Since the early 20th century, the almost universal adoption of the automobile by US residents has had a profound impact on how we plan and design communities. The widespread use of the auto not only spurred development outside of traditional urban centers, it minimized the need to blend multiple land uses into compact areas. read more »
To many Florida developers in the last decade, downtown condo towers seemed to make a lot of sense. They were sold as the logical locale for active seniors and millennials, great affordable starter homes, and best of all, investments. Reinvigorating downtowns became fashionable currency in many of Florida’s second and third tier cities. read more »
The famous physicist, Albert Einstein, was noted for his powers of observation and rigorous observance of the scientific method. It was insanity, he once wrote, to repeat the same experiment over and over again, and to expect a different outcome. With that in mind, I wonder what Einstein would make of the last decade and a bit of experimentation in Queensland’s urban planning and development assessment? read more »
The Florida real estate developer, unburdened of state regulatory agencies, may now focus his efforts on pleasing the investment community and the local market. I recently played the role of real estate developer interviewing two consultant teams vying to help me create a new fictional community. Fortified with readings in both the New Urbanist camp and the Dispersionist camp, each team of students pitched their method of community building to me. read more »
The Pearl River Delta of China is home to the largest extent of continuous urbanization in the world. The Pearl River Delta has 55 million people in the jurisdictions of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhuhai and Macau. Moreover, the urban population is confined to barely 10 percent of the land area. These urban areas are the largest export engine of China and reflect the successful legacy of Deng Xiaoping's reforms which had their start with the special economic zone in Shenzhen and spread to the rest of the Delta and then much of the nation.
Adjacent Metropolitan Areas: However, the Pearl River Delta today is not a metropolitan area, as is often asserted. Instead it is rather a collection of adjacent metropolitan areas or labor markets (Figure 1). Metropolitan areas are not created by a large number of people living close to one another. Metropolitan areas are labor markets, crudely delineating the geography of the jobs-housing balance. read more »
Bookstores and libraries have long played a central role in fostering a deeper appreciation of knowledge, and in lifelong learning. Increasingly, these places are also filling another critical need in our communities, by providing a haven for those seeking a communal connection in an ever-more isolated world.
Ray Oldenburg, author of The Great Good Place, coined the term “third place” to describe any environment outside of the home and the workplace (first and second places, respectively) where people gather for deeper interpersonal connection. Third places include, for example, places of worship, community centers, and even diners or pubs frequented by the “locals.” read more »
Adding nearly 119,000 people in 2011, Florida has capped a decade of steady population increase to see the state grow 19% since 2000. Despite 2009, an historic year where more people left than arrived, the overall net growth of Florida has yielded two additional congressional seats, moving the state well on its way towards the becoming third most populous state in the nation. This ascendancy brings new responsibility to the shoulders of the state’s leaders, and the direction this st read more »
“Hands off Our Land!” screams the Daily Telegraph, like some shotgun-toting red-faced farmer. The newspaper, on behalf of the reactionary toffs who form the least pleasant section of its readership, has launched a campaign directed against ‘urban sprawl’ (ie. the rest of us).
On a good day, the Telegraph serves up enlightened articles by progressive liberals like Janet Daley and Simon Heffer and Jeff Randal (I’m talking about real liberals here, not American Trotskyites). But then it disappears under the desk, drinks some devilish, bubbling potion and emerges looking like Mr Hyde, all wonky teeth and messy hair. “Hands off Our Land” is the Telegraph at its worst - a campaign to thwart the government’s all-too-modest suggestions to reform Britain’s vicious planning laws. read more »
When it comes to environmental issues, emotions often trump reasoned argument or sensible reform, especially in California. In Sacramento at our state capitol, real world impacts are abstracted into barbed soundbites. It’s the dialogue of the deaf as environmental advocates rally around our landmark California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) -- and economic interests decry it as “a job killer.” Perhaps the polarization can be put aside to ask about a specific example in the real world. Why does an old K-Mart sit vacant on Ventura’s busiest boulevard despite initial City approval for a Walmart store? All the thunder and lightning surrounding whether a Walmart belongs in Ventura is behind us. A vigorous and contentious debate (and a failed citizen initiative) have rendered the verdict that filling an empty discount retail space with a different discount retailer is a function of the market, not government regulation. read more »
More than a decade ago, the Sierra Club and I crossed keyboards over urban density. The Sierra Club had just posted a new "neighborhood consumption calculator," that gave visitors the opportunity to look at the purported impacts of various density levels. The Sierra Club designated 500 dwelling units per acre as "efficient urban." Independently, Randal O'Toole and I quickly were on the Internet pointing out the absurdity of such high density. read more »