and documentary film critics will give you the chance to revel in your nerdy-ness, and learn a little history in the process. We'd be lying if we claimed to be too cool for some popcorn and a well-crafted flick that features zero actual explosions.

Steve Walker

The DLC / Flickr -- CC

Why is the Paseo Boulevard named after a street in Mexico? And how did this road help shape our city? We explore the history of what some people consider KC's first boulevard, and we find out what's in store for the future of this picturesque roadway.

Guests:

With its short brick buildings and narrow alleyways, Westport is one of the iconic places in town — it's where the city began. But two new proposals have people worried: there's one for a six-story apartment building, and there's also talk of privatizing some Westport streets at night.

What is the character of Westport, and to whom do those streets belong?

Guests:

Advocate Jamie Manzer, right, shows reporter Mike Tobias a bag of essential items that a nonprofit gives trafficking victims.
David Koehn / NET News

The suburbs and shopping malls don't excite modern urban planners, but they were innovations in their own time. Today, we learn about urban designs that shape our cities. Then: Contrary to popular belief, sex trafficking is not just an urban phenomenon.

Better Block Foundation

The push for safe spaces and trigger warnings is leading many educators to more carefully curate their syllabi. The issue inspired creativity in a Kansas City playwright and the two local actors performing in his new project.

Fort Osage CTC

First, we explore how vocational and technical education programs can help bridge the gap between job-seekers and middle-skilled jobs. Then, architect John Ruble explains the challenges urban planners face when designing everything from city buildings to U.S. embassies. Finally, running a successful food truck is about more than serving sliders from a van. We hear about the construction and operation of Kansas City's full-service kitchens-on-wheels.

Travis Wise / Flickr - CC

Attracting and hanging on to new residents can be a challenge for cities. Today, a November 2016 town hall with urban studies theorist Richard Florida and "suburbanist" Joel Kotkin, on the best of both worlds in the greater KC area.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Troost Avenue has seen many revitalization plans over time, but there's little to show for it. Why? A look at the past and the future development of the Troost Corridor.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Jazz is all about creativity and freedom, but casual listeners can sometimes find deciphering it a chore. Today, we learn How to Listen to Jazz. Then, they say everything's up to date in Kansas City, but are we a "world class" locale? Finally, a winded Brian McTavish presents his Weekend To-Do List.

Tim Samoff / Flickr--CC

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has filed documents with the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to officially establish a new Master Plan District. The museum submitted an application on Friday to request rezoning some museum-owned properties from residential to non-residential. This would allow for additional uses, such as office space. 

Designing and planning an urban landscape is about more than just figuring out which building goes where, and John Ruble should know. His architectural firm has taken on projects around the world that he hopes will serve their host cities for years to come.

The American Housing Act of 1949 reshaped Kansas City in enduring ways, but was it for the best? Local historian Michael Wells, who works in the library's special collections department, examines how the law changed the metro's infrastructure and how its effects are felt today.

Michael Bentley / Flickr

A quiet debate is raging over liquor licensing laws in the Crossroads District. Does it matter, to the character of a neighborhood, what time bars and restaurants issue that famous last call? If you don't have to go home but you can't stay here, what are your options, and who's making those choices?

Guests:

MoBikeFed / Twitter

Kansas City's bicycle infrastructure is in the midst of an overhaul. But progress can be slow. Every year, KCUR's Central Standard does a check-in, to see how it's going. This year, it's all about turning miles of added bike lanes into continuous routes. Plus, a Kansas City cyclist's fatal collision raises concerns about safety. Why are accidents on the rise in Missouri?

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As the time comes for old suburban developments to reinvent themselves, one community after another has questioned the conventional wisdom that big box stores are desirable anchors for retail. Is Kansas City part of a trend?

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This city was founded on a geological anomaly called a rock ledge. Surrouded by cliffs and gorges, no less.  Back then, what we now call downtown Kansas City was dense wilderness. A geology professor explains.

Guest:

  • Richard J. Gentile, professor emeritus of geology, The University of Kansas

Drawn by A. Ruger. Merchants Lith. Co. Published by Madison, Wis., Ruger & Stoner - This map is available from the United States Library of Congress's Geography & Map Division / Wikipedia

Through a series of formal steps, it sometimes happens that a public street leaves the city's ledger to become part of a private development. One concerned citizen worries about the city losing its soul, one block at a time, in the process.

Guests:

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Nearly 70 buildings were demolished on Kansas City’s east side to make room for a new police station and state-of-the-art crime lab. The $74 million Leon Mercer Jordan Campus, funded by a city public safety tax and bonds, opened to the public with tours of the facility at 2640 Prospect Avenue on Tuesday. 

La Citta Vita/Google Images -- CC

The cul-de-sac has long been a symbol of the suburbs. But now, it's a polarizing feature of urban design. Is it an oasis where kids can play safely or an isolating feature that prevents us from meeting our neighbors?

We examine how cul-de-sacs came about and how they influence life in KC.

Guests:

Single people play an increasingly significant role in a city's social fabric. But is Kansas City a good place to live the un-coupled life?

Guests:

  • Bella DePaulo, author, How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century and Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored and Still Live Happily Ever After
  • Andy Limpic
  • Taylor Miller

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

In 1966, the Kansas City Board of Trade Building was new. Then it got old. Now, the iconic modern structure is getting a makeover. How do you transform an iconic piece of architecture, and what's the state of modernism in the Kansas City area?

Guests:

Caroline Kull / KCUR

  The Kansas City Council has endorsed a plan to make part of Troost Avenue more neighborhood friendly.

The plan, which received unanimous approval Thursday, lays out a set of design standards for commercial and residential development along the corridor — from 22nd Street to Brush Creek Boulevard.

Fear Factor

Jul 6, 2015
Pixabay

Kids are riding bikes less and less. Some of that has to do with parents' fears, and some of it has to do with a shift in community design (after all, you can only get so far in a cul-de-sac). Parents swap stories, strategies and concerns about getting the elementary-school set back in gear.

Guests:

An update on plans to repurpose about 30 vacated schools in Kansas City. Plus, the challenges, joys, and enduring impact of finding new uses for buildings that have outlived their intended functions. The transformation of gas stations, old theaters, churches and post offices.

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