Black Rock City is the temporary city initially designed by Rod Garrett in 1997 that springs up for the annual Burning Man festival. Each year the city expands to accommodate more people, but still retains its core utopian characteristics.
Every year, the volunteer Department of Public Works constructs the city in the month before the festival, and volunteers stay for almost two months after to disassemble the colossal installations, and pick up all of the left-over remnants from the festival. Indeed, Burning Man is the largest "Leave No Trace" event in the world. Steve Pepple, a first-time attendee to Burning Man this year, shared his experiences on Medium earlier this week in a piece titled, "What Burning Man Taught Me About Cities."
Amid pressures from a growing population and local regulations, the city plan was created by Rod Garrett, a landscape architect, in 1997. Indeed, the semicircular shape and radial streets are akin to the early 20th century Garden Cities planned by Ebenezer Howard. In addition, "Rachel Bowditch also points out the similarities of Garrett’s design with other utopian city plans, especially Thomas More’s Abraxa Island, which is 'practically interchangeable with the 2001 blueprint of Black Rock City.' The central square or Esplanade of Burning Man is what Garrett, who passed away in 2012, called the 'largest plaza in the world.'"
As Pepple writes, the concentric circles of Black Rock City allow for social interactions, more than efficient transportation or moving of goods, "[t]he culture has shaped the design of the city, not the other way around. The greatness of Black Rock City’s design is in its service to Burning Man’s community and guiding principles."
Amtrak Ramping Up Infrastructure Projects
Thanks to federal funding from the 2021 infrastructure act, the agency plans to triple its investment in infrastructure improvements and new routes in the next two years.
Ending Downtown San Francisco’s ‘Doom Loop’
A new public space project offers an ambitious vision—so why is the city implementing it at such a small scale?
Proposal Would Transform L.A.’s ‘Freeway to Nowhere’ Into Park, Housing
A never-completed freeway segment could see new life as a mixed-use development with housing, commercial space, and one of the county’s largest parks.
Report: Bike Lanes Can't Make up for New Roads
If California wants to meet its climate goals, the state must stop funding its myriad road construction and expansion projects.
Minneapolis Affordable Housing Project Largest in 20 Years
The city opened its first large multifamily affordable housing complex in decades, but a recent court ruling against the Minneapolis 2040 rezoning plan could jeopardize future projects.
NYC Mayor Proposes Eliminating Parking Minimums
Mayor Adams wants to stop requiring off-site parking for new buildings to reduce the costs of construction as part of the ‘City of Yes’ package of zoning reforms.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.