Planning

Centennial at Tejon Ranch

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I was included in an e-mail thread last week about a 19,000 unit master planned community on the far edge of Los Angeles County. There’s an on-going debate about whether this is part of California’s housing solution or part of the problem. Centennial is one of three proposed residential developments at Tejon Ranch. It hugs the border of Kern County thirty miles outside of Bakersfield and three mountain ranges from LA proper. After a couple of decades of negotiations it was finally approved by the authorities.  read more »

How to Sell Forced Densification to Libertarians

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When cities pass zoning rules (as Missoula, Portland, and many Portland suburbs have done) mandating minimum-density zoning — so that people are forced to either build high-density housing in existing low-density neighborhoods or build nothing at all — libertarians lead the charge against such rules. But urban planners have managed to achieve the same result, and gain the support of some who consider themselves libertarian, by:  read more »

Will Seattle light rail extended to Snohomish County create intolerable crowding on peak period trains in King County?

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Starting in the 1980s, the central Puget Sound region committed itself to a network of four-car light-rail trains having less passenger capacity than the eight-car heavy-rail subway rejected by King County voters in 1968 and 1970, a service territory that included Seattle and Bellevue. The plan back then did not include tracks into Snohomish County to the north and Pierce County to the south. Those two jurisdictions were added to the voter-approved Sound Transit plans beginning in 1996.  read more »

The Mask Is Off: Minneapolis Declares War on Single Family Houses

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In a recent article published in Housing Wire (and in many other places), it was told that Minneapolis will abolish single family housing as part of the Metropolitan Councils 2040 plan. Much of the reason seems to be based on the idea that people in single family homes are discriminating against minorities and the poor, who can only afford apartments, although of course many people of color own homes, or would like to.  read more »

Reinventing the Rust Belt in Kokomo

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I’ve written about Kokomo, Indiana before and also posted a podcast with its mayor. It’s a small manufacturing city in Indiana, far from glamorous and with its own set of challenges, that has been seeking to reinvent itself for the 21st century. My latest City Journal article is a look at Kokomo and what it’s been up to.  read more »

How Much Density Is Enough?

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Portland New Urbanist Joe Cortright has rarely seen a high-density development he didn’t like. Like Marxist economists who always begin their papers by referring to quotations from Karl Marx, Cortright takes his cues from Jane Jacobs.  read more »

The View from Hudson Street—With Thoughts on Science and Orthodoxy

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Two audacious quotes in planning literature underpin this article and substitute for an introduction:  read more »

Cars and Urban Mobility

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Schlomo ‘Solly’ Angel is a world renowned urbanist and author of countless books including “Atlas of Urban Expansion”, “Planet of Cities” and “Tale of Scale.” He is adjunct professor at New York University (NYU) and senior research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project, where he leads the Urban Expansion initiative. He has advised the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  read more »

Driverless Cars Threaten Guru’s Vision

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Urban planning guru says driverless cars won’t fix congestion,” says the New York Times. Naturally, the Times is referring to Peter Calthorpe, one of the few people who might be considered an urban planning guru and the one who has the most to lose if driverless cars are successful.  read more »

Inputs vs. Outputs

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An article in CityLab purports to show “why public transit works better outside the U.S.” However, it never actually demonstrates that public transit does work better in other countries; it merely shows that governments have attempted to make it work better.  read more »