Very good. The comments by Piscitelli and DiStefano's arrogant, childlike temper tantrum show this is all about power, money and control, which they do not want to share. They are not about ideas at all. That said, they have to be confronted at every turn, putting them and the CT DOT on the hot seat until the public gets to see there is another way being put forth by people with a serious alternative.
I don't know where Florida gets his evidence that towers limit people from meeting their neighbors. I live in a tower and lived in another tower for the last 12 years and I can say it's just not true.
For those of us that look with great hope at the "Vancouver" strategy of urbanism - that is creating a diversity of housing stock in the city center by incorporating high rise development into the mixture - be reminded that our concern for density is about overcoming an economic obstacle. Primarily: how to make housing more affordable in downtown. In fact, we really are thinking broadly and sensitively about an economic strategy to attract and retain creatives of all walks of life.
I didn't attend the CNU gathering, but I was taken aback by off-the-cuff tweets originating from the conference that ascribed to those of us engaged in this urbanistic challenge a so-called "density fetish". It was a very surprising, abruptly divisive slap to the face.
You would be mistaken to believe that urbanists in the "density" camp do not put richly textured, high-quality, walkable urban environments that stir the human spirit in the front and center of our thoughts. Perhaps Florida may be mis-characterizing or belittling the values of urbanists with affordability in mind. We heed the input of Ed Glaeser and Ryan Avent because they set for us the challenge: how to broaden the enjoyment and benefits of urbanism by granting a more diverse population access to it. ...If you have alternate methods, by all means, suggest them!
From my understanding, lmn architects was not complaining of Florida's rejection of high rise buildings in any way that you are. lmn architects was primarily looking at how important it is to define 'high rise' in order to better understand the arguments being made. (S)he points to the fact that many people jump to large 20+ storey towers when thinking of high rise, while Florida advocates for "Jane Jacobs density" that would imply human scale, context specific development, the most famous of which was her neighborhood of 4-5 story walkup apartments. lmn architects then goes on to point out the benefits of 5-7 story buildings in that they retain many of the benefits of 4-5 story buildings while also providing the density required to support underground parking in many cases.
Your argument for high rises seems to rest on energy efficiency, the benefits of density for mass transit, and the benefits of density for encouraging mixed-uses. Your argument is flawed at its beginning, however, because you address the difference between 1-4 story development and 20+ story towers, essentially comparing very high density to low density. Anyone reading this article is aware that very high density development is more energy efficient and encourages more transit ridership and mixed-use development when compared to low density development.
As for the concept of verticle suburbs, I think you might be missing the reason why Florida doesn't like tower apartment buildings. He doesn't outright say this, but when he refers to the loneliness of living at the top of a tower and the need for "Jane Jacobs density", he's referring to the importance of the built environment in cultivating strong social connections. In meeting your neighbors, towers are similarly limiting to suburbs.
Chris Alexander and J.H. Crawford demonstrate that four or five stories is enough to create the density necessary to support transit and retail.
If building height is the only factor, then Manhattan must be a disaster --- but it's not. What really matters is what happens on street level regardless of building height. In other words, it all depends.
Thanks, Mark for the cost-effective idea on density. It's good to hear that Seattle is eliminating parking requirements, as well.
Thanks for the comment, Mina. It is indeed sad to see when history and culture are ignored in new developments regardless of the label.
More than 20 years ago, several cities in the Puget Sound region adopted an amendment to the building code that allowed a hybrid form of construction that we call "5 over 1."
It sometimes refers to stories, but it really refers to the type of construction identified in the building code. It stacks 4-5 floors of largely Type 5 wood frame construction on top of one (sometimes two) story of Type 1 concrete construction. That change dramatically lowered costs. Initially, fire marshals were fearful of "babies burning," but I am not aware of a single fire in the hundreds of buildings and tens of thousands of units that have been built since. All floors have to be sprinklered anyway, so the risk is low.
Seattle made the change first, as it is a "home rule" city with its own code, but every other major jurisdiction in the region has followed with similar changes. It has been a particularly useful form of development for TOD's.
The first level is a combination of retail and parking. And the density is high enough to pay for placing most of the parking below grade. (Rarely will densities under 40 du's/acre justify that.) Consequently, the pattern of development has shifted from buildings alternating with parking lots to buildings surrounded by urban streets, with shop-filled street walls.
Its also obviated the need for "liner buildings" often used elsewhere, as there is nothing that needs to be hidden. A recent twist to this has been the realization that, at this density, many residents will walk, bike or take transit. The City of Seattle is now eliminating parking requirements, following the research of Donald Shoup's book "The High Cost of Free Parking."
We are de-coupling the American attitude of "entitlement" when it comes to parking and housing. If you want it, that's fine. But you are going to have to pay for it.
I have always been a huge fan of Florida -- the man, not necessarily the State.
But I think he needs to be a bit more specific when he uses the term "high rise."
When some people hear that phrase, they immediately conjure up the image of 50-story towers in Singapore, Dubai, or New York.
One the other hand, I've seen people in small towns call anything more than two stories a high rise -- always subtly implying that anyone who would live there would be undesirable to have in their community.
According to building codes, "high rise" construction starts with anything above 75 feet. Not the roof, but the level of the uppermost floor slab. (Ironically, the origin of this is the length of the longest ladder of a fire department!) Buildings above that point must be constructed with materials, structural systems, mechanical systems, and life safety systems that increase the cost dramatically -- and hence, the price point. Yes, in some cities that has gotten to be absurd, with 3000 sf homes in the sky. Vertical, class-based forms indeed.
However, there are many delightful forms of housing that are 5-7 stories in height. Although we tend to associate Jane Jacobs' writing with the stereotypical 4-5 story walk-up row house, many aspects of sustainability can be gained by a mid-rise form. Again, a one-size-fits-all approach is never good; its all about choices and context.
But way too many people are dismissive of mid-rise forms of development as they automatically lump them into the high-rise category.
The interesting thing about that density (roughly 70-100 du's /acre) is that it usually justifies placing parking underground or even reducing the requirement altogether. And it helps support the provision of transit at headways so short that one does not need to worry about a schedule. You are either 5 minutes early or 5 minutes late.
I really enjoyed the article and the challenge to think differently both about development density but also its intensity. I would add another consideration to this - to rethink cities' relationship to open space. Cities over history and across the world have historically been dense but have evolved mechanisms to relate in sensitive ways to the larger regions they are set in and the natral resources essential to their survival, and to include open spaces and mixed uses that allow for visually and functionally rich humane and pedestrian environments.
A long overlooked issue in planning and designing cities is land use - the functional characteristics that drive activity and interaction between people and their built and natural environments, regardless of architectural styles. Now more than ever, a holistic view of interrelationships that make up urban environments is sorely needed. This holistic view also requires an accompanying recognition of the highly diverse and unique characteristics of places, cultures and the ecologies that they are a part of. It is truly sad to see western high rise urbanist and 'New Urbanist' style developments in developing countries that copy alien architecture, infrastructure and layouts, while ignoring completely the richness of their heritage and history and indeed their unique sense of community and character. Worst of all are proposed 'starchitect' design proposals in various parts of the world that claim to bring character to their contexts, through standardized 'no-place' structures of ego, that diminish and overwhelm and subsequently damage an historic fabric.
A genuine collaboration between the planning, design and professions is long overdue. The dialog on better cities (and settlements) needs to move beyond headers, labels and messianic ideologies that box in our thinking and make us as intolerant as those we critique.
This is the confusion that always arises once the revolutionaries come to power. Does their philosophy spring from their underdog status and, if so, what remains of it once they are in charge?
Does one examine Jane's work as a tale of a strong government overreaching brought down by the little guy? This is one narrative to bring from those events.
The other is to see her work as a manual on the proper way to think about about the form and morphology of urban space. Planners have read it both ways and have taken both ideas from her work. It underlies what I see as the two philosophies that exist in our field: Planner as facilitator of participation and; and Planner as the urban system's master integrator.
We are now faced with the irony of saying "Jane Jacobs was right, we should demolish this low-density suburban neighborhood and get the public development authority to build a brand new urbanist neighborhood"
As in many other spheres of American Life, we still struggle to get over the 60s and get on with our lives. Somehow we are going to make peace with the ghosts of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses if we are going to do the work that needs to be done in 2012.
I really enjoyed your posting on "Density without High Rises". I have studied the densities of Paris, where I lived for many years, and have never found a better solution than the six-story mid-rise building with commercial at ground level. (See my Blob on New Urban News Salons regarding Paris Density).
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
I am glad you are enjoying the series on Missing Middle housing. I am going to respectfully disagree that the primary reason that Gen Y/Millenials are chosing smaller, more urban housing in walkable urban environments is because that is all they can afford. I am sure this is partly why the demand for smaller units is growing (although the demand for smaller, higher-quality units is growing as well), but there are lots housing markets that are proving that this is the lifestyl choice of preference for many Milenials.
I think unfortunately smaller, more dense units in non-walkable/suburban environments are the only affordable choice in many cities across the country that never had or ruined their urban neighborhoods. I call this "density without amenity" because the only reason you would live in these places is because it is the only place you can afford and you move as soon as you can afford to.
Cincinnati does face some demographic/class/racial tensions, but the cultural diversity is amazing in this city and this diversity will be reinforced and built upon in the City's future planning. This may be a bit naive of me, but I feel this is partly a generational issue that will also fade with the Gen Y crowd and their kids.
Cincinnati is ready for a renaissance-They have an unmatched stock of the highest quality historic urban housing in their existing neighborhoods. These neighborhoods need to provide the amenities for residentis (main streets, transit, etc.) before they can compete with the burbs and bring people back.
Has it occured to anyone that New Haven, Connecticut Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., might stand to gain, personally, from the deal with Massachusetts developer Carter Winstanley to build a medical research facility in the area?
These are precisely the kinds of questions that should have been asked by those at the Congress for New Urbanism session in Florida last week, by attendees at other planning meetings and by journalists reporting on stories like this.
Opposition to good planning, in general, and urbanism, specifically, has been growing in recent years, and getting uglier by the day.
We're not going to win this important battle against sprawl, pollution and oil dependency by pretending there aren't paid shills behind such opposition.
What we need to do is ask the hard questions and put opponents more on the defensive than ever before.
Here is a relevant discussion with Kunstler and Salingaros: Panel Discussion: James Howard Kunstler and Nikos Salingaros—Part 1
Actually, we've been spared a lot of that in the more recent redevelopment. The main neighborhood seeing transformation right now is called "Over-The-Rhine," just north of downtown. It's purported to be the largest intact collection of Italianate urban buildings in the country. Its peak population was around 50,000, which was probably very over-crowded, but its more reasonable population in 1970 was around 20,000. It's now down to about 5,000.
This means that redevelopment doesn't exert such a strong push - there's some room for it. The redevelopment agency mostly responsible - 3CDC - takes on a few blocks at a time, so is able to really focus resources, including capital, developers, and housing and police enforcement. While there certainly has been some conflict with the pre-existing residents and institutions, and will certainly be more, for the most part these small areas simply see huge improvement, the bad guys get uncomfortable and leave.
We did have a situation back in the '90s that sounds like what you describe. The Main Street corridor through Over-The-Rhine saw major investment and became a really hot entertainment district for a while. A lot of residents were summarily dumped out of their living situations. Its popularity cooled pretty badly when a musician was shot after a gig. The (seemingly) final blow was when the entire neighborhood erupted in riots after a police shooting in 2000. Interestingly, this corridor has not been one of the targets of redevelopment, yet it is undeniably making a comeback. It seems like it's more organic this time around, with Main Street being just a good place for positive spill-over effects from the targeted areas.
Time will tell how this all works out, but it sure looks hopeful right now.
"What the Millennials want, the boomers need..."
I don't think it's so much that we Millenials "want" modest housing in an urban setting; rather it's all we can afford!
Consider this emerging formula: job uncertainty (it makes more sense to rent from a central, urban job-hunting location than to buy a house just to have to sell it once you're suddenly fired and have to move to a new job) + unaffordability of starting a family (we have the option to look for smaller places 'cause we can't afford to have kids and thus don't have to worry about housing them) + supernatural levels of college debt + volatility of gas prices (making transit more attractive even though municipalities continue to strip transit to the bone) + increased need to engage in young urban social networks (in conjunction with social media gagdets) to glean possible job opportunities = increased "preference" for modest urban housing. It's more a semiconscious adjustment to changing social conditions/necessities than a free-floating "lifestyle choice."
Great series on "missing middle" housing, though! Still, as with other troubled cities, I'm guessing Cincinnati faces the same demographic/class/racial tensions that might prevent any broad-based revitalization (tensions and frictions that were largely absent from the west coast cities, hence their amazing stability). The emerging phenomenon of wild, violent urban "flash mobs" that specifically target hapless (plugged in and oblivious to their surroundings) Millenials or defenseless retirees may put a real damper on any 'back to the city' notions in the Midwest and east.
Orlando has quite an entertainment district (extends from Church Street to Orange Avenue to Wall Street), which appears to be a button down office district during the day but comes alive late nigt. There is a problem, however, of activating some of the area for office workers due to the large amounts of bars and clubs that are closed during the day. And, with malls ringing the CBD, retail doesn't have a draw unless it's serving a very local need.
Recent experiences here have caused us to re-examine our ground floor requirements - making them more flexible, but requiring would-be bars and restaurants in the future to open by 12:00 PM 5 days a week.
The diversity of downtown living has increased also; the 25-year olds can live at the 55 West building right on Church Street. They can also live at the Sanctuary in the Eola Square area, further from the action... which is attracting a whole range of demographics.
So, the my point is, if entertainment is your downtown's bread and butter for ground floor uses, encourage it. Better than being empty, and you may just appeal to the next generation. BTW: Usually Generation X-ers and Y-s get labeled as 25 year olds by the baby boomers - we just look younger than you did.
This discussion does not seem to address the role of government "% for Art" commissions being funded from a dedicated revenue sources. After many false starts with "plop art," which managed to offend a maximum number of tax-paying citizens, cities and counties developed a more managed and open process with artists, managers/curators, government leaders, and citizens.
Getting away from the tarnished "% for art" moniker, programs are referred to as "public art and design." Artists are involved in the design of public spaces and amenities. In many instances, the design team for a new government facility includes an artist along with the architects and engineers. Some enlightened communities extend these programs to significant projects that are private in nature.
Making this work is not easy, and an important role for a public art project manager has evolved. This is the person acting as the go-between for artist, government agency, local businesses and neighbors. They lead the artist, many of whom have never worked on a government commission, through elaborate contractual, financial, and public involvement issues.
Does all of this guarantee that the final product will be of significant artistic merit? Of course not. Sometimes projects result in “safe” art that fails to capture our imagination, prompt a creative dialogue between the artist and the viewer, or enhance sense of place and community. But, a well-managed public art and design program minimizes the risk of meaningless or offensive intrusions into the daily life of residents. Are there lessons here for the mural/graffiti projects that Phil refers to?
Suppose the worst obstacles to walking is the huge distances to everything in American cities. Here, where I live in Europe everything is at the corner. Very little of the "American Dream" sprawl that makes driving mandatory.
Patricia, Fernando, Daniel, Marco, Quinton and Beth all show a good understanding of Jane Jacobs' actual principles. If we knew what the Tea Party actually stands 'for' and not just 'against,' maybe it might be possible to compare them to Jane. And for those who think historic preservation has "frozen" SoHo, Tribecca, NoHo and other historic districts, I suggest a vigorous Jane Jacobs Walk to observe all the new buildings, many by 'starchitects,' approved by the Landmarks Commission in historic districts there and all over the city. And by the way, NIMBYISM hasn't stopped a big project in NYC since the defeat of Westway which saved the city and the West Side Stadium that left room for a major mixed use redevelopment on the West Side on the verge of happening. Why not refer to Moses as a 'house husband' if the 'housewife' label must be appended to Jane?
Roberta Brandes Gratz, author of The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs (2010, Nation Books).
Well, whatever the aesthetic merits of a mural, we should know by now that they're hardly "revitalization" silver bullets, even though many desperate municipalities continue to see them as such.
Pop pyschology and silly Warholesque murals have been promoted in struggling cities since the 1960s. Has any one city come back to life solely because of murals? (New York, interestingly enough, decided to suppress the graffiti art on its subways and buildings - many pieces were quite beautiful and quite mural-like - because the city understood that graffiti art signaled decay to the average person - "Broken Windows.")
Even today, what's the easiest way for a normal person to tell they're in a bad neighborhood? Besides the trash and abandonment, you know you're in a bad area when you see "hopetimistic" murals pop up everywhere! There aren't many murals in Society Hill because it's self evident that the residents there don't need to engage in meaningless sociological therapeutics to halfheartedly try to convince themselves they're living in a great physical environment - they just build/maintain a great physical environment!
As for using murals and graffiti "art" to give blank walls facing the street some visual interest, in the long run wouldn't it just be better if cities enforced rules against the construction of deadening blank street walls? This problem was unheard of before WWII!
Still, a great mural is a great mural. Unfortunately, with the exception of the top image from Philly, all the examples above are pretty pathetic. "Rebellious" graffiti art (example 3) has turned into bland, meaningless pastiche (if everyone is chic-anarchic, then no one is), and the other stuff is just too abstract and mundane (like the silly Pop Art doodads from the 1960s, which is where I suspect most artists are still stuck) to provide all that much visual interest to a blank wall.
Just don't build any more blank walls!
This is our fault, not Charles's. This blog, which originally appeared on Strong Towns, was incorrectly attributed. We apologize for the error.
Wonderful article and recollection of one of the brightest and finest moments in history of urbanism when it comes to housing. New Urbanists together with HUD/Cisneros brought back the Social Agenda to Architecture and Urban Design that was lost for decades...Even if displacement and gentrification occured as natural and at times negative, side effects of HOPE VI renewal, the sheer number of "saved" lives and livelihoods cannot be measured by any indicators, research, statistics etc. i.e. even if one family was allowed a decent, livable and good quality shelter and a new opportunity, it was worth it! As the horrors that precede it, HOPE VI developments cannot be described by words (high-rise public housing for example) and could not have been sustained by any means. Misplaced and failed architecture, urbanism, policy & management. Kudos to all involved in HOPE VI, especially Calthorpe, Solomon, Gindroz, Katz and others...and as Peter writes: "what can be accomplished with a small, yet determined group of people with a clearly defined vision." Simply amazing!
This blog post is lifted in its entirety from Nathaniel Hood (http://nathanielhood.com/2012/05/06/avoiding-the-allure-of-entertainment-districts/) but his name does not appear on it anywhere.
I hope this is merely an oversight on Charles Marohn's part and not a deliberate act of plagarism. In any case, the misattribution of this post to Mr. Marohn instead of Mr. Hood should be corrected immediately!
Unfortunately, San Francisco does have an entertainment district of sorts called Fishermans Wharf, including a mall (Pier 39) with all kinds of simulated waterfront authenticity. I can't speak to the finances of the area, but most people (at least the ones I know) consider Fishermans Wharf quite an embarassment and avoid it at all costs. Some people don't mind because they think it's a good way to isolate and fleece tourists. As for me, I think tourism should be spread throughout the city and used as an economic development tool for all neighborhoods.
Getting kind of snooty, aren't we?
Philip Langdon's article raises interesting points, as does Maggie's response.
Maggie's comparison of journalism to artwork is not completely thought out, though it is partly valid. No one is required to read a particular blog or newspaper, but artwork in a public place is visible to everyone who passes through the public space, whether they want to look at it or not. Public art has to be thought of differently from artwork that is viewed by choice, such as artwork in a gallery, private home, or publication, which is not to say that public art should always be merely one of the "gracious elements" Mr. Langdon refers to.
I mostly agree with his characterization of public space as a community living room, but I don't think all public space should have to be quiet and refined. Too much quiet refinement can be just as unpleasant as aggressive public art.
this article had to be written by an engineer. vapid, sterile & looking for a pin in the ground.
Jane Jacobs' dedication and zeal did not make her a Tea Partier. To call her such, given everything that's implied in that label, is irresponsible. I expect better from this newsletter.
Also, building high rises will not necessarily increase affordability, as steel frame construction is considerably more costly per square foot. Instead of focusing on luxury towers that make dark, windy canyons of our streets and suck up the demand such that other lots are left vacant, we should promote consistent density at the maximum height that wood-frame construction can support (4 or 5 stories?) with sensible parking maximums to promote affordability while filling-in vacant lots and greyfields.
Thanks for reminding us how important Jane Jacobs was to the future of America. She told us that one need not be a planner to know what makes for a healthy, safe, prosperous and fun neighborhood/district/city. In Death and Life of Great American Cities she told us to leave our stuffy and sterile offices and get out onto the streets; and OPEN OUR EYES. Look around at what is actually happening on the streets, in the parks, and at the corner store. What gives people joy and purpose and sense of community? What are the shapes, scales, dimensions, materials and natures of the things that support the spots that we love? What are people doing there? When are they doing it? What demographics are there doing what and when? If American engineers, planners and politicians simply walked the streets of their towns and the towns they admire and opened their eyes, they would all know what to do. They would all know how to get more for less. They would all be experts in crafting safe, healthy, prosperous and fun neighborhoods/districts/cities.
"It seems likely we're going to need a lot more density than Jane was initially comfortable with." Perhaps I misunderstood you here. Are you implying that Jane Jacobs was not comfortable with the highest of densities? If so I suggest you reread Death and Life of Great American Cities. She was quite comfortable with the highest of densities. She was not comfortable with over-crowding, a problem that she found to exist in low density neighborhoods as much as with high density. She found the some of the safest and most desireable neighborhoods in NY to have the highest densities. She found that mixed use coupled with high density was often safer and healthier than single use coupled with low density.
The best thing we could do for America is ensure that our planning, engineering and public policy (political science/government) students all read Death and Life of Great American Cities (1963?). Thank you Jane! - Quinton
Love this concept. But I find that pedsheds underestimate the actual distance that people will walk to key destinations, like pubs, but especially to rapid transit. this becomes critical when planning for intensification because those transit pedsheds are often used to determine areas that will see rezonings to higher density and more mixed land uses. bumping those pedsheds out from six hundred to eight hundred metres, for example (and ideally using street network distance, not a radius) can ultimately have a huge impact on intensification!
Mr. Langdon, do you feel the same way about journalism that disturbs its readers? What if someone told you that the purpose of your blog should be to soothe and subtlely hint at a genteel expression of someone else's definition of beauty? Murals and blogs have something in common. They can be created by anyone who has something to say. People who, for whatever reason, don't necessarily support themselves financially with their personal expressions. They do it out of love or in trying to build toward a career.
The first rule in writing is "write what you know." Writing about what you're not familiar with is disingenuous and immediately recognizeable as such by the reader. Is it not the same for visual artists? Life can be disturbing. Should visual artists ignore the disturbance they may feel inside, ignore the disturbance they may see in a community and instead force themselves to paint rainbows and unicorns on buildings? Murals are an invitation to a conversation. If a mural disturbs you, seek the artist out and tell him/her/them "Something about this work touched me, disturbed me, unsettled me. I'd like to learn more about the work and about you." Be open to where that process takes you. You may have more in common with the artist than you think.
Thanks, Peter, for giving us this lucid remembrance. I feel honored to have attended the first four CNUs and to have provided modest assistance to your book. Those were heady, exciting, exhusting times and we are seeing the results everywhere.
She was involved in planning both in New York and here in Toronto, where the Saint Lawrence neighbourhood she helped create is still alive and doing well. She was against the old school of planning orthodoxia, the one that brought us the towers in the park, and the idea that you could plan from abstractions instead of seeing what works in real life.
When families have a choice, they gravitate toward neighborhoods they feel comfortable in. Often these are in the suburbs, which have different school districts. I suspect promoting higher housing densities in certain geographic areas will cause flight into other areas.
Second, there definitely seems to be a correlation with the rise of affordable housing developments, including CDBG subsidized and public housing projects in inner cities with flight out of the city. Perhaps its time for the government to reexamine whether CDBG entitlement status has been good or bad for the school districts in these geographic areas.
Third, the failure of some families to promote education has a detrimental impact on their students' test scores. This failure won't be solved by increasing densities.
Fourth, the authors of the report need to look at the impact of integrating a bunch of low performing students on students who perform and behave well in school (not just on the school's overall test scores). The students who perform and behave well are just as entitled to a good education as those who perform poorly. These high performing students should not be relegated to serving as role models or unpaid volunteers or teacher helpers in a classroom where the teacher has to stop class to deal with disruptive students and/or must start the class at a low level to accomodate the diverse learners. Differentiation in the classroom sounds better than it actually works in real life and all students deserve an opportunity to reach for their potential.
I did this for my GIS final in grad school, and was laughed at a little by my peers to analyzed more 'important' subjects' based on census data and the like. Make sure you include late night eating establishments, cab companies, pharmacies, transit, and AA meetings to you have a more complete picture of what is available to revelers in revelry!
Equating Jane Jacobs with the Tea Partybecasue they both disrupted the public planning process is like equating the American Colonists with the Taliban, becasue they both disrupted their governments. The many of the modernist urban renewal projects of Mr. Moses where cataclysmic to the communities they went in. She used the only means at her disposal to stop the crazy and destructive forces allied against her. The fact that a tea partier has an issue with how many taxes they might have to pay dosen't equate to preventing a multi-lane freeway from demolishing your home. But then again, you know that. Would you dare ask why the preservation movement came to be? Naw, that would be too hard. It's easier to make sensational statements when you've nothing else to contribute.
if, as the blog post argues, the comfortable walking length goes from five to ten minutes, then the area of the circle it sweeps multiples not just "dramatically" but by a factor of four. simple arithmetic: area of a circle is pi x radius squared. if the radius doubles, the area--that is, the ped shed--quadruples. note also that the blog assumes a flat surface and no barriers. thus concludes the day's pedantry
We need to revisit Cities and the Wealth of Nations in particular. Jane Jacobs believed that cities, and only cities, were the source of healthy economic development, as opposed to economic development projects and strategies that require ongoing subsidies. The goal should always be to provide a stimulus to create an economy that did not require ongoing subsidy, which is unfortunately the case in most cities of the U.S. She gave many examples such as TVA. The former Renaissance Tower in Detroit also comes to mind - developed with no consideration of context and only superficial consideration for reversing population and economic decline there, but which would have had more positive impact had preservation programs been in place to compliment that project. While much destruction of towns and cities had occurred prior to her writing this book, the decline of towns and cities, except where "preservation" programs have been at work, has gotten worse, thereby making it at the least very unlikely, according to her calculations, for economic development strategies to be true catalysts that ultimately did not need subsidy.
While Anthony Flint criticizes one aspect of "preservation" it cannot be denied that Main Street and rehab tax credits have probably had more revitalization impact per public dollar (actually the cost is totally recouped by tax revenues) than any other economic development strategy that we currently embrace. Dead towns and urban neighborhoods have come alive because of preservation programs. Economic development offices everywhere should embrace these programs that work so well, understanding that "preservation" (or perhaps we should we say "revitalization" in order to avoid the stigma Mr. Flint attaches to preservation, ignoring the incredible economic impact of preservation programs) strategies are the perfect companion to efforts to attract manufacturing plants, information technology companies, etc. They are essential for making sure that there is a true "ripple effect". Preservationists look at the city holistically, certainly not limiting their efforts to the "curatorial" aspects of preservation, including public transportation, law enforcement, schools and cultural resources in their objectives, for example. All economic development interests should do the same, in order not to have to demand ongoing subsidies.
Another bonus is that preservation programs make more attractive neighborhoods and downtowns, thereby attracting business investors (as well as new residents). By attracting private sector investent, ongoing economic development is generated, without public subsidy.
Pub shed, great notion. Have you ever wondered why bars have parking lots? Code for what you want, not for what you don't want...
There are also a variety of kidsheds. Playgrounds within 800 ft for little kids, but yes, older kids will walk farther than the standard 1/4 mile shed for many things. My guess is that all sheds would expand in some relation to the time spent at the destination. Has anyone ever studied that?
This could be the start of a new field of pedestrian analysis. In our town, they are forcing smokers to walk at least a few hundred feet to have a cigarette. What's next? Red Light Shed? Perhaps we won't go there.
Anthony, thanks for the fine piece — there's a lot to think about here. One difference between the Tea Partiers of today and Jane's crowd is the latter were much better dressed. No t-shirts over beer bellies — it was dresses for the ladies and hats and ties for the gentlemen. More formal era, but also perhaps indicative of deeper differences. More formal thought? No Tea Partier has produced a classic like Death and Life.
I learned a lot from this history, which fills in some foggy areas.
It's interesting to note just last year that one of my Urban Design student teams won the Hines/ULI Competition....for a TOD at the Mt Baker stop on the light rail line to the airport. Seattle is finally realizing our idea a quarter century after the Pedestrian Pocket charrette at the University of Washington in 1988!
Calthorpe, Solomon and I (as well as Mack,Fraker, Prowler and Sellers) led student teams, and shortly afterwards co-wrote The Pedestrian Pocket Book, which jumpstarted TOD.
The rest is history.