After seeing another blog post about how density is bad because Los Angeles is dense, it occurred to me to suggest that just as there is good and bad cholesterol, there is good and not-so-good density.
From a new urbanist perspective, good density is density that contributes to walkability: density near public transit, density within walking distance of shops and jobs in a place where walking is possible.
In 2012, Urban Design Associates (UDA) was awarded a Charter Award for their project The New Faubourg Lafitte in New Orleans. The project is a redevelopment and rehabilititaiton of a 27-acre superblock public housing that had been badly damaged by hurricane Katrina. CNU praised the collaboration with the community in the plan's creation, the social anchoring of the design, and its connections and consistency with the surrounding fabric.
Those of us who believe in the laws of economics keep trying to explain that land use regulation really does make development (especially infill development) more expensive. A recent blog post by James Bacon includes a wonderful essay quantifying the impact of regulation in Austin, hardly one of the nation's most expensive or regulation-happy cities. The article points out that these regulations tend to be more restrictive in center cities. Read it.
Tremé is one of the oldest and most central neighborhoods of New Orleans. In its early history, it was a popular destination for immigrants and free people of color.
After reading yet another blog post talking about how New York is losing migrants to other cities, I had an extremely insightful date. My date was with a woman who lived in Flatbush, at the outer, more car-oriented edge of Brooklyn. She drives everywhere. When I told her about my youth in Atlanta, she seemed downright envious: where I saw slavery to cars, she saw "quality of life" (English translation: cheap land).
To me this photo captures everything that is great about the Congress and CNU. Look how engaged everyone is talking with each other, conversations framed by sitting together in a wonderful public space in a redeveloping district. At CNU22 in Buffalo, the closing party. Thank you all for making this a part of my life.
Our new CEO Lynn Richards in center, talking with Ellen Dunham-Jones. Can you spot Andres Duany?
Randall O'Toole recently published a paper attacking rail transit, focusing in particular on four transit lines (Los Angeles' Regional Connector train, San Francisco's Third Street train, Seattle's University line, and Honolulu's new rail system). These transit lines are essentially hybrids between light and heavy rail; that is, they use smaller light-rail-type cars but are separated from streets. By and large, his discussion is pretty technical and I don't live in the cities he writes about, so I a
My favorite CNU 22 panel was one on street design. The panelists (including Victor Dover and John Massengale, authors of a new book on street design) discussed a variety of walkable streets. For me, the most memorable point was Massengale's discussion of a gigantic arterial in Barcelona; he pointed out that this seemingly very wide street accommodated pedestrians by 1) placing its slowest lanes (with on-street parking that slows down traffic) on the outside, so that at least part of the street did not have dangerously fast traffic and (2) using medians and street trees to make t