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.
Sense of community. It’s been a rallying cry of New Urbanists since the beginning and for good reason. For years leading up to the birth of the neo-traditionalists, it didn’t take much effort to realize that our surroundings had changed—a lot—and not for the better.
Our neighborhoods—subdivisions, really—were isolating us from each other and from the things we needed to get done. Despite the ample comforts we’d developed to help mitigate the separation, that’s simply not a good recipe for human productivity, much less fulfillment.
There was a hole to be filled, and the distinctly market-based New Urbanists stepped in to fill it. Continue reading
The holiday season is our culture’s designated time for wishes of good cheer and contemplative New Years Resolutions for a better tomorrow. Or so I thought. Then I read this stark statement:
“Scott Walker, governor-elect of Wisconsin, who vowed to stop the train in a campaign commercial, said that the train from Milwaukee to Madison would cost too much money, take the same amount of time as driving and leave many passengers needing cars anyway to get around at both ends.”
The obesity epidemic isn’t really “news” anymore (thank you, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution) yet when I question my friends who work outside the fields of design and planning on why Americans are so fat, they tie everything back to poor food choices. But what about exercise? They reply that if you want to exercise, just find yourself a park or a gym. No worries.
So, although we know that there is an obesity “problem,” one with significant national impacts, the average American still is not aware that it is, in many ways, a design problem. A result of a built environment that has been constructed over the past 50 years with one singular purpose – move more cars faster. Continue reading
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
What does America’s oldest city have in common with one of its youngest? They’re both concerned with branding.
St. Augustine, Florida, kicked off their branding initiative in 1715 by petitioning the King of Spain for a coat of arms. Upon his receipt, the King assumedly delegated the request to his creative services department who, in turn, set out to define the message and visually articulate the city’s identity. Continue reading
In most physical and policy planning, triple bottom line benchmarks focus on environment and economy, and tend to skim over the subject of society. That’s probably because urban design impacts are much easier to measure with respect to profit and planet than they are with respect to people.
Any good MBA professor preaches, “What gets measured gets done.” Continue reading