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

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

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

Comeback planned for commercial corridor

It’s time for the City of Oxnard to begin to think about how to fix Oxnard Boulevard and Saviers Road. While Oxnard’s main streets have been a state highway for years, now our main streets are waiting to become walkable places that generate economic development for Oxnard. The following article is an example of how one city re-vitalized its main street. “Of the corridor’s 100 acres, 11 percent of the land is vacant. Even where buildings are constructed, a large number are vacant. A market study by Bleakly Advisory Group revealed 165,000 square feet of commercial buildings on the corridor, … Read more

Oxnard Planners and Economic Development

While I have been discussing the lack of planners in Oxnard…the real issue is Economic Development. Oxnard cannot develop economically without enough qualified planners to carry the workload. Oxnard needs 20 to 25 planners but currently has only 7 or 8 staff planners. How can Oxnard deal with its heavy current workload as well as properly plan for the future with a large planning staff deficit? In September of 2017, I did an informal survey of Ventura County cities. I asked, “How many planners does your city have?” The results showed that Oxnard has 1/3 the number of planners per capita than … Read more

The Evolution of Urban Planning

Urban planning has been around for as long as cities have existed, but the 20th century saw a number of bold ideas that radically changed the make-up of our urban centers. From garden cities to psychogeography, today’s infographic by Konstantin von der Schulenburg is an informative overview of the modern movements and ideas that shaped urban planning. THE EVOLUTION OF URBAN PLANNING Urban planning has changed a lot over the centuries. Early city layouts revolved around key elements such as prominent buildings (e.g. cathedrals, monuments) and fortification (e.g. city walls, castles). As cities grew larger, they also became more unpleasant. Here are some … Read more

The Walls We Won’t Tear Down

By RICHARD D. KAHLENBERGAUG. 3, 2017  CreditGolden Cosmos ONE hundred years ago, in a major advance for human dignity, the Supreme Court struck down a racial zoning law in Louisville, Ky., that prohibited nonwhites from moving into homes in majority-white areas. Laws like these, which existed in numerous cities at the time, are part of a larger, shameful history of government-sponsored racial segregation. In Buchanan v. Warley, the court ruled that such ordinances violate the 14th Amendment and related statutes that “entitle a colored man to acquire property without state legislation discriminating against him solely because of his color.” But … Read more

My Transit Density Bill (SB 827): Answering Common Questions and Debunking Misinformation

by Scott Wiener Jan 16, 2018 Our recent announcement of my bill (Senate Bill 827) allowing for more housing near public transportation has drawn a lot of attention, questions, and feedback. Sadly, some have also spread misinformation about the bill. This piece attempts to answer common questions and debunk misinformation. California is in a deep housing crisis — threatening our state’s environment, economy, diversity, and quality of life — and needs an enormous amount of additional housing at all income levels. Mid-rise housing (i.e., not single-family homes and not high rises) near public transportation is an equitable, sustainable, and promising source for new housing. SB 827 … Read more

25 Solutions From A Builder’s Perspective To Fix The California Housing Crisis

It is more difficult today than it has ever been to bring new housing units to this state, but it shouldn’t be. Editorial by @HOUSINGFORLA on January 10, 2018, 12:00PM photos by HUNTER KERHART The California housing crisis is damaging our very existence. Homelessness is higher than any point during my lifetime. High housing costs are a drag on our local employers. Many working poor have a job, but live out of their vehicles. Many commute as many as four hours a day just to make a living. People are leaving our state to find the middle class American dream elsewhere. Most importantly, … Read more

WHY WALKABLE STREETS ARE MORE ECONOMICALLY PRODUCTIVE

Oxnard Boulevard looks like a wasteland because of us. Oxnard’s poor old run down Oxnard Boulevard looks like a wasteland because we do not stand up for our main street. Demonstrate your care for Oxnard Boulevard, by coming to city council meetings week after week, to demand that Oxnard Boulevard become a successful walking and shopping street and district. Economic development does not happen by itself – economic development needs you, the good people of Oxnard, to step up. Seriously. The City Council has lots on its plate, lots of distractions. It’s time to put Oxnard Boulevard, and the economic success of … Read more