Federal government to sustainability efforts: You’re terminated.
In a blockbuster-style showdown, the House Appropriations Committee started a furor this month as they proposed the elimination of HUD, USDOT and EPA sustainability programs in 2011-12, as well as suggesting the rescinding of dollars already awarded by the Sustainability and TIGER grant programs. As municipalities, counties and regional COGs scramble to find ways to focus the weak development market forces into more sustainable patterns of walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, the possible removal of the federal support is discouraging.
Looks like we’re gonna have to go indie.
Western Canada’s form-based codes are missing.
This is no small problem. Those of us working in the region are continuously grilled by municipalities with the same question, often delivered with a suspicious, cocked eyebrow: “Where are they? Where in Canada have they, or any other alternative zoning regulation, been enacted?”
The answer we’re obliged to offer is unfortunately neither reassuring nor helpful: “We’ve turned up little evidence,” we mutter quietly. Little enough, in fact, that a comparable municipal mentor is typically unable to be found.
A mystery is at hand. Continue reading
Get right with God. Fix your zoning.
That’s not something you hear regularly from the pulpit, maybe. But it’s gospel nonetheless. Here’s why:
If there’s one common thread woven through the world’s most enduring religions, it’s the call to connectivity: Self to others to everything. Continue reading
Every year since Hurricane Katrina mauled the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf coasts, I’ve returned to Mississippi around the storm’s August 29 anniversary to renew friendships and refine my capacity for humility. The friendships have turned out to be the most rewarding outcomes of the 2005 Mississippi Renewal Forum, the historic charrette in Biloxi six weeks after the storm. The humility training is less fun, but it’s starting to take.
What’s clear is how naïve I was about the extent of the devastation and the appetite for “building back better than ever.” At least in the ways we outsiders imagined. Continue reading
A year ago, Apple’s sales of its iPhone and iPod Touch eclipsed 40 million units, confirming their potential to fundamentally retool our future opportunities and patterns of daily life.
Today, a year later, form-based codes hit a similar milestone, with similar implications, as over 330 cities and towns around the world — representing over 40 million people — have embraced the idea of form-based coding as an alternative to the sprawl-inducing zoning models of the past century.
We’ve hit the tipping point. Welcome to the other side. Continue reading
Remember when you could empty a room by trying to work zoning philosophy into a conversation? Okay, you can still do that in most places. But the coolness quotient is on the rise, we swear.
Consider the adoption late last year of a form-based code in Miami, surely one of the most exotic political environments in North America. Very high hipness factor. Continue reading
Like any next, big something, placemaking is growing up. And in its role as gawky adolescent, it’s beginning to realize something most of us have long since come to accept: You can’t skirt by on youthful good looks forever.
Today, efforts to create more endearing and enduring surroundings are being subjected to decidedly grown up demands. And with them, smart growthers—from enviros to designers to code reform advocates—are learning one of life’s hardest lessons: Love will only take you so far.
Son, you’ve got to demonstrate sufficient returns. Continue reading