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East Frederick Neighborhood, 2014 DPZ was invited by a local developer to create an urban plan for a new neighborhood just outside of Frederick, MD, in collaboration with community groups and the municipality. In line with the city’s goals, the development was to be well-connected to the city core and encourage independence from the car. After meeting with the client and residents, I worked for two days with designer Mike Huston to design and hand-draw the proposed greenways plan (at left). The idea behind the plan was to thread a “green loop” through the development, a park that would connect the riparian ecosystem with more urban boulevards and greens while serving as a drainage infrastructure and wildlife corridor. While the final collaborative version (below) differs from our proposal, many of our ideas, including the green loop and the use of existing farm buildings as centers for small squares, were kept.

For this project, the DPZ team was invited to a workshop in Monroe, Louisiana with the aim of coming up with proposals to reinvent the currently decaying downtown core and make it an attractive place for a walkable, sustainable lifestyle. I dedicated my efforts to putting together proposals for the Desiard East area. These proposals, in color in my hand drawing below, included a new parking facility with liner buildings, the use of existing alleys as “pedestrian lane” public spaces and restaurant seating, and the restoration and expansion of historic buildings.

Pedestrian Lanes Facade Improvements




ny .

M4 M1

S2 DANCE HALL PLAZA turn current paved lot behind dance hall into an outdoor social space to complement dance hall functions (additions may include planters, lighting, stage, better paving) S3 TRAIN CROSSING the current train crossing makes for an unattractive gateway into downtown. Replace Street Closed signs with planters or wall, maybe add landscaping. S4 STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS: add consistent street trees and lighting fixtures





S1 CAFE PLAZA: construct a new, inviting public space adjacent to the new café, to serve as an outdoor seating area. Move parking behind the building.

© Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company.






Proposed Buildings

Downtown Monroe Revitalization, 2013

© Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company.

planning work

DOWNTOWN GATEWAY MID-TERM M1 ALLEY ACTIVATION activate old Alley ROWs as Pedestrian Lanes and encourage businesses to appropriate the space. These alleys are a beautiful basis for enclosed urban public spaces and pedestrian street life. Much like European Alleys or Restaurant/Gallery Rows, these alleys could be a big part of this area’s revitalization. M2 FACADE IMPROVEMENTS Several facades on key corners could be easily improved to make the frontage more active. City glazing requirements can help to catalyze this process. M3 PARKING CONSOLIDATION To accomodate new pedestrian plazas, parking should be expanded to fully occupy the backs of lots, behind the main frontage on Desiard. M4 PUBLIC PARKING TRANSFORMATION in order to improve the street wall along Desiard, it is imperative that the city line its one-block public parking lot. As a first step, the city could experiment with an initial phase made of old shipping containers.

LONG-TERM L1 NEW LINER AND FILLER BUILDINGS a new 3-story residential and commercial building is already planned for Mike’s property, to the East of the café. Several additional buildings can improve the street wall articulation L2 PEDESTRIAN LANE INTEGRATION ideally, the revitalized alleys/pedestrian lanes should be connected to the expanded parking areas behind the buildings, forming a network that makes walking through these blocks a pleasant urban experience L3 PARAMOUNT PLAZA in the long range, the city should look at developing its public parking lot as a mixed-use parking facility. Using elements from the Paramount Theatre, which once occupied this site, would help make the building unique and locally appropriate.




© Calthorpe Associates


It is a common misconception that wide streets are more efficient and improve traffic flow. In fact, gated superblocks divided by wide roads actually contribute to China’s traffic congestion. Case studies show that a denser network of narrower streets better optimizes traffic flow while creating more direct routes and improving safety for pedestrians. Road design should maximize human mobility rather than vehicle throughput. Narrow streets that allow one-way motor traffic as well as bicycles and pedestrians will significantly reduce congestion and fuel use in Chinese cities, by minimizing traffic signal delays.

DISCOURAGED: Arterial-dominant superblock network t Prioritizes cars over people t Discourages pedestrian activity


1 2

Comparison of a typical superblock grid with arterial streets with the recommended Urban Network of smaller blocks and a dense network of narrower streets.

Tangjiawan Zoning Map, 2014 While at Calthorpe Associates, I worked on producing zoning maps for one of the firm’s Chinese projects, a new city in the Pearl River Delta set to house 750,000 people. This map demonstrates Calthorpe’s commitment to mixing uses as much as possible within the rigid framework set by Chinese authorities.

Guangzhou before BRT and after the BRT system opened in February 2010.


The Guangzhou BRT system map (February 2011).


The BRT system moves 27,000 passengers per hour per direction during peak commute hours and integrates with bike lanes, bike sharing stations, metro lines and other feeder bus systems.

Establish a grid of high-capacity, high-speed transit corridors approximately every 1000 meters with dedicated transit lanes. Provide an integrated multi-modal system and ensure seamless transfers to all available transit options. Minimize the number of transfers needed for most passengers.

B Locate transit stations within walking distance B] of homes, jobs and services. t All major housing and job centers should be within 400 meters of a local transit station and 1000 meters of regional transit service. t Increase density and ground floor services adjacent to major stations.



© Calthorpe Associates

Shown above is the mockup for a redesign of Calthorpe Associates’ planning principles document for the Low Carbon Cities project in China. The idea behind the task was to find a bold new way to present the eight design principles that lay at the core of Calthorpe’s plan to reform the current patterns of Chinese urban planning.




China Low Carbon Cities Introduction Booklet, 2014


Hong Kong, New York City, Singapore and other affluent cities have the densest public transit networks in the world. While metro can be an integral part of a transit network, a growing number of cities are turning to bus rapid transit for its low cost, quick implementation, and flexible routing. Each Chinese city will need to determine the appropriate mix of transit solutions for its conditions, but cities can guarantee the overall success of their transit by providing frequent, fast and direct service in easily accessible locations.

A A Ensure frequent and direct transit service.


These studies for full development of a T4-Zoned block under the new Miami21 Form-Based Code were completed as part of a larger effort to argue for a lowering of the parking requirement


RECOMMENDED: ‘Urban Network’ of smaller blocks t Prioritizes people over cars t Supports pedestrian and economic activity

A] A Create dense street networks that enhance walking, bicycling and vehicle traffic flow. t Plan for a minimum of 50 intersections per square kilometer. t Limit traffic speeds on local streets to 40 km/hour. t Design local streets with traffic-calming features to help enforce speed limits. B] B Disperse high traffic volumes over narrow, parallel routes rather than concentrating on major arterials. t Create a grid of varied street types to provide multiple parallel routes for all types of traffic. t Incorporate through-roads that connect adjacent neighborhoods at least every 300 meters. t Replace major arterials wider than 45 meters with efficient one-way couplets (two, narrow one-way thoroughfares).

Miami 21 Capacity Studies, 2014



© Calthorpe Associates

© Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company.







reconnect hammonton greenloop mario gandelsonas’ urban design studio

this project proposes to reunite the “three cities” within Hammonton (downtown, exurbia, and agricultural lands) through the use of an infrastructural “green loop,” part of a larger STREET-SCALEby PROPOSALS series of proposals the Regional Plan Association for integrating New TR SFOR TIO Jersey’s towns of STRIP O DITIO

It is greatThe way it is now, some businesses use their back spaces forhere in exurbia that the loop can be used to its The Rural reen Loop proposes to create a convenient wa est potential as a catalyst for change. Finding space for it dwellers gardens and seating, but most commonly for unterutilized for city to gain direct access atoconvenient fresh produce Rural Green Loop proposes waywith The downtown loop will consist of a shared bik- It is in exurbia that the loop can be used to its The is the a piece of cake acres and acres of parking sit underused parking. Based off the San Francisco Parklet program, out the need to get in their cars. It proposes to capitalize ing/walking path that links larger green spaces for greatest potential as a catalyst for change. The for city dwellers to gain direct access to fresh pro- o at every strip mall on hite orse Pike. The ammonton Loop proposes that the city incentivize property owners to the existing wealth of farmstands, and to encourage forag sitting, eating, socializing, and working. Currently, Hammonton GreenLoop proposes to create a duce without the need to get in their cars. CapreenLoop proposes to create a wide avenue in this turn parking into usable public space, creating a network ingsec-expeditions by installing additional food vendors an italizing on the existing wealth of farmstands, it most businesses use back areas for unterutilizedtion wide avenue in this section that can be used by that can be used by bikes, pedestrians, and Food arts.related activities along the loop, connected by Tracto that can be connected with the loop. In this way, much of food encourages “foraging” expeditions by installing parking. Based off the San Francisco Parklet pro- round bikes, andavenue, Food Carts. Around this thispedestrians, broad car free greening will be incenthe loop is accomodated without the need to alter existing Transit. The second important function of the Rural Loop is i additional food vendors food-related activgram, the Loop proposes that the city incentivize broad car-free avenue, greening will be incentivtivized by a Parking to Parks program. The hope is that this streets, and thanks to the loop, parking demand will drop. forging a connection between and the town and the Pineland ities along the loop, connected byemphasized Tractor-Tranproperty owners to turn parking into public space, a Parking to Parks program. hope The is importance will by encourage denser, more walkableThe development in Because spaces are narrow, the downtown loop willloop con-ized of the Pinelands will be in th sit. The second important function of will the connect Rural t linked by the GreenLoop into a network. In this that this looptowill encourage denser, more walkthe area, helping build up an urban fabric around these sist of a shared biking/walking path that links larger green site speci c kiosks, and bike paths and rentals Loop isrecreational in forging a infrastructure connection between the forest. town 2 way, the loop is accomodated without21 20 able development the area, helping up public spaces that is in more like downtown spaces formuch sitting,ofeating, socializing, and working. the existing in the state

the need to alter existing streets, and thanks to the loop, parking demand will drop.




an urban fabric around these public spaces that is more like downtown’s.

and the Pinelands, which will be emphasized in site-specific kiosks, with bike paths and rentals connecting to existing recreational infrastructure.


academic studies & research




Figure 1: Howard’s “Donut” scheme from Garden Cities: strictly urban lands surrounded by strictly agricultural lands

I’ve taken advantage of the wealth of Princeton’s collections, funding sources, and laboratories to conduct in-depth investigations in urban studies

Green Roofs’ Effect Figure 2: The organic creation of Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes in an Edgeless City, from VIljoen’s book on CPULs.

From the Garden City Donut to an Integrated Landscape; An Analysis of the Garden City Movement’s Influence on Urban and Peri-Urban Farming and A Case for the Reintegration of Agriculture into Urban Life as Reconciliation of Urban and Rural.


PREVI, Lima, Peru, 1970 Image 1: Organized outings were part of “collective dachas” for Soviet youth, as shown in this photo of boating on the Moskva River, in Smena (1930, No.11-12)

Waterproofing Membrane Degradation Rates

An Avant-Garde, Collectivized Dacha?

An Investigation into the Benefits of the Butler College Green Roof

Elemental, Iquique, Chile, 2004

Misha Semenov ARC 401: Theories of Housing and Urbanism Professor Andrew Laing Princeton University School of Architecture


An analysis of the successes and failures of greenbelts and urban farming legislation in preserving peri-urban farming. 1




Misha Semenov, ENV 340, Princeton University March 9, 2012

A research project using data from Princeton’s Green Roof to estimate membrane longevity and propose larger policies. Abstract This experiment attempted to quantify the difference between the degradation rates due to thermal oxidation of the “Burmastic” bitumen waterproofing membranes on the green and conventional roofs at Butler College in Princeton University. As predicted, the green roof did display a reduction in degradation rates (a 9.0% difference by conservative and 26.5% by generous estimates), thus ensuring a longer service life (from 3.3 to 8.9 years longer than the conventional roof), and was effective especially during the summer months. These numbers were computed without factoring in additional important variables not covered by this study, such as UV exposure and daily temperature fluctuation.

Misha Semenov Globalization, Architecture, and the Environment Professor Esther da Costa Meyer May 2014

A comparison between two Latin American housing projects and their larger political and urban frameworks. Thank You to Matthew Mulane for his guidance with this paper. Thanks are also due to Sharif Kahatt for providing source material.

Intersecting Utopias in the 1930 Competition for the Moscow Green City Misha Semenov Princeton School of Architecture ARC 575 / Fall 2013 / Jean-Louis Cohen All Russian source translations are author’s own. An investigation of the conflicting Communist and Western ideals in the planning of the Moscow Green City of 1929.





Filling the Void: Tracing Changes in Global Value Systems through two Latin American Incremental Housing Projects

BART’s Angry Architect Problem: How the 1966 Bay Area Rapid Transit Design Controversy Raised a Storm over the Role of Design and Landscaping in Public Projects

The Bronx “Slave Market , ”

Mi sh aS em en ov







The Geography of Exclusion:

9B: Dulevo Club, Elevation

9A: K. Melnikov, Dulevo Workers Club, 1928-30, Original plans Image 1: In this image from 1902, a Chicago cable car is shown making its way toward Jackson Park. But since the cable has broken today, the cable car is being pulled along by the form of power that had preceded it: the horse.1

the 1935 Harlem Riots,

The Hegemony of the Horse

and the Shift in Black-Jewish Relations in New York City Misha Semenov

A summary of my research of transit and activist architecture during my Summer 2013 trip to Medellín and Bogotá

An in-depth analysis of racial relations between Blacks and Jews in 1930s New York, focusing on racial exclusion in the Bronx.

A comprehensive system design for a bike sharing program for Princeton, NJ, featuring cargo and commuter bikes.

The Great Epizootic and Experimentation in Powering Urban th Transportation in Late 19 CenturyofChicago 9D: photoshop by author rescaled Halprin and Emmons shown at their most dramatic in a San Francisco Examiner article.1

9C: L. Sherer, Church of St John, Dulevo, 1915, Elevation.

A look through the Halprin Archives at controversies in the design and planning of Bay Area Rapid Transit stations. Misha Semenov Writing About Cities—Professor Alison Isenberg May 2014

church with domes removed. Misha Semenov HIS 388 Professor Alison Isenberg

A study that looks at the role of horse-drawn streetcars and the alternatives that tried to replace them in 19th cent. American cities 9F: Dulevo Club, main entrance

9E: Church of St. John, main entrance



My ongoing Thesis research focuses on the use of codes and rules in self-built housing projects and informal urban developments

Profile for Misha Semenov

Misha Semenov's Planning Work  

Selected urban projects from the last two years

Misha Semenov's Planning Work  

Selected urban projects from the last two years