Archives for February 2012

Thoughtful Urban Planning = Happier Residents

A 2007 Gallup study examined a number of questions directly related to the built environment, including the convenience of public transportation, the ease of access to shops, the presence of parks and sports facilities, the ease of access to cultural and entertainment facilities and the presence of libraries. All were found to correlate significantly with happiness, with convenient public transportation and easy access to cultural and leisure facilities showing the strongest correlation. The statistical analysis also included questions related to urban environmental quality apart from cities’ built form, and produced additional significant correlations. The more respondents felt their city was beautiful (aesthetics), felt it was clean (aesthetics and safety), and felt safe walking at night (safety), the more likely they were to report being happy. Similarly, the more they felt that publicly provided water was safe, and their city was a good place to rear and care for children, the more likely they were to be happy.

To read more, visit Why the Places We Live Make Us Happy

Preservation Pennsylvania Acknowledges Efforts to Save the Villa Maria Chapel

On January 17th, Preservation Pennsylvania published the 2011 Pennsylvania at Risk listing, a listing of ten endangered resources in the State. Villa Maria Chapel made the cut. Although it is currently an unused space, the Chapel has been an architectural cornerstone of its residential neighborhood since 1925. Over the last six years Save the Villa Chapel volunteers, a subcommittee of the Erie Center for Design and Preservation (ECDP), have held more than a dozen fundraising events, paid for temporary roof repairs and facilitated communication with the Chapel owners. In an effort to find an adaptive reuse plan and long-term steward for the property, Save the Villa Chapel Committee and ECDP hosted a day-long design charette for the Villa Chapel in September. The charette generated several reuse concepts (see Erie Times-News article), including plans for a restaurant, an apartment building with efficiency units and a combination venue with a day care on the ground floor and space above for events like weddings and recitals. See the proposal prepared by Kidder Wachter Architecture and Design here.

Preservation Pennsylvania has been a great help to the Save the Villa Chapel Committee and the Erie Center for Design and Preservation. We thank them for their support and acknowledgement!