A few things to know this week: June 10, 2019
Happy Monday! We’re starting something new here. Every week we will be packaging up a collection of things that caught our attention during the week. The following list is compiled by the whole Verdunity team — our favorite relevant or thought-provoking pieces of news, commentary, research, discussions, or cat videos we came across (or were thinking about) this week.
Here are this week's things to know:
The ever-changing mobility choices in cities is impacting the way planners think about a multitude of areas - including curb control. The importance of access to curbs by a multitude of services, vehicles, and other elements is a conversation long overdue, and tools like Coord are readily available now to help digitize curbs as one step in a bigger effort to manage curb activity with real time data. The article has excellent graphics and probes the idea of revamping on-street parking in strategic locations as small "terminals" as well as demand-based curb pricing. As we work to create streets for everyone, this is a vital part of the dialogue. – AJ
As post WW2 auto-centric development pattern became the norm, we replaced providing daily needs via a 20 minute walk in favor of consolidating things to be accessible by car within a 20 minute drive. This created acres of parking lots, miles of stroads, and killed the small businesses buried within older neighborhoods and downtowns. This is a cycle that must be reversed if your community wants to get back on a sustainable path. Returning to a more compact, walkable retail model is complicated, but the place to start is in your older neighborhoods that had this setup to begin with. This article highlights an example of how the conversations with residents typically go and walks through a few of the factors that need to be considered as we work to unwind the suburban experiment. – Kevin
3. Community-owned broadband networks:
If you've purchased an Internet connection in recent years, you probably have realized you don't have many options (and many parts have just one provider). But just because of us currently get our internet from one of a handful of large corporations, doesn't mean it has to remain that way. In fact, more and more cities across the country are finding that community-owned broadband is within reach. Check out a few of the most recent examples:
In the wake of crippling housing costs that continued to skyrocket - in part, thanks to the reliance upon single-family residential zoning - grassroots efforts in Minneapolis and Seattle successfully created YIMBY support for increased density through zoning reform. While Seattle and Minneapolis may not be representative of most of our cities, the idea that there is an argument out there (other than the anti-density focus) for changing the way neighborhoods are reinvested in, and for a different way of residential zoning that lends itself to incrementalism, is something we can all learn from. – AJ
5. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs.
In time this book should only become more relevant. Jane Jacobs achieved incredible insight about the fabric of a good city through observation and common sense. It's a great place to start for anyone who does not have a planning background but works with planners or has a hand in the development process. – Felix
Getting cities in Texas to embrace green infrastructure and other integrated stormwater management initiatives is something we've been advocating for since the day we started Verdunity back in 2011. It seems cities may finally be getting some support from the state on this front. It just sucks that it takes terrible disasters like Hurricane Harvey to prompt change. – Kevin
When talking about the work that Verdunity is doing with Geospatial data for cities, towns, and municipalities all over, it is hard to not look at data visualization as the connection point that allows the information to be understood clearly. Stephanie Evergreen dives into her personal experience in making this connection for herself and her community, as well as how she is spreading the idea of data visualization and its tangible effects that it has on how work and results can be better presented and produced for any use. – Ryan
I love seeing real life examples of a city 'Re-Forming' its core neighborhoods or commercial areas. In Baton Rouge, this has been occurring over the last six years along Government Street, which runs from downtown of the Capitol of Louisiana to the neighborhoods East. It started with a Better Block project, and culminated with the department of transportation and city partnering on a road diet project. Even before that, local businesses followed the lead and renovated properties along Government Street. This article highlights the 'chaotic but smart' approach to redevelopment, and the long process of change in an aging city. – Tim
HEY, CITY PEOPLE:
Have thoughts on any of the links above? Think we missed something essential? We’re discussing these topics and more over on our brand-new online community, exclusively for local government employees.* Sign up for the Community Cultivators Network and join the discussion!
* The network is currently only for those wonderful folks out there who work in local government. If you’re not currently working for a city, town, or county, we still love you (and are sure many of you would add value to the community), but we want to keep our commitment to making this a community focused specifically on our friends working in local government. Thanks for understanding!