June 22, 2016

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Mixed-use density in a suburban center: Clarendon Center, Arlington

(RECAP: Building density that supports walkable urban centers is a key strategy of new urbanists—but this goal is challenging in already built-out suburbs. Existing conditions, space constraints, zoning restrictions, and long approval processes often present obstacles. Despite those barriers, Arlington’s two-block Clarendon Center combines historic buildings, 244 residences, office space and a neighborhood grocery store. Extensive community involvement throughout the planning and design process helped build local support, and today the beautiful Art Deco–style development fully leverages its location next to a Washington DC Metro station.)

APA Launches Pilot Program to Recognize Comprehensive Plans

(RECAP: Communities that have integrated sustainability into their comprehensive plan may now apply for recognition from the American Planning Association (APA). The new Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places Recognition Program Pilot seeks to recognize plans that advance the principles, processes and attributes of sustainability as defined in the Comprehensive Plan Standards. The program is designed to increase awareness about the importance and value of a comprehensive plan that also addresses a community’s overall sustainability.) https://www.planning.org/content/content/9103061/

This Neural Network Reveals Your City's Secret Patterns

(RECAP: What if you could search the topography of the real world as easily as you search the Internet, all in real time? Terrapattern is a new search engine that does just that, and it could have a big impact on the workflows of government agencies, urban designers, journalists and more, within the next few years.)

Do Tax Credits Fit the New Affordable Housing Needs of Seniors?

(RECAP: There are three “givens” in the affordable housing business. One is that seniors hate vouchers. Another is that seniors want to be in segregated settings. The last is that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is the cheapest way to build new housing. Wrap them all together and you have the essence of a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, entitled “Healthy Aging Begins at Home.”)

Trail-Oriented Development: The Next Frontier in People-Friendly Design

(RECAP: Real estate developers and cities are becoming more responsive to cyclists’ needs by creating an increasing number of communities tailored to those who would rather bike than drive. A new ULI publication, Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier, identifies this trend as “trail-oriented development,” the latest phase in the evolution of urban development from car-centric to people-friendly design.)

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