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

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

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

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

The Granny Flats Are Coming

A new book argues that the U.S. is about to see more accessory dwelling units and guides homeowners on how to design and build them. When Kol Peterson moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2010, affordable housing was a priority, as it was for many newcomers in this city’s booming real-estate market. He looked at two frequently discussed options for high-cost cities—tiny houses on wheels and communal living—but decided on another option: accessory dwelling units, or ADUs—also known as granny flats, basement and garage apartments, and the like.ADUs weren’t yet common in Portland—that year, the city issued only 86 permits for them—but … 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

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