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

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

WHAT DOES A WALKABLE STREET LOOK LIKE?

JANUARY 24, 2018  by RACHEL QUEDNAU You know those games you usually find on the back of a cereal box or in a kids’ magazine that present you with two seemingly identical pictures and ask you to spot the six things that are different in each? Well, here’s a much easier version of that: What differences can you spot in the pictures above? (Hint: There are more than six.) We’re going to talk a little about those differences today and why understanding them is so crucial if we wish to build financially successful cities and towns. WHAT DOES “AUTO-ORIENTED” MEAN? An auto-oriented … 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 tiny ADUs may be a big answer to the urban housing crisis

How accessory dwelling units, set to expand on the West Coast, present a small but mighty solution to affordability By Patrick Sisson  Jan 16, 2018, 12:34pm EST An ADU designed by Lanefab Design/Build, a Vancouver, Canada-based firm that specializes in designing these smaller homes. Courtesy Lanefab For cities starved of new housing, staring down an affordability crisis, and desperate for density, the opportunity to inexpensively add housing units seems to good to be true. But that’s the promise made by proponents of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs: small structures, typically totaling under 1,000 square feet, built on the property of existing homeowners. “There’s lots of … Read more

Why We Code

Oxnard needs Form Based Zoning Codes for the Successor Agency (Redevelopment) properties. Form based codes will give developers proper guidance – they will know precisely what is wanted by Oxnard Planning before they submit a project. Without Form Based codes developers will not have proper direction and may build anything that meets current 50-year-old development standards and design guidelines.  Code workshop at CNU 23 sponsored by DPZ and Placemakers Andres Duany offers more than 20 reasons why urban design coding is necessary—and he hopes that someday it will no longer be needed.Within the last half-century, some 30 million buildings have degraded cities and … Read more

Renovating a Multipurpose Main Street

Greenville Avenue’s new streetscape (Source: City of Dallas)    Streetscape improvements have helped bring back an 18-hour-a-day character to the corridor. Crime has dropped and property values have risen.    Note: This case study was written for the Institute for Transportation Engineers new bookImplementing Context Sensitive Design on Multimodal Thoroughfares, funded by the Federal Highway Administration. Greenville Avenue is the main street of a 1920s “streetcar suburb,” Lower Greenville, four miles from downtown Dallas, Texas. The context had become automobile-oriented over the years as space was given over to motor vehicles and the design allowed for speeds uncomfortable to pedestrians. Businesses … Read more

25 Great Ideas of the New Urbanism

Rendering of I-980 in Oakland as a multi-way boulevard. Credit / Dover, Kohl & Partners The New Urbanism is a design movement toward complete, compact, connected communities—but it is also a generator of ideas that transform the landscape. Communities are shaped by the movement and flow of ideas, and the New Urbanism has been a particularly rich source of the currents that have directed planning and development in recent decades. This year the 25th annual Congress for the New Urbanism was held in Seattle. The 1,400 attendees, their friends and associates and like-minded people, are like sailors on the sea … 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

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