Reinventing Development Regulations

Every community across the land can and should revise their zoning and subdivision regulations — a move that will build sustainability and resilience, increase affordability, and improve quality of life, say the authors of a new book published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. In Reinventing Development Regulations (Paperback / $35.00 / 213 pages / ISBN 978-1-55844-372-3) two well-known experts — urban designer Jonathan Barnett and real-estate lawyer Brian W. Blaesser — argue for major adjustments to land use regulations that are within existing legal frameworks and respectful of property rights, making the politics of the necessary changes much more manageable. … Read more

Ten rules for cities about automated vehicles

Traditional urbanism evolved over millennia to meet human needs. The adoption of AVs should not be allowed to replace time-tested places with something that would probably make our lives worse. JEFF SPECK    OCT. 16, 2017 Note: This article is based on a talk the author gave to the US Conference of Mayors and CNU. 1) Be afraid One of my favorite books of all times is Technopoly, The Surrender of Culture to Technology, by Neil Postman. In it Postman describes what he calls the technological imperative. What it means to me is this: New technologies that increase convenience are unstoppable, whatever their impact on our … Read more

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

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