What Does It Mean To Build A Vibrant Community?

JULY 12, 2018  BY STRONG TOWNS “Our country was built on place, built on neighbors, built on people helping each other… I think people are yearning for that again and that’s what a downtown does.”— Quint Studer Quint Studer is the founder of the Studer Community Institute, a nonprofit organization in Pensacola, FL focused on improving the community’s quality of life and moving Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties forward. He is a businessman, visionary, entrepreneur and Strong Towns member. His new book is Building A Vibrant Community: How Citizen-Powered Change Is Reshaping America. In this engaging conversation, Chuck Marohn and Quint Studer discuss: … Read more

Let’s not demonize driving—just stop subsidizing it

“Every car driver ought to pay for the parking space they use—whether it’s in the public or the private realm.” By Joe Cortright 16.2.2017 At City Observatory, we try to stick to a wonky, data-driven approach to all things urban. But numbers don’t mean much without a framework to explain them, and so today we want to quickly talk about one of those rhetorical frameworks: specifically, how we talk about driving. Our wonky perspective tells us that there are lots of problems that stem from the way we use cars: We price roads wrong, so people over use them. Cars … Read more

Twelve Steps of Sprawl Recovery

Image courtesy of the Village of Providence Twelve steps of sprawl recovery In communities across America sprawl is giving way to more diverse places. Here are a dozen keys to that trend. STEVE MOUZON    FEB. 13, 2018 The storm clouds of sprawl addiction had been gathering for years, but it took the Meltdown and the ensuing Great Recession to make it clear just how damaging that addiction had been to the health of cities across the US and abroad. Sprawl has two really big things going for it, but three even bigger things now going against it which are poised to … Read more

It’s Time to Take the Keys Away from Granddad

June 7, 2018 By Howard Blackson III Today, San Diego is failing to accommodate our growth demands. Due to NIMBY (people who oppose any new building with a “Not In My Backyard” attitude) pressure and fear, only downtown towers and greenfield sprawl sites are far enough away from them to secure any development permits. And these aren’t our best places to allow for enough attainable or affordable housing. Big, heavy downtown towers are very expensive. But so are sprawling subdivision roads, fire stations, community centers, parks, and new housing construction costs. Those subdivisions are far away from jobs, necessitate a car for … Read more

APA: Policy Principles for the Nation’s Housing Crisis

Planning policy is changing. The American Planning Association Board of Directors on March 29, 2018 released the following document… Policy Principles for the Nation’s Housing Crisis Our nation is confronting a housing crisis. This crisis varies in scope and specifics from city to city and market to market, but the reality remains that current policies are undermining the broad goal of ensuring housing choice and affordability for all. The shortage of quality affordable housing reinforces inequality and limits access to opportunity, and the lack of housing options hurts the economy and constrains social and economic mobility. Addressing this crisis must be … Read more

World Class Urban Design & Economic Development Education

CityBuilding Express #CBX2018 Why spend 4 days on a tour bus with 50 mayors, developers, city council members, staff planners, supervisors, city managers, urban designers, town architects, economic development experts? For the annual CityBuilding Express (#CBX2018) event of course! There is never a dull moment with this inquisitive outspoken crowd! Nathan Norris photo Riding with 50 others on a tour bus loaded with urbanist nerds may not be your cup of tea, but for people working to make their towns and cities better through progressive economic development and creative urban placemaking – it’s a heady, exciting and dynamic time. Imagine “kicking the … Read more

American Speed Limits Are Based on 1950s Science

Around 40,000 people still die on American roads every year, but technology and data could change that. Ankita Rao Oct 11 2017 Image: Garrett/Flickr Speed limits might make you feel safe, or incredibly frustrated, or both. But either way there’s a bigger issue at hand: they’re based on outdated data and science from the mid-20th century. In the US, our speed limits are derived from old studies, like this one from 1964 by traffic systems researcher David Solomon that looked only at rural roads in the 1950s. In line with conventional thinking, Solomon’s study fuels the premise that speed limits should be based … Read more

2 New Hotels for Oxnard’s Riverpark – Architecture or Something Else?

      We were promised by the developers that Oxnard would get two beautiful hotels. What do you think? Come to the Community Workshop and share your thoughts:       Springhill Suites Marriott proposed for Riverpark:     Townplace Suites Marriott proposed for Riverpark:     Mixed-use building for comparison to the above proposal:     This wonderful video may assist you to better understand how to evaluate architecture:

Economic Stability Is An Urban Design Response To Social Justice

by Howard Blackson – February 20, 2017 Times they are a’changing. We all hear that the New Urbanism has a gentrification/displacement perception problem in big city discussions. One of New Urbanism’s revolution was in shifting the 60s/70s planning by numbers approaches to city issues towards a design-oriented solutions. And, our anti-modernist stance in the ‘90s led us to advocating for aspirational design approaches to city making problems. We figured out how to fit the new into the older ‘community character’ at all scales and everyone wants mixed-use, walkable, pedestrian-oriented solutions today. However, this approach brings up two contemporary problems. First, … Read more

The Swiss Army Knife “Side Hustle” House

Side Hustle House. Source: Union Studio The Swiss Army Knife “Side Hustle” House The Side Hustle House has been designed to supplement primary income and evolve as household needs change. ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    APR. 24, 2018 Note: Missing middle housing will be a topic at many sessions in CNU 26.Savannah, May 15-19. High housing costs and lack of new market rate workforce housing development has led to a serious dearth of housing options for young professionals and families on Cape Cod in southeastern Massachusetts.  With a vibrant summer tourist economy and plenty of high-cost waterfront real estate, the available housing options are largely … Read more