In Planning, Reality Can Be Worse Than Fiction

The Showtime Series Penny Dreadful portrays a bleak vision of 1940s Los Angeles. But, unencumbered by regulations and zoning laws, it also displays what great urban neighborhoods can look like.

May 18, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By Josh Stephens @jrstephens310

"Belvedere Heights isn't near downtown Los Angeles. It isn’t antique, and most definitely is not mixed use. It’s at Melody Ranch studio, in the Santa Clarita Valley community of Newhall. It was built in the past few months. And it’s used for one thing: it's a set for a television show."

"Beyond its escapist frights, 'Penny Dreadful' is an allegory for race relations and sociopathy. It’s showing us what we ought not do. But it’s also showing us something we ought to do — something we ought to build. But, like the proverbial debonair vampire, the true horrors do not lie on the surface. It’s easy enough to see a high-rise or to speed down a freeway and think that things are OK. But the accretion of laws, regulations, and social conventions have made it all but impossible to revive our better angels. Belvedere Heights reminds us that, to create great places, we first have to envision them."

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 in California Planning & Development Report

Soldier Field

Phase 1 Revealed for $20 Billion Chicago Megaproject

Plans for One Central, a proposed megadevelopment that would add 22.3 million square feet of buildings to the city of Chicago, are taking shape.

October 19, 2021 - Chicago Tribune


Boston Introduces 'Maximum Parking Ratios' for Large Buildings

Large buildings with uses of all kinds will be subject to Boston's new "Maximum Parking Ratios."

October 14, 2021 - Streetsblog Mass

A person in a bright green vest with the words "Covid Marshall" patrols a street fair in Australia.

5 Tips for Planning Safe Post-Pandemic Events

As community events start move off-screen and become available to the public again, here are five ways organizers can ensure public health and safety.

October 13, 2021 - Devin Partida

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.