Urban design bracket challenge down to elite eight

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urban toolking bracket

It’s March Madness for city planners, too. In basketball it’s down to the Final Four, and the Atlantic Cities Urbanist Toolkit urban design tournament is now down to the elite eight. The bracket pit 32 buzzworthy urban design ideas against each other, complete with a seeding system, allowing readers to vote for their favorite. All four crowd pleasing first seeds are still in, like bike lanes and waterfront promenades, but already, there have been some surprising upsets. The second seeded bike share is already out, losing to an intriguing three seed, real time arrival clocks for mass transit (But it’s okay, we’re still getting our bike share before we’ll see system wide arrival clocks). Perhaps the most overrated contender, convention centers, suffered an embarrassing loss to sixth seeded festivals, who in the next round continued their run upsetting the two seed, stadiums.

While Atlantic Cities submits this is just a game, and real urban planners don’t exactly chose one thing over another (some of these choices are tough!), some informative conclusions can be drawn from the results. Perhaps the convention center’s upset is a telling sign of urbanites gravitation towards outdoor social events, or a protest against tax money and open space consuming stadiums. Street cars victory over bus rapid transit systems signifies a certain coolness factor nonauto transit has over traditional buses, even if in a well planned rapid system.

Interestingly, congestion pricing beat out parking maximums, an effort to limit parking lots in urban areas, suggesting voters would rather limit traffic by penalizing it, not by making it inconvenient with fewer parking spaces. While this would bring cities a new source of revenue, taking out parking lots is a good way to start planning for the two seeded pedestrian streets, an urbanist’s favorite, up against predicted winner, farmers markets this week.

While you’re waiting for Saturday’s big game, check out the bracket and cast your votes over at Atlantic Cities.

Photos: Atlantic Cities