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

APA: Policy Principles for the Nation’s Housing Crisis

Planning policy is changing. The American Planning Association Board of Directors on March 29, 2018 released the following document… Policy Principles for the Nation’s Housing Crisis Our nation is confronting a housing crisis. This crisis varies in scope and specifics from city to city and market to market, but the reality remains that current policies are undermining the broad goal of ensuring housing choice and affordability for all. The shortage of quality affordable housing reinforces inequality and limits access to opportunity, and the lack of housing options hurts the economy and constrains social and economic mobility. Addressing this crisis must be … 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

The Swiss Army Knife “Side Hustle” House

Side Hustle House. Source: Union Studio The Swiss Army Knife “Side Hustle” House The Side Hustle House has been designed to supplement primary income and evolve as household needs change. ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    APR. 24, 2018 Note: Missing middle housing will be a topic at many sessions in CNU 26.Savannah, May 15-19. High housing costs and lack of new market rate workforce housing development has led to a serious dearth of housing options for young professionals and families on Cape Cod in southeastern Massachusetts.  With a vibrant summer tourist economy and plenty of high-cost waterfront real estate, the available housing options are largely … 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

Kick The Tires On Your Local Zoning Code

MARCH 21, 2018, BY SARAH KOBOS  One of the great mysteries of my adult life has been trying to understand why nobody builds lovely places anymore. How hard can it be? Our ancestors built amazing cities with little more than horses, hand tools, and human muscle. Who doesn’t love old places? (Photo by Sarah Kobos) But with all our modern knowledge and technology, we’ve built a lot of depressing stuff.  Gargantuan shopping centers. Massive “garden” apartments.  Multi-car garages that people live behind and call homes. It wasn’t until recently that I started to understand how these developments were regulated into existence. Everything … 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

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