CNU Salons

The Infrastructure Argument Against Infill

One common (if vague) argument against upzoning and infill development is that infrastructure in place X (wherever the proposed development is) will somehow be overwhelmed by more important.  When I see this argument I want to ask:

1.  What infastructure are you talking about?

2.  How is it currently inadequate in place X?

3.  If you don't want more people to live and work in place X where do you want them to live and work instead? 

Are Wider Streets More Congested?

In a recent Planetizen blog post, Brett Toderian had an interesting insight: "When vehicles are moving, they take up much more space. The faster they move, the more separation distance and space between vehicles is needed."  This makes intuitive sense to me: when I am driving on a 20 mph street, I am willing to drive only a few feet behind other cars, while when driving 60 mph I don't feel comfortable getting so close to the car in front of me. 

Yes, Upzone The Nice Areas Too

An interesting and provocative blog post by Chicago planner Pete Saunders argued that urbanites should not be pressing too hard for upzoning well-off urban neighborhoods because "maybe they ought to consider more of the city to live in.

Extremist New Urbanism

A pitched battle has emerged in Minneapolis between two groups, one advocating for the preservation of a large single-family home and the other favoring its demolition to allow for a 45-unit infill project by the Lander Group. The preservationist have accused those in favor of demolition of "extremist new urbanism." A slightly more level-headed reporting abo

Two Cheers For Negative Thinking

I recently read an article suggesting that Cleveland's problems were in part due to "negative thinking"- some fuzzy "vibe of negativity" that discourages people from moving to Cleveland.  I am skeptical of this claim for two reasons.

Salon Interviews CNU Board Member John Massengale

Salon praises Massengale and Victor Dover's  “Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns.” The link is  http://www.salon.com/2014/04/13/how_cars_conquered_the_american_city_and_how_we_can_win_it_back/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

 

Freeway Down! Seoul Removing 16th Freeway

Seoul, South Korea is leading the charge in urban freeway removal, having torn out 15 freeways in the past 12 years. This year, the city will add a sixteenth by removing the Ahyeon Overpass, a 1 km (.6 mile) long roadway constructed in 1968 - the city's first. Today, the overpass is old and ugly, eating up about $25 million annually in maintenance alone.

Suburbia Not Always Cheaper

A story from a coworker of mine: Mr. X (the coworker) and his family move from Queens to Long Island to take advantage of the allegedly better public schools.  As a  result, they are able to save money by pulling their children out of Catholic school.  Were they better off?  Apparently not.  Mr. X explains that what they saved in tuition was more than balanced over time by the cost of having to have a car for every adult, and later for every teenager.

Auto-Oriented Transit in Israel

Tonight I saw lawyer Kevin Dwarka speak on smart growth in Israel, focusing on the weaknesses of Israel's railway system.  Although Israel's major cities have rail service, that nation's major rail stations are a classic example of auto-oriented transit: stations surrounded by huge parkiing lots instead of housing and shopping.  

The Irrefutability of Harriet Tregoning

Last month, Washington, DC Planning Director Harriet Tregoning announced that she'd be leaving her position after 6 years to become the director of HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, the position vacated by Shelley Poticha last year. This is great news for those of us engaged in reforming HUD policies, like outdated limits on retail/office in mixed-use developments.