New Urbanism News 8-23-2010

Rejuvenative Cities – This makes you think even beyond sustainability – Most thought provoking writing in a long time

GREAT article on social economic environmental issues with sprawl & why we have to develop differently

Holistic approach to transform cities into places that contribute to personal development, social harmony, diversity

DFW way too low on list of cities for bike/walk to work and too high in obesity

New empirical evidence that parking minimums encourage sprawl

Urban Planners Make You Fat

Public Private Partnerships, Public Transportation and Jobs for LA

Consumption as “insatiable egocentricity”

Factoring in house size and occupancy. Green: it’s not black and white

Suburban Tax on Traffic

America Rethinking Homeownership

21st century planning

NYC Mayor Wants Massive Bike-Sharing Program

The Global Cities Index 2010

Gourmet Food Trucks Race To Cover The Nation

“Train commuters avg 30% more walking, 4X more likely to achieve 10K steps/day recommended for health than car commuters.”

Redeveloping our Neighborhoods: Goodbye Suburbs, Hello NewUrbs (Ellen Dunham-Jones)

Sustainability Is Impossible Without a Major Economic Meltdown

DOT likely to continue funding for rail expansion

US Gasoline Demand Drops 0.03% in July But Total Petroleum Demand Up 3.8%

Senate bill would make energy-efficient mortgages mainstream

Is the Age of the McMansion Over?

More evidence that walkability is marketable

Poverty Moves to the Suburbs for Affordable Housing and Jobs

Renewable Energy in Texas Has Huge Jobs, Revenue Potential

 Sprawl by another name – claimed ‘net zero’ subdivision built on unwalkable farmland 40 miles from downtown

 L.A. Reforms Postwar Zoning Codes: The City of Los Angeles Planning Commission has reintroduced sweeping reform

 City Thinking Is Stuck in the 90’s

 What Happens if More Americans Want to Rent Instead of Buy?

Younger Americans are ditching driving

Romney calls for “energy policy that will actually eliminate our dependence on OPEC and hostile states.”

Is A Denser Urban World Inevitable?

The new face of housing – by 2025 85 percent of net household growth will consist of childless households

 Mixed-income Housing Delivers Fresh Hope

 The Demand Curve for Sprawl Slopes Downward

Battery for 100 mile electric car costs more than entire Ford Fiesta

Suburban Sprawl and the Decline of Social Capital

 The U.S.-China three legged climate race

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New Urbanism News for 8-17-2010

The Demand Curve for Sprawl Slopes Downward

Secretary Donovan’s interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box”

Affordable Housing Dwindles; Need Grows

$20 gas could mark major shifts

Walkable, Dense, Smart, and Livable Streets and Cities

Longer commute = higher cholesterol & obesity, lower emotional health & happiness levels. Time to rethink your commute?

The 21st century will not be dominated by America or China, Brazil or India, but by the city

The age of nations is over: The new urban age has begun

Check your Walk Score & Transit Score

Atlanta’s Regional Transportation Sales Tax Rankles Cities

Free parking comes at a price

Sustainable Buildings: What Are We Waiting For?

NEW Community Investments looks @ transit-oriented development & implications for community development

More Roads Equals More Congestion

The benefits of urban trees

The case for living small, and well

The Ageless Appeal of Livability

Live near public transportation? Live longer!

Should Cities Develop Car Free Spaces?

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How We Develop Going Forward

For those in the multifamily, urban and/or transit-oriented development arenas, I thought you might be interested in the articles listed below (click on titles to go to articles) that I’ve authored recently on the impact on the multifamily housing industry of the anticipated growth in the population of our major cities over the next 20-30 years, the expansion of our mass transit systems and changing demographics.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these topics with you. 

Transit Efficiency: New Orientation for Real Estate Development  

Multifamily Development’s Future: Factors — Both Local and National — Are Forcing Changes in Apartment Development  

The Aftermath of the Crisis: How It Will Affect the Way We Develop  

Managing Texas’ Growth: Mixed-Use and Density  

An Affordable Responsibility: True Transit-Oriented Developments Require Adequate Low-income Housing in Order to Thrive  

The Perfect Platform for Affordable Housing: Adding Affordable Units in Transit-oriented Development Promotes “Transit Equity”

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New Urbanism News 8-10-10

Almost 45% of electricity in Portugal’s grid to come from renewable sources this yr, up from 17% just 5 yrs ago

The Case for Using the Power of Eminent Domain for Blighted Property

Innovation for the urban environment: introducing the bladeless micro-wind Fuller Wind Turbine.

Be more like Manhattan to save the earth, and don’t go halfway — interview with Green Metropolis author David Owen

Gas tax hike would pump up the job market, help close deficit

Chalk up a win for Smart Growth… for now

Transit-oriented Development Around Old Train Station Brings New Life to Distressed Long Island Community

Adam Smith’s Economic Principles Reduce San Francisco Parking Congestion

Is America ready for high-speed rail?

Fedl grants will fund new approaches to congestion: 7 states get $9.7 m.

Lose 142 Pounds (of Carbon) a Week

We should be more life Copenhagen

Resetting the American Family

In 1973, the US imported 30% of its oil. Now it imports 68%. Taking into acct inflation, the gas tax is 50% less than in 1973. solution?

User Fee Model Obsolete, But No Solution on the Horizon

States turn to tolls to fund roads

Are parts of Suburban Fringe “Downtown Adjacent?

What we want in our homes … is changing

Urban or Suburban? Perspectives on this much discussed topic

Density Means Less Driving

Location-efficient mortgages

12 Steps to a Sustainable Community

Environmentalism can never address climate change

Urban Forms Present Opportunities, Challenges

Rethinking cap and trade

Score one for livability

Texas Joins Challengers to EPA’s Greenhouse Gas ‘Tailoring’ Rule

Boomers drive shift toward urban living

Gourmet Food Trucks Struggle to Get on the Road in Dallas They roam cool cities across the country. Why not here?

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Less Green is More Green???

There are very few major league baseball players capable of consistently hitting home runs.  In fact, if you hit 300 and every hit is a single, you’re a hero.  Throw in a 20 mph wind out of the outfield and a really good pitcher, and home run percentages drop even more.

The recent failure of Congress to hit a home run and pass climate change legislation is disappointing — but the outcome was fairly well assured given the headwinds — Congress had just (barely and with significant partisan politics) passed health care legislation, making it much harder to get another major initiative approved. Mid-term elections are coming in November and the economy continues to be problematic at best — making it realistically impossible to focus on anything as complicated and dramatic as cap and trade, etc.  But we have to ask — is it going to be any better after the mid-term elections, where it is anticipated that the Republican party will gain strength?  And, do we really want a whole new set of regulations that will make it more uncertain and difficult to revive the economy and create jobs?

Is there a simpler way?

I’m not sure of the background, but sometime in the last two years we quietly placed an end date on the sale of incandescent light bulbs in the US. I have to believe that the energy savings and environmental impact of this one simple act is huge.  There was no political wrangling and the light bulb manufacturing industry/lobby barely whimpered. This was such a small change that it flew under the radar. We need more of these easy wins — in baseball terms, singles, and less climate legislation that is swinging for the fences in the midst of huge headwinds and great opposition.

What are some simple wins?

Here are three potential easy steps that could significantly benefit the environment and should not be politically controversial:

1. Forget Cash for Clunkers & the CAFE Standards — instead, enact Credit for Guzzlers, a tax credit for trading up to a new vehicle that gets at least 50% better gas mileage than the trade-in.  This would let consumers directly know and experience that our country is supporting fuel efficiency (versus the CAFE mpg standards that often do not affect light trucks and SUVs and are not directly felt by the car purchaser). If we want to discourage gas guzzlers, put a guzzler tax on all cars that get less then X mpg city/highway. A bonus will be that the car companies will make better small cars as sales swing in that direction.

2. Gas Powered Lawn Mowers No More

According to the EPA, one traditional gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars each driven 12,000 miles. Electric or battery-powered lawn mowers create no exhaust emissions and run much cleaner than their gas-powered counterparts. The non-profit Electric Power Research Institute reports that replacing half of the 1.3 million gas mowers in the U.S. with electric models would save the equivalent amount of emissions of taking two million cars off the road. Surely if we can phase out incandescent light bulbs, we can phase out gas powered mowers, edgers and trimmers.

3. Gas Tax – and Use the Money to Weatherize Homes & Put People to Work: OK, this one would be more controversial, and requires some balancing of equities, but hear me out. If gas prices were never allowed to drop below $3.50/gallon (the difference between what the oil companies charge and $3.50 would be the tax), consumers would begin to shift their car buying habits and car companies could be fully engaged long-term in making smaller, more efficient, but quality cars. Granted, a gas tax is highly regressive (hits lower income people hardest) — BUT car ownership/operation/ maintenance, which runs $6,500 – $9,000/car/year, is even more regressive. In our car centric built environment, it would be very hard to not have a car in most places, but being a 50% mass transit commuter, I have determined that even driving a short distance to the park-and-ride and taking the bus is far less expensive than driving to work every day. And a gas tax credit and/or transit subsidy for lower income people would offset the regressive nature of the tax. However, to complete the circle, the extra revenue should be used for three purposes that would help the economy and the environment — to repair our aging infrastructure, and support mass transit expansion and employ out of work Americans to do home weatherization (and to offset the costs to homeowners with a tax credit). The gas tax should lower energy use, and using the tax revenue to weatherize homes would further reduce energy use — all while supporting mass transit and decreasing the unemployment rate.

So, what are your simple ideas to cut US carbon emissions?

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For another great blog on new urbanism, check out Chuck Wolfe’s myurbanist

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New Urbanism News 8-5-10

States turn to tolls to fund roads

Looking forward to speaking @Natl Assoc of Local Housing Fin Agency mtg NY on transit oriented dev & affordable housing

Revitalizing Downtown in Small and Mid-Sized Cities

Change is inevitable, but the destruction of community character and identity is not

Streetfilm on Copenhagen’s car-free streets and slow-speed zones

FTA gives environmental approval for Houston’s controversial University line light rail project

San Francisco Parking Battle Shows Limits Of Smart Planning

The Demographic Transformation of the US: What are the implications for land use?

Decentralized Relocalization from CarFreeinBigD– a reply to Joel Kotkin

Urban Lifestyle Preference On The Rise

Atlanta: transportation choices attract young

Will Los Angeles Revolutionize U.S. Urban Transit Funding?

When cities build transit, home prices can skyrocket. Responsible livability agenda needs affordability

Sustainable solution for the environment & economy is finding ways so people can drive less

ABC news: Smart $ on Smart Growth

More evidence that walkability is marketable

Livable Communities Act passed Sen Banking Committee. What this is and why it matters.

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