With rising inequality, a looming climate change crisis, and persistent state of housing unaffordability being the defining issues in the growth of American cities in the twenty-first century, it is time for urban planners to take social policy seriously. Too often, social policy is relegated to a specialized role for advocacy planners, at other times ignored completely for being too political, and often times dismissed as “creeping socialism” that is inappropriate in land-use planning. This prompted planning legend Norman Krumholtz to call the profession “timid,” not as much to reflect on the work ethics of rank-and-file planners, but the leadership of those in power, who do not allow planning to pursue equity objectives. The most powerful piece on the planning chess-board is unavailable to most urban planners. [Read more…] about Urban planning without social equity is like playing chess without the queen.
The City of San Diego at 1.3 million and counting according to 2014 data, and notably the 8th largest city in the country, is unique at best and honestly still a small town. Planners, politicians and policy makers to name just a few, are in constant pursuit of definition for this city and our region. Ironically, this pursuit has been going on for the past 100 years with the first Panama-California Exposition in 1915. [Read more…] about What is San Diego’s identity?
When asked about what I do for a living by new friends and neighbors, I usually start with “urban designer,” then drift towards “city planner,” and usually end with, “sort of like architecture…” Or, during one those late Sunday evening angst moments while contemplating just what in the heck am I doing on this earth, I like to tell myself that I’m a maker of great places. Then Sunday’s infinite theoretical possibilities and dreams butt up against Monday’s unforgiving reality*, and I’m back to selling traditional neighborhood developments, form-based codes, consecutive-day charrettes, and mixed-use, walkable, urbanism to anyone willing to listen, which I enjoy immensely. [Read more…] about I’m a PlaceMaker. . .
Nobody likes uncertainty. Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors. [Read more…] about In Defense of Uncertainty
Last night was the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s (SDAF) first “Context” event, which featured a discussion between Darlene Shiley, Dr. Irwin Jacobs, and Robert Wellington Quigley about the process that brought the new Central Library to fruition, and its implication for future civic projects in San Diego. [Read more…] about SDAF First ‘Context’ Event, with Jacobs, Shiley, and Quigley, Enjoyable and Enlightening
In this age of planning emphasis on “smart growth,” “new urbanism,” “transit oriented development,” “infill development” and so on, density and proximity to transit corridors sometimes overshadow all other considerations. Zoning and Community plans years in the making, with wide participation, are now being viewed by some property owners and city officials as obsolete and vulnerable. Local residents are increasingly resentful as they experience frontal assaults to the scale and character of their neighborhoods – the essence of how they identify with their neighborhoods. [Read more…] about Three Reasons Neighborhood Identity is Paramount in Smart Growth
Sunday, August 11, 2013 was San Diego’s first Ciclovia inspired event named CicloSDias. [Read more…] about San Diego’s first annual CicloSDias event experienced good turnout, good weather, and good vibes.
I had lunch the other day with blogging and business development guru Chris Lema. Among the excellent tidbits of information I picked up was one about the use of images in blog posts / articles to increase visibility in search engines such as Google. [Read more…] about Make your UrbDeZine article more visible in Google with images