Tara D Sturm

Tara D Sturm

Tara is a freelance writer currently pursuing a Master of Urban Planning, Development, and Design at Cleveland State University. Her writing has covered a wide breadth of topics, but she particularly enjoys meaningful work concerning community development, sustainability, and design. Her articles, blogs, and musings have been featured in various online and print publications, and she hopes her words will inspire creativity and innovation as we work toward social and structural change.
Website URL: http://tarasturm.com/

Incremental Urbanism and the Art of Revitalization

Thu, Feb 02, 2012

Sometimes, large-scale urban changes need to be made one step at a time. The concept of incremental urbanism is gaining traction in some communities.

Although economics and planning are considered sciences, it seems that "quality of place" is best captured when revitalization is approached as an art. Science is filled with models, many of which are all too familiar. However, it seems that many of the models employed in our economic revitalization efforts are just not working. As some groups try to identify a magic bullet that will turn around struggling (read: surviving) communities, others look to a more organic, connected solution that is better suited to our economic, political, and social culture. We talked with architect Alan Pullman of Studio One Eleven about the use of the incremental urbanism approach and its potential for revitalization.

House of the Month: Vandeventer + Carlander Architects’ Lake Union Floating Home

Wed, Nov 30, 2011

Building a house over water can be challenging, but floating homes offer a unique way to connect with the landcape.

When Vandeventer + Carlander Architects, LLC were asked to create a Lake Union residence, it was assumed that they would be thinking outside the box, but oddly this time their thinking was required to be within a box. The Lake Union Floating home, located in the heart of downtown Seattle, is not the only residence of its kind, although it is far from being a commonplace building type in the United States. The landscape in the Seattle region is interlaced with waterways and has a long tradition of floating homes that take advantage of the area's gorgeous scenery. However, construction of the Lake Union Floating home presented challenges as well as advantages, and Vandeventer + Carlander Architects’ design navigated the site’s limitations while capturing its many assets.

Looking at University Initiatives in Sustainability

Thu, Sep 29, 2011

As Harvard University celebrates the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification of 50 campus buildings, the world of higher education has come just a bit closer to embracing a sustainable future. This well known institution is the first to incorporate such a large number of certified new and existing buildings into the fabric of its campus. An additional 39 buildings are currently being planned or awaiting certification as well. The current spread of certified buildings covers a total of 1.5 million sq. ft. and will reach over 4 million sq. ft. when all plans are carried through to completion. Anyone familiar with the LEED certification process understands that this framework includes a set of regulatory measures that incorporate building performance, energy standards, building materials, and operation and maintenance practices through a rigorous assessment process requiring an incredible amount of planning and critique.

Tips for Designing a Kitchen on a Budget

Wed, Sep 14, 2011

Whether you’re building new or working with an existing space, designing a kitchen can get costly. Major renovations aside, however, there are ways that you can affordably design your space without sacrificing aesthetic quality – you just have to get a bit more creative and a whole lot craftier with your budget. We’ve put together a few tips for altering or building your kitchen for less, while still accomplishing a fantastic and fresh new look.

Tips for Designing a Bathroom on a Budget

Wed, Sep 14, 2011

We tend to spend quite a bit of time in our bathrooms, although generally they are the smallest spaces in our homes. The bathroom is one of the most personal and private places that we have in our everyday life, and the way in which we design the space will have an incredible effect on how we perceive and use it. Some may think a bathroom makeover has to be an expensive endeavor riddled with plumbing issues or pricey designer tubs, but that is absolutely not so. Reimagining your bathroom doesn’t require loads of cash or a decade of experience in remodeling work. You just need the right inspiration. Here are a few tips for designing your bathroom on a budget.

Health Benefits of Sustainability

Thu, Sep 01, 2011

Most of us understand sustainability to run the gamut of environmental benefits. Saving the trees, the Earth, and the animals may be our primary goals when we decide to pursue green behavior, but we can achieve many different personal health benefits as well — making the point of sustainability hit a bit closer to home. The fact is that our planet is a living, breathing network of organisms, and even our small-scale actions may have a butterfly effect. Here, we’ll examine the ways in which we can improve our health, from the personal decisions we all make individually to the grander scheme of urban or regional planning.

Dorm Design Trends and Ideas

Tue, Aug 23, 2011

It’s that time again. The tuition bills start coming in. The textbooks start piling up. Relieved parents start counting down the days in anticipation of a little more peace and quiet… and students ready themselves emotionally for due dates, slop from the dining facility, and doing their own laundry. With the dread of the coming semester, however, students embrace the independence of getting out of the parental home and into the dorm. Making a dorm room feeling like home, however, can present a few challenges. Due to their smaller size and the fact that these spaces are often shared, dorms can present quite a few limitations on design – particularly if strict rules govern wall hangings and painting. We’ve come up with a few dorm design trends and ideas, however, that you can use to enhance your space and brighten your surroundings for the start of the school year.

Talking About Outdoor Kitchens

Thu, Jul 28, 2011

The trends sweeping the American architectural front include a great shift to the outdoors. Among outdoor living spaces, the one idea that has gained incredible popularity is the outdoor kitchen. With sweltering heat waves oppressing the nation, Americans want to perform their cooktop operations alongside their grilling in the great wide open. With the housing market still in decline, homeowners are also looking for ways to increase property values and stay content with staying put. We talked with interior designer Joshua Ingraham of Joshua Ingraham Design, who offered some of his best advice for effectively and efficiently incorporating an outdoor kitchen into your home.

Trends and Tips: Outdoor Living Spaces

Wed, Jul 13, 2011

It comes as no surprise that during these warmer months we move more of our attention toward the outdoors. Thoughts of sipping cool beverages atop cozy lounges and backyard barbeques instantly come to mind at the mere mention of summer. The last few years, however, have brought a dramatic increase in the dollars and time spent on improving our outdoor living spaces, and designers have responded to this trend and are seeking to provide us with our ideal backyard paradise. We spoke with Feng Shui guru and interior designer DeAnna Radaj of Bante Design LLC about outdoor living and creating the perfect getaway.

Taking a Look at Smog-Fighting Technologies

Thu, Jun 30, 2011

Organizations and manufacturers have been researching green building materials for years now, inundating the market with a wide spread of green products for sustainably inclined developers and builders. Recently developed products go beyond the reduction of emissions and waste to the elimination of pollutants from the atmosphere. New smog-fighting technologies and products are still in testing, but some will be available for purchase by 2012. With their introduction to the marketplace, however, comes a myriad of questions.

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