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
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.
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
Is one of your new year’s resolutions to exercise more or be more physically active? If yes, where have you been doing your exercise routines? Nowadays, many people immediately think of private gyms like LA Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness as the most effective and/or popular places to get fit. But as we all know, gym membership is not cheap and not everyone can afford it. As I explained in my article Where Do You Exercise, there are other options, such as Fitness Zones at public parks, multi-use trails, the city itself, and the YMCA, which are free or more affordable. [Read more…] about Recreation at Shopping Malls?
Dear Pasadena Planning Commissioners,
A long overdue update to the City of Pasadena’s Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the December 14, 2016, Planning Commission public hearing. This will be the first of many hearings in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 2299 (AB 2299) and Senate Bill 1069 (SB 1069) and the upcoming Housing Element Implementation Program. At this juncture, I see three compelling reasons for your Commission to advocate a comprehensive overhaul of Pasadena’s Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance. [Read more…] about An Open Letter to the Pasadena Planning Commission Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance
Can you believe that it is December already? Well, it is that time of year again when we think about giving and receiving presents. I previously shared some ideas on the perfect gifts for planners in Presents for Plannerds, Presents for Plannerds: 2014 Edition, and Presents for Plannerds: 2015 Edition which have turned out to be three of my most read articles. I am glad to know that my lists have been helpful to some planners and/or fans of planners. Many of the products I mentioned in the past few years are still available, but I would like to highlight a few new items that I learned about this year. Without further ado, here is my 2016 edition of Presents for Plannerds: [Read more…] about Presents for Plannerds: 2016 Edition
As we are now in the month of November, this is probably a good time to look ahead to 2017. Specifically, I would like to discuss some events that planners, architects, and landscape architects can look forward to in the new year. For those of you who follow my writing, you must know by now that I am a big fan of conferences. As I explained in Rest for the Weary Planner, I see conferences as opportunities to learn, grow, network, and be inspired and/or encouraged. I always return to work from conferences feeling refreshed and more prepared to take on the work that awaits me. In 2016, I was fortunate to be able to attend the APA California Planning Conference in Pasadena, CA. Without further ado, here are twelve conferences and meetings that may be of interest to those of us in the fields of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture: [Read more…] about Looking Ahead to 2017: Events for Planners
Do you remember where you were or what you were doing on September 11th, 2001? I can still remember quite vividly that day even though it was 15 years ago. I had just arrived at my office when the building manager said in passing, “Isn’t it terrible what happened in New York City?” [Read more…] about 9/11: Reflections of An Urban Planner