New Urbanism, or “living urbanism“, is a planning philosophy that strives to incorporate land use to create communities that foster the most desirable characteristics of human habitation (e.g. neighborliness, environmental sustainability, historic preservation, civic participation, etc.). Much urban design that styles itself as “newly urban” is crudely done, but when done correctly the design fosters a place and setting that is distinctly comfortable and human. Public (and academic) libraries in towns and urban communities that are interested in being a part of change, should consider new urbanist principles when designing or re-modeling physical spaces. For more information about new urbanism, the lecture by Andrés Duany at the Chicago Humanities Festival is a great start (see below).
The design firm Sasaki Associates released a 2015 survey, of more than 400 librarians at nearly 200 institutions, on their work spaces and here’s what they found.
Image credit to https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterhess/6021938898/in/photostream/
Houben’s most quoted line on libraries is that they are the “cathedrals of the 21st century.” I ask her what she means by that and she says, “I think that they’re the most important public building nowadays, for everybody.” In fact, she has arrived in New York from the Netherlands just in time to be a pivotal figure in a culture war, an unwinnable argument about what these crucial institutions are, who they’re for, and how they should best deploy their resources. Read the rest.