JonZirkle's blog

Planning Process Unclear - Times-Picayune

According to Coleman Warner of the Times-Picayune, there seems to be a lot of planning and discussing on how to rebuild New Orleans but public uncertainty still looms as to what and when plans get implemented. Many residents feel that too much money is being spent on planning and consulting as housing and basic services remain inadequate. How will public input, funding sources, and political strategery determine the rebuilding of New Orleans?

Gulf Coast New Urbanism and the Katrina Cottage - USA Today

USA Today’s Larry Copeland tells us that many coastal Mississippi towns are rebuilding their communities with new urbanist principles in mind. But not all towns are jumping on the bandwagon. Towns like Biloxi seem weary of recent efforts to create walkable communities with widespread access to shops and offices, a new concept for a region previously designed for the automobile. Nevertheless, new urbanists are working with public officials and companies like Lowe’s to offer residents vibrant permanent housing alternatives to the temporary government trailer.

Commuting in America - USA Today

In a USA Today cover story today, Larry Copeland gave John Norquist a chance to react to the not-so-good news found in the latest "Commuting in America" report.
John used the opportunity to say how growing developer interest in mixed-use urbanism is poised to affect the so-far declining numbers for walking as a share of commuting nationwide -- at least slowing the decline and perhaps eventually leading to a turnaround. The report focuses on the 1980-2000 period.

Wal-Mart Moves Downtown in South Mississippi - USA Today

USA Today’s Haya El Nasser investigates Wal-mart’s big new move in coastal Mississippi—going urban. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged south Mississippi, there is opportunity to consider alternative measures in urban design. But can a marriage between Wal-Mart and historical downtowns be successful?

New Urbanism in America's Car Capital - Free Press

New Urbanism has now arrived in America's Motor City. Even in the land of the car, people are ditching the two-car garage and opting for walkability and convenient location. John Gallagher gives a preview of what could be a miraculous urban turnaround for a city known well for its post-World War II urban decay. Gallagher paints New Urbanism's early brainchild, Seaside, as a successful model for suburban alternatives, but will the allure of dense urban living in a northern industrial city be strong enough to slow suburban sprawl?

Shrinking American Lawns - Washington Post

Amit R. Paley surveyed the greater Washington, D.C. region to find more homeowners opting for smaller lawns or no lawn at all. While not all persons interviewed prefer less lawn, a growing number of people see lawns as a costly maintenance burden. Some feel a private lawn can be easily traded for a close-knit neighborhood feel created by smaller lots and less grass. Are green lawns getting phased out?

Zoning Creates Barriers to Progress - Boston Globe

According to Anthony Flint, today’s zoning codes are creating problems for many U.S. towns and cities, not just in the Massachusetts Commonwealth. In his June 4th Boston Globe article, Flint advocates for a radical overhaul in zoning policy after pointing out the irony that building modern versions of old New England towns would today be illegal. With mounting energy prices, Flint argues, we’re going to have to get past a fear of change and legalize an integrated form of zoning that considers proximity.

Slate On-line Magazine: Mississippi Spurning

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast has become a hotbed for New Urbanist activity in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devestation. Rybczynski explains how Mississippi’s governor arranged a forum in 2005 for planners, designers, and public officials to strategize the rebuilding process with context-sensitive considerations in-mind. He also takes note of the lead organization behind these planning efforts, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and how a design pattern book that was distributed to interested Mississippi homeowners has generated mixed reactions.

New Urbanist controversy in New Orleans - Times-Picayune

Doug MacCash cuts through the heated discussions on New Orleans’ proposed redevelopment style called New Urbanism. MacCash interviews experts in the Big Easy, some of who believe New Orleans is more or less a New Urbanist community. With New Orleans’ history of gradual change, skepticism to a ground-up master plan is high. Could New Urbanism revive the soggy city?

New urbanism in Latino California - USA Today

El Nasser tells us that Southern California is now home to an exciting wave of new urbanism geared toward the growing Latino community. With the Hispanic population of California projected to reach 50% by the year 2040, the need to market housing and urban development to the Latino community just seems logical. However, there is debate over whether Latino interest in dense, urban living is a cultural preference or merely following socio-economic trends. Regardless, could interest in new urbanism become a poster child for development throughout the surrounding Sun Belt region?