Tag Archives: Smart Growth

Shut Out: How Land-Use Regulations Hurt the Poor

Another  article on planning’s unforeseen consequences  that is very relevant in South `Africa by  of  sandy-ikeda-picture

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People sometimes support regulations, often with the best of intentions, but these wind up creating outcomes they don’t like. Land-use regulations are a prime example.

My colleague Emily Washington and I are reviewing the literature on how land-use regulations disproportionately raise the cost of real estate for the poor. I’d like to share a few of our findings with you.

Zoning

One kind of regulation that was actually intended to harm the poor, and especially poor minorities, was zoning. The ostensible reason for zoning was to address unhealthy conditions in cities by functionally separating land uses, which is called “exclusionary zoning.” But prior to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, some municipalities had race-based exclusionary land-use regulations. Early in the 20th century, several California cities masked their racist intent by specifically excluding laundry businesses, predominantly Chinese owned, from certain areas of the cities.

Today, of course, explicitly race-based, exclusionary zoning policies are illegal. But some zoning regulations nevertheless price certain demographics out of particular neighborhoods by forbidding multifamily dwellings, which are more affordable to low- or middle-income individuals. When the government artificially separates land uses and forbids building certain kinds of residences in entire districts, it restricts the supply of housing and increases the cost of the land, and the price of housing reflects those restrictions.

Moreover, when cities implement zoning rules that make it difficult to secure permits to build new housing, land that is already developed becomes more valuable because you no longer need a permit. The demand for such developed land is therefore artificially higher, and that again raises its price.

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The Long Road to Sustainable Cities (via The Dirt)

It seems that even with fragmented and partial approaches to sustainability it is possible for cities to achieve results that might contribute to long term resilience and it is encouraging to get published news of this, culture changes slowly and politicians who control the funds need proof that what is proposed will yield results as well as what not to do.

The Long Road to Sustainable Cities "Sustainability in America’s Cities: Creating the Green Metropolis," edited by Matthew Slavin, founder and Principal of Sustaingrϋp, is a collection of case studies that chart the progress of sustainable urban development in eight cities across the United States. The case studies explain how these cities have applied innovative strategies and invested in climate change mitigation and adaptation, clean energy, green buildings, sustainable transpor … Read More

via The Dirt

Santa Monica Unveils Field Operations Designs for Civic Center Parks via The Dirt

A description of the progress on James Corner and  Field Operations designs for the parks in Santa Monica and the challenges facing them. Seems like it very similar to here – a lot of hype is put into the process, but similar to New York’s Governors Island compettion, ( See Interview with Adraain Geuse of West 8) this is a long and slow process: The link to the presentation on the Design Development is really worthwhile looking at:

AN AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS THE NEW AREAS TO BE DEVELOPED BY FIELD OPERATIONS IN DOWNTOWN SANTA MONICA AS WELL AS NEARBY LANDMARKS


Last year, James Corner Field Operations won the commission to design the newSanta Monica Civic Center parks, which includes a new town square and Palisades garden walk. Designs for the seven-acre, $25 million project were recently unveiled, showing an “ambitious, layered” proposal that will be broken up into a number of “systems,” writes The Architect’s Newspaper. These systems are a set of “colorful and diverse zones” that enable different experiences for park visitors.

According to The Architect’s Newspaper, the new landscape includes a set of zones: “view-centric hills, sheltered bays, and meandering pathways surrounded by plants, fountains, and small creeks.” There’s a Grand Bluff, which will provide views of the ocean and neighborhood. Garden Hill will offer the “widest variety of plant life on the site.” A new Gathering Hill is designed for ”congregation and relaxation.” The Discovery Bay is a new kids play area and will include ”an area shaded by large trees that will contain extra large steel slides, forts, and other activities.” The Town Square, which local respondents to a survey said had too much pavement, will get a new reflecting pool, reflecting the city hall.

Continue reading Santa Monica Unveils Field Operations Designs for Civic Center Parks via The Dirt

What Does a ‘Sustainable Community’ Actually Look Like?

Noted in LAND Reader , from the Atlantic by Kaid Benfield

Is this your idea for a” sustainable community” – to me it looks like a boring version of middle of nowhere – modeled on a dream of child-like American idealism – most of us think differently – but its good to know hart we are not missing:

Imagine a suburb—but probably not like any suburb you’ve ever seen. Welcome to Sustainaville.

One thing that I have learned in six months in my new position as director of sustainable communities at NRDC is even a lot of environmentalists don’t quite know what to make of the phrase. This may be particularly true for my fellow travelers in the legal profession, who tend to think in terms of statutory mandates and causes of action and have little patience with the fuzzy stuff.

Continue reading What Does a ‘Sustainable Community’ Actually Look Like?