6 Ways Urban Renewal Misses the Livability Mark

Despite spending millions on urban renewal projects, municipalities often miss a common group of opportunities to make their communities more livable and walkable, according to William Adams, a San Diego-based land use attorney.

September 12, 2014, 7:00 AM PDT

By melaniecj

Mixed-use waterfront

La Citta Vita / Flickr

When it comes to urban renewal, understanding the “big picture” is not enough to keep cities and towns from making mistakes.

William Adams, a San Diego-based land use attorney, writes that despite the increasing success of urban renewal in the past 15 years, cities are still missing opportunities to veer away from the auto-orientation that is driving suburbanites to city centers. (Please excuse the auto-oriented idioms.)

Common mistakes include communities not knowing how to truly provide for pedestrians and other active transit users, according to Adams.

“The lesson: Pedestrians and active transit users need routes designed specifically for them, not simply as an add-on to routes designed for cars.  Route planning should seek shortcuts and other opportunities that give walking or biking advantages over the automobile.”

Other common errors include not selecting the right streetscape trees, not reducing parking, and not protecting existing building stock.

“..for more than any other reason, successful urban renewal depends on creating or restoring an environment that diminishes the primacy of the automobile and prioritizes walking, active transit, public transit, the natural environment, and existing structures.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 in UrbDeZine

Stylized rendering of the Midwest Regional Rail Network

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes New Midwest Rail Network

If built, regional high-speed rail networks could provide an alternative to uncomfortable air travel and prevent travelers from becoming stranded at airports during extreme weather.

January 17, 2022 - The Urbanist


'15-Minute City' To Be Built in Utah

A community that focuses on reducing the need for car ownership and providing effective multimodal transportation and diverse land uses will be built from scratch on the site of the decommissioned Utah State Prison.

January 19, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

New York City Politicians wears a mask at a New York subway station during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Leadership at New York Department of City Planning

With a new mayoral administration comes new planning leadership in the Big Apple.

January 20, 2022 - New York City

South Mall Parking Lot

Progressive Political Support Sought for Parking Reforms

Despite mounting evidence that parking requirements subsidize cars, raise the cost of housing, and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, few policymakers have strongly advocated to end them.

11 minutes ago - StreetsBlog NYC

San Diego Trolley car

Report: San Diego Trolley Extension Cost Double the Average for U.S. Light Rail

Experts attribute the high cost of the project to local opposition and call on state and federal leaders to give transportation agencies more authority over local jurisdictions.

1 hour ago - San Diego Union-Tribune

A woman wears a mask during the Covid-19 pandemic in a large crowd at a transit station in New York City.

After Omicron

Don't count on Omicron ending the pandemic, cautioned America's top infectious disease expert on Jan. 17. "Get ready to learn new Greek letters," warned the Associated Press as daily COVID deaths topped the peak set in the Delta wave.

2 hours ago - New York Post

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Case Study posted on HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

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.