Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Commercial District News Round Up - Week of March 16th

Skimming the internet for news, so you don't have to...

Outlet Malls Move Closer to Cities in Upending of Rules, Bloomberg Business

"After years of outperforming regular malls, outlets are increasingly encroaching on downtown shopping districts. The shift is part of a painful dislocation for brick-and-mortar retailers, which are abandoning decades of etiquette as they chase a dwindling number of shoppers."

LA City's re:code-Pitched as Simplifying City's Complex and Opaque Zoning Code

LA is starting a very huge project to update its zoning code - the second oldest zoning code in the US for major cities.  It is a five-year project that will produce two zoning codes (one for the central downtown area and one for the rest of the city) and a dynamic web-based code delivery system, which they plan to showcase at the APA national conference in Seattle.

Sausalito Leaders Consider Cap on Bikes Entering City Streets

Not typical news, but Saulsalito is considering measures to limit the number of rental bikers coming to their city from San Francisco due to safety concerns. There is resistance and plenty of businesses that feel this is unnecessary. This is not a done deal and only in investigation phase.  The situation doesn't look anything similar Amsterdam's current bike overload woes.
Amsterdam bike overload

Regional Planning Agency forms first Millennial Advisory Panel

Now that Millennials outnumber Baby Boomers in the Atlanta area they have become a constituent group that has expressed desire to be involved with regional planning issues.  The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Millennial Advisory Panel formed in the wake of this desire and looks to be a sea change in the future of America's planning. The panel will formulate policy recommendations related to infrastructure, innovation economy and healthy, livable communities.

Why Some Parklets Work Better Than Others

A report from CityLab on why some parklets work and others don't shows that the type of businesses closest to the parklet plays a key role in its success.  The study showed that an adjacent business with modest interior seating and large front windows were very successful at attracting good parklet usage. Interesting article.
Parklet peak use time varied depending on location, Image: University City District

Parking Madness 2015: Nashville vs Amarillo

Coming out at the same time as college basketball March Madness, Parking Madness, is an interesting series presented by Streetsblog USA and puts two US cities against each other in a bracket tournament of sorts to win the title of "Golden Crater".  It's eye-opening to see how bleak these downtown centers are with so much of the land covered in parking lots.  Some pictures look devoid of human existence.
Amarillo from above (Google Maps).

Egypt's Strange $45 Billion Plan to Abandon Cairo as its Capital City

Similar to Brasilia in Brazil, Abuja in Nigeria, or Islamabad in Pakistan, Egypt looks to create a new capital.  The $45 billion plan would establish the new city to Cairo's east, closer to the Red Sea and would sprawl an estimated 150 square miles for 7 million potential inhabitants.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

News round up...

Image source: Walk [Your City]
We scoured the web so you don't have to. Here are some things this week that caught our eye...

DIY Wayfinding Signs Are About to Go Mainstream

Former graduate student Matt Tomasulo began a project in Raleigh that debuted in 2012 drawing much attention for his self created signs which guided and informed citizens of Raleigh which direction and how long it would take to get to a certain destination, often noted in minutes by foot or by bike.  Now, after a Kickstarter campaign and funding from the Knight Foundation, Tomasulo's "WalkRaleigh" project is expanding in a big way.

Check out the story and see how the new "Walk [Your City]" project allows users to create signs aimed at guiding others to destinations within their city.  Signs are color coded for their type - Commercial, Public Space, Civic/Institutional , and Amusement.

The Neighborhood Has Gentrified, But Where's the Grocery Store?

Image from GOVERNING article,
credit: Shutterstock
Part of a series by GOVERNING regarding gentrification, this article covers the issue of the changing landscape and revitalization of America's downtowns, such as Cleveland, which still noticeably lack grocery options.

Urban Regeneration: What recent research says about best practices

The mid-19th Century brought declining population and disinvestment in the core areas of major American cities, many in the Rustbelt, and coincided with state and federal policies that effectively encouraged suburbinization. This post provides key findings and many potential strategies to address disinvestment and spur regeneration.

Why Are Developers Still Building Sprawl?

Image from The Atlantic article, credit: Don Graham/Flickr
The Atlantic points out that while data and feedback supports that Boomers and Millennials alike want to live in compact, walkable developments builders still are investing in sprawling suburban communities complete with even larger McMansions than before.