As a planner by training, I’m disappointed to see the American Planning Association parrot propaganda about the supposed need for a flood of new federal money for infrastructure. This approach is not conducive to good planning.
Many of the cities we live in are under intense economic, social, and environmental stress. But how do we start to change the local planning status quo when the public doesn’t trust planners or policy experts?
An interview with Steve Nygren, developer of Serenbe, Georgia, about how Serenbe is unlike conventional suburbia, and why Nygren thinks it holds lessons for how all of our communities could achieve a better way of life at a lower cost.
The drumbeat from the lobbying organizations behind Infrastructure Week is, as usual, that we need to build more in America—and it scarcely seems to matter what we build, where, or why. This view is as shortsighted and dangerous as ever.
A new study provides the first experimental evidence that better street lighting has a cause-and-effect relationship with reduced crime. Lighting is an example of the kind of low-cost, high-returning public investment that’s all around us… but that our cities too often ignore.
More than ever of what we make is produced with little thought to its durability. But what happens when we apply this mindset to the very communities we live in?
A bill that has passed the Florida Senate proposes to build over 300 miles of new toll roads deep into rural areas of the state. Proponents claim it’s necessary to prepare for coming population growth. They couldn’t be more wrong.
That high-end apartment building over there has nothing to do with the low-income families who need affordable housing over here, right? In fact, we’re all more connected than we tend to think—and a new study demonstrates this in a surprising way.
A deep, dredged ship canal is a recipe for catastrophic flooding in a hurricane, whereas a coastal marsh absorbs the surge of water in a way that lets life continue to flourish. This analogy has something important to teach us about urban streets.
A new Arkansas law prohibits cities from regulating the design of single-family homes in almost all instances. This is a bad idea which takes away an important tool in a city’s toolkit to nurture strong, productive places.
Forward-thinking developers are building communities that take into account the hidden long-term costs of suburban development, and offer a more resilient alternative. But what if that alternative results in homes that are too expensive to be within reach of most Americans? And does it have to?
Cars take up a lot of space. And one way or another, that imposes very real costs on our cities. New York just took an important step toward acknowledging and covering those costs.
Don't be seduced by the "signature project" that takes 20 years to complete, when there's huge basket of small projects you could hit the ground running on. That's a wildly different approach than anything our transit agencies or federal transportation funding mechanisms are set up for. But it's a more promising one.
Richmond, Virginia’s proposed Navy Hill redevelopment would reinvent 10 blocks of the city’s core out of whole cloth, aiming for greatness in one fell swoop. The top-down, master-plan approach to city building is seductive. But it is also fragile.
The discipline of not acquiring more until we've wrung true value out of what we already possess can make our lives richer and fuller. And this is a lesson we need to apply to our cities as well.
In cities all over America, we deter people from revitalizing neighborhoods by punishing them with higher taxes for improving their property. A change in how we tax property could fix these incentives.
Even the fastest-growing cities have them: under-utilized lots in the center of town whose owners don’t want to develop, but also don’t want to sell. Often, the property tax code rewards this kind of land speculation.
Academic evidence doesn’t do much to shift public opinion about housing policy. What’s missing is trust—and cultivating that requires a different approach.
The answer might not be what you expect.
Your daily commute sucks. Is it also making you go broke?