Save the Suburbs with Pattern Zones

Cities can make middle-scaled buildings the most economical development program. by Matthew Petty Pattern-book permitting is as easy as 1-2-3. Credit: Matthew Petty, Infill Group, and Matthew Hoffman, Miller Boskus Lack The last decade has been punctuated with celebratory stories of once-again active downtowns and town centers. Many places seem to have cracked a once-secret code for commercial redevelopment and new mid-rise housing. Yet for every revitalized town center, there are miles and miles of auto-dominated streetscapes and low-density housing overshadowing progress on Main Street. Retrofitting suburbs nationwide is critical to address the extraordinary challenges of our time, like climate … Read more

‘Troubling’ Findings on Who Speaks Up About Housing Development

The skyline of Worcester, Massachusetts after sunset in 2017. SHUTTERSTOCK By Bill Lucia   AUGUST 22, 2018 New research highlights concerns that local officials are hearing a narrow subset of views at public meetings. For local government officials who consider public comments when making decisions about housing policies, an academic paper released earlier this year offers a cautionary note. Researchers at Boston University found that people who turn out to speak at planning and zoning board meetings tend to overwhelmingly oppose new housing development. Compared to other residents, these meeting goers are also more likely to be older, male, and homeowners. “It’s problematic … Read more

The Five Cs of Neighborhood Planning

The Five Cs of Neighborhood Planning This is a brilliant article on Placemaking by CNU-CA’s Howard Blackson. It’s a short easy read if you skim it – it’s a deep treatise on Placemaking if you think about each of the C’s and how it applies to your daily civic meanderings and our city. How does Oxnard compare to the 5 C’s – does it work? And where does it not work and what would it take to make it work? – OCPG I live in a city that is currently updating its Community Plans. This is an historically difficult planning job … Read more