Traditional Neighborhood vs Suburban Subdivision

In a recent Facebook post by Civic By Design Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) is compared to a suburban subdivision. The benefits of the TND far outweigh the “benefits” of the more conventional suburban design. The graphics speak for themselves. Civic by Design notes that the TND is by DPZ click for link to Vermillion project in Hunterville, North Carolina.    

How Zoning Restrictions Make Segregation Worse

A new study identifies the precise ways that stricter land use regulations lead to greater divides. kropic1 / Shutterstock.com   We’ve long known two things about land use regulations. One is that elements of them—in the form of large lot requirements and other aspects of “exclusionary zoning”—have led to the racial and economic segregation. The other is that restrictive land use and building codes in cities limit housing construction (and therefore housing supply), leading to increased costs, worse affordability problems, and deepened inequality in urban centers. What we haven’t fully understood—until now—is how restrictive land use regulations in cities and … 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. 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 But either way there’s a bigger issue at hand: they’re based on outdated data and science from the mid-20th century.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 on the speed at … Read more

Did Jane Jacobs Predict the Rise of Trump?

Ever prescient, her final book outlined a coming dark age—and how to get through it. Jane Jacobs was one of the most prescient writers of the 20th century. In the 1960s, when suburbanization and heavy-handed urban renewal programs threatened urban neighborhoods, she published her classic Death and Life of Great American Cities. During the 1970s and 1980s, when policy-makers and economists focused on industrial competitiveness and national economic strategy, she drew attention to the role of cities and clustering in powering innovation and economic growth in her books The Economy of Cities and Cities and the Wealth of Nations.But she may well have saved … Read more

Tenement Housing for H Street?

A lousy project has been proposed for North H Street between 1st and 2nd street. 8 barracks like boxes each containing 5 bedrooms with 5 attached bathrooms. How many people do you think will be living in each box? I submit that number will vary between 10 and 20 or more per property – and 8 of the ugly things are being proposed by an out of town developer-owner. How many cars do you think will come along with 5 families? Please come to the planning commission meeting on Thursday, Oct 5th – 7 pm – in City Council Chambers. I … Read more

YES, YOU CAN BUILD YOUR WAY TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Lessons from unexpected places. Author: Alan Durning September 21, 2017 “You can’t build your way out of a housing affordability problem.” That’s conventional wisdom. I hear it all the time: Prosperous, growing, tech-rich cities from Seattle to the Bay Area and from Austin to Boston are all gripped by soaring rents and home prices. But what if you can build your way to affordable housing? What if, in fact, building is the only path to affordable housing? What if cities around the world have been building their way to affordability for decades? You can. It is. And they have. Houston by Craig Washburn (Used with permission.) … Read more

IMPACT FEES: AN URBAN PLANNING ZOMBIE IN NEED OF SLAYING

Eight reasons why impact fees thwart the creation of equitable, sustainable cities. Author: Dan Bertolet September 28, 2017 When people make a mess we expect them to clean it up. If a private business harms others, we demand it pay the damages. These norms stoke the allure of impact fees—charges levied on homebuilders to compensate for the presumed burden on public services caused by the homes they construct. But in the case of cities, there’s one big problem with that impulse: adding new homes to urban neighborhoods is a good thing overall, a net positive for people and the planet, not a transgression to penalize. … Read more

Why Santa Monica got rid of parking minimums downtown. And why other cities should consider following suit.

“…the City Council decided to eliminate minimum parking requirements on new development in downtown Santa Monica.” “Here’s why: Parking has a much broader impact on a city than you might expect. It’s expensive to build, it incentivizes car travel over public and active transportation, and it’s been built with abandon, especially in Southern California.” “By not requiring new parking, we can lower the overall cost to build new housing, remove barriers to opening businesses, spur the creative reuse of existing buildings and encourage drivers to more efficiently use the spaces that already exist.” by Ted Winterer   Santa Monica has … Read more

No More Sprawl

NO more sprawl. When our urban core and corridor areas and nodes – are suburbanized and underutilized, why would Oxnard decision makers consider areas protected by SOAR for suburban expansion? It was suggested that some future Oxnard expand into the area east of Rice and south of PCH and wrapping around to Pleasant Valley Road and Hueneme Roads. Expanding housing into urban growth boundary areas is suburban and auto-centric sprawl. The areas mentioned above are separated from more central Oxnard neighborhoods by wide highways and freeway type intersections. Expanding into these areas would create essentially new little towns (like RiverPark … Read more