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Urban [Design] Dictionary
Urban Dictionary is a subversive, often irreverent resource, but at its core, it reveals the words and meanings of our rapidly evolving world. The Dictionary peels back the facades of polite society to reveal tumultuous undercurrents and complex innerworkings. Urban Dictionary contains both destructive and constructive terms, and this Urban [Design] Dictionary—expressed through the playful format of a crossword puzzle—serves a similar function.
The Urban [Design] Dictionary’s terms are uplifting and malignant, ephemeral and long-lasting, factual and emotional. They represent a vocabulary that urban designers must be familiar with—and you can choose to either ignore them or acknowledge them. Whether you plan to work in high-end residential or community design or anywhere in between, this Urban [Design] Dictionary will inform your work.
(transitive verb) to designate (a zone or zones of a city, town, or borough) for a new purpose or use through a change in the applicable zoning regulations
(acronym) a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
(phrase) professional services for which the architect receives no financial compensation other than compensation for reimbursable expenses.
(acronym) a multi-disciplinary approach of crime prevention that uses urban and architectural design and the management of built and natural environments
(acronym) an AIA Knowledge Community working for architects, allied professionals, and the public to achieve climate action and climate justice through design.
(noun) an ability to recover from or adjust easily to adversity or change
(noun) the rehabilitation of city areas by renovating or replacing dilapidated buildings with new housing, public buildings, parks, roadways, industrial areas, etc., often in accordance with comprehensive plans.
(noun) a process in which a socio-economically poor area (as of a city) experiences an influx of middle-class or wealthy people and developers who renovate and rebuild homes and businesses, and which often results in an increase in property values and the displacement of typically less wealthy residents who lived there prior
(phrase) encompasses the trees and shrubs in an urban area, including trees in yards, along streets and utility corridors, in protected areas, and in watersheds. This includes individual trees, street trees, green spaces with trees, and even the associated vegetation and the soil beneath the trees.
(phrase) a day where people across the globe temporarily repurpose street parking spaces and convert them to tiny parks and places for art, play, and activism
Hint: This is an annual worldwide event, usually occurring in September.
(phrase) these combine cycling, pedestrians, social activities, parking, and local car traffic to create a shared public space
Hint: They are an element in the 2030 Palette.
(noun) the planned conversion of empty lots, underused or rundown buildings, and other available space in densely built-up urban and suburban areas for use as sites for commercial buildings and housing, frequently as an alternative to overdevelopment of rural areas.
(noun) changing the zoning to allow for higher-value (for example, from industrial to residential) or more dense use
(noun) the discriminatory practice of denying services (typically financial) to residents of certain areas based on their race or ethnicity.
Hint: “The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein covers this concept in-depth.
(phrase) the phenomenon of white people moving out of urban areas, particularly those with significant populations of demographic minorities, and into suburban areas.
Hint: The trend this phrase describes is shifting today.
(phrase) a housing typology of buildings with multiple units—compatible in scale and form with detached single-family homes—located in a walkable neighborhood
Hint: This phrase is trying to fill an urgent need.
(phrase) programs that temporarily open streets to people by closing them to cars
Hint: New York City and other cities made headlines in early 2020 with these interventions.
(acronym) an organization whose “mission, rooted in a rich legacy of activism, is to empower our local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development and design excellence.”
“Rezone.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Accessed October 1, 2021. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rezone.
“What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?” ADA National Network, Accessed October 1, 2021. https://adata.org/learn-about-ada.
“Pro Bono Services Guidelines and Resources.” The American Institute of Architects. Accessed October 1, 2021. https://www.aia.org/pages/11646-pro-bono-services-guidelines-and-resources.
“The International Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Association.” ICA home page. Accessed October 1, 2021. https://www.cpted.net/.
“AIA Cote Network.” Committee on the Environment. Accessed October 1, 2021. https://network.aia.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=093488a8-ad11-0a4b-ee01-6a56843c891f&forceDialog=0.
“Resiliency.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Accessed October 1, 2021. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resiliency.
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