As we are now in the month of November, this is probably a good time to look ahead to 2017. Specifically, I would like to discuss some events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. For those of you who follow my writing, you must know by now that I am a big fan of conferences. As I explained in Rest for the Weary Planner, I see conferences as opportunities to learn, grow, network, and be inspired and/or encouraged. I always return to work from conferences feeling refreshed and more prepared to take on the work that awaits me. In 2016, I was fortunate to be able to attend the APA California Planning Conference in Pasadena, CA. Without further ado, here are twelve conferences and meetings that may be of interest to those of us in the fields of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture: [Read more…] about Looking Ahead to 2017: Events for Planners
Wheels are vastly different than legs. Give wheels smooth, wide, straight, and solid turf, and they can reach speeds not even legs attached to a cheetah can reach. This is particularly true when the turf is wide enough to support four wheels connected to a mechanical engine. On the other hand, legs can climb stairs, step over obstacles, negotiate narrow spaces, and take their cargo places wheels can’t go at any speed. Legs can travel a short and straight line where wheels require a lengthy zig-zag route. [Read more…] about The Missing Link to Unsprawling: Bipedal Shortcuts
Portland is a planner’s mecca. Or is it? Visitors to the city are treated to postcard worthy scenes of light rail trains, streetcars and even an aerial tram gliding past renovated brick warehouses and gleaming glass towers. But at the regional level the picture is not so perfect. [Read more…] about The Commons Concept – A Strategy to Restore Balance to the Portland Region
When I signed on as a contributor to UrbDeZine I promised Bill Adams that I would post at least once a month. I think I’m slightly off schedule. My excuse is that I’m in the middle of a move from Pennsylvania to Colorado and things have been a little bit stressful.
But while I was in Colorado recently searching for a rental house I had a dilemma that seems relevant to this blog’s subject matter – a serious housing crisis in Northern Colorado. [Read more…] about Colorado Has a Housing Crisis
While I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying architecture, ideas were always buzzing around; at design charrettes, guest lectures and of course, at the dining table. International House, where I lived, was home to residents from eighty countries enrolled in various academic programs. Our insatiable thirst for learning extended to coffee hours and dinner, with enough food for thought to go around. [Read more…] about Celebrating Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas
The common wisdom is that all the new development, or at least all the interesting development in San Francisco, is South of Market. This of course makes news because it represents a sea change from the prior 100+ years when “south of the slot” was the industrial, working class (or worse) sector of the city. [Read more…] about Where grows San Francisco?
An invitation was emailed last week for a ground breaking ceremony to be held on Wednesday Oct. 8, at 10:00 AM for a new Pendry Hotel to replace the parking lot of 5th & J. The invitation was ground breaking in more than one way. This parking lot was the site of one of the most egregious abuses of eminent domain under the California Community Redevelopment Act, and became one of the poster-children of the property rights – anti-eminent domain movement. Many believe it also played a role in Governor Brown’s repeal of the redevelopment law. [Read more…] about Parking lot no more at Fifth & J in the Gaslamp Quarter?
A city makes many investments, such as infrastructure improvements, life and safety services, and in their employees. To fund such, cities rely upon new development and construction to fuel its economic generation engine with new jobs, housing, shops, parks, fees, and tax revenues.We have all experienced the difficulties with building new developments in Southern California. It is either too difficult to build something great or too easy to build something terrible. Most city planning departments have to overcome a past of allowing for deplorable new buildings that challenged the character of beloved older communities. [Read more…] about The Value of Planning in the Age of Economics.
Ever since the removal of the double-decker Embarcadero Freeway after the Loma Prieta earthquake and its replacement with a graceful boulevard, high quality development has been replacing empty piers and parking lots along San Francisco’s northern waterfront.
Think the Ferry Building, Pier 1, Piers 1½, 3 and 5 (Coqueta, La Mar Cebicheria, Hard Water), the Exploratorium, and the new Cruise Terminal to mention a few. Fisherman’s Wharf has a going Community Benefits District, a brilliant streetscape plan, and some quality new buildings housing such uses as the flagship Boudin bakery/restaurant and a new Madame Tussauds.
For years, it has all fallen apart when one hits Van Ness. But a brilliant new plan for the non-profit Fort Mason Center is about to change all that. [Read more…] about Completing San Francisco’s Northern Waterfront
For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated. [Read more…] about 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.