Sunday, March 19, 2017

From ArchDaily
4 Important Things to Consider When Designing Streets For People, Not Just Cars

Go to any medieval European city and you will see what streets looked like before the advent of the car: lovely, small narrow lanes, intimate, and undisputedly human-scale. We have very few cities in the US where you can find streets like this. For the most part what you see is streets that have been designed with the car in mind—at a large scale for a fast speed. In my native San Francisco, we are making the streets safer for walking and biking by widening sidewalks, turning car lanes into bike lanes, and slowing down the cars. We are working with the streets we have; a typical San Francisco street is anywhere from 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 meters) wide, as compared with a medieval, pre-car street which is more like 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) wide... Read more: 4 Important Things to Consider When Designing Streets For People, Not Just Cars | ArchDaily

Friday, March 17, 2017

From Vox — Superblocks: How Barcelona
is taking city streets back from cars

From Connecting Dots . . .
Ten Principles of Great Transit Planning

Some work I’ve been undertaking over the past couple weeks related to a prairie community got me thinking about what the “laws” or principles of transit planning might be. By this I don’t mean the principles of good transit service design: the best practices for designing route networks, schedules, infrastructure, their accompanying plans and so on.  Instead, I’m talking about the pithy statements that act as guides to the practice of transit planning itself... Read more: Ten Principles of Great Transit Planning - Connecting Dots . . .

Thursday, March 16, 2017

So, Nanaimo what's Hamilton doing with their waterfront redevelopment?

From the City of Hamilton's website: Hamilton's waterfront lands are owned and controlled by the City of Hamilton. We are taking great strides to ensure the lands are available and development-ready for private-sector investment. These investment opportunities include mixed-use residential and commercial developments. With these opportunities we hope to increase the use of the area for both residents and businesses. More at Investment in the Waterfront

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The case for moving ahead now on
our South Downtown Waterfront Lands

The case for making a start now on the development of our downtown waterfront lands. The recent referendum has shown broad public support for the careful, sensitive development of this site, and we should take advantage of that goodwill to put things in motion. You could say that we have already made a start with the South Downtown Waterfront Initiative’s Vision and Guiding Principles.  
Any proposal, this one included, should recognize and honour the complexities and realities of the site. They are:
1. Adherence to the Downtown Waterfront Initiative’s Vision and Guiding Principles.
2. The Treaty and land claims rights of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.
3. The access rights of Seaspan and the Island Corridor Foundation.
4. The role the private sector, the market, will have to play in its future.
However each and all of these are eventually satisfied the site will require infrastructure. We should act now to begin work on this infrastructure. It needn’t (shouldn’t) wait for every use and design “i" to be dotted.  
Creation of a magnificent public plaza on the waterfront should proceed immediately. A serviced short block urban street grid should be built and building lots subdivided. These would allow for investors large and small, local and national or off-shore to bring fresh ideas and capital to the site all within the guidelines established by the SDWI. City owned serviced lots could be set aside for favourable long term leases to non-profits and co-ops for non-market and social housing. Others set aside to be ceded to the Snuneymuxw as a portion, along with the Federal Government, of Treaty and land claims settlements.
There is huge value latent in the site which belongs to people of Nanaimo. Right now it’s a large underused site the value of which is mostly in its potential. We should create that value by doing what only the City can do: develop its infrastructure. Revenues would be generated as portions were carefully and strategically sold. This would go a long way in paying for the improvements. It's also essential the foot ferry, if it ever comes to be, docks on these waterfront lands in close proximity to other uses, not on the remote Port Authority's cruise ship pier. 
Take a look at the work done by a landscape architecture from like  PWL Partnership Landscape Architects in Vancouver. PWL principal Derek Lee has worked here as a consultant to Parks and Rec. (Picture: New West Pier Park)

Groundhog Day.
Dysfunction at our City Hall is systemic

Groundhog Day. Each election we send people to Council who we support and are sometimes even enthusiastic about. Eventually they fall well short of our expectations and we vilify them. General consensus is we need to send better people in. It’s a minority opinion right now I guess but I want to suggest the game is rigged, the deck stacked. 
Municipal governance is long overdue for reform. We send 9 people in to a large complex organization run by career managers and technocrats (each within powerful silos that compete with each other for funding) to oversee their activities. New Councillors find they are without any support resources— a desk, an office out in the community to meet with constituents, research staff...
The new Council is not required to earn a mandate from the electorate by proposing a detailed, costed platform. Unlike the political party based Provincial and Federal legislatures their election comes with the right to sit at the table but not to exercise power. If Council are unable to wisely and judiciously exercise power once they get established, those power silos I mentioned are ready and eager to wield it. We end up with institutional dysfunction, the wrong people asking the wrong questions, engineers busily solving problems they weren't asked to or equipped to solve.
We need a system of municipal government that better meets our needs. The existing system is a creation of the Provincial Government and therein lies the core problems. Solutions will have to include some devolution of powers and taxation authority from the Provincial government. They won’t be volunteering to do that. Our senior levels of government spend a huge amount of their time and resources protecting their precious jurisdictions.
Cities generate the prosperity which fuels Provincial governments, and a very small amount is returned to the city to invest in its economy and solve its problems..
A Provincial election is weeks away and if there are any proposals on the table to bring 21st Century reforms to cities large and small I haven’t heard them.

Here’s former Vancouver Chief Planner Brent Toderian on silos: I'm finding these days that as I'm advising cities around the world about better city-making, the conversations...  Read more at Planetizen: Better City-Making Means Breaking Down Silos—Here's How

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This brilliant illustration shows how much public space we've surrendered to cars — Vox

But this brilliant illustration, made by Swedish artist Karl Jilg and commissioned by the Swedish Road Administration, shows just how extreme the situation truly is — even in an urban business district that's designed with pedestrians in mind... More at This brilliant illustration shows how much public space we've surrendered to cars - Vox

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Shipping container public market for Nanaimo Waterfront Pioneer Plaza

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017