Planning

Published by American Planning Association
Publications
How do my kids get to school? That's one of the most fundamental transportation questions parents face. In 1969, according to the Federal Highway Administration, about half of all children ages five to 18 either walked or biked to school. By 2001, 85 percent of all children between five and 15 were chauffeured to school by either a parent or a bus driver. The Safe Routes to School initiative (SR2S) is an attempt to overcome the physical and psychological barriers between home and school and give children (and their parents) more freedom and a healthier lifestyle. Clearly, that's needed. According to the Centers for Disease Control, children in the U.S. are experiencing skyrocketing obesity rates, in part because of the lack of infrastructure supporting physical activity. In transportation planning terms, SR2S can be seen as a kind of transportation demand management strategy. Like other TDM strategies, this one uses marketing and promotion campaigns. But SR2S has an equally strong emphasis on the funding and construction of infrastructure that is necessary to actually allow walking and biking to occur. And in this case, the major support comes from the grassroots: parents, teachers, and children.
 
Discusses school site planning and policies and the problem of school sprawl. Cutting down on free parking to help reduce school sprawl is explored as is why planners and educators should think about public accessibility when designing schools. (GR)
 
Comprehensive plans are addressing new challenges more creatively than ever before. Today's comprehensive plans are more than high-level policy documents, often tackling issues at multiple scales simultaneously. Partly due to the fact that municipal budgets are dwindling, the public has taken a greater interest in understanding how money is being spent, and in keeping local governments accountable for producing concrete results that align with the comprehensive plan. This, in turn, is leading to plans that are increasingly action and project-oriented, as well as more performance-focused. Local governments use the comprehensive plan process to provide a vision for capital project plans and investments, in addition to utilizing plans to kick-start projects and engage community members as partners in implementation. Communities are also recognizing the need to involve broader audiences in the planning process to ensure equitable and full representation of the issues, as well as to strengthen the credibility of the process and get buy-in for adoption and implementation.
 
The cities in the US are adopting different measures to make fresh food available in neighborhoods, wherein people have poor food access. New York City employs an aggregate of incentives and restrictions to allow green carts with fresh food into areas of the city having the minimum access to nutritious fruits and vegetables. Kansas City encourages vendors to sell healthy foods by decreasing permit fees for healthier menus and healthiest menus by 50% and 75%, respectively. Fresno in California had only around seven regular farmers markets as of 2008, but the city drafted a new definition into its zoning ordinance, and made farmers markets allowable uses in all nonresidential zones and even in the R-1 single-family residential zone. New York City's proposed Food Retail Expansion to Support Health program allows the city to use its zoning code and economic incentives to bring 15 new grocery stores to targeted neighborhoods.
 
Corry Buckwalter Berkooz explains how cities are using cost-effective, environmentally supportive ways to manage stormwater. Green stormwater infrastructure copies nature in contrast to conventional or 'gray' infrastructure such as storage tanks, tunnels, and basins. These typically are needed only when it rains and overflow must be controlled. Many communities have concluded that going green is cheaper than staying gray. Detroit and New York are among the cities saving money by using these new techniques. Detroit recently cancelled two major conventional infrastructure projects on the city's west side, including the construction of a 7.5-mile-long tunnel, and replaced them with an $814 million plan to solve the same needs. Georgia-Pacific owned and operated a redwood timber mill on the site from 1973 until 2002 - continuing an operation begun by a predecessor in 1857.
 
This article describes the current trend in the US towards the use of walls and gates to close off the street, block or neighbourhood in both established and new communities. Examples of gated communities are provided, with particular attention paid to those in Dallas. The proliferation of gated communities is accounted for not only by a fear of crime but also by the desire to protect and enhance housing values, and their being part of a broader privatisation movement. All are intended as private havens and this separateness has attracted criticism. Community associations play a major role in their operation. Questions remain about such communities: the legal ramifications are still unresolved; experts are unsure about their ability to reduce serious crime; and, by creating a new type of urban tribalism, they could have dangerous social conseqences. -V.J.Taverner
 
Strong arts and neighborhood organizations have evolved and understand better what they need from cities to thrive. And planners now desire to be more sustainable, which brings in health and culture. The NashvilleNext general plan includes a policy chapter on ?Arts, Culture & Creativity' as well as a section on the topic in its action plan segment. Crafting a Creative City is the five year strategic plan released in 2016 by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. A proactive approach is found in Arts and Culture Planning: A Toolkit for Communities by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) with help from Camiros. The CMAP presents techniques that mean communities aren't reinventing their planning for arts and culture, instead it is putting a nuanced approach. Wynwood Business Improvement District commissioned PlusUrbia Design to craft a comprehensive zoning plan as well as redevelopment guidelines for enrichment of arts and culture. The plan creates a transfer of development rights program that allows warehouse owners and infill developers to sell their air rights, reducing the pressure for over scale development.
 
The article discusses how casino owners have banded together to reinvent Atlantic City as a cultural destination, hoping to draw a new class of tourists and a new infusion of cash after being devastated hurricane Sandy. When the first casino, Resorts International, opened its doors in Atlantic City in 1978, the newly legalized gambling industry came with a promise: Revenue from gambling would be used as a 'unique tool for urban revitalization of Atlantic City.' Each casino was required to reinvest two percent of its gaming revenue in economic development and community projects, but by 1984, no casino had done so. So the state created the CRDA and offered casinos two options: pay 2.5 percent of revenue to the state, or allocate 1.25 percent to reinvest through the CRDA. The bulk of CRDA's Atlantic City-focused money will stay within the borders of the tourism district: 1,700 acres that include almost all of the city's coastline, the casinos, the convention center, and The Walk-the outlet and shopping area.
 
Even a cursory glance around the country suggests that transit-oriented development is hot; new TODs are on the drawing boards Everywhere, from Alaska to Florida. Its advocates tout benefits ranging from more compact development and less automobile dependence to new retail opportunities and improved quality of life. But the same quick survey raises some basic questions about just how fundamentally different many TODs are from their auto-oriented counterparts. We now have "transit-oriented" big box stores and single-story office parks, set in seas of parking. In many cases, developments with just six housing units to the acre are being advertised as TODs.
 
Accounts of Baku from years past tell of an intimate and close knit city. An impressive array of tall apartment towers and new posh hotels cover the heights of the city. The residential area called White City, which was previously known as the Black City, is already adding more attraction to Baku's growing array of futuristic architecture. The first regional plan for Baku and its environs encompass the entire area from the south up through the Absheron Peninsula, a large area of about 1000 square miles. It's comprehensive, combining an overall assessment of the economy with an inventory of needs for a growing population.
 
To be 'smart,' a program must look at the big picture-how a community functions and what makes development occur. It also must recognize that housing and job markets, transportation systems, and environmental impacts are regional issues. While few places have strong regional governance, and many don't want it, other communities use intergovernmental agreements and effective metropolitan planning organizations to balance their smart growth objectives. Another condition for smart growth is political will, key to inspiring the community with a compelling vision and backing it up with dollars. In Maryland and New Jersey, strong executive leadership has provided support from the top for change at the local level. Elsewhere, grassroots movements provide the political push. Coalitions offer a unique opportunity to educate diverse groups on complex planning problems, possibly generating support for more comprehensive planning. Coalitions also offer a constructive alternative to the rise of ballot-box planning. There is much to be done. Even in the most successful smart growth programs, however, the weak link that emerges is the willingness of individuals to embrace the change in their community necessary to achieve smart growth objectives, be it a high-density housing project, less parking, or tax increases. Individual consumers, developers, and lenders also tend to be reluctant to invest in alternative examples of housing and commercial development without demonstrated market support. The resulting chicken-and-egg problem precludes such choices from appearing at all. In order to realize smart growth in the long term, individuals as voters and consumers will have to be convinced of the long-term benefit of short-term adjustments and sacrifices. Such a sea change in public attitudes may occur; planners have the opportunity to shape the discussion.
 
Five strategies for creating well-balanced, understandable, and empowering staff reports are discussed. In their 2014 article in Zoning Practice on Writing Staff Reports, Stuart Meck and Marya Morris, recommend including a cover page should be a quick overview of the case with the most essential information. The study found that only 22 percent of staff reports have a cover page. Others contain information that does not need to be on the cover. Another strategy is to integrate various text layouts, tables, graphics, and photos with captions to enrich and enhance the information. These elements make reports more engaging and easier to read. A good staff report will be conscious of various audiences and will be written so that all interested parties can understand the subject, and the basis for the board's action, even if they do not agree with it. Teresy Thonus, director of the University of Kansas Writing Center, suggest using layer structure as part of a set template. That way, regular readers will always know where to find out what they are looking for. Staff reports are the main method of communication between planners and the public. So, reporter should not waste an opportunity to foster valuable conversation and educate only their commissioners but also the public.
 
A bike-sharing program is based on the idea that people will be willing to substitute bikes for cars in crowded central cities if the bikes are readily available and are either free or can be rented at little cost. Europeans have already proven such a program, and in the US, this spring, Washington DC will be the first US city to seriously tackle with bicycle sharing, which is a part of a much larger program of reducing traffic congestion. 120 bikes will be installed in 10 locations in and around downtown. Bike sharing allows people to make short trips of a few miles in a densely developed area served by other forms of transit. In many cases, it saves them time because instead of waiting for a train or bus, they can instantly rent a bike and take it directly to their destination.
 
The article discusses how North Dakota has a lot of oil and a lot of issues dealing with it. The state allocated about 11.64 percent annually of its oil and gas tax collections to Williston and Williams County during the 2011-2013 period, according to the North Dakota Legislative Council. Expectations are high, but officials in Williston and Williams County remember past busts. The area experienced smaller booms in the 1950s, then in the 1970s and 1980s. An abrupt slowdown in the early 1980s left communities with vacant apartments, unoccupied mobile home parks, empty businesses, and huge public debt from the infrastructure investments made to accommodate growth. The city was left with $28 million in debt that was paid off through taxes, but memories of missteps still linger. North Dakota's 2013-2015 budget is $14 billion, including $6.9 billion in state general fund spending. Oil carries a 6.5 percent extraction tax and a five percent production tax, which filter into the state general or trust funds.
 
The article focuses on the urbanization issues facing Latin America. The North American planners used planning techniques that were centralized, technocratic, and utopian in scope for this new Venezuelan city. It was a top-down effort aimed at showing how an often overlooked country could march towards modernity. For lack of a sociopolitical process, the result was the creation of a bifurcated city: the rational, planned Puerto Ordaz and the informal settlement of San Felix, unequal in wealth, services, and economies. ELIS, which is a Peruvian NGO, has been able to organize the residents into associations while at the same time communicating with the property owners to propose redevelopment. Because Peru lacks sufficient public housing programs, ELIS has been creatively working to upgrade the housing with no public subsidy. Organizers of a new project in one city in Brazil likewise see transferability to other parts of the country and region.
 
Top-cited authors
Ray Quay
  • Arizona State University
Bruce Appleyard
  • San Diego State University
Uri Avin
  • University of Maryland, College Park
Daijie He
  • Delft University of Technology
G. Lodewijks
  • UNSW Sydney