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...]