Establishing Separate Ownership In A Vertical Mixed Use Project


Developers of urban mixed-use projects must answer the question of how to distribute complementary land uses throughout a project.  Residential, retail, commercial and other uses can reside on a single parcel, or they can exist on separate adjacent parcels in close proximity to each other.  Both alternatives must contend with California's subdivision and condominium laws in order to establish separate ownership interests for purposes of sale and financing. A horizontal mixed-use project is one … [Read more...]

Requiring dedication of overflight easement as condition to issuance of building permits does not constitute an unconstitutional exaction


A recent California Court of Appeal decision considered the argument that a county requiring property owners to dedicate an overflight easement as a condition to issuance of a building permit was an unconstitutional exaction. The court concluded that the owners could not establish a taking because they were unable to show that the government simply appropriating the overflight easement, instead of requiring it as a condition of approval for the permit, would have been an unconstitutional taking. … [Read more...]

Investors Turn to Recovering Markets, Regional Cities and Secondary Property as the Competition for Prime European Real Estate Assets Increases


LONDON (January 16, 2013) — The competition for prime assets in Europe’s major real estate markets is leading investors to turn to recovering markets such as Ireland and Spain, regional cities and secondary property in search of returns, according to Emerging Trends in Real Estate® Europe 2014, a forecast published jointly by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC. Emerging Trends in Real Estate® Europe 2014 finds that 71% of respondents think that a shortage of suitable assets for acquisition … [Read more...]

Το μεγαλύτερο κτίριο του κόσμου άνοιξε τις πύλες του στην Κίνα


Πρόκειται για το Παγκόσμιο Κέντρο του Νέου Αιώνα (New Century Global Center) στο Τσενγκντού της επαρχίας Σετσουάν στην Κίνα που, σύμφωνα με τους κατασκευαστές του, μέσα σε αυτό θα μπορούσε να χωρέσει 20 φορές η Όπερα του Σίδνεϊ και τρεις φορές το Αμερικανικό Πεντάγωνο. Σύμφωνα με τη Βρετανική Independent έχει μήκος 500 μέτρα, πλάτος 400 μέτρα, χώρο δαπέδου 1,76 εκατομμύρια τετραγωνικά μέτρα, ενώ το ύψος του είναι 100 μέτρα ύψος. Το Παγκόσμιο Κέντρο του Νέου Αιώνα είναι το μεγαλύτερο (για την … [Read more...]

Contaminated but Remediated Soil and Cortese Listing Does Not Compel Preparation of EIR


As 2013 came to a close, the California court of appeal in Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council (1st Dist., Div. 4, 12/30/13, A136873) Cal.App.1st, 2013, upheld the City of Berkeley’s decision not to require an EIR in connection with a mixed use development project for two reasons: (1) appellants Parker Shattuck failed to identify substantial evidence to create a fair argument that the disturbance of contaminated soil would have a significant effect on the environment; and (2) the … [Read more...]

Eminent Domain Fight Has a Canadian Twist


A Canadian company has been threatening to confiscate private land from South Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico, and is already suing many who have refused to allow the Keystone XL pipeline on their property even though the controversial project has yet to receive federal approval. Randy Thompson, a cattle buyer in Nebraska, was informed that if he did not grant pipeline access to 80 of the 400 acres left to him by his mother along the Platte River, “Keystone will use eminent domain to acquire the … [Read more...]

PROPERTY RIGHTS: Wyo. man takes ‘rail trail’ fight with Forest Service to Supreme Court

planning law

FOX PARK, Wyo. -- Floor-to-ceiling windows in Marvin Brandt's two-story cabin offer a panoramic view of the snowy, wind-swept Medicine Bow forest. The scene reminds Brandt of his father's sawmill that once produced rail ties for the Union Pacific Railroad. The mill is long gone, and -- to Brandt's eye -- his view is ruined by a Forest Service bicycle trail that runs behind his property, then bisects his 83-acre tract, which is about 50 miles west of Laramie. Brandt, 69, has protested the … [Read more...]

Will California worsen its already terrible eminent domain laws?


When the infamous Kelo v. New London was decided in 2005, California was already one of the worst states in the nation when it came to eminent domain. In the five years leading up to that decision, California had used or threatened eminent domain against home and business owners some 858 times for the benefit of private developers. When the decision sparked public outrage, the California League of Cities and their allies in state government managed to get Proposition 99 passed—an initiative that … [Read more...]

2014: year of shale for planners

shale gas

Shale gas exploration will be a defining part of the planning scene in 2014.  In 2013, the Government used new best practice planning guidance and other announcements to help shale prospecting get off the ground.  Centrica’s 25% stake in Cuadrilla’s Bowland Shale operations confirmed that oil and gas majors see sufficient regulatory tailwinds to get involved.  More reforms, investment deals, planning applications and protests will follow in 2014. Information war Last summer’s protests over … [Read more...]

Muscular Action


The Bank of England is concerned that Britain is building half as many homes a year as Canada, despite having twice the population.  Planners are concerned about unplanned growth.  David Cameron’s support in early 2012 for a new Abercrombie Plan to protect the green belt and meet housing needs led to an RTPI/ Land Securities report.  But a Garden Cities Prospectus promised for high growth areas has not materialised.  Nick Boles’ confirmation in June this year that no resources would be allocated … [Read more...]

Zoning-law interpretation not an exact science


In the world of county zoning laws, not everything is black and white. Flathead County’s zoning regulations are laid out in a 233-page document that covers a wide breadth about what property owners can and can’t do with their land — if their property is zoned, that is. Many tracts of land throughout the county are unzoned, with even less regulatory oversight. There are plenty of times when an interpretation of zoning regulations is needed, though, and that’s when Planning Director BJ Grieve … [Read more...]

Fracking community benefits row threatens to derail shale gas exploration


Britain's hopes of a shale gas boom are at risk from a stand-off between the Government and council chiefs, who are demanding communities near fracking sites receive payments ten times higher than those on offer. The Local Government Association has warned that councils could deny drillers planning permission unless communities are guaranteed a 10 per cent share of revenues for “any gas which is found in their backyards”. But energy minister Michael Fallon and the head of the … [Read more...]

Even Controlling For Poverty, Urban Places Are Thinner Than Suburbs


A recent study purporting to debunk the link between sprawl and ill health has gotten much publicity recently.  Some commentators have trotted out the old argument that plenty of city-dwellers, especially in poor areas, are fat, so therefore sprawl really just doesn't matter. I am perfectly willing to concede for the sake of argument that poorer people tend to be fatter (though a CDC report suggests that this correlation is more modest than some believe).  But this doesn't mean that sprawl … [Read more...]

How A Giant Mall Parking Lot Turned Into A Park And A Walkable Community


If a sprawling mall parking lot is one of the symbols of suburban America, this particular lot is a perfect example of how the suburbs are changing: Six acres of pavement have just been turned into the beginnings of a walkable community, complete with a new park that’s helping restore a creek for local salmon. The shopping center next door--Northgate Mall--was one of the first suburban malls in the country, built in 1950. The surrounding neighborhood used to be the kind of place where … [Read more...]

How Boulder Became America’s Startup Capital


We had barely started our tour of the Chautauqua, Boulder's verdant 19th-century park, when my guide for the morning, local historian Carol Taylor, handed me the packet with the "cautionary tales." They were photocopied news articles, all from national publications, all featuring Boulder and all written--in Taylor's mind, anyway--by superficial out-of-towner nincompoops. "Namaste and Pass the Naan," read one's subhead. "You will be hard-pressed to find one person here, including your 85-year-old … [Read more...]

Tall is Good: How a Lack of Building Up is Keeping Our Cities Down


Early in Spike Jonze's new film Her, Joaquin Phoenix's character gazes out his Los Angeles window. As the camera pans, we see not a squat, sprawling metropolis, but a golden-lit landscape of skyscrapers stretching all the way to the horizon. When I saw the film last Friday night, this scene made me gasp. It wasn't just the shock of seeing L.A. rendered as a vertical city. It was because this L.A. of the future looked like a place where I wanted to live. This digitally enhanced, metastasized … [Read more...]

Washed Away: Huge North Shore Waves Reveal Hawaii’s Public Policy Gaps


Residents of Rocky Point on Oahu’s North Shore spent much of the last week scrambling to save their homes as 25-foot tall waves crashed offshore, sending frothy sea water to claw at their lanais, expose concrete foundations and threaten to pull entire houses into the sea. Amid forecasts that another round of high surf may strike this weekend, at least seven homes teeter on the edge of 10-to-15-foot drops. The damage exposes Oahu’s long-term inability to adequately regulate construction on … [Read more...]

Detroit’s abandoned buildings draw tourists instead of developers


DETROIT — He'd heard stories of ruin and blight, but that didn't prepare Oliver Kearney for what he saw: Prostitutes roaming the streets at 8 a.m., rubble-strewn parking lots overrun with weeds, buildings taken over by bright pink graffiti, the message scrawled on blackboards in deserted schools: "I will not write in vacant buildings." He took 2,000 photographs his first day. "No other American city has seen decline on this scale," Kearney said. "It's really a once-in-a-lifetime thing you're … [Read more...]

Η προστασία των αετών «φρενάρει» αιολικά πάρκα


Στην προσπάθειά της να προωθήσει προγράμματα ανανεώσιμης ενέργειας, η κυβέρνηση Ομπάμα βρέθηκε εν μέσω δύο πυρών: αυτών της βιομηχανίας αιολικής ενέργειας και εκείνων των περιβαλλοντικών οργανώσεων. Η ένταση μεταξύ των τριών αυτών παικτών οξύνθηκε αυτόν τον μήνα, μετά την ανακοίνωση της κυβέρνησης για αδειοδότηση αιολικών πάρκων, που βρίσκονται σε βιότοπους του αμερικανικού φαλακρού αετού. Περιβαλλοντικές οργανώσεις αντέδρασαν οργισμένα στην ανακοίνωση, υποστηρίζοντας ότι ενισχύει την ασυδοσία … [Read more...]

U.S. justices struggle with New York town prayer dispute

Scott of the Alliance Defending Freedom speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court after it heard arguments in the case of Town of Greece, NY v. Galloway, in Washington

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared deeply conflicted over what kind of public prayers should be acceptable at a town meeting as the justices confronted the delicate constitutional issue of church-and-state separation. The court is weighing whether the practice of allowing mainly Christian prayers before public meetings in the town of Greece, New York, violates the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment ban on government endorsement of religion. Several justices voiced concerns about the … [Read more...]

NJ Appellate Court Confirms Property Owners’ Right to Compensation For Loss of Ocean View


On October 28, 2013, the Superior Court of N.J., Appellate Division published an opinion in back to back appeals captioned Petrozzi v. City of Ocean City .  Both cases had their nascence long before Sandy casts its long shadow on New Jersey beaches and property owners.  Having no dune protection in place, in 1989, Ocean City reached out to the owners of the ocean-front property and asked whether they would agree to provide easements to the City to allow access to their private property and to … [Read more...]

Why Have Student Members on Local Planning Boards?


Have you ever bemoaned the fact that high school students don’t know much about how local government works or the importance of planning for the community’s future? In this short article, we’ll take a look at three communities that have taken this step. We’ll see how both the community and the students have benefitted — and we’ll consider some of the challenges in setting up this kind of arrangement. The three communities we’ll look at — Manchester and Burlington, Vermont, and Edina, Minnesota … [Read more...]

Judge denies attempt to close Sriracha plant


LOS ANGELES — A judge has denied a Southern California factory town's attempt to shut down production of the popular Sriracha chili sauce over complaints about the pungent smell of pepper and garlic fumes emanating from the factory. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien rejected the city of Irwindale's initial bid Thursday to cease operations at the Huy Fong Foods plant until the company can reduce the odor. "You're asking for a very radical order on 24-hour notice," O'Brien told … [Read more...]

A Great Column About a City Planner Moonlighting As a Developer


It's exciting to read a column on a local government ethics matter that shows as deep understanding and as clear explanation as the column by Ottawa Citizen editorial board member Mohammed Adam that appeared yesterday. The column focuses on the problems that arise when a city planner is a small property developer on the side. Both the chair of the city's planning committee and the city’s general manager of planning said that the city planner's side business was fine because she made sure that … [Read more...]

Planning and the new (new) localism – what chance of success?


Planning in a time of austerity is never easy – budgets are cut, needs are great and regulation can be seen as stifling growth.  In England we are in just such a position and in the midst of a reformulation of planning that is on the one hand meant to deliver growth and on the other designed to empower communities. Most of these reforms are being couched in the language of localism with community participation at the forefront of policy. However, these reforms raise a series of questions that … [Read more...]

How to make a city great


What makes a great city? It is a pressing question because by 2030, 5 billion people—60 percent of the world’s population—will live in cities, compared with 3.6 billion today, turbocharging the world’s economic growth. Leaders in developing nations must cope with urbanization on an unprecedented scale, while those in developed ones wrestle with aging infrastructures and stretched budgets. All are fighting to secure or maintain the competitiveness of their cities and the livelihoods of the people … [Read more...]



Detroit filed for bankruptcy. City planners received this news with shock and dismay, like the death of an ailing uncle, the conversations around the water coolers made it sound like the City was living on borrowed time. But the big question is why? Why Detroit, which in the 1950′s was the nation’s fourth largest city, with a population of 1.8 million, was allowed to slide into this sad state of affairs, and where it had to seek Court’s protection to ward off the debtors? Kevyn Orr, the … [Read more...]

Conservative Property Rights Movement Threatens “Rails to Trails” Program


The Rails-to-Trails program has long been a government program everyone can love. In 1983, Congress created the feel-good program to convert abandoned rail tracks into hiking and biking trails for public use. Not only did the program re-purpose ugly abandoned trackwork, but it did it on the cheap. When Congress passed the measure into law, the Congressional Budget Office found that it wouldn't cost federal taxpayers a dime. The railroad usually pulls up the tracks and leases or donates the … [Read more...]

HUD Takes a ‘Wait and See’ Approach on Eminent Domain


Despite acknowledging general concerns, Obama administration officials said it’s too soon for them to weigh into a messy debate between bondholders and community groups over the use of eminent domain to forcibly purchase and restructure underwater mortgages. Elliot Mincberg, a top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, responded earlier this week to three California lawmakers who had asked the agency to clarify its views on the proposed use of eminent domain by cities to … [Read more...]

SCOTUS Set To Consider 9 Petitions Challenging EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations


On September 30, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to grant petitions to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's decision upholding greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act. In part, the regulations were in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), in which the Court held that GHGs are an air pollutant as defined by section 302(g) of the Clean Air Act, … [Read more...]

Planning group mulls merger mandate


Despite the promised benefits, Fairfield County political leaders fear that a mandate to group towns and cities into larger councils of government for the purpose of infrastructure spending could invite higher taxes. Under legislation approved in the spring, the leaders of eight towns that make up the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization -- including Greenwich, Stamford, and Norwalk -- will have to merge into a new council of governments by 2015 to administer federal funds … [Read more...]

The suburbs are dead — and that’s not a good thing


One could argue that the resurgence of our cities does not necessarily portend the fall of the suburbs. But while many cities have been benefiting  from an influx of wealth, the suburbs have been suffering a rise in poverty. From 2000 to 2010, the number of poor in the suburbs or the nation’s largest metro areas grew by 53 percent to a record 15.3 million. And while poverty has increased in cities as well, the growth rate in the number of poor living in the suburbs was more than twice that in … [Read more...]

A Growth Strategy for Post-Bankruptcy Detroit


Americans are riveted by Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy—the largest in the country’s history. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr are engaged in a historic intervention with serious implications for Detroit’s citizens and businesses, pensioners and creditors. Yet they know that getting Detroit’s fiscal house in order—as difficult as that is—will not be sufficient to renew Detroit. Detroit needs a strong growth strategy to complement the state’s … [Read more...]

United States: State Law Preemption Of Local Land Use Regulations And The Supreme Court’s Recent Decision Upholding Citywide Ban On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


The recent spate of court cases dealing with local regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries ("MMDs") offers an interesting illustration of the interplay between federal, state and local laws that regulate the same subject matter, and the impact that dynamic has upon local land use regulation. Each of the three levels of government regulate the use and sale of marijuana, albeit for different purposes and in vastly different ways. Federal law continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I … [Read more...]

A Legal Blow to Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development

STRAFFORD, Vt. — LOST amid the Supreme Court’s high-profile decisions on affirmative action, voting rights and same-sex marriage was another ruling that may turn out to have a profound impact on American society. The court handed down a decision on Tuesday that, in the words of Justice Elena Kagan, will “work a revolution in land-use law.” While that may sound obscure, the decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District will result in long-lasting harm to America’s communities. … [Read more...]

The Local Economic Development Process For Reducing Urban Poverty


1.1 Introduction The issues of local economic development (LED) and urban poverty are intricate and dynamic. In the past eight publications of the Local Economic and Urban Poverty series, discussions have encompass several issues of theory and practice related to these concepts. Discussions have been informed mainly by literature drawing on key issues of strategy and critical issues affecting urban planning processes that focus on LED and urban poverty. All these previous discussions have also … [Read more...]

Does Paris need new skyscrapers?


A hundred and twenty years ago, the English designer William Morris was asked why, in the French capital, he spent so much time at the Eiffel Tower. "It is," he explained, "the only place I can't see it from." Today he would probably choose the Tour Montparnasse that rises like a 59-storey black gravestone where once was a neighbourhood of political dreamers, artists and poets. After they built this office block in 1973, the outcry was so loud, they banned new buildings over seven storeys … [Read more...]

It’s Time For City Planners To Adapt A New Model


I recently had my students study and dissect the plans for five cities, including the historic plans for one.  In all, ten plans.  These are the documents that cities routinely hire consultants to write, often compelled to do so by state statute. It seems its good municipal management to have a city plan.  Mayors and city councils are somehow more informed as to how to meet the future with ten and twenty year plans in file drawers.  Whether the citizens of a city might be the better for these … [Read more...]

Small Steps = Smart Planning


Here’s an interesting hypothetical: if you asked 100 planners to give their vision of the future, chances are that all 100 planners would give you a vision that is ten to twenty years away. I’d wager there isn’t one that would offer, say, a vision that is one year from today. Isn’t that strange? Whether it is two decades or twelve months, both are technically the future yet our association with “The Future” is always set on a distant horizon. This is a cognitive bias within our profession and … [Read more...]

UK Housing Crisis: Does the Government Actually Want Any New Homes Built?


With a limp-wristed tearing of the reams of planning law and a hit-and-hope punt at helping the consumer mortgage market - does the government actually want any new homes to be built? Housing demand means we need to build about 250,000 new homes a year just to keep up. In 2012, not even 100,000 housing starts were made. This is one of the reasons the UK's housing costs are the third highest in Europe as families' earnings are drained just on shelter. Reform to planning law is sluggish, … [Read more...]

Zoning Out Hydrofracking Survives Appeals


ALBANY, N.Y. (CN) - Communities opposed to hydrofracking can amend their zoning code to do so without running afoul of New York law, a state appeals court ruled. The Appellate Division decided Thursday that New York's Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law, which has regulated those industries since the 1960s, does not pre-empt new land-use ordinances adopted by Dryden, N.Y., a rural town just east of Ithaca. "We find nothing in the language, statutory scheme or legislative history of the statute … [Read more...]

Civita: San Diego’s New City within the City


Civita, a 230.5-acre (93 ha), transit-oriented development (TOD) in San Diego’s Mission Valley district, is the largest sustainable, mixed-use project ever undertaken in the region, in terms of the number of residential units and commercial space. Designed by local architect and planner Gordon Carrier, a principal at Carrier Johnson & Culture, the project is creating a high-density urban village organized around a network of parks and open space, with housing, retail, office, and civic … [Read more...]

Using The New Sim City, 6 Urban Planners Battle For Bragging Rights


MITroit’s volunteer firefighters were bravely extinguishing the string of household fires that had broken out in neighboring Champignon. Champignon, a blue-collar enclave whose economy was built upon the oil and ore beneath its citizens’ feet, was rife with jobs and industry, but lagged in city services. The selflessness of MITroit’s volunteer firefighters was even more pronounced considering Champignon had recently built a sewage runoff directed at MITroit. While MITroit’s unpaid firefighters … [Read more...]

Are Tall Buildings Bad For Downtown?


In the ongoing debate over height limits (especially in Washington, D.C., where even a 20-story office building is too tall to be allowed) one of the many sub-arguments is over whether height limits are good or bad for downtown. Supporters of height limits argue that if tall buildings are allowed, commercial activity will be concentrated in a small "skyscraper zone" and low-height blocks will become dead zones.  By contrast, they claim that if buildings are limited to 10 or 15 stories, … [Read more...]

The Power of Place: On Democracy and Public Participation in Planning


A recent post on the Project for Public Spaces’ (PPS) Placemaking Blog rekindled my long-held interest in the connection between public participation in the planning process and governance, a topic I explored a decade ago during my graduate studies. Driven by faint remembrances of arguments made under the fog of French philosophy and graduate student hubris I dusted off my thesis (what’s a comparable idiom for opening an ancient pdf? Jolt a file?) and investigated whether any ideas were worth … [Read more...]

How Data Is Helping Riders To Make Sense Of Their Transit System


NEW YORK — New Yorkers love to complain about their subway system: It's too slow, too expensive, too dirty. And, worst of all, it's too difficult to understand why. That part — the why — is gradually being answered as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority embraces and promotes the public dissemination of the massive amounts of data that the agency generates on everything from train delays to its budget. A group that works to keep the MTA accountable is set to release findings on Tuesday … [Read more...]

Zoning as Spiritual Practice: From me to we to Thee


Get right with God. Fix your zoning. That’s not something you hear regularly from the pulpit, maybe. But it’s gospel nonetheless. Here’s why: If there’s one common thread woven through the world’s most enduring religions, it’s the call to connectivity: Self to others to everything. Buddhism coaxes an awakening to at-oneness. You’re “saved” in Christianity when you open your heart to a deity who bridges the chasm between humanity and the divine through the intervention of a son born among … [Read more...]

Singapore and Hong Kong swap notes on making cities more liveable


As our urban spaces grow more crowded, planners in Hong Kong and Singapore delve deeper into what makes each metropolis tick. Urban living is a trend that's not going away. Half the world's population lives in cities and that figure will hit almost 70 per cent by 2050. What's more, cities are becoming denser, especially in Asia. It might sound a gloomy outlook, particularly when cities that regularly rank high as the "world's most liveable" - Melbourne, Vancouver, Vienna - are all low-density … [Read more...]

The Equitable Building and the Birth of NYC Zoning Law


The building that changed New York City's zoning laws began with grand but completely unrelated aspirations. When it was constructed in 1870 from a design by Gilman & Kendall and George B. Post, the Equitable Life Assurance Agency headquarters at 120 Broadway was considered a major breakthrough in the development of the skyscraper because of its skeletal steel frame, lightweight fireproof construction, and passenger elevators, a first in an office building. And still that wasn't enough for … [Read more...]

Explore Chicago’s Rich History in Planning and Design


When it comes to planning and design, Chicago boasts an exceptionally rich history. History enthusiasts will find the following sessions, mobile workshops, and events at APA’s National Planning Conference of particular interest: Hear Geoffrey Baer, Chicago’s Journalist Historian Geoffrey Baer has created fascinating video tours of Chicago history and the region for public television station WTTW and even hosts a special segment of Chicago Tonight during which he answers viewers’ questions … [Read more...]

Foreign Money Is Revisiting Greece


Investors Are Showing a Sense of Confidence, Promising New Money to Economy in Need of Cash ATHENS—Foreign investors are returning to Greece as fears of an exit from the euro zone recede, signaling a possible turning point in the country's three-year-long debt crisis. Amid a general rise in investors' willingness to buy riskier assets world-wide, everything from Greek real estate to energy stocks are finding buyers, promising investment in the country's cash-starved economy. A steady trickle … [Read more...]

The city state: How urban design affects our health


As a behavioural psychologist, James Sallis started out trying to understand how to motivate people to become more physically active. But, like many of his colleagues, he soon found that whatever worked only worked a little, on a few people, for a short time. Soon, Dr. Sallis came to see the modern urban environment as a big part of the problem. Place matters, he decided, and he set about investigating the design of public spaces and their influence on physical activity and the obesity … [Read more...]

By-Passing Tomorrow for Easy Implementation Today


Chuck Marohn, and his Strong Towns message, is revolutionary in that he is a credible transportation professional who is single-handedly taking on the transportation profession. And winning. Last year, Walt Chambers of Great Streets San Diego, and I brought Chuck to San Diego for one of his now ubiquitous Curbside Chats. In short, the Strong Town message is to be cognizant of the long-term ramifications of short-term infrastructure investments, especially ones that simply support auto-oriented … [Read more...]

Stony Point zoning proposals cover townhouses, accessory apartments


STONY POINT — A once-stalled effort to update the town’s comprehensive plan might soon be completed as the Town Board considers a variety of changes to its zoning code. In 2006, Stony Point formed a committee to determine whether its 1995 master plan should be amended, and if so, what areas needed to be updated. Seven years have passed since, and the town’s leadership changed twice. But the master-plan amendments haven’t been forgotten. The Town Board will likely hold a public … [Read more...]

Η Τουρκία προετοιμάζει στη Κων/πολη το μεγαλύτερο αεροδρόμιο στον κόσμο


Η Κωνσταντινούπολη ξεκίνησε τον αγώνα για την οικοδόμηση του μεγαλύτερου αεροδρόμιου στον κόσμο, καθώς την προηγούμενη Πέμπτη ξεκίνησε ο αντίστοιχος διαγωνισμός, για ένα αεροδρόμιο δυναμικότητας 150 εκατ. επιβατών που ο πολιτικός κόσμος της χώρας ελπίζει να κάνει την πόλη μια “πύλη” για τα εναέρια ταξίδια ανά τον κόσμο. Μιλώντας στους δημοσιογράφους στην Άγκυρα, ο υπουργός Μεταφορών Binali Yildirim δήλωσε ότι ο διαγωνισμός για το αεροδρόμιο είναι πιθανό να φτάσει το ποσό των περίπου 8,7 δισ. … [Read more...]

Controversial trolley garage in West Grove violates zoning code, experts say


A controversial trolley garage being built in Miami’s predominantly black West Grove neighborhood violates the Miami 21 zoning code, the ambitious blueprint approved three years ago to give order to the sometimes haphazard and inconsistent development in the city, according to the University of Miami’s Center for Ethics and Public Service. The garage, the center argues, should be considered industrial, not commercial as suggested by the city, and therefore not allowed. “Industrial use includes … [Read more...]

County a step closer to first zoning law


Washington County is moving closer to having its first zoning laws on the books. For the first time as an entire board, the Washington County Plan Commission will review a draft of an ordinance establishing regulations for use of land in Washington County for agricultural purposes, including confined feeding operations (CFOs) and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOS). A committee, working with consultant Kari Keller-Steele, has been working on language. "This is a high priority issue, … [Read more...]

Legislative preview: Thermal efficiency initiative, land-use planning top list for this session


A new legislative session is about to kick off, and legislators are gearing up to grapple over a number of controversial land-use and energy bills. Front and center for both the House and Senate Natural Resources and Energy committees will be how to lower heating costs for Vermonters and keep money within state borders. A thermal efficiency task force is slated to submit a final report to legislators this week with recommendations to finance weatherization upgrades for 80,000 homes by … [Read more...]

Would Change in City Land-Use Laws Encourage More Businesses?


Under Olivette's existing land-use laws, a developer who wanted to build a shopping center with a coffee shop and a drive-thru window would have to find at least six acres of land for the project. To put that in perspective, the Shops at Price Crossing with Starbucks and Fallon's Bar & Grill is a four-acre site. So is Olivette Center, with Party City and the Olivette Diner. The city's Planning and Community Design Commission is considering changes in Olivette land-use that would ease that … [Read more...]

A Brief History of the Birth of Urban Planning


At America's first urban planning conference, held in New York in 1898, a British planner asked whether he and his colleagues were striving for beautiful people or beautiful cities. Is urban planning about physical design, he wondered, or about making things easier for the people who live in our urban spaces? It was an essential question for the field, which really wasn't born until the early 20th century. Before then, there were three types of people thinking about how a city should look and … [Read more...]

Koontz Update: Government Argues It Denied Permit after Merely Suggesting Mitigation


The governmental agency has filed its brief responding to the property owner in Koontz v. St Johns River Water Management District, No. 11-1447 (cert. granted Oct. 5, 2012). This is the case before the U.S. Supreme Court where the property owner is arguing that the Florida Supreme Court disregarded significant constitutional protections, while asking the Court to establish that the Nollan-Dolan exactions test applies to exactions other than real property, such as where a permit applicant is … [Read more...]

Beyond Density: The Art and Science of Walkable Neighborhoods


The business of place-making – part science, part art – has had a long evolution, but American cities have never needed good urban design more urgently than at this moment. Changing demographics, energy savings and environmental concerns all mandate getting great urban neighborhoods just right. The evolution of town planning in the New World arguably began with the Laws of the West Indies, the basic layout for settlement provided by the Spanish crown – essentially a grid, centered on a central … [Read more...]

COLUMN-UK planning law could fast-track shale gas: Wynn

shale gas

A proposed law could ease British planning regulations for shale gas developers after the country gave the green light for a resumption of exploration last week, but local support will be vital for even limited production. A high population density in much of the European Union and Britain is partly responsible for planning regulations which include detailed public consultation which in the present form will test the development of a shale gas industry in its infancy. The complexity of the … [Read more...]

‘Relaxed’ planning laws face hostility


GOVERNMENT proposals to relax planning laws on home and business extensions are being opposed by Harborough District Council. Councillors from the Conservative and Lib Dem groups on the authority agreed on Monday to protest at the plans put forward by their Government counterparts which would allow homeowners to build larger extensions without planning permission. The coalition’s proposal is designed to boost the economy by green-lighting more projects. It proposes a temporary three-year … [Read more...]

China Opens Longest High-Speed Rail Line


HONG KONG — China began service Wednesday morning on the world’s longest high-speed rail line, covering a distance in eight hours that is about equal to that from New York to Key West, Fla., or from London across Europe to Belgrade, Serbia.  Trains traveling 300 kilometers, or 186 miles, an hour, began regular service between Beijing and Guangzhou, the main metropolis in southeastern China. Older trains still in service on a parallel rail line take 21 hours; Amtrak trains from New York to … [Read more...]

No one likes a city that’s too smart

Songdo smart city

Let's hope Rio rather than Songdo or Masdar is the inspiration for the urbanists gathering in London this week. This week London hosts a jamboree of computer geeks, politicians, and urban planners from around the world. At the Urban Age conference, they will discuss the latest whizz idea in high tech, the "smart city". Doing more than programming traffic, the smart city's computers will calculate where offices and shops can be laid out most efficiently, where people should sleep, and how all … [Read more...]

Πόλεις πάνω στις αρχές του shan – shui


Η αστικοποίηση εκτοξεύει τα μεγέθη της πληθυσμιακής πυκνότητας των πόλεων, και σπάζει τους δεσμούς με φυσικό και ανθρωπομετρικό περιβάλλον με την επαναφορά των αρχών του shan - shui, -η πόλη του νερού και του βουνού. Η shan - shui πόλη βασίζεται στην λατρεία των δύο αυτών στοιχείων που αποτελούν την βάση του παραδοσιακού πολεοδομικού σχεδιασμού στην Κίνα, και επιδιώκει τον επαναπροσδιοριμό της σχέσης του κατοίκου της πόλης με τη φύση. Βασικά στοιχεία στο τοπίο των αρχαίων κινέζικων οικισμών, το … [Read more...]

Urban Legend: Can City Planning Shed Its Pseudoscientific Stigma?

Without a strong scientific foundation, urban design theory may find itself extinct within the coming decades By Sarah Fecht In 1961 urbanist Jane Jacobs didn't pull any punches when she called city planning a pseudoscience. "Years of learning and a plethora of subtle and complicated dogma have arisen on a foundation of nonsense," she wrote in The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Fifty years later the field is still plagued by unscientific thought, according to urban theorist Stephen … [Read more...]

American Planning Association: Healthy planning


Healthy Planning: an evaluation of comprehensive and sustainability plans addressing public health. … [Read more...]

Making Smarter Cities By Making Smarter Systems


The 2012 National Football League season is in full swing. And, each week flocks of fans head to stadiums around the country to cheer (or boo) for the home team--about 80,000 people per stadium. The unique challenge of stadiums, which are practically cities unto themselves, is the management of intensely complex infrastructures that provide food, water, medical facilities, climate, and even traffic control. All this may require pinpointing exact locations or managing operations across tens, … [Read more...]

The Uselessness of Economic Development Incentives


This week, the New York Times ran an important series of articles on state and local incentives to business. The reporting was terrific, but even better is the data set the Times put together on the scale and scope of these incentives. The paper points out that its reporters spent some 10 months compiling data from states, cities, and counties. All told, states, cities, and counties give away some $80 billion to companies each year, including both expenditures and tax abatements, according to … [Read more...]

Jail the Planners for Not Preventing Sandy!


Ed Blakely indicts the planning profession for failing to protect our communities from the threat of a changing climate. How can we plan places that serve as bulwarks from the worst physical traumas, while providing economic and social resiliency? Only a week ago, scientists and professionals all over the world were appalled by the conviction and sentencing of Italian Seismologists for failure to predict an earthquake in L'Aquilla, Italy. This seems absurd. Earthquakes are not really … [Read more...]

City of paper urbanism: how Mumbai can make plans it may actually implement

Skyscraper for one: billionaire Mukesh Ambani's 27-storey home 'Antilia' towers over adjacent apartment buildings in Altamount Road, South Mumbai. Photo: Kerwin Datu

As the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai progresses its newest 20-year Development Plan for the city, Kristen Teutonico considers the barren legacy of past plans and argues that many small interventions might do more for the city than a grand plan that may ultimately be ignored entirely. As Mumbai drafts its Development Plan for the next 20 years, it is apparent that not much has changed in the last forty. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) publishes plans on a 20-year … [Read more...]

Graffiti: Art, Political/Social Statement, Vandalism, Meaningless Tagging, Violation of Property Rights?

(Provocative urban graffiti by Banksy, found at:

In one of my past blogs, I posted some examples of urban graffiti with commentary.  On various groups on Linkedin, I posed questions about urban graffiti for the professionals on this site.  All of the responses were heartfelt and many were eloquent; varying from statements exclaiming its social message of graffiti to stating it was vandalism and against property rights.   Here are some of the selected comments in one location: Only if it is actual art and not just people writing their names … [Read more...]

An iPad Guide To Building The Perfect Sustainable City


"ECOLOGICAL URBANISM," A BOOK OF ESSAYS PUBLISHED BY THE HARVARD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN IN 2010, WAS DESTINED TO FALL OUT OF DATE. THE IPAD VERSION WON’T HAVE THAT PROBLEM. In 2010, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design published Ecological Urbanism, a book of interdisciplinary essays on sustainable city-building. But the project had one inescapable shortcoming: When you’re dealing with a field that’s evolving so rapidly, a finite, physical book is liable to be outdated by the time it leaves … [Read more...]

Η «κατακόρυφη πόλη» των MVRDV


Μια «Κατακόρυφη πόλη» θα κατασκευάσει η MVRDV σε συνεργασία με τις The Jerde Partnership, ARUP, και Wijaya Karya - Benhil Property στην πόλη Jakarta της Ινδονησίας, που θα πάρει τη μορφή ουρανοξύστη ύψους 400μ. με ένα ευρύ φάσμα διαθέσιμων αστικών υποδομών εντός των εγκαταστάσεων του. Αίτηση έχει ήδη αποσταλεί στην ιδιοκτήτρια εταιρία του οικοπέδου για την έγκριση της κατασκευής, και δεδομένου του διεθνούς ενδιαφέροντος από εκπροσώπους διαφόρων χώρων της αγοράς ακινήτων, οι εργασίες θα … [Read more...]

A Michigan City Bets on Food for Its Growth


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The idea of building a year-round public market to tie the city’s skilled chefs to the region’s big complement of young farmers had already attained an air of inevitability by the time this Midwestern city held its first Restaurant Week three summers ago. The Downtown Market under construction in Grand Rapids, Mich., will be a center for commerce in culinary arts and food. Next year, just in time for the fourth annual Restaurant Week, Grand Rapids is … [Read more...]

City Approves Office Buildings Atop Chelsea Market


 The City Council on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a plan allowing a developer to build two office buildings atop Chelsea Market, a project that would significantly expand a familiar neighborhood landmark which houses a popular food emporium. The final vote, 41 to 1, was an anticlimactic conclusion to a raucous public process over months in which many residents bitterly criticized the plan. The proposal had been a nettlesome one for Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, … [Read more...]

Privatizing Greece, Slowly but Not Surely


 THE government inspectors set out from Athens for what they thought was a pristine patch of coastline on the Ionian Sea. Their mission was to determine how much money that sun-kissed shore, owned by the Greek government, might sell for under a sweeping privatization program demanded by the nation’s restive creditors.  What the inspectors found was 7,000 homes — none of which were supposed to be there. They had been thrown up without ever having been recorded in a land registry. “If … [Read more...]

50-year land use plan approved in S. Oregon


It's designed to attract businesses, promote agriculture, save money GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Once resistant to the idea of state-supported land-use planning, Jackson County and six cities within its boundaries have made their way down a long and winding road to make tough decisions on where jobs will be created, how cities will grow, and where farmland will be protected over the next 50 years. After 12 years of hard work by a variety of participants, the Regional Problem Solving Plan for … [Read more...]

Chingford builder fined £500 for flouting planning law

planning law

A BUILDER has finally admitted flouting planning laws after a dispute with neighbours dating back to the 1980s. Brian Gage, of Dale View Avenue, was described by a judge as a "thorough nuisance" as he fined him for ignoring an enforcement notice issued by Waltham Forest Council. The saga began in the mid 1980s when the 56-year-old was accused by neighbours of building on his land without permission. Dale View Residents' Association said it continued to push for action, but it wasn't … [Read more...]

Wukan’s Woes Show Risks of Delaying Land Law Reform in China


By Bloomberg News on November 13, 2012 Lin Zuluan, head of the council in the village of Wukan, has the same dinner interruption almost every evening. Unhappy residents come with complaints, almost always bringing up one topic: getting back their land. A year ago, the villagers of Wukan, in southern China, were hopeful after they grabbed world attention when they took to the streets accusing local leaders of selling their land to developers. They forced the politicians out of office and … [Read more...]

Amend the state law to stop home building along the coast

2839_gold coast beach

By ROBERT FROMER I fully agreed with the Nov. 1 editorial "Reform federal flood insurance program" concerning the wasteful subsidized restoration of buildings ravaged by severe storms along the coastline. But, the editorial only painted half a portrait of the root programmatic causes contributing to the devastating consequences of such calamities. In Section 22a-109(b)(4) of the General Statutes, the Connecticut Coastal Management Act permits zoning regulations to exempt construction of … [Read more...]

Legal challenge filed in Balto. Co. zoning referendum


Supporters submit more signatures November 09, 2012|By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun Lawyers representing developers of the former Solo Cup and Middle River Depot properties asked the Baltimore County elections board Friday to reject petitions for a referendum to overturn zoning votes, saying the signatures were obtained by fraud. A memo they filed with the board also argues that the law does not allow local zoning decisions to go to referendum and that petitions that circulated … [Read more...]

Clinical drug trial company in zoning snare may get relief


HEY — Finding a land-use niche for a clinical drug trial company in trouble with the law is taking longer than expected. So to the dismay of one City Council member, the board agreed Wednesday to let the city's attorney try to postpone a court case stemming from the citation against Advanced Research Institute owner Susan Randall for operating without the proper zoning. In May, New Port Richey Code Enforcement cited Randall for operating her clinical drug trial business at 6716 Congress … [Read more...]

SIMMONS: 1910 building law for D.C. is height of absurdity today


By Deborah Simmons - The Washington Times Sunday, November 11, 2012 Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, who chairs the House panel overseeing D.C. affairs, is really onto something that D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and council member Kenyan McDuffie should give considerable attention to. Mr. Issa wants the National Capital Planning Commission to study changing the Height of Buildings Act of 1910, an outdated federal law that prohibits skyscrapers like … [Read more...]

New Pennsylvania law aimed at helping communities overcome blight


PITTSBURGH — A new Pennsylvania law allows local governments to take control of blighted properties and cancel tax liens and bank foreclosures so the land can be sold to responsible owners or developers willing to improve hard-luck neighborhoods. Gov. Tom Corbett late last month signed the Land Bank Act to streamline the cumbersome process of returning delinquent properties to tax rolls in towns struggling to boost their tax bases. More than 300,000 vacant properties are scattered across … [Read more...]

School wins $1.1M award in land-use dispute with city


By DOUG SHERWIN, The Daily Transcript Monday, November 5, 2012 A federal jury recently awarded the Academy of Our Lady of Peace $1.1 million in the school's land-use dispute with the city of San Diego. Lawyers for the all-girls' Catholic high school claim the award is the largest religious land-use verdict in the history of California. School officials filed a religious discrimination lawsuit in 2009 after the city declined to issue building permits for two new facilities Our Lady of … [Read more...]

Downtown Project: A Community Driven Urban Plan for Las Vegas


It began with the relocation of the Zappos Headquarters, now owned by Amazon, from its offices in Henderson, Nevada, to the former city hall in downtown Las Vegas:  an idea to transform the struggling part of downtown Las Vegas into a vibrant community with economic opportunities for young professionals along with an incentive for a variety of companies to build their foundations providing jobs and income for the city.  Despite America’s association with the Las Vegas strip, the downtown has a … [Read more...]

H Ν. Κορέα ετοιμάζει τουριστική μεγαλούπολη ύψους €207 δις


Η Ν. Κορέα ετοιμάζεται να εκθρονίσει το Ντουμπάι, καθώς σχεδιάζει να ανοικοδομήσει μελλοντικά μια μεγαλούπολη στο λιμάνι Incheon των νησιών Yongyu-Miiu, οπού υπάρχει κοντά στην περιοχή και διεθνές αεροδρόμιο. Η μεγαλούπολη θα εκτείνεται σε 80 τετραγωνικά χιλιόμετρα και οι σχεδιαστές υποστηρίζουν ότι θα είναι το μεγαλύτερο τουριστικό σχέδιο στον κόσμο, εφόσον καταφέρουν να το ολοκληρώσουν. Όπως αναφέρει το tweaktown, το πρότζεκτ περιλαμβάνει και μία τεράστια λωρίδα, οι διαστάσεις της οποίας … [Read more...]