Lately, it seems that more and more often one runs into a Phase I report for a property that has already been through some assessment and remediation. That is, after all, the status of many a completed brownfield project. It’s been my unfortunate experience that only a few of today’s Phase I drafters know what to do with that situation. Let’s climb into the Wayback Machine and remind ourselves what the heck a Phase I is and why we do it. [Read more…] about Observations from the Brownfield Trenches: The Phase I Report
Dear Pasadena City Council Members,
A long overdue update to the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the January 30, 2017, City Council public hearing. With the passage of AB 2299 and SB 1069, all local jurisdictions are obligated to amend zoning ordinances to facilitate easier pathways to building accessory dwellings units (ADUs). As the staff report notes, the new state laws came about in response to a statewide affordable housing crisis. We see it in Pasadena. It’s rendered in the presence of homeless encampments, occupied vehicles on city streets and parking lots, and the existence of unpermitted housing on private properties across the city.
[Read more…] about An Open Letter to the Pasadena City Council Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance
Most millennials are actually changing jobs four times on average during their first decade out school according to a study released by LinkedIn. If this is true in architecture then there is a good chance young professionals move on before they see a completed project through. [Read more…] about Architecture: Patience, This Is Not the Tech Industry
I am a brownfield guy. I’m down with that – because a brownfield project should always end up with something better for everybody. Re-using property means re-using roads and other infrastructure, instead of building new. But there is a challenge. Sadly, everywhere people have been they’ve left some schmutz, as my grandmother would say. [Read more…] about Observations from the Brownfield Trenches
Reviewed by Todd Jersey, AIA
Written primarily for urban activists, Janette Sadik-Kahn and Seth Solomonow’s Streetfight documents the now well-copied street improvement initiatives implemented during her six-year tenure as transportation commissioner in New York City. Sadik-Khan/Solomonow’s mission was to “claw back” the public realm from the 100-year onslaught of auto-centricity and to, in her words, “rebalance” our streets to more equitably serve pedestrians and bicyclists and more effectively accommodate other forms of mobility.1 [Read more…] about How Sadik-Khan clawed back the streets of NYC for walkers and bikers – book review
Is one of your new year’s resolutions to exercise more or be more physically active? If yes, where have you been doing your exercise routines? Nowadays, many people immediately think of private gyms like LA Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness as the most effective and/or popular places to get fit. But as we all know, gym membership is not cheap and not everyone can afford it. As I explained in my article Where Do You Exercise, there are other options, such as Fitness Zones at public parks, multi-use trails, the city itself, and the YMCA, which are free or more affordable. [Read more…] about Recreation at Shopping Malls?
The year 2016 marked the 500th anniversary of the publishing of Thomas More’s book Utopia. Much has been written about the idea of Utopia and Utopian societies, stretching all the way back to ancient times. Since Thomas More gifted us a detailed physical description of his “good place,” I thought it would be fun to walk-through his land, 500 years later, give some simple measurements and compare it to some real places today. [Read more…] about What makes a Utopia? – a review of Thomas More’s classic on its 500th anniversary
Let’s face it, 2016 wasn’t an easy year. So what can we do to better prepare ourselves for the next 12 months? Let’s start with personal development, namely figure out a better way to keep our New Year’s resolutions. Advice from experts to fine-tune goals to be more specific is great. Short-term goals are more achievable, sure. But even when we commit to keeping account of our progress and being patient with ourselves, still we bump into obstacles at every turn. [Read more…] about The Biology Behind Achieving Your New Year’s Goal
A Population Boom and a Housing Crunch. Rising prices and short supply are making it increasingly difficult to pay the rent in San Diego. If you’ve attempted to search for a place to rent in San Diego you’ve probably encountered more than a few roadblocks and had your fair share of frustrations. The challenges multiply if you’ve tried to find something affordable anywhere near where you work. [Read more…] about The obstacles to navigating San Diego’s housing crunch
When we are little, we are taught that Thanksgiving is a commemoration of the first meal the Pilgrims and Indians shared. It is a story of strangers working together to survive that first harsh winter in a foreign place, our Native brothers and sisters helping us with their knowledge of the land. [Read more…] about Standing Rock Pilgrimage – a first hand account