Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Neighborhood Re-building in Atlanta

Dover, Kohl & Partners along with a multi-disciplinary team, created a detailed master plan for the neighborhood of Pittsburgh, in southwest Atlanta. The Pittsburgh neighborhood was among the hardest hit in the foreclosure crisis that unfolded across the United States. Ideas from the community were synthesized into the master plan, which focused on re-building a neighborhood that is complete and walkable; turning vacant and abandoned properties into affordable housing to enable a mix of incomes and lifestyles in the same neighborhood. Additional goals include showcasing and honoring the community heritage and identity; creating a safer community with programs to assist residents and businesses; and creating community green spaces.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

El Paso Downtown Pathway Charrette Showcases El Paso Art Community Talent

Dover, Kohl & Partners teamed with the Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD), Creative Kids, and local artists to host a public process to design a new pathway connecting the Union Plaza Arts district to the Downtown. The pathway runs from Santa Fe Street to Durango Street between the railroad tracks and the Convention Center. Local talent of all ages brainstormed with the design team to decide elements of the walkway. The art walk will feature both permanent and rotating exhibitions to keep the park active and to allow the local arts community to stay involved in the changing space.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

City of Beaufort receives $12.6 million federal grant for Boundary Street Redevelopment

A newly-announced $12.6 million federal grant will jumpstart implementation of Beaufort’s Boundary Street Master Plan with major roadway improvements at the intersection of highways SC 170 and US 21, and kick-off long awaited changes to one of the area’s primary retail centers. About $13.7 million in local money from the voter-approved penny sales tax originally designated for Beaufort road projects will serve as matching funds for the federal grant.

Boundary Street serves as the entrance to the city of Beaufort. As a typical commercial strip corridor, it does not enhance Beaufort's overall character and charm, and functions as a poor gateway to the historic city. The Boundary Street Master Plan, adopted by Beaufort City Council in 2006, provides a comprehensive retrofit strategy for growth and redevelopment of the corridor. The Plan seeks to improve the safety and operational efficiency for all modes of travel while creating more economically productive addresses. Dover, Kohl & Partners led a consulting team that worked with the City and community to create the Plan. Assisting with this effort was Christian Sottile, Hall Planning & Engineering, Seamon, Whiteside & Associates, MACTEC, and UrbanAdvantage.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First Public Hands-On Planning Session Held in Central America

Dover Kohl is working with Castillo Arquitectos to prepare a form-based code for the municipality of Curridabat, Costa Rica. A hands-on session fully open to the public was the first step toward achieving that goal. The standing-room only session was a big success and broke barriers for Latin American planning. The design team will take the ideas gathered from the community, and synthesize them into a vision for the future. The ideas gathered during the week-long charrette will form the basis for the form-based code.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Plan El Paso Receives National Award for Smart Growth Excellence

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Plan El Paso a 2011 National Award for Smart Growth Excellence in Programs, Policies, and Regulations. The EPA grants this award yearly to "recognize exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, and enhance quality of life."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Resiliency Plan for Jean Lafitte, Louisiana

The Dover-Kohl team led a charrette in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana November 10-17 to develop a plan for physical, economic and cultural resilience. During the War of 1812, the Bayou Barataria islands of Jean Lafitte were home to the pirates who became American heroes in the Battle of New Orleans. The town hosts a fishing and shrimping fleet and construction operations for Gulf oil platforms. Many residents have lived in the bayou town for generations. The unique culture and history of Jean Lafitte, its industry, and the safety of its people are threatened by climate instability, global economic shifts, sea level rise, and disappearing delta wetlands. The plan explores the town’s potential, making an economic and cultural case for long-term preservation of the settlement. The centerpiece of the plan is a vision for a more complete, more walkable heart of town, built upon its historic assets.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Governor Encourages Citizen Planners at Community Meeting for The Town's Blueprint

On Monday November 7th, a community meeting was held to continue planning efforts for The Town’s Blueprint. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss updates to the community-driven vision and the revised draft of the Form-Based Code for Charlotte Amalie, the historic downtown for St Thomas, USVI. Governor John deJongh Jr. spoke at the meeting, eloquently offering words of encouragement for the vision, urging on the citizen planners in attendance.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ocean Springs Inspires

There is little more rewarding than leading multiple charrettes in a place (each charrette inexplicably scheduled during the dead of lonely cold winter) and then returning in sunny early fall to watch people out and enjoying the results of your work. According to plan, Ocean Springs, Mississippi has built two new multi-story mixed-use buildings; an additional three are approved; extensive park improvements including a large new kids park and splash pad at Fort Maurepas are complete; the City has a new fishing pier; Government Street features a new streetscape of trees, on-street parking, benches and lighting; new restaurants have opened; there is regular trolley service, and a destination boardwalk now runs along Front Beach Drive. And as you may have read in the September edition of New Urban News Bruce Tolar’s Katrina Cottage Court, one block from Main Street, has also expanded into a small neighborhood. DKP began working in Ocean Springs after Hurricane Katrina and returned for three additional projects including the plan for the Downtown – though Mayor Connie Moran, the City’s planning staff, community leaders, and community members deserve all the credit.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

President Obama Confirms Fort Monroe as the Newest National Monument

Photo Credit: Pete Souza, The White House.

On Tuesday November 1st, 2011 President Obama signed a proclamation confirming Fort Monroe as our newest National Monument.

Fort Monroe is located in Hampton, Virginia and boasts extremely well-preserved historic fabric including the largest moated, stone walled fort in North America. The site features a long and fascinating history. As President Obama outlined during his signing speech, Fort Monroe has played a remarkable role in the history of the United States. It was identified as a strategically important location by Captain John Smith in 1608 who declared it “an isle fit for a castle”. It was also the landing site of the first ships carrying Africans to the New World in 1619. During the Civil War, almost 250 years later, Fort Monroe became a refuge for slaves that were escaping from the South. Fort Monroe was consequently dubbed “Freedom’s Fortress”. This action helped pave the way for Abraham Lincoln’s signature of the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 2005, The United States military declared that it was vacating Fort Monroe, after almost 200 years of continuous use, as part of its Base Realignment and Closure process. In 2006, in preparation for the U.S. Army’s departure and the conversion of the fort to civilian use, Dover, Kohl & Partners was invited to help lead a design process to create a Fort Monroe Reuse Plan. The President’s proclamation, which paves the way for designation of approximately 325 of the fort’s acres as a National Park, is consistent with this vision. The plan envisions preservation of the fort’s historic areas including the walled fortress itself. Large tracts of open area are to become permanent public park facilities. Some limited opportunities for neighborhood-scale development are envisioned to help complete the fort’s historic built fabric in places where it is currently frayed at its edges.

CNU Council Montgomery Focuses on the Future of New Urbanism in the New Economy

Members of the Dover, Kohl team joined over fifty New Urbanists for three days, October 14- 16, to participate in spirited discussions and critiques aimed at charting a positive path forward in today’s new, more austere economic climate.

The Council opened with presentations by Victor Dover and Andres Duany, who discussed newly revived opportunities for incremental, human scaled development presented by the new economy, and the need for resilient new development to be “frugal, successional, incremental, and subsidial”.

A series of presentations and critiques followed, which focused on projects begun during the boom years, which are now in the process of retooling their implementation strategies. Proposed strategies focused on a renewed ethos of “Small is Beautiful”. Projects discussed included Dover-Kohl’s Montgomery Downtown Plan and Maxwell Boulevard Plan. Lively discussions also followed a guided tour of Hampstead, a Traditional Neighborhood Development under construction in Montgomery, designed by Duany, Plater Zyberk and Company and developed by Anna Lowder and Harvi Sahota.

Attendees then discussed what the future holds for New Urbanism project types, the role of municipal government in advancing New Urbanism, New Urbanism’s planning tools including the charrette, and new patterns of development finance. Social events hosted by Montgomery included a reception at Dexter Avenue’s Kress Building, a light dinner at the downtown farm, and an evening steamboat ride. The council concluded with several exciting initiatives focused on refining methods for advancing the implementation of small, incremental projects.

See Victor Dover talk about Intelligent Incrementalism at the Council:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CNU Council VIII

Entitled, CNU Council Montgomery: What is the Future of New Urbanism in the New Economy?, the schedule of events for the council included tours, social events and discussions relevant to all New Urban practitioners in the 21st Century and New Economy.

The council was led by CNU Chairman Victor Dover, Andres Duany, and CNU President and CEO John Norquist. In his letter to attendees Victor Dover says, “The most pressing reason for attending the Council may be this: the degree to which the NU succeeds in Montgomery is a likely indicator of the movement’s success across the nation as it faces the new economic reality of the Great Reset.”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Overlook Park Under Reconstruction in Montgomery, AL

The City of Montgomery has closed Overlook Park for reconstruction as part of the Maxwell Boulevard Neighborhood Plan redevelopment. Several improvements are slated for the park, following the recommendations from a Dover-Kohl charrette held in March of this year. These include the parking lot being removed in favor of on-street parking allowing green space to be expanded, adding a staircase down to the downtown farm, and adding a new roof to the existing pavilion. The park overlooks the Alabama River and Downtown Montgomery.

The revamped park will serve as the keystone for the planned redevelopment of the properties along Maxwell Boulevard. Earlier this year, the City released a Request for Development Proposals for the City-owned properties. The sale of these properties will help pay for the improvements to Overlook Park.

Learn more about the Maxwell Boulevard Neighborhood Plan

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

PARK (ing) Day Miami 2011: Grand Central Park

This Friday, September 16 from noon to 8pm at NE 7th and N Miami Ave, parking spaces shall be turned to a mini park along with other parking spaces around the globe as part of PARK (ing) Day 2011. The temporary repurposing is intended to help imagine more green possibilities on the urban landscape. Street Plans Collaborative and Omni Park West Redevelopment Association host the celebration of PARK (ing) Day Miami 2011 in front of the site of the upcoming Grand Central Park urban infill project on the former Miami Arena site.

For more information see the blog post on TransitMiami.com. For more information on the national holiday see ParkingDay.org.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DKP Plans for Jean Lafitte, Louisiana

Dover, Kohl & Partners has begun working on a resiliency plan for the town which is located on Bayou Barataria in Jefferson Parish, south of New Orleans. The team will be in Jean Lafitte next week for a site visit, and a charrette is scheduled for November 10th through 17th. DKP partners with the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX), CSRS Engineering, EcoNorthwest, Shaw Group, Street Plans Collaborative, Waggonner & Ball Architects, and Hall Planning & Engineering. The planning effort has a new sense of urgency after Jean Lafitte experienced significant high tidal surge inundation after Tropical Storm Lee.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CNU Miami lecture by Andres Duany

Andres Duany will be giving a lecture tonight at Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL focused on the newest book from the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, "Theory & Practice of Agrarian Urbanism."

More about the fledgling CNU chapter and upcoming events can be found at: CNUMiami.org

Thursday, August 25, 2011

SmartCode Working Session held in Miami, FL

Dover-Kohl participated in a three day working session August 20th to 23rd focused on SmartCode Version 10 at the offices of Duany Plater-Zyberk. Dover-Kohl joined representatives from DPZ, Placemakers, Opticos Design, Hall Planning and Engineering, as well as Daniel Slone, Sandy Sorlien, and several others in a discussion on SmartCode coding in practice, lessons learned, and ways to improve and advance the next version of the form-based code.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jamestown Mall Area Plan Adopted by St. Louis County

The Jamestown Mall Area Plan was formally adopted as part of the General Plan for St. Louis County on Tuesday night. The Plan, which details strategies for transitioning the site of the ailing Mall, was created during a community-based planning process.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CNU Council Announced for Montgomery, Alabama October 14- 16

Victor Dover, Andres Duany and others will present a detailed critique of New Urbanism in the 21st Century at the next CNU Council with a candid look at how New Urbanism must adapt to the realities of the Great Economic Reset. The work of Dover-Kohl, DPZ, HPE, Urban Advisors, Urban Advantage, and Zimmerman/Volk in Montgomery will form the backdrop, including the Downtown Master Plan and Code (2006), The Plan for Oak Park and Centennial Hill (2009), West Fairview Avenue Plan (2010), and Maxwell Boulevard Neighborhood Plan (2011).

The council will include tours of projects developed under the Downtown Master Plan and SmartCode form-based code, including Court Square Plaza, several restored historic structures, and new infill restaurants and businesses. Discussion will also involve proposed plans under development such as a redesigned Dexter Avenue, new mixed-use housing developments, and a landmark children’s museum and library at One Court Square. Outside the Downtown tours shall include Lanier Place workforce housing neighborhood; the A&P Development, a mixed-use, infill courtyard development; and the traditional neighborhood developments of Hampstead and The Waters.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beauregard Small Area Plan Developer Stakeholder's Community Meeting

Following a well-attended bus tour around the the Alexandria and Alrington area, there will be a Developer Stakeholder's Community meeting on Monday, July 25th from 6:30 – 9:00 at the Hilton Mark Center in the Arbor Room. In this meeting, the Developer Stakeholders will discuss and recap the aspects of the projects seen on the bus tour, and further the discussion of the community’s vision, objectives and recommendations for the Beauregard Small Area Plan. At this meeting, the Developer Stakeholders and their planning teams will be available to answer any questions related to the ongoing planning efforts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

CNU Miami Inaugural Presentation

The CNU Miami inaugural presentation by James Dougherty, Director of Design, on The Importance of Art and Illustration in the New Urbanism was well received and attended by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Dhiru Thadani, Victor Dover, Marice Chael, Galina Tachieva and over sixty others.

Karja Hansen of CNU Miami/ DPZ introduced James, and discussed the new book Theory & Practice of Agrarian Urbanism by Andres Duany and DPZ. The Art of the New Urbanism will be an exhibition at CNU 20 organized by James Dougherty and Chuck Bohl.

More information at www.ArtoftheNewUrbanism.com

More about the fledgling CNU chapter and upcoming events can be found at CNUmiami.org

Monday, July 11, 2011

James Dougherty Lecturing at Books & Books in Coral Gables

James Dougherty (Director of Design at Dover, Kohl & Partners) will be presenting a lecture entitled “The Importance of Art and Illustration in the New Urbanism” at Books & Books in Coral Gables, FL. The presentation will focus on the role that vivid illustrations play in helping communities to visualize a more walkable, sustainable future. A great deal of technical skill and knowledge go into designing the details of great walkable places (block sizes, vehicle lane widths etc.), but much of what matters in the end is how a new place feels. New Urbanist illustrators are tasked with communicating how a place will feel to be in when all of the details come together - a picture is worth a thousand words.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Draft Ideas from Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan Charrette Presented

The Dover Kohl team has wrapped up a successful week-long charrette for the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan! Information from Thursday night’s work-in-progress presentation, including video footage and the presentation made to the community, can be found on the project website at www.PikeNeighborhoodsPlan.com. Over 100 community members were in attendance.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hands-on Planning for the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods

On Saturday June 25, over 150 members of the Arlington Community participated in a hands-on design session as part of the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan charrette. Many ideas were expressed, including desires to maintain affordable housing, improving walkability, and incorporating quality public spaces. The Dover-Kohl team will present drawings and visualizations of in-progress concepts Thursday, June 30 at 7pm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Coming City: Representative Beto O’Rourke Leaves the El Paso Council with Development on a New Course

The coming City of El Paso will be different in many ways from the present City. And the coming City will arrive not as a new settlement on a distant plain, but in the form of infill development on passed-over tracts within the City, or as contiguous development extending the fabric of the city, with new neighborhoods and centers that are complete, compact, mixed-use, pedestrian friendly, and connected by transit. The pioneering spirit of the American West has turned back toward town, in the case of several massive infill projects facilitated by a City Council that O’Rourke helped lead. And new outward growth will be compact enough to develop in increments offering a range of daily needs within walking distance of one another. The new course for development may not affect all projects in El Paso but to the credit of O’Rourke and others it includes a significant portion.

When asked by the El Paso Times (6/22/11) if the City’s smart growth effort will halt when O’Rourke leaves office after six years as a City Representative, he said, “We've already won that fight. There's 10 to 15 years worth of smart growth development that's in place. I don't know how you reverse that." Over eight square miles of new development designed under the City’s SmartCode, a form-based code, has either been approved, received substantial tax incentives with zoning approval expected before the end of the year, or is required by ordinance on publicly-owned lands. In total this is an area twice the size of downtown El Paso.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Value of Simplicity

Throughout history our most-loved buildings have been simple structures that were beautifully put together and finished with simple human-scaled details that delight the senses. Memorable places have always been created through the arrangement of these simple structures into complete, connected, walkable communities.

As these communities grew into successful economic powerhouses, their architecture also evolved to create rich, elaborate details that exhibited the strength of the city. This culminated with the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris where graduates from the school of architecture went on to produce exuberant buildings and details.

El Paso Transit Provider Wins National Recognition

El Paso's Sun Metro has been named the most Outstanding Public Transit System of the Year for all agencies in North America by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Sun Metro will receive an award for their efficiency, effectiveness, ridership, and transit planning. Jane Shang credits the award in part to Sun Metro’s partnership with Dover, Kohl & Partners through the Connecting El Paso and El Paso Comprehensive Plan projects. “It was a team effort,” says Shang. Dover-Kohl assisted Sun Metro in planning its Bus Rapid Transit System which is expected to begin service in 2012 and add one new line every two years until the major transportation routes through the City are serviced via BRT. Parking facilities, transit stations, and street retrofits have been constructed and more are underway. Dover Kohl is assisting with the design of transit stations at the former Northgate Mall complex and at the East Side Transit Terminal as well as with changes to land use and zoning regulations to create transit oriented development around all of the City’s proposed stations.

For more information about Plan El Paso visit www.PlanElPaso.org

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hammond, Louisiana Allows Accessory Dwelling Units

The City of Hammond approved an ordinance allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on single-family residential lots in the City as recommended during the Hammond Comprehensive Master Plan planning process. Backyard apartments in ADUs placed atop the garage or as separate outbuildings add affordable housing inconspicuously to single-family home areas. ADUs create places for extended families and can provide rental income. The City of Hammond Comprehensive Master Plan process was led by Dover Kohl and the plan was approved by the city in June 2011.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DKP at CNU 19: Growing Local: "The Best Congress Yet"

CNU 19 concluded two weeks ago and many felt it was the best congress they’ve attended. Madison itself was a star of the event: the John Nolen plan that undergrids the City, the imprint of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the continued commitments to walkability, bikeability, farmland preservation, eating local, farmland preservation, and midwestern neighborliness.   At the congress itself, on the shore of Lake Monona, Professor William Cronon and author Ed Glaeser joined the best live dialogue available on improving America through planning and design.  Here are a few aspects of CNU 19 that the Dover-Kohl team has been talking about:

A City for Cycling 
Myriad bike lanes, paths, and trails, coupled with ample racks throughout the City and its bike-friendly drivers, make Madison one of the country’s most bikeable cities.  Madison is home to a large university adjacent to a lively downtown, so many of Madison's residents choose to get around, year round, on two wheels rather than four.  In addition to superb facilities for resident cyclists, Madison is also rolling out its new B-Cycle bike rental program.  B-Cycle is a bike share provider operating around the world. People who do not own bikes can rent a B-Cycle for as little as 30 minutes from stands located throughout the city and can return them at any other rack.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Montgomery, AL Issues a Request for Development Proposals for Maxwell Boulevard

The City of Montgomery has released a Request for Development Proposals for City-owned property on Maxwell Boulevard that overlooks the Alabama River and Downtown Montgomery. The unparalleled long views of the Alabama River and pristine, undeveloped flood plain across the river makes these parcels among the most interesting opportunities anywhere in the region and, for that matter, the entire state. The site sits across from Overlook Park, which is scheduled to receive improvements, and the Downtown Farm, and is conveniently located adjacent to Interstate 65 which provides easy access and visibility to this area. Best of all, these parcels are located just blocks from Montgomery’s exciting entertainment district, Riverwalk Stadium, convention center, performing arts center, and numerous other cultural and entertainment destinations.

The City of Montgomery acquired these parcels in 2010 and, in February 2011, conducted a Master Plan charrette focused specifically on this area. This charrette, led by Dover, Kohl & Partners, developed a block scale master plan for this prominent site and built upon the previous Downtown Master Plan that Dover-Kohl conducted in September 2006 that also included this area. The parcels lie within the jurisdiction of the Downtown SmartCode zoning adopted in 2007.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan Charrette, June 24 - 30, 2011

Dover-Kohl is currently preparing for the upcoming Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan charrette. The Plan is the next step in the Land Use & Housing Study and is a part of the Columbia Pike Initiative. The Dover-Kohl team also worked on the Columbia Pike Revitalization District Form-Based Code adopted in 2003.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trees: Your Guide to Great Neighborhoods

When visiting a city for the first time, most people resort to guidebooks or the internet to find points of interest and activities.  Being a lover of great urbanism, I take a slightly different approach than most.  My interests lie in finding great neighborhoods, so I locate the city on Google Earth and I look for the areas that boast the densest tree cover.  I have a theory that some of the most interesting neighborhoods are the ones that appear to be the greenest when viewed from above.  This does not necessarily mean that you will find the best architecture in these places, although you often do.  In many cases, the character of the buildings is quite subdued; the trees are what add a layer of complexity to the scene.  These places also tend to have a historic designation associated with them, whether they are locally or nationally registered. 

City of El Paso Requires Street Trees and Landscaping for Pedestrians

New requirements approved by the City of El Paso require the installation and maintenance of street trees in all thoroughfare planting strips, as well as parking lot landscaping, and landscape buffers for auto-oriented development. New landscaped areas must include drought-tolerant, desert-appropriate plantings. The ordinance is different from conventional buffer ordinances in that it exempts urban format buildings with shallow setbacks, continuous street frontage, and storefront windows. The ordinance recognizes that street-oriented urban format buildings with awnings or arcades can provide a more interesting and comfortable streetscape to the pedestrian than vegetative buffers.

Landscaping: Previous Code
  • 7.5% of property must be landscaped
  • Trees optional between curb and sidewalk
  • Frontage landscape buffer: 1 tree for every 50 feet within first 20 feet of property
  • Required for every 1,000-square-feet in landscaped areas: 1 tree; 20 5-gallon shrubs; 10 1-gallon groundcover plants.

Landscaping: New Regulations
  • 15% of property must be landscaped
  • Trees required every 30 feet between curb and sidewalk
  • Frontage landscape buffer: 10 foot area with landscaping and 1 tree for every 30 feet within first 20 feet of property
  • Required for every 1,000-square-feet in landscaped areas: 2 trees; 40 5-gallon plant material; 20 1-gallon plant material.
  • Only 10 percent of required landscaping can be palms
  • Exempts urban format buildings from front and side buffer requirements

The Plan El Paso project is still underway and the Comprehensive Plan document is being written, yet City leadership is moving ahead with initiatives described in the plan.

For more information about Plan El Paso visit www.PlanElPaso.org

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jamestown Mall Featured in NRDC Blog Post

The National Resource Defense Council's Smart Growth Program Director Kaid Benfield has posted a piece on his blog about Jamestown Mall's redevelopment efforts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

City of Bradenton, FL Adopts Form-Based Code

This morning, the Bradenton City Council voted to adopt a new form-based code that will guide the future of development in downtown. The code includes designs for pedestrian-friendly, multi-modal thoroughfares, architectural standards that promote climate-responsive, authentic buildings, landscape standards that encourage habitat creation and local food production, and sustainability articles on diverse topics such as dark-sky lighting, renewable energy generation, and low-impact stormwater design. The code was written by Dover-Kohl and adopted in just nine months, with the assistance of Hall Planning & Engineering, Inc. and Karin Murphy Planning & Consulting, Inc.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

City of Hammond, LA Unanimously Adopts Comprehensive Plan

After a charrette in December of 2009 and over 18 Steering Committee meetings led by planning staff in the interest of maximum public participation, the plan was adopted unanimously by the Planning Commission. In the state of Louisiana the Planning Commission is the approval body for a Comprehensive Plan. The plan for the growing City is a model of smart growth, context-sensitive transportation planning, and civic art.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Living in Ruins

1945. Havana, Cuba. The City is in full bloom. The port, filled with ships from all over the world, offers the island a taste of the upcoming fashions, the latest technological advances of the automotive industry, and exquisite jewelry, among many other fine things. New neighborhoods – El Vedado, among others-- are expanding to accommodate the fast growing population. Streets are filled with Spanish Colonial, Republican Neoclassical and American Beaux Arts architecture of all scales that share one common element, allowing them to fit flawlessly together, thereby forming part of a greater urban identity. Shops from all over the world fill the buildings. Theaters bustle with crowds anxious to see international celebrities Edith Piaf, Nat King Cole and others. Tropicana’s jungle showgirls dance atop the tree canopies. And a magnificent promenade, built by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Malecon, highlights the water’s edge, providing an unforgettable welcoming view to those that come to the island daily.
“Esos eran los tiempos …” [“Those were the times…”], something my grandmother always tells me.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 Groves Award

Ana Gelabert-Sanchez and Manny Diaz are the inaugural recipients of the Groves Award to recognize outstanding leadership and vision in the promotion of transect-based planning. Gelabert-Sanchez, as the former planning director of the City of Miami, and Diaz, as the former mayor, are credited with shepherding the landmark Miami 21 zoning code from conception to implementation.

The Center for Applied Transect Studies created the Groves Award to recognize such leaders. The award is named in honor of Ken Groves, the late planning director of the City of Montgomery, Alabama, where he led the adoption and use of transect-based land development to create better communities. As a result of his leadership, Montgomery began its journey back to prominence and sustainability.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Public Official as Change Agent

Remembering Ken Groves
Urbanism enthusiasts often ask me to name a single factor that propels implementation the farthest, the fastest. I’m convinced it’s the presence of a special breed of public official in local government, one that thinks like an entrepreneur and likes making plans happen instead of just going through the motions.

I’ve met a few and worked for some of them. Sometimes it’s a mayor, or a city manager, a redevelopment director, or a public works official. But more often than not, when we find one of these rare people, he or she is the planning director.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jamestown Mall Area Plan Presented to the Community

On Thursday, May 26, 2011, the Jamestown Mall Draft Plan was presented to a group of more than 200 citizens and County officials. The Plan, which details strategies for transitioning the site of the ailing Mall, was created during a community-based planning process.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Architectural Details: New England

Few doubt the overwhelming importance that architecture plays when it comes to placemaking. Vernacular architecture gives a place identity and continues patterns of building which have been around for centuries, if not millennia. What evokes a building’s place of origin is more often than not a particular combination of features assembled in just the right manner. A single detail or configuration alone is seldom so place-specific that it instantly tells us where we are.

Having grown up in New England, I began to think of examples of such details which occur almost exclusively in the region and which single-handedly would tell me that I was home. I can honestly say that there are few, despite the architecture as whole being quite easy to pick out. To make the task a bit more challenging, I decided that the tradition must still be alive today in order to count.

Following are a few such configurations and details which exclusively dot the New England landscape. I’ll share some others in subsequent posts. I found the details themselves weren’t nearly as interesting as how they came about in the first place and why they are confined to a particular locality. Climate and availability of materials (i.e. cost) are overwhelmingly the driving forces.

"Witch Window" (Central Vermont)

CNU 19

The Congress for the New Urbanism is hosting its 19th annual Congress in Madison Wisconsin, June 1-4. Drawing on the close relationship Madison has with its agricultural neighbors, CNU 19 will build on the theme of “Growing Local”.

Victor Dover serves as CNU board chair and has been involved with the planning of the Congress. He will be participating in the following events: Friday Morning Plenary and The New Urbanism and the Bicycle: A Dialogue

Additionally, Andrew Zitofsky will be helping present the NU 202 session SmartCode Calibration SWAT Team (Sustainability With Applied Transect), and Jason King will be speaking during the awards session Today's Best Form-Based Codes.

NRDC Releases Guide for LEED for Neighborhood Development

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has released A Citizen's Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development. The document is a hands-on introduction developed for local environmental groups, smart growth organizations, neighborhood residents and just about anyone interested in making our communities better and greener.

LEED-ND was developed by a partnership of Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), the NRDC, and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Victor Dover was a member of the LEED-ND core committee and Dover-Kohl worked on determining many of the criteria within the rating system.

View the Guide

Visit NRDC.org for more information on LEED-ND

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

City of El Paso Allows Homes to Face Major Streets

The City Council approved an ordinance that allows homes to face arterial roads. Additionally, stone walls are no longer required along the perimeter of new subdivisions. Other recently adopted ordinances will make arterial roadways more pedestrian-friendly with increased planting strips, on-street parking, and narrower travel lanes. City neighborhoods will present a new, more welcoming image while providing a safer pedestrian environment by allowing the natural surveillance of “eyes-on-the-street.” This change to City policy was recommended during the Plan El Paso charrettes led by Dover, Kohl & Partners.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Amtrak Urbanism

Three years ago, my parents moved from their long-time home in Jupiter to Clearwater Beach on the west coast of Florida. While we were sorry to see them leave their old house and friends, it was easy to fall in love with the relaxed atmosphere and retro charm of my parents’ beachy new hometown. We soon realized that the only downside to Clearwater was getting there.

So Close and Yet So Far
First we tried driving. Clearwater is about a 5-hour drive from Miami, which is a long trek for a weekend visit. The quickest route is to take I-75 across the Everglades at the southern tip of Florida, and then continue up the west coast past Tampa. This route is flat, straight, and mind-numbingly boring. The danger of falling asleep behind the wheel is only countered by the frustrating congestion of Miami and Tampa, or the terror of the mid-afternoon thunderstorms, with their blinding rain, intense thunder and lightning, and gusts of wind that cause cars to veer off the road. After these drives we would collapse exhausted at home, completely useless for the rest of the day. With the added insult of $4/gallon gas, my husband and I were ready to try something new. We considered flying from Miami to Tampa, but were still not convinced. The flights are expensive, they require advance planning, afternoon thunderstorms are still problematic, and we both are jaded by the long waits and frequent delays at the airport. We also do not relish being treated like cattle in the security lines and on the cramped airplane. We had all but given up hope for a pleasant transportation mode.

Amtrak to the Rescue
Last year I was delighted to find out that we had been completely ignorant of a third transportation option – rail. Who knew that Amtrak operates a daily Miami-Tampa route?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring Hill, AL Dedicates the Village Pocket Park

The Village of Spring Hill dedicated the Village Pocket Park on Monday, May 16, 2011. This mini-park is designed in keeping with the rich history of Spring Hill. It complements the mission of The Village of Spring Hill, Inc. to make the Village a neighborhood center by improving the pedestrian aesthetic and commercial amenities of the area. The land for the pocket park was donated by Regions Bank and is located next to Private Collections on Old Shell Road. The park was designed for all seasons and will include cherry blossoms in the spring, berries in the winter, and rosemary for an herbal scent. Drake Elms are the new street trees added to widened sidewalk helping protect the park and pedestrians from traffic on Old Shell Road. The park features five new park benches of the same design that has been used in Spring Hill since 1866.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lee County Form-Based Code Wins Dreihaus Award

The Compact Communities Form-Based Code for Lee County, Florida was one of two codes chosen for the 2011 Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust Form-Based Code Award. In selecting the code for the award the jurors described the project’s approach as “groundbreaking” for its use of pre-approved FBC communities. With the development of every new community vast areas of the rural region would be preserved. Under full utilization of the program the new communities could absorb all of the development rights in the 150 square mile region in a pattern that is walkable, mixed-use, and transit-ready.

The code will be presented by Jason King of Dover, Kohl & Partners and Bill Spikowski of Spikowski Planning Associates at the 19th Congress for the New Urbanism in Madison, Wisconsin on Friday, June 3rd. The code is part of the Prospects for Lee County planning project which has received awards from the FL APA, 1,000 Friends of Florida, and a Charter Award from CNU.

Friday, May 13, 2011

James Dougherty, Dover-Kohl’s Director of Design, attended a four-day intensive figure drawing and sculpting workshop in Sarasota, Florida

The workshop was hosted by The Southern Atelier and was taught by renowned visiting instructor Robert Liberace. During the workshop, each participant spent mornings on the step-by-step creation of an ecorche (anatomical) sculpture in order to learn about the interconnected forms and structure of the human body. Afternoons were spent drawing these forms from models and learning to arrange them into compelling compositions.

The current revival of traditional town planning has strong parallels to the revival of figurative art. Principles of composition and design frequently overlap in the arts, and study of a less familiar art form can often provide fresh insight and inspiration.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

El Paso Approves SmartCode Rezoning

The 450-acre former ASARCO site was rezoned to SmartCode transect zones at the City Council meeting on Tuesday. This was the first rezoning to SmartCode in the City since the adoption of the optional form-based code. Several more sites are expected to follow. The approval lays the regulatory groundwork for the east portion of the former ASARCO tract to become a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with a trail system along preserved arroyos. The west portion of the site is planned as a multi-use commercial and office regional center with areas for clean light-industrial uses, and destinations such as an amusement park or racetrack. Both sites are scheduled for environmental remediation prior to the addition of uses. SmartCode requires streets that are safe and comfortable for pedestrians, ample public spaces, walkable block sizes, urban format buildings, and a mix of housing types and uses. The rezoning is a major implementation action step in the Connecting El Paso Plan which was approved in January.

Learn more at PlanElPaso.org

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dover Kohl and Chael Cooper Participate in ThinkBike Miami Workshop

On Monday, May 2nd, and Tuesday, May 3rd, Marice Chael and Megan McLaughlin participated in ThinkBike Miami, a hands-on bicycle planning workshop hosted by the Royal Netherlands embassy in Washington. The workshop brought bicycle planning experts from the Netherlands to work with local planners, engineers, designers, and bike advocates to create a roadmap for making Miami more bike-friendly. Groups represented at the event included Miami-Dade MPO, the City of Miami, FDOT, planning and engineering consultants, and bicycle advocates. The group designed bike routes to connect Midtown Miami to Downtown, and the Health District to the Venetian Causeway and Downtown. The exchange of ideas was extremely productive and a number of potential projects were brainstormed over the two days. At the end of the event, Jeff Cohen with Miami-Dade County Public Works announced that the County would take many of the schematic plans and street sections produced and begin designing them in more detail.