Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

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The second of Drachman Institute’s 3-part series of transit-related talks took place Friday, August 15th at the Drachman Center, 44 N. Stone Ave., Tucson.  The event started with definitions of  what TOD (Transit Oriented Development) means and how to support density & diversity.   The streetcar is a start, but sustainability of that success has to be larger network with the right development.  In a related post, Jarrett Walker & Associates calls this economic zone  our network map for high frequency transit routes.  The challenge will be reasons to invest.  Kelly Iitzen talked about demographic survey analysis.  Laura Jensen explained GIS mapping of  base demographic regions, zoning areas, bus routes and an array of other data overlays.   Jacob Bintliff from the San Fransisco Firm,  BAE Urban Economics put it together with recommendations for strategic investment planning. (more…)

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Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 12.46.50 PMJarrett Walker is an international consultant in public transit planning and policy, including the links between transit and all aspects of community planning and urban structure.  His clients include transit authorities, cities, developers, and non profits – anyone who wants to make better use of public transit as a tool to support resilient communities and social inclusion.  he will be speaking publicly on the 11th of July @ 5PM, 88 E. Broadway ( Unisource Building).  You can download a flyer here:  Jarrett Walker Flier

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Jarrett Walker Coming to TucsonScreen shot 2014-06-30 at 10.39.40 PM

Jarrett Walker, international consultant in public transit planning and policy and author of the highly recommended blog HumanTransit.org (and the 2011 book Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives) will speak in Tucson the evening of Friday, July 11.

Tucson Talks Transit: With Jarrett Walker
Friday July 11, 2014
5:00 reception, 6:00 presentation
TEP downtown HQ, 88 East Broadway

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Transitions and Synergy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACORE BaNC (Core Barrio and Neighborhood Coalition)  hosted a public forum on the Infill Incentive District Overlay at the Ward 6 office on May 28th.  Adam Smith crafted a great response to a set of questions given before hand.  The IID has only had 10 projects as of May 2013.  Some are enormous and a majority are more inconsequential.  A resonating factor that has neighborhoods wanting to opt their boundaries out of the district focuses on perceived failures in transitioning from large projects to a sensitive neighborhood context.  If there is one factor that will make or break the IID concept, it is these transitions.  (more…)

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Screen shot 2013-05-30 at 9.42.45 AMA 3rd city-neighborhoods meeting at the Community Resource Campus on May 6th, 2013 ended on a low note.  Neighborhood leaders grilled staff with questions intended to bolster their voice in the planning process.   These meetings originated with Pro Neighborhood’s final 2012 funded project; a year-long symposium of process exploration hosted by Jefferson Park NHA.  View their White Paper.    Q@A was directed to staff comprising four topics; neighborhood input, neighborhood support, transparency and new student housing projects.  The sticking point was “neighborhood input”.  Staff sounded stuck in a familiar box and neighborhood leaders wanted ideas.  So, as the inquiry moves forward later in the Summer, the focus will be on how to push staff outside the proverbial box. 

Two more things to think about are Plan Tucson and a new impact fee program.  Plan Tucson is completing it’s public process.  Read chapter 4, planning implementation.  It mandates new specific plan updates of area and neighborhood plans.  The assistant city manager has used the term “village plans”.  These can consolidate neighborhood plans.  Its a good thing only if neighborhood leaders are deep in the process.

Look for a new impact fee program.  Regarding SB1525, the City must re-write their  impact fee program allocation to be more specific to benefit districts with tighter use criteria.  There is a chance that may work for neighborhoods, but it is another process that needs neighborhood advocacy.   A smarter impact fee structure coupled with a proactive investment strategy is another possibility in planning that could deal with transitions in high impact areas between mega dorms and neighborhoods.

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Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 8.10.31 PMPALOLO SOLERI (June 21, 1919 – April 9, 2013).  Now, with only his legacy and futuristic forms in our memory, Paolo Soleri’s contributions will be live on internationally.  His concepts will be  moved forward by new generations of Architects and Planners.   His work is an important force in the shape of future human settlements.  He was known for bold ecological forms and a revolutionary design concept he called Arcology His legacy will be impacting as futuristic minded planners seek the right answers to what sustainable urban habitat is.  27 years ago I attended one of several weekend  seminars at Arcosanti  to further understand arcology.  An account of one of Soleri’s seminars was published in Solar Earth Builder Magazine:  Arcosanti Solar Greenhouse, A Hope for The Future.  

A polar opposite of modern building and planning stereotypes, Arcosanti was known as “philosophy in action”.   It soared beyond a pure philosophical proposalArcosanti and Soleri’s nearby residence compound at Cosanti gave architectural substance to his ideas.  Soleri perfected the notion of sustainability before it was a household buzzword.  He is the Frank Lloyd Wright of sustainable urban form.  His work will guide future studies of habitat in a challenging era of global warming and critical urban design problems.

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The August 23rd Overlay Seminar was a rundown of  bullet points outlining 6 overlay topics.   You can download the following power point pdf files by clicking on the titles:  1) Legal limitations 2)  Downtown Links  3) Grant Road  4) Main Gate District  5) Urban Overlay District and  6) Infill Incentive District.  Representatives from Pima County, Marana, Oro Valley and Suarita also summarized their experience with overlays.  Community acceptance to zoning overlays was acknowledged by City Planner, Jim Mazzocco as an area in need of serious work.  He stressed that streamlining the Main Gate Overlay was something he would not want to repeat and pointed to DowntownLINKS as a better model.  The Main Gate District worked for business interests but not local residents.  A poignant moment in the seminar was a partnered presentation by  Neighborhood leader Ruth Beeker and Developer Jim Campbell.  They spoke on the right planning,  failures in the Main Gate Overlay public process, and a need for plans that afford certainty and predictability to residents and developers.  The core of Tucson is under pressure and planning areas targeted for rezoning overlays is necessary whether it is a two year specific overlay district planning process or part of a broader master plan.  Either way, communities need to be deep in a process free of pressure.

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