With Thanksgiving and the holiday season fast approaching, this is perhaps a good time to look ahead to 2018. Specifically, I would like to talk about some events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. [Read more…] about Looking Ahead to 2018: Events for Planners
What is a scholar-practitioner in urban planning? And what does it take to become one? Essentially, scholar-practitioners bridge the gap between academia and the real world, combining scholarly research with practical application of theories and knowledge to solve complex problems in our profession. [Read more…] about Becoming a Scholar-Practitioner in Urban Planning
Welcome back to the Island of Utopia! Part I began the first installment of a three-article series commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the publishing of St. Thomas More’s classic book, Utopia. In Part I, the word “Utopia” was defined and several of the key geographic features of More’s fictional Island of Utopia were described. In Part II, we’ll delve into the some of the urban design characteristics of Utopian cities. [Read more…] about Anecdotes on the Urban Design of Utopia: Part II of III of the Utopia 500th Anniversary Series
Soccer? Football? Fútbol? While there may not be universal consensus on what to call the sport, I think most can agree that it has become a very popular sport in America. I previously wrote an article called Soccer and Park Planning from my perspective both as a soccer fan and a planner. It seems appropriate now to do a sequel given the continued “soccerization” of land use across cities in the U.S. Essentially, I am referring to the dedication of an increasing amount of land/space for soccer, and the development of additional facilities for both players and fans, including soccer fields and futsal courts at parks as well as soccer-specific stadiums for professional teams. [Read more…] about Soccerization of Land Use
Mayor Garcetti said: “We need money to build housing for the homeless.”
Voters said: “Here is $1.2 billion for housing the homeless.” (November bond issue.)
Mayor Garcetti said: “We need money to provide services for the homeless.”
Voters said: “Okay, we will tax ourselves a one quarter percent sales tax, so that you can provide needed services for homeless.” [Read more…] about LA’s new homeless money: What Garcetti could learn from Bradley and de Blasio
Over the years, I have written numerous articles about the importance of planning for new parks in underserved communities and highlighted various projects that I have been fortunate to be involved in. In particular, two projects that I have discussed at length are the Los Angeles County Master Plan for Sustainable Parks and Recreation: Phase I (also known as the Community Parks and Recreation Plans) and the Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment (see Park Planning for Underserved Communities and Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment: The L.A. County Story). As a park planner, I am generally more focused on the creation and siting of parks to meet community needs, and the equitable distribution of such facilities. However, I am also fully aware that recreational programming matters just as much as planning, and perhaps even more so based on the input of many residents and park staff with whom I have interacted. Thus, I would like to address programming in this article, with a special focus on the Parks After Dark (PAD) program. [Read more…] about Surprising benefits from nighttime park programming in LA
Dear Pasadena Planning Commissioners,
We’ve come a long way from Pasadena’s 2004 second dwelling unit ordinance that effectively codified irrational NIMBYism in the Zoning Code. The proposed amendment to the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) ordinance before you at the May 24, 2017 hearing represents a significant improvement; it came about as a result of the relaxed standards for ADUs by way of AB 2299 and SB 1069, as well as the passionate testimony of residents and housing advocates in public hearings and community meetings. However, a few points of contention remain – some of the “poison pills” and class-based inequalities carried over from the original ordinance – while other points merit highlighting for this latest public hearing. I ask you to take these comments under consideration as you evaluate the amended ADU ordinance for recommendation to the Pasadena City Council.
Are you a “foodie“? Do you live in the Los Angeles area? Are you a regular reader of the L.A. Times? If you answered yes to all three questions, then you have probably heard of acclaimed food critic Jonathan Gold. I recently watched City of Gold which I initially thought was just a documentary about Gold and his culinary adventures. However, as I was watching the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that its focus was not solely on the Pulitzer-winning writer and his favorite restaurants; City of Gold also reveals Gold’s love for Los Angeles and how he has essentially experienced the diversity and vastness of the city through food. [Read more…] about Documentary Review: City of Gold
We all need parks. Specifically, the availability of parks, trails, and other recreational facilities is an important factor in creating healthy communities and providing a high quality of life for residents. These amenities offer opportunities to encourage active living, to exercise, to access open space, and to connect with others and the natural environment.
Dear Pasadena City Council Members,
A long overdue update to the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the January 30, 2017, City Council public hearing. With the passage of AB 2299 and SB 1069, all local jurisdictions are obligated to amend zoning ordinances to facilitate easier pathways to building accessory dwellings units (ADUs). As the staff report notes, the new state laws came about in response to a statewide affordable housing crisis. We see it in Pasadena. It’s rendered in the presence of homeless encampments, occupied vehicles on city streets and parking lots, and the existence of unpermitted housing on private properties across the city.
[Read more…] about An Open Letter to the Pasadena City Council Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance