I’m not basing this quick observation on any specific historical research or book, so bear with me. Cities grow and shrink; in effect they change rapidly (although sometimes it doesn’t seem rapidly enough and at other times all too rapidly). Where we operate in that continuum I think shapes much of how we see our role as professionals. Planning to address either shrinking cities or growing ones can seem, at times, like totally different professions. A colleague of mine remarked that planning for shrinking cities is definitely a niche market. Blog Post
Jul 1, 2007   By Scott Page
Last week I was up in Vancouver participating in a "Roundtable" discussion focused on whether Vancouver's politicians should pass policies to "protect" commercial activity downtown from displacement caused by the red hot residential condo market. At this roundtable, I had the opportunity to meet Brent Toderian. He is the City of Vancouver's Director of Planning. I was very impressed with him. It now strikes me that "free market" enviro/urban economists (such as myself) and urban planners should talk more often. Blog Post
Jun 30, 2007   By Matthew E. Kahn
By North-American standards, Vancouver is already a density-friendly city, relatively speaking. Although we've had our share of density related brawls and debates over the decades, by comparison to the wars fought in other cities, the "D-Word" gets a better reception here than in most places. Blog Post
Jun 29, 2007   By Brent Toderian
Thanks to Planetizen, I found “Opportunity Urbanism,” a report that posits Houston as “an emerging paradigm for the 21st century.” (There's a related op-ed here.) The report, regrettably, is a manifesto as empty as the title -- which Kotkin clearly hopes will become a catchphrase. So why is it important? Blog Post
Jun 28, 2007   By James S. Russell
Let's begin by killing off one of the cherished half-truths about Vancouver.Vancouver, it is said, is the only major city in North America without freeways. Blog Post
Jun 26, 2007   By Gordon Price
“Getting” Universal Design creates an “Aha!” moment. Experiencing Universal Design creates a “Wow!” moment. Blog Post
Jun 25, 2007   By Barbara Knecht
The Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others recalls that famous question about governments who spy on their citizens: Who will watch the watchers? (Answer: Alberto Gonzalez.) A similar, if less cloak-and-dagger question applies to planning: Who will zone the zoners? While governments use zoning to keep polluting uses away from homes, what if the biggest polluter in a city is a government use?In most cities today, the most common polluting use is exempt from zoning: highways. Blog Post
Jun 25, 2007   By Greg Smithsimon
Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to attend public meetings in Europe and the American South. I find public meetings to be an entertaining challenge. Let’s face it, a public meeting is always a gamble. You’re at the mercy of whoever shows up and whatever they perceive about the project. You have to think on your feet and make quick decisions to guide the process, without looking like I’m-in-control-here-Alexander-Haig.  Blog Post
Jun 25, 2007   By Barbara Faga
Local officials are rightfully leery of someone who shows up at their doorstep and proclaims, "I'm from the U.S. Government ... and I'm here to help you." That probably goes double for the Environmental Protection Agency. But when a team arrives from the EPA’s Smart Growth office, rather than scrambling to bar the door, local officials greet them with open arms — because they really do provide essential assistance. Blog Post
Jun 20, 2007   By
I recently got taken to the proverbial wood shed on Planetizen Interchange for arguing that mass transit is unsustainable. So, I decided that it might be useful to look at the mass transit system that seems to be the most successful in nation: New York City. New York has the density and economic activity to sustain transit—perhaps a best-case scenario in the U.S. Blog Post
Jun 19, 2007   By Samuel Staley