- Contact Us
Jean K Akers | David Allison | Solmaz Amiri | Dean J Almy III | Dana Anderson & Cindy Toth | Don Arambula | Hugh Atkinson | Bhishna Bajracharya & Shahed Khan | Kurt Beil | Michele Berry | Djamel Boussaa | Eileen M. Brennan & Veronica Dujon | Lou K. Brewer | Cheryl A Burnette | Sandra Burtzos & Allison Rouse | Liliana Carvajal | Amy Chomowicz | Scott Clein | Alice Coker & Brian Wethington | George Crandall | Mary Frances Czarnecki | Stephanie Farquhar & Ed Blackburn | Zeglar Fergus | Helen Santiago Fink | Karen A. Franck | William Gaylord | Jason Graf | Jeanette Gustat | Hanaa Hamdi & Karen A. Franck | Grady Hanrahan | Cindy Heath | James Hencke | Anne Hill | Haco Hoang | Brett Horner & Jeff Milkes | Brett Horner | Gary Johnson | Rosemary Kennedy | Shahed Khan | Katherine O. Kittredge | Irina Kukina | Kylie Legge | Gloria Lindsay Luby | Jennifer C. Loomis | George A. Luz | Mehran Madani | Cecily Maller | Robin Paul Malloy | Jessie Maran | Ettore Maria Mazzola | Fiona McKay | Jana L. Meinhold | Anjali Mishra | Patrick Moore | Marjan NematiMehr | Melanie Payne, Brendon Haggerty, Jonnie Hyde & Jennifer Merte | Rick Phillips | Irina Pozdnyakova | Michael Prescott | Danang Priatmodjo | Donald Reynolds | Orit Rotem-Mindali | Allison Rouse | Thomas Sammons | Theodore Sawruk | Vivek Shandas & Stephanie Farquhar | Philip Speranza | Felia Srinaga | Philip B. Stafford | Scott Tate | Susan Thompson | Giancarlos Troncoso Parady | Jared Ulmer | Natalia Unagaeva | Shaun Underkoffler | Rosalind Wade
Providing Parks for Healthy Populations
The planning framework for the parkland and trail acquisition program within Vancouver and its urban growth area targets geographic and demographic equity in the distribution and location of its health-providing amenities as future growth continues to spread beyond the original urban core and infill increases its density. Parks and recreation providers have been in the health and wellness business since their inception, although not often recognized for how pervasive those benefits provide to a community.
The Center for Disease Control has examined the proximity effect for significant preventative of and treatment for obesity in adults and youth. The VCPRD park land acquisition program seeks to fulfill their mission of an interconnected system of parks, trails and open space that allows any resident in the urban area to walk to a public space within one-half mile of their home.
Formed after a county-wide health assessment in 1993, Community Choices serves as a catalyst for change, most significantly through the public-private partnerships that have been created and through it’s annual community report card measure the impacts and influence of parks and trails on the community.
The County’s Public Health professionals conduct health impact assessment to communicate and reinforce the value of neighborhood and community parks in the acquisition process.
This paper offers the story of partnering across numerous agencies to maintain the quality of life and promote healthy lifestyles through the provision of an interconnected system of parks, trails and open space.
Designing Hospitals and Medical Centers as Healthy Livable Urban Districts
Urban hospitals and large academic medical centers have typically evolved over time into vast single use districts that are highly institutional, difficult to navigate, unhealthy and unsafe. Their internally organized and focused fortress-like structures rarely contribute positively to the life of the street, neighborhood, city or town. Given the intensity of activities that occur in these settings and their 24-7-365 day of the year nature, they have a significant impact on the cities and towns in which they are located. They are simultaneously major employers and economic engines in their community, and yet they also place great burdens on the physical infrastructure of their communities.
Given the significant role these institutions have in their communities, and their inherent mission to improve health, urban medical centers should be models of healthy and livable urban design. They should be vibrant mixed use and transit oriented districts with walk able streets, accessible and useable public green spaces, and meaningful connections to nature. They should be easy, legible and safe to navigate. They should consider and contribute positively to the health of the individuals engaging them, the communities in which they are part of, and globally through environmentally responsive design.
A series of design strategies are presented that enable urban medical centers to become positive physical settings for healthy and vibrant urban life. These strategies simultaneously serve the needs of healthcare settings to become both healthy and environmentally responsible places in their community, but also more therapeutic and patient, family and staff centered.
Retrospect and Prospect: Urban Mobility
Mobility is defined as the ability and possibility of moving from a place to another. Movement in space encompasses not only daily trips with public or private modes of transportation, but also comprises social mobility, intellectual mobility and migration mobility. As a result, the chief quality criterion for mobility is not the covered distance, but the number of activities individuals can and take part in.
1950s and 1960s were considered as eras during which cities were rather car friendly than people friendly. During this period, the right of way for humans to socialize and freely navigate in the urban space was neglected by city planners. Later, it was argued that urban space serves social, cultural and political functions. Thus, residents of the cities need to be granted the right to navigate in urban space without being dependent on private modes of transportation.
Expansion and upgrading of public transport system and establishment of bike ways and pedestrian zones were introduced among the guidelines of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and Nature Conservation during the past decades. This presentation will cover transport policies in the city of Stuttgart located in southern Germany and transformation of this region from a car friendly city into a public friendly one.
Dallas: Riparian City
Between the years 1965 and 2003 the Dallas - Fort Worth metropolitan region grew by 4 million people. This increase in population was entirely outside the urban core. The resultant explosion of the metropolis over the landscape has followed unsustainable patterns that threaten to seriously damage the nature of the regional landscape and continues to consume resources at an alarming rate. In the context of this ongoing development, and a projected doubling in population over the next twenty years, this paper will present one response; the design of a new “Riparian City” by the Dallas Urban Laboratory, an urban design research initiative of the Urban Design Program at The University of Texas, School of Architecture in Austin. The project, developed in consultation with the City of Dallas’ planning department, is an undertaking generated by the Mayor’s office to shift development paradigms on the periphery of the city to a more ecological urban pattern. Designed to accommodate a population of thirty thousand residents, along with the founding of a new university campus for a projected twenty-five thousand students, this initiative is a radical departure from the current development models in Dallas and has the potential to bring a more sustainable pattern of development to the southern part of the city, an area traditionally deficient in social equity: schools, jobs, and housing. This new “Riparian City” envisions a more urban, livable, and equitable lifestyle for a rapidly expanding metropolitan population. Envisioned as an alternative for a population that desires access to the culture of the city, balanced with the lifestyle benefits of a town, the project appropriates the ecologically sensitive landscape as its backbone, threading a new “urban necklace” through the landscape that ties the existing neighborhoods together, providing green infrastructure, transit, and adds a dense, walkable and healthy pattern of urbanism to the area.
Planning for health and well-being in Oakville - a prescription for sustainability – now just take the medicine!
Oakville, as a town of just over 175,000 people within the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada, has strategic goals to be the most livable town in Canada. With this bold statement, the town declares itself ready to uphold planning for diverse, active lifestyles with community planning to protect the health and wellbeing of residents, create walkable, mixed use developments with smart environmental urban design elements and preserve its natural and built heritage.
Corporately the town ‘walks the walk’ with policies on environmental sustainability, sustainable design, fleet greening, sustainable purchasing, clean air, climate change, moving towards zero waste, energy and greenhouse gas emission management along with an innovative municipal Health Protection Air Quality By-law focused on improving air quality. Effective implementation of policies and monitoring and measuring their impacts are key elements of Oakville’s approach with annual reporting of the State of Oakville’s Environment and performance measures linked to the budgetary process.
Both the Livable Oakville and the New Communities of Oakville Official Plans establish the policy framework for how Oakville will ensure continuous improvement to support healthy, sustainable community development. The newly approved Livable Oakville Plan followed an unprecedented community consultation process and resulted in an approved growth management approach and set of land use policies with incentives focused on intensifying defined urban growth centres.
Oakville will provide practical examples and case studies to illustrate how the town is putting sustainable policy and healthy community planning into practice.
Mobility-Oriented Districts (MOD)—The Next Generation of TOD
Mobility-Oriented Districts (MOD) take Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) to the next level by expanding the TOD user shed from a one-quarter mile radius (five-minute walk) to a one-mile radius (five-minute bike ride) around a high-capacity transit station. A MOD increases transit ridership and expands the amount of transit-supportive development by increasing the user shed and linking multi-modal transportation choices to a neighborhood-serving ‘hot spot’ located within a one-eighth mile radius of the station platform.
The presentation will include examples that demonstrate how MODs result in:
- A potential transportation energy savings of over 50 percent
- Economically vibrant communities
- Active, healthy lifestyles
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Transportation access for all ages and abilities
Key Features of MODs include:
- A ‘hot spot’ with retail, shopping, and employment uses located within a one-eighth mile radius of the station platform
- Mixed-income high-density residential uses located within a one-quarter mile radius of the station platform
- Protected bikeways leading to and from residential neighborhoods to the hot spot
- High-capacity transit that serves the hot spot
- Streetcar that serves the hot spot
Participants will learn how to:
- Integrate land uses with multi-modal transportation options to increase transit ridership and minimize the economic impacts associated with increasing fuel costs
- Design a protected bikeway system (where bicyclists are separated from auto traffic) that links neighborhoods to the hot spot
English Local authorities and strategies to tackle climate change: lessons from across the pond?
The outcome of the 1992 Rio Summit (in particular Agenda 21 and the Convention on Climate Change), and subsequent international agreements, have set the context within which political leaders have sought to address the issues of climate change and sustainability. Local Agenda 21(LA21) set out a broad range of both responsibilities and opportunities for local government to tackle climate change.
This paper looks at the effects of the LA 21 strategies of a number of English local authorities. In particular, it focuses on whether such strategies have had a substantial impact on tackling climate change and promoting sustainability or if they are examples of what might be termed policy symbolism. In looking at these issues the paper will set out a number of analytical models which will help frame our understanding of the way that English local authorities have dealt with the issues of climate change and sustainability.
A central concern here will be the extent to which local communities have been active in shaping the policy agenda. Such a process of involvement is essential for sustainable, healthy and inclusive local communities as well as creating a dynamic local polity.
The paper will argue that in attempting to tackle climate change and promote sustainability, English local authorities are faced with both opportunities and constraints. How they grasp the opportunities and overcome the constraints is dependent on both their willingness to engage in a meaningful way with their own local communities, as well as effectively managing their own political resources.
Dr Bhishna Bajracharya, Associate Professor, Bond University, Gold Coast Australia; Curtin University, Perth, Australia
and Dr Shahed Khan, Assoc Prof, Dept of Urban and Regional Planning, Curtin University, Bentley, WA,
Developing active and healthy places: Case study of a master planned community in Australia
There is growing interest in developing new master planned communities as active and healthy living places for people of all age groups in Australia. Forest Lake is one such master planned community in Brisbane, Australia, with a population of about 20,000 people. One of the key features of this development is a large manmade lake surrounded by walking and cycling pathways, children’s play areas and places for physical exercise - turning the lake area into a public open space that serves to promote healthy lifestyle. Many health and fitness related activities and events are organised around the lake and other public places within Forest Lake.
While master planned communities may offer facilities to promote active and healthy lifestyle, are the facilities accessed and availed by all sections of the community? What are the formal and informal governance mechanisms in place? How efficiently are the facilities managed? In order to answer such questions, the proposed paper sets out to evaluate the role of master planned communities in active and healthy living using Forest Lake as an example. It will examine the nature of public places, infrastructure as well as community events organised for active lifestyle in the master planned community. The paper will then seek to identify the gaps in provision of the health and fitness infrastructure for diverse community groups living in the area. The research methodology will include a visual analysis of the facilities and field observations as well as interviews with key providers and users of the health and fitness infrastructure in the housing development. The paper will seek to draw out guidelines for developing strategies for active and healthy living in existing and future master planned communities in Australia.
Effects of Environmental Settings on Measures of Holistic Health
This experiment demonstrates environmental settings’ effect on objective and subjective measures of physical and mental well-being. Participants (n=40) are taken for one hour to one of four different environmental settings: 1) Forested nature park, 2) Urban tree-lined area, 3) Urban built plaza, and 4) Indoor windowless auditorium. Each setting is visited once per week for four successive weeks, ensuring equal exposure for all participants. The setting visitation order is randomized individually. Participants are asked to sit quietly in each setting and observe their surroundings while data is collected.
Primary and secondary physiological outcome measures (e.g. Blood pressure, Cortisol) collected pre- and post-setting exposure provide proxy measurements of allostatic load, the “accumulated physiological cost of exposure to stress” that is highly correlated with multiple disease states.
Psychological measurements taken pre- and post-exposure detect changes in mood and cognitive attention. At the end of each exposure, participants complete subjective quantitative and qualitative measurements of their experience. Climate and environmental quality data as well as participants’ pre-existing health & stress status and level of relatedness to nature are assessed to account for potential moderating factors.
This 4-arm cross-over pilot study provides information about short-term exposure to different real-world environments and their relationship to measures of physiological and psychological well-being. Data from this study can be used to inform practices and policies in the overlapping areas of public health, urban planning and landscape architecture, as well as direct future explorations in the fields of environmental psychology, stress-reduction, and holistic health.
Creating a Health Index for Regional Transportation Planning
Health indexes are useful tools for recognizing areas of population most susceptible to poor physical and social health. Health Professional Shortage Areas, Medical Underserved Areas indexes and the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Systems are used by the health community. However, none of these indexes are useful for regional transportation planning due to large geographies and lack of focus on transportation related indicators. A health index built for regional transportation planning will indentify areas of greatest need and allow for context based solutions that promote local health. This is necessary as regional transportation infrastructure significantly affects rates asthma, obesity and related diseases but transportation planners lack tools to consider health in the planning process.
The proposed paper will tease out how to compile a useful health index for regional transportation planning using the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area as an example. Many sources of health data and information exist but not all are useful for transportation planning. Our index utilizes factors from existing indexes, readily available census data, and local information from county public health departments. It then examines how to weight and combine these factors to create one index more accurately indentifying areas of higher and lower health vulnerability relating to transportation, comparing index results to real world health. The combined index shows vulnerable populations most impacted by transportation infrastructure which can then be targeted with specific transportation programs and infrastructure to promote physical and social health.
Diversity of Urban Spaces as a Catalyst of Sustaining a Living Heritage; The Case of Souk Waqif in Doha, Qatar
In recent years, mixed use urban fabric has become one of the new concerns of urban planners, urban designers and architects. In many historic centers, urban diversity has been achieved spontaneously and it responded to the local needs of the people at that time. However today this urban space diversity is being threatened of vanishing.
Souk Waqif, is one of the last surviving historic urban spaces in Doha. The influx of expatriate Asian workers reached the zenith, creating crowded conditions and forced the locals to search for better living alternatives. Moreover, transforming the old memorial Souk area into a native-deserted city center. Due to the rapid urbanisation following the discovery of oil in the 1950s, many houses in the Souk have been abandoned to become a shelter for the low income workers. Thus a number of these houses became dilapidated and fell down into ruins.
This shopping destination is renowned for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is also home to tens of restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world. These diverse activities can ensure a sustainable livability of the Souk.
This paper will try assessing the level of diversity of urban spaces existing in the souk and try to identify if they do not form any threats on the authenticity of the place. The research is based on an empirical research based on onsite observations and interviews with the users. The outcomes of the survey and on site visits, can inform us about the quality of the area and how it can be enhanced by more mixed use infill and restoration projects.
Planning Social Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities: Identifying Needs and Challenges in Portland
This paper reports on a project establishing the empirical basis for long-term collaborative research and practice that promote healthy urban social infrastructure enhancing the sustainability of Portland, Oregon. Of three dimensions generally understood to capture the fundamentals of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social), social sustainability is least well understood or actively researched (Dillard, Dujon & King 2009; McKenzie, 2004; Harris, 2000). Social sustainability includes both processes and institutions that promote social health and well being in current and future generations, and social practices necessary to facilitate greater environmental and economic sustainability (Dillard et al., 2009). The promotion of urban sustainability has the potential to produce transformational outcomes in all three dimensions. Equity of access to resources, however, is a pivotal factor affecting the degree to which successful transformation can occur (Sen, 1999).Using a grounded theory approach, our research team analyzed data from four major community studies selected to cover multiple sectors of Portland, from two focus groups of community partners that conducted the original research, and from a community-based advisory committee meeting. Analysis revealed that the overriding concerns identified across the data in all four reports are the significant impacts of the unequal distribution of access to resources in the social, environmental and economic spheres, and the ways in which inequity perpetuates the social exclusion and marginalization of groups of Portland residents along racial, ethnic, immigrant status, and economic class lines. Recommendations to improve equity in access and distribution of resources and to heighten engagement of excluded groups are discussed.
Healthy Design of Communities: Lessons Learned in Developing Healthy Planning Policy and Local "How-to" Guide
A large urban county health department and a city within a metropolitan region with a population over five million share an interest in healthy design of their communities. Based on previous work of the health department and another city within the region in conducting and implementing a health impact assessment for an at risk neighborhood and through the city's work in implementing healthy planning policies, the groups are working together to identify policy gaps and opportunities to develop a local training guide on the intersection of health impact assessment, health indicators and planning tools for both city planners and local public health professionals. The city will adopt a Healthy Communities Resolution and then conduct a policy review and implementation of recommendations in the form of a new comprehensive plan. Health goals to be included in the comprehensive plan element will contain complete streets and connectivity patterns as well as access to healthy food and open-space. A priority will be given to incorporating current and future city policies on compact, mixed-use and transit oriented development. Educational opportunities for city staff and elected officials will be incorporated where necessary. The results will be shared with the regional Council of Governments strategic planning health team as part of its 2011-2012 deliverables as well as with the local university school of urban planning.
From Health Impact Assessment to Healthy Community
The City of Decatur was the first government in the United States to utilize a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on its Community Transportation Plan. With a focus on walking, this paper shows how city staff translated the HIA recommendations into unique and fun programming for all ages.
How do you get a community outside onto sidewalks and trails built for moving? The City of Decatur is 4 square miles in size, 74 miles of streets, 62 miles of sidewalks, and a variety of short trails. We created unique programming for everyone, regardless of fitness level, to make walking fun for residents and employees. In 2010, we formed “Team Decatur” to participate in the annual Kaiser Permanente Run/Walk 5K. Over 140 people joined the “team,” earning the city the “Most Fit City” award by KP. Building on that momentum we introduced a “Walk for Lunch” program drawing 100 people to the square to walk during lunch. Local celebrities such as the Mayor led the walks making them lively and energizing. The city partners with the school system on a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) initiative. The five elementary schools and middle school children participate by walking or riding their bikes to school along recommended safe routes designated by a committee of community members, city departments and the school system. SRTS kicks off annually with the Rock and Roll to School day where parents, children, and teachers wear SRTS t-shirts and receive special stickers for participating. In 2011 we placed brightly colored SRTS markers along sidewalks to guide the way to our newest school. Our efforts earned us the Walk Friendly Community Award from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Information Center. Walking in Decatur is a cool social activity for all ages making it easy and fun to stay active.
A New Hub at the Intersection of Portland's History and Riverfront
Despite numerous efforts, the Skidmore-Old Town Historic District, Portland’s historic city center, had been left behind in the successful redevelopment of most other areas downtown. In the past few years, the Portland Development Commission partnered with key players such as the University of Oregon and Mercy Corps, to finally jump-start redevelopment of the area. This required relocation of the Portland Saturday Market, an eccentric and beloved 37-year old artisans’ market that operates 10 months per year and provides income for 400 micro-businesses with over 750,000 visitors annually. The redevelopment provided the opportunity to create a new home for the market in the existing Tom McCall Waterfront Park, while reconnecting the historic district to the river and creating a new multi-faceted public destination consisting of plaza and pavilion. The new Bill Naito Legacy Fountain serves as a poetic interpretive installation with a narrative engraved in the plaza steps describing Portland’s settlement and immigration history. It is a vibrant hub between the historic district’s Ankeny Plaza across the street, the river, the park’s multi-modal greenway trail, and the market pavilion. The interweaving of historic and contemporary textures has reunited the waterfront and the Skidmore District as a destination for people of all ages and walks of life, accessible by multi-modal transportation. Completed in 2009, the space accommodates the high capacity of the Saturday Market while also considering individual, casual and sequential experiences of the site as a linear waterfront park, and creating a new northern gateway to Waterfront Park.
Exploring the Relationship between Neighborhood Social Interactions and Urban Sprawl in U.S. Metropolitan Areas
As a pattern of growth, sprawl is often criticized for its extensive negative impacts. These impacts range from economic costs to health and environmental problems. Critics of sprawl have also emphasized the negative consequences of this type of growth for social neighborhood ties. The physical environment of sprawling areas, characterized by low population density, segregation of land-uses, and lack of public spaces does not provide spaces for social interaction. On the contrary, transit-oriented and mixed-use neighborhoods might encourage interaction among residents because individuals are more likely to walk from place to place which might increase opportunities for informal contact and gather.
Although there is a large body of research that study the impacts of sprawl, there is little empirical research of the impacts of sprawl on social interactions among neighbors. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the understanding of sprawl impacts and to fill this gap in the current literature by exploring the relationship between urban sprawl and neighborhood social interactions at the metropolitan level.
The data employed in this study came from two main sources. The neighborhood social interactions data are from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which conducted a personal network and community survey in 2008. The sprawl data are from the research conducted by Ewing et al. (2003). The authors developed a sprawl index that includes four main factors: 1) residential density 2) mixed- use 3) centers of activity, and 4) street network.
Although I am currently in the process of analyzing the data for 83 metropolitan areas that include a total of 1,178 respondents, preliminary findings suggest that among the four sprawl factors, strength of metropolitan centers have a positive correlation with neighborhood social interactions, in particular with the number of neighbors known by respondents.
Ecoroofs in Portland, OR
Rooftops are an untapped resource of open space, biodiversity, and visual aesthetics. Converting gray rooftops to green oases provides green spaces for people and habitat for wildlife, reduces the urban heat island, and increases stormwater management, air quality, and job opportunities.
Portland’s ecoroof program began in 1996 with an experimental ecoroof built on a city employee’s garage. In 2008 the program expanded with the introduction of Grey to Green, Portland’s initiative to bring more sustainable, watershed protection measures into the city. Today there are more than 290 ecoroofs covering 13.8 acres. Portland’s ecoroof program consists of a financial incentive, educational resources, and policies that promote ecoroofs.
Incentives and Education - Portland’s incentive has fostered rapid growth of ecoroofs in the city. Portland offers seminars and tours throughout the year, and the month of March is declared Ecoroof Month by the City Council. The annual Vendor Fair typically attracts 500 participants.
Policy - Portland has adopted multiple policies and codes to improve and protect environmental quality. Many of the policies address stormwater management, and ecoroofs are an important sustainable option for rooftops.
Diversity/Equity - Portland issued a request for proposals to hire a contractor to design and construct ecoroofs. The evaluation criteria included: diversity (30 points), project approach (30 points), experience (25 points), and cost (15 points). The points awarded place diversity on par with project approach and above project cost. This approach was ground-breaking. Additionally, Portland’s incentive program includes diversity criteria. These criteria encourage greater inclusion of the broader community.
The Road Not Taken: Complete Streets and American Transportation Infrastructure in the 21st Century
Pedestrian-friendly … walkable … community leadership often uses these terms to describe the future vision of their cities, downtowns and regions. Recently, the philosophy of “Complete Streets” has been thrown into the mix, and many state and local governments have jumped on the bandwagon by enacting Complete Streets legislation or ordinances. Indeed, many communities throughout the United States are committing to, and implementing, Complete Streets plans. So why haven’t all of these communities dramatically changed for the better?
The fact is that many communities are putting the cart before the horse because they don’t fully understand what the concept of Complete Streets means, or how to properly achieve successful results within their communities. They also underestimate the political will and interdisciplinary collaboration that is crucial for success. This seminar will define Complete Streets as a STEP towards a more vibrant city that requires collaboration between planning, engineering and economic development areas of local governments.
This presentation will cover the following topics:
- An explanation of Complete Streets philosophy and case study examples of how to properly implement Complete Streets.
- A brief description of the issues and obstacles that exist in implementing them in your town.
- A brief history of why and how our road system developed the way it did, and how that history is impacting the implementation, or lack thereof, of Complete Streets.
- A review of state-level “Complete Streets” laws, explaining what they do and do not accomplish.
SE Clay Green Street Project – Route to the River
The City of Portland worked with the local community to create a 12 block green street design plan that connects inner east side Portland residents to the Willamette River, and creates an urban greenway through the Central Eastside Industrial District. A final report and plan for the project was completed in December 2009. The project is in design and construction is planned for 2012.
Green Streets are landscaped street side planters or swales that capture stormwater runoff and allow it to soak into the ground as vegetation and soil filter pollutants. Green streets also make attractive streetscapes that connect business districts, neighborhoods, parks and schools and they can be designed to accommodate the diverse traffic needs of motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Community Design Plan and Art - Environmental Services worked with Portland artist Linda Wysong and the community to develop a design plan that creates a unique identity and recognizes the history of the area for the Clay Street route. A final design plan was produce d in April 2010.
Portland Community College Stormwater Education Plaza - The Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland Community College (PCC) are working together to create an innovative stormwater plaza at PCC's central campus located along the Clay Street route. The project will include a public/private shared stormwater rain garden, a gathering space, an educational kiosk and an art sculpture. Construction is scheduled for summer 2011.
Building A Community―The Successes and the Failures
The Portland downtown core area has been called an inspiration for the rest of the country. Portland promoters extol successes. The learning experiences and failures are rarely mentioned or well understood. This workshop or tour will illustrate what has worked and what has not; what has enhanced the downtown investment environment and what has degraded it. It will also identify the corrective actions that have been taken to avoid making the same mistakes again.
Examples of core area squares, buildings, retail districts, streets and parking that enhance and degrade the urban environment will be toured and discussed. Specific project examples include:
- Squares. Success–Pioneer Courthouse Square; Failure–O’Bryant Square
- Green Spaces. Success–Men’s and Women’s Parks; Failure–Federal Plaza
- Office Buildings. Success–Pacwest Center; Failure–Portland Building and First Interstate Bank
- Hotels. Success–Hilton Executive Suites; Failure–Hilton Hotel
- Parking. Success–Hilton Executive Suites and Pioneer Place Parking Structure; Failure–Public Parking East
- Retail. Success–Pioneer Place; Failure–Yamhill Market, Pearl District, and South Waterfront
- Housing. Success–Pearl District; Failure–New Columbia
- Streets. Success–NW 23rd; Failure–1st Avenue (no parking)
- Transit Stops: Success–Pioneer Place; Failure–Old Town (street closure)
- Paving. Success–Pioneer Courthouse Square and Portland Transit Mall; Failure–Director’s Park
Traditional Town Planning
The need for a paradigm shift is illustrated by the “Tower of Babel”. Historical models are the best loved cities. They hold rich patterns of urban life based on pedestrian-centered living and civic engagement. They keep drawing us near. Can sustainable technologies harmonize with regional architecture & identity, building on tested principles within our own heritage? Traditional town planning leads to livability. Livability provides places with the ability to endure...the sustainable places people love.
The street, square and block establish useful and meaningful public elements of urban choreography based on spatial sequence, personal scale, hierarchy and the making of authentic public rooms. A hierarchy of building types clearly distinguishes the public from private realms and identifies specific public uses. It communicates a language for the making of significant buildings, great places, monuments as well as public aspects of private buildings. Locations & significance of civic buildings declare citizens' aspirations. Their locations on public spaces provide essential elements in the urban choreography that connects our main streets, waterways and neighborhoods.
Central places & civic awareness empower us to rebuild the American Dream(s) in which buildings in walkable urban quarters establish a public realm where architecture is built on enduring foundations reflecting civic and cultural life. What can we learn from Europe? Neo-traditional high-density urban patterns focus on creating integrated mixed-use communities, conceived and built in personal scale. Designing around people rather than the car, they aim to provide a high-quality environment, MAKING CITIES LIVABLE.
Designing urban spaces to foster recovery, housing, and community
Central City Concern (CCC) is a Portland nonprofit agency serving over 13,000 individuals each year. When CCC began operations in 1979, it focused on street alcoholics but its staff soon realized that serving these clients required addressing not only their addictions, but also their mental health, physical health and employment problems. As an affordable housing developer, CCC renovates, restores and builds affordable housing options that are integrated with direct social services including healthcare, recovery and employment. By addressing homelessness in a comprehensive way, Central City Concern helps people find homes as well as a greater sense of community and cohesiveness. CCC’s housing program includes more than 1,500 units of housing and several medical facilities across 23 buildings throughout the Portland metropolitan area. CCC specializes in mixed-financing developments including New Market and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bonds, and a variety of local and federal funding sources. Of note, CCC’s built environment -- with housing, addiction treatment, and medical care in close proximity, sometimes in the same building -- fosters an integrated bio-psycho-social approach to the people it serves.
During this presentation, CCC staff, consumers who have benefited from CCC housing, and researchers from partnering universities will discuss transitional, family, and permanent housing options and the role each type of housing plays in building stability and community in Portland’s urban center.
Walking Brisbane. Successful entry 2011 Brisbane Ideas Competition.
Brisbane in Queensland Australia, is a 1,300km² local government entity with over 6,800km of roads, 50,000 intersections and a program to continually extend its network of city paths and bike-ways. But is this program effective? Does it improve walk-ability or personal mobility? Our Walking Brisbane competition entry tested this with a 'practical experiment'.
We identified the southern and northern most city boundaries and asked “Could we walk the 60kms between using only the resources available from the Brisbane City web page and a simple city map (no GPS, street directories, apps) and importantly what might we find out about city mobility”?
The results were surprising. Our first obstacle was crossing a barricaded motorway, we used a service access way. We found that main roads are strong pedestrian attractors because pathways are disjointed. Vehicular street signage is often not helpful, many streets marked “No Through Road” are accessible by pedestrians. Bike-path style maps are difficult, landmarks and orientation cues are more useful since pedestrians have more at stake from wrong turns. Street crossing should be a fundamental pedestrian design consideration, we did it 271 times. Then there was the unexpected barb wire, construction detours, chain-mesh barriers across pathways.
We summarised the results into a written and graphic submission recommending that Brisbane adopt a pedestrian advocacy role, changes to street signage, pathway maps, orientation aids and path continuity strategies. We are planning Part 2: East to West in August.
Exploiting opportunities in urban infrastructure for climate change sustainability
Climate change and environmental issues have been increasingly in the forefront of the media and government agendas. However, despite much discussion and fanfare, little has been done in the way of serious commitment and clear course of actions since the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 to bring carbon emissions to sustainable levels.
To tackle the immensity of the climate change challenge a paradigm shift in understanding is necessary to balance the course of global human development with energy demand and consumption patterns. Accounting for over 40% of global energy demand and more than 30% of GHG, the building sector offers the greatest mitigation potential for reducing carbon emissions in both the short and long term, with positive implications for a range of associated sectors and industries. Promoting behavioral change among end-users for reduced energy consumption as well as encouraging the building industry to embrace sustainable design, low–carbon construction practices and materials, and renewable technologies, is fundamental to mitigating the impact of the built environment on planetary biospheres and preserving quality of life for generations to come.
This paper starts by drawing attention to the building sector and related EU policy outlining the challenges and opportunities for reducing energy consumption and carbon emission levels. Such policy provides the essential framework to engage stakeholders and allow supporting factors to foster progress in the sector. It contends that information on climate change has not led to significant improvements in meeting global targets and what is needed is behavioral change among individuals and society as a whole. On the basis of research project experiences and literature review, it puts forth and explores five key elements contributing to behavioral change for reduced energy consumption and lower carbon emissions in the building sector focused on: Information and Education, Financial Incentives and Energy Services, Modern Technologies and Sustainable Design, Social and Community Norms, and Biophilia (contact with the natural environment). The paper suggests opportunities for further research and concludes with recommendations for policy-makers and related stakeholders.
Karen A. Franck, Professor, and Matt Burgermaster, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, College of Architecture & Design, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights Newark, NJ, USA.
Commercial Rooftop Farms: A New, Hybrid Type.
Increasingly small-scale agriculture is becoming a desirable, and actual, feature of healthy urban communities -- from the raising of chickens, goats, and bees to the growing of fruits and vegetables. Sometimes this is done for pleasure and private consumption but it may also be a commercial enterprise. While community gardens have long been part of the landscape of New York City neighborhoods, commercial farming is now occurring as well. As this trend continues to evolve, it offers new opportunities to re-imagine the relationships between urban agriculture, architecture, and community.
In the post-industrial landscape of Brooklyn and Queens, the roof tops of sturdy, but under-used industrial buildings offer local entrepreneurial residents potential sites for growing herbs and vegetables that can be sold to restaurants, local farmers markets, and individuals. This presentation describes how several urban farmers in this area have addressed the challenges of re-using industrial buildings for agricultural purposes while also making their farms community centers. Not only are these farms producing food for an emerging network of health-conscious individuals and organizations, they are also developing community-oriented educational programs and shaping an urban culture that sees food as an integral part of its sustainable future.
Design for the Human Experience
Successful healthy, whole communities today integrate sustainability from social, economic, environmental and especially artistic and youth perspectives. The speaker will explore several case study projects where these factors have been infused by elevating the residents and visitors quality and spirit of life through 'design for the human experience'. A major thesis of the speakers point of view is that art, artists and children are required dna in creating truly sustainable communities. Some projects examples included in the presentation are Burien Town Square and B / IAS (Burien Interim Art Space), Greenbridge and University Village where children, art, and parks are important factors in creating healthy community.
Mixed-Income Housing within a TOD
Transit ridership is most effectively increased by providing opportunities for living close (within a five-minute walk) to the station. By concentrating medium- and high-density housing in the station neighborhood, greater transit ridership will be realized and the number of vehicle trips within the TOD will be reduced. A mix of rental and ownership properties should be provided to support a mix of income levels. Station neighborhood housing should also be sensitive to the existing context and provide height transitions to lower density and single-family housing in the surrounding areas.
Ideally, all medium- and high-density housing will be within three blocks of a park or plaza. The success of a TOD is largely measured by whether it is a livable community that a city’s citizens will find desirable. Simply loading density into a neighborhood may result in a ‘transit ghetto’ where housing is provided but the ambiance and safety of the neighborhood is poor. To attract a stable and diverse residential population, parks, open spaces, schools, and cultural uses must be woven into the fabric of the neighborhood.
Small neighborhood-serving urban parks, rather than expansive regional parks, are more suitable in a station neighborhood. The parks provided should be large enough to accommodate child-friendly play structures, courts, and informal grassy areas, but not so large as to consume too much area within the neighborhood. Similar to a station plaza, parks should be the focus of adjacent development. Natural landscapes—such as rivers or wooded areas—should be protected and featured.
Baseline Evaluation of the Safe Routes to School Program in Louisiana
The prevalence of obesity in children is rising, and children do not reach recommended goals for daily physical activity. The federally funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program was designed to encourage school-aged children to walk and bicycle to school. We evaluated the state of the walking and biking environment around schools in Louisiana prior to the state’s first SRTS program.
Assessments were made at the neighborhood level with the Pedestrian Environmental Data Scan (PEDS) instrument, at the school and individual levels using the National SRTS Center’s Teacher Tallies and Parent Surveys, respectively. PEDS scores were developed to rate conduciveness to walking/bicycling of proposed SRTS routes. Sites’ scores were compared to the percentage of students who walk/bike to school.
We evaluated five schools in Louisiana that had been awarded a SRTS grant. Overall, more students walked (range: 2.4 – 17.4 percent) than biked (range: 0.3 – 4.5 percent) to school with more students walking home than to school. Over 76 percent of students owned a bicycle and 40 percent of students lived less than a mile from school. Students who lived less than ½ mile were 16.7 times more likely to walk/bicycle to school than those who lived farther away. Students were 2.6 times more likely to walk or bicycle if the school promoted it. Sites with the highest PEDS score had the highest percentage of students who walked or biked to school.
There is a role for the SRTS program. The environment and other factors influence biking and walking to school.
Access to Fresh, Affordable Food: A Basic Feature of Healthy Communities
In discussions of the importance of bike paths, parks and plazas, we may overlook more basic requirements for healthy communities. One is the accessibility to healthy, affordable food. This is a requirement that a surprising number of inner city neighborhoods in the US fail to meet. Following a brief overview of this situation, the presenters will draw from a three-year study to describe the severely deficient food environment in one urban neighborhood.
The South Ward in Newark, New Jersey is home to 49, 276 people, 90 percent of whom are African-American; the median family income for a family of four is slightly higher than $30,000. Of the 91 small grocery stores within its boundaries, only two sell any fresh produce but charge excessively high prices for poor quality items. None of the 75 restaurants offer healthy food. Most of the food service venues (stores and restaurants) are located along three major streets accessible either by bus or car but the average waiting period for a bus is more than 30 minutes on weekdays and 45 to 70 minutes on weekends. To reach any large chain supermarket residents must travel beyond the South Ward for an average of 40 minutes, one way, to purchase any groceries, anywhere. Together the inadequate public transit and the scarcity of food venues that offer healthy, affordable food within the neighborhood create an unhealthy food environment that is far too common in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods throughout the U.S.
Promoting Environmental Justice In Ventura: Integrating Science Into Civic Engagement
The purpose of this project is to develop a model of civic engagement for environmental justice in low-income communities by empirically assessing exposure to pollution and exploring the most effective avenues for community input and action. Since environmental conditions are ever changing, effective civic engagement opportunities must be institutionalized so as to be replicable and utilized on an ongoing basis. This study will focus on the city of Oxnard in Ventura County, California, a community that faces numerous obstacles to civic engagement and environmental justice. Oxnard has a median household income well below the state average, its percentage of Hispanics and foreign-born residents is higher than the California average, and the percentage of its population with a bachelor’s degree or higher is lower than other cities in the state. Due to the area’s agricultural economy and history of industrial pollution, the area faces great environmental challenges. Project findings and recommendations can be used to influence community involvement in the cleanup process and to prevent future pollution exposure and contamination. The results of this project can also serve as a model of civic engagement for other low-income communities facing similar environmental challenges.
Health Impacts of an Active Transportation System
Designing for active transportation options is not only a smart investment in transportation, but also in community health and economic viability. Making recreational trails, greenways, bicycle lanes and sidewalks available for all members of the community, including children, seniors and people with disabilities, is a vital component of community health improvement.
National active transportation initiatives including Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, Health Impact Assessments and Safe Routes To Play compliment existing bicycle and pedestrian friendly efforts traditionally serving adult commuters. Everyone deserves to have the choice for active transportation to get to school, work, play and key community destinations.
A healthy community has a healthier bottom line, which means it makes good economic sense to consider issues like obesity, diabetes, safety and air quality when we make transportation planning decisions. Explore the various options available to community and transportation planners to begin to make the transition from a car-centric community to a more holistic, health promotion-centered approach.
Examples of communities choosing to focus on the positive health impacts of designing infrastructure, policies and capital investments to facilitate active lifestyles will be discussed.
Eco-TOD: Creating Sustainable Transit Villages
Traffic congestion, climate change, and community health continue to be growing concerns for urban America; that's why communities from coast to coast are advancing Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and eco-districts as antidotes. But the provision of an alternative transportation mode is only one part of the story – what does it take for transit and sustainability to also be tools for shaping growth and redevelopment?
This presentation will share intimate knowledge and key lessons learned through the proposer’s years of experience working on TOD projects throughout the US. Utilizing numerous photos, graphics, and compelling visualizations, the presentation will assist anyone getting started to address common challenges planners will encounter in their work with transit agencies, local jurisdictions, and key stakeholders. It will also explain how TOD is a fundamental “green” development strategy.
Session participants will leave with a better understanding of: how to assist a variety of corridor jurisdictions in coordinating their planning efforts; the role of corridor station planning and design workshops; and a range of station typologies including an overview of outstanding TOD projects.
Transit stations need not be simply large parking lots; they can help foster vibrant, walkable, healthy places, but planning must start early and focus on what matters most. Increasingly important in an era of budget cut backs and high gas prices, transit offers cost effective travel taking advantage of existing corridors and infrastructure. To capture its promise, now is the time to get started integrating transit into more livable places!
The Portland Loo: A case for health and well-being in our communities.
Public restrooms confirm and humanize the Commons. Their availability fosters health, fitness, pedestrian and bicycle commuting, and mass transit ridership. Since most existing facilities were designed to meet the needs of mid 20th century society, they simply don’t work today. Free standing toilet structures are an opportunity for communities to push the limits of innovation in materials and energy use, water and waste recycling, code revision, gender-inclusiveness and CPTED. Urban toilet provision at the neighborhood scale is an often overlooked fundamental of social infrastructure and requires an integrated approach in which on-site and off-site sanitation systems work together. Clean, comfortable, well designed public restrooms promote livability of any downtown, support shared values and makes the city center more welcoming. Many community members avoid activities that put them out of range or proper toilet facilities.
In 2006, Portland Commissioner Randy Leonard lead a group that designed and patented an urban toilet—the Portland Loo. A 10’long x 6’wide, ADA compliant public toilet designed to hook up to the sewer and water in the right-of-way, a park or on private property to address the needs of the community. The Portland Loo(s) has been open for business in Portland for more than 2 years and has been met with great support from both the neighboring businesses and citizens. Participants will learn about the Portland Loo success including design details that promote livability, safety, equity and the principles of siting an urban toilet. A walking tour could be integrated in to the session.
Promoting Environmental Activism Among Low-Income Youth in Los Angeles: A Study of Effective Strategies and Policy Implications
The purpose of this project is to develop a model of youth environmental activism in Los Angeles communities that suffer from environmental problems. There is increasing awareness that low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be adversely affected by environmental degradation, but public policies have not adequately reflected the needs of impacted communities. A recent poll found that minorities in Los Angeles, particularly those from low-income areas, are more concerned about the environment than their white counterparts (L.A. Times/USC poll Nov. 3-14, 2010, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research). Youth are a significant segment of the population to mobilize on this issue because one-third of L.A. residents are under the age of 21 (2000 Census), and young people most likely will deal with the long-term repercussions of environmental degradation and inadequate policy responses. The proposed project is innovative and relevant because its findings will include effective strategies for mobilizing youth residing in communities where there is an urgent need for environmental activism. The results can offer concrete ways in which low-income youth can influence public policy and promote sustainable communities through environmental advocacy and stewardship.
Summer Free for All - A Great Portland Parks Tradition
Free outdoor events in parks on summer evenings are a Portland tradition reaching back over 100 years. Concerts, movies and special events bring neighborhoods together in their local parks. During the day, the parks serve as a safe place for kids to play – with supervised playground activities and a healthy lunch.
Each summer, Portland Parks and Recreation offers over forty free concerts in fifteen neighborhood parks, ten exciting nights at the Washington Park Music Festival and over fifty Movies In The Parks events. Along with the summer playgrounds programs, three hundred thousand visits occur – all for free.
The Summer Free for All is truly a neighborhood experience. Each of the outdoor concerts and movies are overseen by local neighborhood stakeholder groups that help to coordinate the events, provide volunteers and raise funds. As a result, over 75% of the program is paid for by donations ranging from $25 to $50,000. This unique relationship between local business, citizens and Portland Parks and Recreation is a defining characteristic of the program. Through these volunteer citizen groups, the city is able to offer greater access to healthy activities and exposure to new and diverse cultural entertainment.
The presentation will recap the important attributes of the Free for All program, highlighting how the outcomes of building community, improving health, celebrating diversity and expanding social networks could be realized in your community with a similar program.
The People/Nature Approach to Park System Planning
As cities change, traditional approaches to park planning need to change. While every city is unique, a large part of Portland’s open space system is comprised of natural areas with distinctive features: rivers, lakes, streams, buttes, sloughs, wetlands, bluffs, and millions of trees. Nature permeates the city. Balancing access, use and protection of these spaces is critical. In addition, a new and more flexible approach is warranted in order to address shifting recreation and leisure demand, and because of demographic, climatic, and economic changes.
Portland Parks & Recreation is developing a Park System Plan based on approaches such as the recreational opportunity spectrum (ROS), the Net Benefits Approach to Leisure (NBAL), and is using park survey data and nature research to move toward an experiential and needs-centered model of park planning. The basic formula for defining the parks and recreation experience is: People + Activities + Settings = Experiences.
There is a full spectrum of park settings in Portland, from the most remote and inaccessible forest, to the most intensively used public square, full of people at all hours, with few trees or other landscaping. Each setting has unique qualities that make it appropriate (or inappropriate) for different types and intensity of recreation use. A single park may have multiple settings. The Park System Plan seeks to manage people and activities in order to maintain the integrity, function, and quality of the recreation experience. Come learn more about how this new model is being developed and implemented.
Curbless in Seattle: Transforming a Street into a New Kind of Urban Park
To create Bell Street Park, the City of Seattle will transform a typical urban street into a vibrant, safe, and green public open space. This project is the 4-block first phase of a long-range plan for a park corridor stretching from South Lake Union to Elliott Bay through Belltown, Seattle’s densest neighborhood.
Innovative planning: When rising land values made the acquisition of sufficient parkland in the vicinity difficult, community leaders and city planners turned to the public right-of-way as an underutilized resource in meeting the open space needs of residents. Funds from a recent parks levy were directed to a new kind of infrastructure with the potential to transform a street and inspire a new public realm typology.
Innovative design: The biggest challenge was how to safely add park activities while retaining vehicular access. Three key decisions addressed these potentially conflicting goals. The first was to reclaim one traffic lane and one parking lane for multifunctional park use. The second was to elevate the roadway to the sidewalk level to create a curbless and continuous surface. The third was to mix park and street materials into a wall-to-wall tapestry of shared space.
Innovative stewardship: Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) is leading the development of the project, and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has a vigorous permitting review process to ensure that street functions are safely accommodated. The two departments are entering into a unique agreement to jointly maintain the Park. Construction is slated for late 2011 and early 2012.
Living through extreme weather events and natural disasters: How resilient are our high-rise high-density typologies?
The inner city Brisbane suburb of West End is poised for redevelopment. Located within walking distance to CBD workplaces, home to the State’s highest value cultural precinct, and high quality riverside parklands, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop parts of the suburb to create a truly urban neighbourhood. Local residents agree and embrace the concept of high-density living, but are opposed to the high-rise form advocated by the City’s planning authority and would prefer to see medium-rise (5-8 storeys), medium-density built form, particularly in light of a recent natural disaster.
Brisbane experienced a major flood event which inundated West End in summer January 2011. The vulnerability of taller buildings to the vagaries of climate and more extreme weather events and their reliance on main electricity was exposed when power outages immediately before, during and after the flood disaster seriously limited occupants’ access and egress when elevators were disabled. Not all buildings were flooded but dwellings quickly became unliveable due to disabled air-conditioning. Some tall buildings remained uninhabitable for some weeks after the event.
This paper describes an innovative design research method applied to the complex problem of resilient, sustainable neighbourhood form in subtropical cities, in which a thorough comparative analysis of a range of multiple-dwelling types has revealed the impact that government policy regarding design of the physical environment has on a community’s resilience. The outcomes advocate the climate-responsive design’s role in averting the rising human capital and financial costs of natural disasters and climate change.
Capturing community aspirations for public transport: Communicative planning through collaborative teaching and learning
Public transport can help break car dependency, promoting environmentally friendly and healthy lifestyle. However, it has to compete with other high priority services such as health and education for funding. Politicians seek to ascertain what will curry the most favour with voters come election time, while the community can strive to build up political pressure by articulating their aspirations for public transport. Planning should thus involve advocacy as well as effective communication.
Deliberative and communicative planning theory suggests planners can facilitate community engagement, bring various stakeholders together to search for solutions and capture the aspirations of the community. In reality, many practitioners settle for tokenistic consultation. Collaborative teaching and learning offers a pragmatic way to address the theory-practice gap by incorporating community engagement into the curriculum, providing opportunities for learning-by-doing exercises for students. Mutual benefits of collaborative teaching and learning to students and the community are widely reported in literature. However, this requires taking students away from the controlled environment of the lecture room and exposing them to the unpredictability and politics of reality as they deal with a community driven by its own set of issues, values and passions.
This paper reports on the experience of involving urban planning students in facilitating public transport forums in the City of Cockburn, Western Australia. The forums served to develop students’ skills in facilitation, reporting on the process and capturing the community’s aspirations for a public transport system. The paper highlights the pragmatic, logistical and academic considerations that shaped the collaborative teaching/ learning exercise. It seeks to draw useful lessons from the experience for planning academics and students in advocating community demands for public transport.
The National Institutes of Health’s Efforts Toward Creating a Livable Physical Environment
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) focuses on medical research, enhancing health, lengthening life and reducing the burdens of illness and disability. NIH comprises of more than 75 buildings on over 300 acres with about 20,000 occupants.
From reducing cars to creating interior and exterior spaces people enjoy to becoming more sustainable and reducing buildings energy consumption, we will review the programs and learn what measurements are being used to evaluate their impact on the livability of our campus. Architecture is subjective; how are these spaces measured? Space matters but why and how?
Work environments are moving to minimize reliance on automobiles for multiple reasons: from environmental factors to commute time to lessening reliance on imported oil. NIH employees commute from 5 minutes to over 2 hours each way. This paper will study the impact of NIH’s multiple programs encouraging people not to drive. In a 10 year time span, using paid incentives, bicycle clubs, shared vans, metro improvements, guaranteed ride home programs, implementing telecommuting, mandating a person to parking space ratio of 2:1 and other programs, NIH has reduced the number of single occupancy vehicles by over 30%. Currently, over half of our employees use a mode of transportation other than a single occupancy vehicle to commute to work.
Do these efforts make our campus a livable environment? It takes more than reducing cars on campus to create a livable city. This paper will review measures being taken to enhance the physical environment and create a more livable place.
In the process of searching for the “ideal formula” for the complete micro-district. Siberian experience.
Understanding livability as a key focus among environmental problems in large Siberian cities became evident during the last ten-fifteen years. However, theoretical search in the XX century was concentrated on the ideal formula of the most comfortable, healthy, socially oriented dwellings. We can ascertain some kind of international “ping-pong” in theoretical and designing ideas which were implemented into very similar planning “constructions” in different countries: “neighborhoods”, “communities”, “micro-districts”, “urban-villages”, “cities in the cities” etc. in different variations. Eventually all realized neighborhoods/communities/micro-districts accumulated unpredictable qualities and objects: buildings, public spaces and social activities (sometimes not positive, even criminal), mixed-used areas, business areas. Comparison of evolved “cities within cities” teaches citizens and professionals what details of ideal formula were really “livable” and should be developed in future, what detail or design/planning rules were erroneous, what new appeared in the environment, relations, social, business goals and so on. Additionally at the end of the XX century designers and planners are adopting results of exact and natural science into the practice more and more often.
So the model of “ideal” (probably complete) micro-district should be built mainly on citizens’ experience of making their neighborhoods/communities/micro-districts more livable according to their understanding, with gentle (solicitous) professional support and consulting, with a wide participation of all interested parties. Siberian experience shows that the most interesting results of making livable cities could be achieved in the process of the micro district renovations.
Collaborative Urbanism - Cities brought back to life by their communities
This paper explores the many ways that citizens take responsibility for the environments that they live and work in. It considers the 'pop-up' movement, creative projects that catalyse economic regeneration as well as how regulatory controls can inhibit or invite community participation in place making.
From the United Arab Emirates to Asia and Australia, from Europe to the USA communities are seeing opportunities to take part in the creation of place in a way not seen for 100s of years. The rise of collaborative consumption, a different mode of communicating, sharing and owning, once solely the domain of the on-line world, is increasing being reflected in the physical world. From the relatively innocuous guerrilla gardening of previous decades to current community led economic regeneration programs, Collaborative Urbanism speaks of a new era of shared leadership; collectivism over the individual.
Governments are both followers and protagonists in this movement. At their best place based projects can invite participation, even partnership, with a clear definition of the benefits and challenges. On the other hand, siloed bureaucracies, well-aged resentment and professional isolationism can all lead to resistance, and in some cases real terror of change.
Municipal Renewal in Tough Economic Times - How Partnering with the Community Can Spell Success!
Many municipalities in North America are struggling to maintain important community services such as parks and recreation. With tight property taxes, reduced state and federal contributions, municipal councils must choose between keeping the lights on or letting parks and playgrounds fall into disrepair.
Toronto has a program that encourages local communities to lead fundraising efforts to renew as well as design the kind of park that fulfills their needs. Local parks must be able to adapt and appeal to all ages. This is especially necessary with the arrival of young families into old, established neighbourhoods.
The presentation will feature clips from a television program showing Moms working with the city to leverage monies for new play structures and plantings. These amazing women do everything from bake sales to community day trips. Their enthusiasm and ideas are infectious. They think "outside the box" and try unconventional ways to raise money.
The community will be shown building the structures donated by ABC Recreation Ltd., and working with the city landscaper to design accessible paths, gardens and benches. School children will be involved in creating a mosaic as public art. There is a great deal more to describe about this exciting project than space permits.
I would like the opportunity to share this at the conference and perhaps inspire others to try innovative ways to meet today's economic challenges.
Inequities in Access to Healthy Foods in Portland, Oregon: Implications for Health and Social Sustainability
Socially sustainable cities are characterized by minimal inequities among social groups in access to opportunities; access to city services and resources; participation in civic life and decision-making processes; and ability to contribute to the vibrancy of the community. Health is one measure for assessing social equity that correlates closely with the ability to maximize each individual’s well-being, potential to participate meaningfully in civic life, and ability to contribute to quality of life improvements for all. Moreover, unhealthy citizens represent significant costs to the greater society through their need for increased medical care and lower levels of productivity. This paper reviews secondary literature concerning the influence of the built environment on food security in Portland, Oregon for various populations. Prior research has shown that inequities in access to outlets that sell healthy foods in Portland, Oregon exist; particularly for low-income residents and racial minorities. Portland has various programs working to reduce these inequities and improve health outcomes, including farmer’s markets and community gardens. This paper also reviews the effectiveness of these programs and recommends that the City seek to expand them and increase support for other local non-profit organizations in order to reduce inequities in access to healthy, affordable foods and thereby strengthen its social sustainability through improving the health of the population.
Planning Neighborhoods to Mitigate the Effects of Urban Noise on Noise-Sensitive People
About one in five people is noise-sensitive. In addition, young children appear to be more vulnerable to noise than adults. The interests of these minorities are often poorly represented in urban planning. By folding lessons learned with old technologies into the potentials of new technologies, government can do a better job at protecting their rights. For existing environments, government can act by (1) empowering the noise-sensitive to act on their own behalf by providing better descriptions of the acoustic environment and (2) writing better and more enforceable noise control ordinances. For future environments, government can act by (1) outsourcing environmental noise assessments to neutral experts, (2) improving construction standards and (3) training building inspectors to spot violations of good acoustical engineering practice. Included is a discussion of how the concept of the soundscape, introduced in the 1970’s by the Canadian composer, writer, music educator and environmentalist, R. Murray Schafer, has been translated into a scientific discipline by European and Asian psychoacousticians.
The Impact of Social Conurbation on Older Adults' Public Life
Due to the rapid growth of aging society, it is necessary to understand the social capability and level of socio-behavioral immersion of older adults in public spaces correlated with physical environments, psychological ambiance, and the quality of their public life. The current lack of literature on older adults' public life related to the social activity and urban form, suggests more research is needed to understand the complex set of factors that impact how different aging population groups react to various urban forms, social activity interventions, and physical activity patterns in regard to their public life. Accordingly, the specific aims of this study are first, to investigate the impact of physical geography on the public life of older adults (by objectives such as 1-assess the impact of components of the urban form (conurbation) that contribute to the social activities of older adults in selected suburban and urban neighborhoods/communities, 2-assess the impact of components of the social geography that contribute to the public life of older adults in selected suburban and urban neighborhoods/communities), second, to evaluate the shift in the current demographic trend of older adults living in suburban area (by objectives such as 1-collect data from individual older adults relevant to their social, physical, and neighborhood context, 2-review the current literature through an interdisciplinary study including architecture, landscape urbanism, urban planning, sociology, and gerontology.
Master Planned Communities and the Re-formation of Cities for Health and Wellbeing: The Case of Selandra Rise
Master planned communities (MPCs) are designed to give residents a ‘complete living experience’ including access to educational facilities, shopping centres and parks. Although MPCs aspire to be suburban utopias much research focuses on identifying negative outcomes to reinforce notions that dreams of utopian futures are rarely realised. However, as a dynamic form of city re-formation, MPCs create an opportunity to ‘get it right’ by putting into practice lessons learnt from the past and principles of best practice planning. Selandra Rise is an MPC in Melbourne, Australia that has been designed to maximise the health and wellbeing of residents. Key elements incorporate access to nature, open space for physical activity, diverse housing, access to education, public transport, a local town centre and a focus on generating employment. This paper presents the details of a study designed to measure the role of built, natural, social and economic environments in the health and wellbeing of residents, taking account of the key design features listed. Using a social practice approach rather than taking an individual behavioural stance, the research focuses on households as a unit of study to reveal the connection between spatial and social features, daily routines and health and wellbeing. The paper presents the methods, outlines findings to date, and reflects on potential policy implications for creating neighbourhoods and cities to improve social and physical health.
Sustainable Communities Need to be Inclusive Communities
Sustainable communities must account for the ability to provide for residents aging in place and for inclusion of people with mobility impairment. Almost 20% of American families have a family member with mobility impairment and mobility impairment increases dramatically as a population ages (as is the situation in the U.S.). For a rapidly aging population inclusive design of the built environment is critical to sustainability of a healthy social network. Inclusive design is not simply about making a home safe and accessible for a given resident, it is about making it possible for the mobility impaired to safely, easily, and fully participate in community life. The paper looks at the legal framework of inclusive communities.
Learn the Building Blocks of Complete TOD Streets
In addition to providing direct access to the transit station, complete TOD streets are interesting, livable and safe places. In successful TODs, the street grid is designed as a series of ‘outdoor rooms.’ The public realm elements of sidewalks, streets and intersections and the private realm elements of the adjacent building walls, windows, and doorways must be people friendly. Along important transit lines, development bylaws, zoning regulations, and guidelines must be enacted to ensure that the public realm and the private realm encourage pedestrian and bicycle activity.
Public Realm. Essential requirements for the public realm elements include:
- Continuous wide sidewalks–lined with canopy trees, pedestrian-scaled lighting and places to sit and mingle
- Narrow streets–with slow moving auto traffic
- Safe intersections–that are easy to cross by people of all ages and physical abilities and during all weather conditions
- Safe bikeways–that are separated and protected from automobile traffic
Private Realm. Streets that are safe day and night are fundamental to the success of a TOD. Essential building-edge requirements include:
- Active edges–doorways and ground-floor windows that are oriented to the street provide visual and physical interaction between the inside of buildings and the street, creating ‘eyes on the street’
- Zero-foot setbacks–buildings that are built up to the sidewalk establish a continuous ‘street edge’ that provides pedestrians and bicyclists with a comfortable sense of enclosure
Regenerate suburban districts – proposal for the “ground-scraper” Corviale in Rome
During the 20th century our cities suffered for the widespread use of Lecorbusierian theories on urbanism. The whole world’s cities switched their scale from “human dimension” to “car dimension”. The result of this new way of conceiving the city was the explosion of sociological disease. It might seem a paradox, but the cities we inherited from 20th century urbanism have brought with them enormous value for the future. Indeed, our cities are, mostly made up of enormous empty spaces, that can neither be called city streets or squares. All these spaces, within or contingent to the districts, are almost exclusively public property. In case the decision was made to put this idea of re-compacting the city into practice since fossil fuels – necessary, in fact, to make the modernist city operate – are likely to run out, much of this land could be built upon, and it would become a considerable financial resource for the public treasury.
This paper has the purpose to introduce a practical example planned for the most symbolic modernist building in Rome, i.e. the social housing complex of Corviale: it is a ground-scraper 1 km long, where nearly 6500 inhabitants live, or better “survive”, waiting for better conditions. The proposal (presented to the local administration yet) found a widespread agreement both among inhabitants and politicians.This proposal demonstrates how it is possible to replace the ground-scraper with a human-scale newtraditional district, without a traumatic move of the inhabitants: indeed, it is possible to improve life in the district, to re-launch local economy, to preserve and to improve both the landscape and the environment, and last but not least, to create some unexpected great business for local administration.
The importance of partnerships in the creation of healthy, liveable, communities: Selandra Rise Case Study
The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) has a mandate to work with community and government to achieve a whole-of-population approach to health. VicHealth has a strong history of supporting research and activity directed at reducing health inequalities by building knowledge of the social and economic factors which impact upon health. Recently, VicHealth has become interested in ways environments can improve health, including the importance of planning and design for health.
The Selandra Rise demonstration project has recently provided VicHealth with the opportunity to engage with a number of partners in a way that creates ‘environments for health’. Selendra Rise is a Master Planned Community located in the urban growth corridor of Melbourne. This community has been designed with a specific focus on improving the health and liveability of the residents. VicHealth has partnered with four organisations, Planning Institute of Australia, Growth Areas Authority, Stockland and the City of Casey, to evaluate the impact of planning and design for health. The partners have all agreed to assist with the funding of a five-year research fellowship that will evaluate the effectiveness of planning for health outcomes within the planning and design of a community residential area.
The partnership has been essential for the development of the evaluation. Throughout the partnership, the commitment of each partner has been vital in ensuring the research can grow and disseminate appropriately. This presentation will highlight some of the most important components of this partnership, and demonstrate the importance of such a partnership for future the development of liveable communities.
Social Equity and Environmental Health for Sustainable Cities: A Search for Solutions
Social inequities in the Portland metropolitan area are evident in human health and well-being. Initial research suggests that these inequities manifest themselves in part through “the unequal exposure of stressors in the built and natural environment in neighborhoods...” (Brennan et al, 2010). In order to understand the sources of these inequities, their persistence, and how organizations address these problems at the intersection of human health and the natural and built environments, a collaborative research team of PSU students, faculty, and community partners used focus groups and in-depth interviews to analyze the challenges 11 community organizations face, the strategies they utilize in response, and recommendations suggested for positive change. The data showed there are many adverse social impacts experienced by marginalized or disadvantaged groups in their daily lives in a region as progressive as the Portland metro area. The social, economic, and environmental problems addressed were often reported as interlinked, structural and pervasive. Homelessness, inadequate quality housing, social isolation of community members, poverty, a lack of culturally diverse education and health care options, inadequate transportation, inadequate access to healthy food, inadequate access to family wage jobs, and exposure to environmental hazards were listed, with racism identified as the root cause to many of these problems. Organizations reported on the challenges of perpetually addressing the adverse impact generated by structural conditions experienced by the populations they serve and their inability to effectively change these conditions. The paper concludes with a discussion of recommendations for change.
Sustaining Emergent Culture in Montreal's Entertainment District
Almost a decade ago private stakeholders, municipal officials and civil society began to collaborate around a vision of culture-led revitalisation for the eastern section of Montreal’s downtown core, where most of the city's larger performance venues and festivals are located. Today, hundred-million dollar public and private investments are materializing as newly-constructed public spaces and cultural facilities. The eastern section of Montreal's downtown core has visibly positioned itself as a signature entertainment destination, the Quartier des spectacles.
Success stories such as the Cirque du Soleil and the Arcade Fire have built an international reputation for Montreal as a creative center for emergent, alternative and experimental art. In a globalizing media reality, smaller-scale independent activities are central ingredients in the city’s unique social fabric, engaging in a locally specific discourse. They have come to define Montreal’s identity in a way that is attractive and relevant, particularly to younger generations.
As in many other tourist areas, increasing real-estate costs are making the Quartier des spectacles less affordable to more eclectic and emergent cultural activities, threatening the availability of places where today’s independent artists might become tomorrow’s success stories. To what degree can or should programmes aim to preserve space in a downtown entertainment district for activities which define themselves as alternative? Does the Quartier have a responsibility in fostering emergent culture? This presentation will discuss how the Quartier des spectacles can contribute to the city's broader goals of enabling alternative creative expression, and sustaining vibrant and participative cultural activities.
Elevating Health as a Utility: A Map to Resiliency
The alarming state of health among all age and income groups is particularly acute in low and moderate income areas and especially the deep south. This fact has been widely reported and has generated a great deal of high-quality study, and policy fodder over the past few years. The negative consequences of poor nutrition, sedentary behavior, obesity, and related disease has been dissected and expressed in terms of economics, quality of life, longevity, productivity, learning difficulties, and social decline. Blame for the dilemma is attached to everything from fast food marketing genius to the very shape and structure of our cities. Solutions are expressed but creative strategy and responsibility stay unresolved.
Like water and electrical utilities, a comprehensive Health Utility (HU) would provide dedicated funding, policy and programming to link citizens with solutions for clear, benchmarked improvements to health in their communities. Issues from food accessibility, ordinance and code revisions, improvements to the walkability of existing and new streets and public infrastructure systems, etc. at all levels would be addressed. Education, Economic Development, Infrastructure, and Livability would be measured and planned for balance. A more narrowly focused HU would start by addressing the creation of safe pedestrian and bicycle linkages between parks and schools, neighborhoods and grocery stores, etc.
The presenter will give information on the adoption process for the Health Utility concept, as well as information on a pilot program currently being developed for implementation in Louisiana and Arkansas.
Child-friendly environment and children’s well- being, case study: Iranian traditional neighborhoods
This paper gives an overview on the issues involved in the planning and design of child- friendly community’s discourses in Iranian traditional neighborhoods. According to the literature, child-friendly environments can directly contribute to children’s well-being. Research completed by the Commission for Children and Young People into children’s understanding of well-being (Commission for Kids and Young People, 2007) identified three principal themes (Agency dimensions, Safety and security, Positive sense of self), which underpin children’s well-being and some of the ways the built environment may contribute to these.
First, Having agency or power to take independent action leading to some control and capacity to act independently in everyday life. Traditional neighborhoods of Iran are enabling children to independently access a diverse range of community services and activities suitable for children. Cities are "cities of short distances" that make possible connections via pedestrian networks, which provides the people of a community with effective and convenient access to community facilities. This is to assure that they can secure adequate support from the community.
Second, sense of Safety and security, which enable children to engage fully with life and do the things that children and young people need to do. In the neighborhood and macro scale, safe community public places like “Hoseynieh” and “Mosques’ Yard” increase the ability of children to feel secure and connected within their community. Also in micro scale, courtyard housing, where the open space is surrounded by built space to support adult passive surveillance on open spaces, creates safe and secure place for children play and creativity through creating the best connection between outside and inside.
And Finally, Positive sense of self, increasing opportunities for children to access green open spaces and natural areas for emotional restoration and enjoyment. Integrating nature with the community provides fresh air, tranquility and visual amenity, which enhance physical and social well being of the child.
Melanie Payne, MPH, Epidemiologist, Clark County Public Health, Vancouver, WA, USA.
Brendon Haggerty, MURP, Program Coordinator, Clark County Public Health, Vancouver, WA, USA.
Jonnie Hyde, Ph.D., Program Manager, Community Health, Health Assessment and Evaluation Unit, Clark County Public Health, Vancouver, WA, USA.
Jennifer Merte, MPH CDC/CSTE, Applied Epidemiology Fellow, Health Assessment and Evaluation Unit, Clark County Public Health, Vancouver, WA, USA.
Growing a healthier community by incorporating a Health Element into a Comprehensive Plan
A Health Element of a Comprehensive Growth Management Plan represents public vision, research, current conditions, and policy recommendations to help the community grow and build in ways that promote health. In order to develop long-term planning strategies to advance community health, the local Board of Health in Clark County, Washington supported the inclusion of a Health Element as a chapter in the next Comprehensive Plan update. In strong partnership with the county’s Community Planning Department, Clark County Public Health drafted a research report called Growing Healthier to document the relationship of the built environment and health. Topics include: access to healthy foods, access to parks and open spaces, and active transportation and walkable neighborhoods among others. This report will be the content basis for the Health Element. The process involved evaluating the conditions of the built environment that impact public health locally and prioritizing those issues that can be addressed through healthy planning strategies and policies. Local data was reviewed to establish current conditions. Community input was vital to the process and was gathered through a variety of methods including opportunities to review section drafts, open houses and forums, and a resident survey on conditions in the community. The Health Element will identify which determinants (a) create the greatest health risks to the community, and (b) have the greatest potential of being improved through land use policy and the built environment. It will allow Clark County to promote and protect the health of residents as it plans for expansion.
Your Life is on the (Rail) Line – Expanding the Walkable Life from City, to Region, to State, to Nation
We know that every urban journey, of any length or multiplicity of modes, begins and ends on foot. But what happens in between? Can walkability be leveraged beyond the neighborhood to a city, an urban region, a whole state, the nation? How would life itself be transformed?
The news is encouraging! Through interconnected visions of land use and transportation at all geographic scales, a universal pattern of walkability is emerging that promises to transform urban life as we know it. To be fully realized, this pattern must first be identified, explained, tracked, and promoted – that story, told through ascending examples, is the topic of this paper.
In sprawled Phoenix, light rail has created a virtual “linear city” – residents of this “city” no longer need cars to access all that urban life offers. On Utah’s “Wasatch Front”, anchored by Salt Lake City, a new commuter rail line binds a corridor over a hundred miles long, linking three major cities with their own emerging systems of light rail, streetcars, and bus rapid transit, supported by innovative “last mile” planning.
California’s transformative vision of high speed rail interconnects the vast regions of the Bay Area and Southern California – each with its own layered networks of regional and urban rail transportation. Newly served, the isolated cities of the Central Valley – the “Other California” – will emerge from the shadows. The patterns of how we move and where we live will be changed forever, becoming a model of walkable urbanism at a trans-regional – even national – scale.
Social Accessibility in the Large Post-Industrial City: from Traditional Planning of “Microdistrict” to Newest Demands
It is no secret that forming a sustainable and livable living environment is the most important problem of any society. Since the middle of the XX century residential areas in Russia are formed according to a well-known urban planning concept, “Microdistrict”. Unlike American "Neighbourhood" framework, microdistrict is a territory with multistorey apartment buildings bounded by highways. It was a territory for mass residential buildings. Nowadays, due to the large socio-economic changes in Russia there is a change in the planning paradigm of living areas to the side of the phenomenon of “community of microdistrict”. Within the territory of a microdistrict, temporal social groups are formed according to common interests. And all those essential and important human functions are realized and implemented here. So, a microdistrict, being a place of everyday presence of peoples of different ages and social status, actually appears to be a place of great educative and social importance. Nowadays, one of the most important problems of the microdistrict is the organization of social accessibility in the community (to open public and recreation space, to newest functions and services, to community events, to participation in planning process, to connection to each other, to work places). It comes to increasing the attractiveness to prevent degradation of the territory. In the article we analyze actual problems of organizing a sustainable social climate in the “community of microdistrict” according to the new social and economical demands. The basic positions in the morphological transformation of a microdistrict in a large post-industrial city are summarized with examples of current urban planning projects of the Siberian city- Krasnoyarsk.
Livable Cities for Everyone - Building Social Geography Capital
This paper will introduce a networked vision of cities as experienced by seniors, people with disabilities, families with strollers and their friends and family. In terms of serving this population (representing approximately 40% of most cities), traditional proxies for livability provide misleading guides to good design. To address this, an alternative model is being developed - social geography capital. It is a scale free approach that situates access to community resources (ie. banking, health clinics, family and friends, seniors centres, libraries, etc.) within an emergent network of nodes and links.
Social geography capital provides the foundation for objectively and scientifically assessing a community’s livability. Building on a foundation of graph theory, key elements of accessibility and inclusion are embedded into the social topography of our cities. The social topography is made up of nodes (community resources) and links (modes of transportation including walking and wheeling) as well as the programs and services provided. The goal of a livable city should be to ensure access, inclusion and engagement for everyone.
To operationalize this model, tools are available to help evaluate and visualize existing or planned developments at any scale. They can also be used to cost out alternative designs or improve existing stock. In order for the concept of livability to become useful it must be universal and social geography capital offers this opportunity.
Public Space in Scarce Urban Land: Case of Jakarta
For more than three centuries Jakarta was developed as a Dutch city. Indigenous public spaces in the city, thus, were European squares and parks. After independence of Indonesia in 1945, lacking in planning culture within the new government, public spaces were neglected. While the city – and its population – was grown immensely, no new city-scale public spaces were built. Instead, existing squares and parks were built-up, converted into various buildings.
Today, 65 years after independence, Jakarta is still searching for an appropriate urban culture. Urban land is scarce, public spaces are limited. People make use of any available spaces for public activities. Indoor air-conditioned spaces of shopping malls become the popular choice. Outdoor public spaces are created from riverside green-belts, fly-over underneath spaces, and other vacant spaces between buildings. As a temporary solution, the municipality provides a monthly car-free day that allows the main boulevard of the city becomes an instant public space.
Attitude of property developers (i.e. “land greedy”) and inadequate policy as well as control of the municipality are among causes of the scarcity of public spaces in Jakarta. The lack of public spaces in Jakarta is an irony of this capital city when compares to other indigenous Indonesian cities, who equipped with alun-alun (grass-covered square), parks and gardens as public spaces for their inhabitants.
The paper is going to discuss further the struggle of ten million people of Jakarta to find their daily need of public space.
Rebuilding Inclusive Healthy Communities: Salinas Chinatown
Since 1879, once home to a thriving Chinese and Japanese immigrant community, Chinatown is both literally and metaphorically, “on the other side of the tracks.” Though only two blocks from the National Steinbeck Center, it is economically, culturally and physically a “world away.” Though it has a rich cultural history, today the Soledad Street/Chinatown neighborhood is a forgotten, isolated, blighted urban area. Drug trafficking, prostitution, illegal dumping and the homeless have filled the void.
Between 2005 and 2011, the Salinas Redevelopment Agency and the Local Government Commission held six community design charrettes in Chinatown and a new not-for profit organization was formed: the Salinas Downtown Community Board (SDCB). Experts Dan Burden, Al Zelinka, HOMEBASE, and Michael Pyatok helped the community to develop an inclusive, transit oriented, safe and healthy vision for the future. The SDCB established actions teams to work with the experts and also partnered with County Mental Health, Environmental Health and the Department of Social and Employment Services, CSUMB and Cal Poly. HOMEBASE helped guide the social services committee to design a homeless services campus in Chinatown that would allow inclusion of this population into the new urban landscape. This model is the crux of the new County-wide 10-year plan to end homelessness. The historic importance of the immigrant labor will be celebrated in a new museum. The final vision, published in March 2011, has been embraced by the community and city council: Chinatown Rebound.
The Chinatown experience is inspiring to everyone. Come see it: www.salinasdcb.org
Urban Mobility and Spatial Fragmentation of Retail Centers
Municipalities perceive retail development as a main component in city development. Municipality taxes are considered as only one aspect that encourages them to develop retail within their premises. Retail affects city livability, it is one of the pull factors of a city and it has a direct effect on inhabitants' quality of life. Neighboring municipalities often struggle to attract both consumers and investors to the local retail centers. Retail development has become an arena for competition on retail entrepreneurs; consequently, municipalities occasionally facilitate planning and developing these specific land uses.
Overcrowding and over-splitting (or fragmented) planned retail centers in the municipality level considered to be one of the widespread outcomes in Israel, due to real-estate pressures. Its implication is developing retail centers in the locations which create unsuccessful retail centers as well as burdens on neighboring land use, and on mobility and the accessibility in the city. Spatial Fragmentation is a condition in which a certain activity is divided into a smaller number of pieces, occurring in different locations. When considering spatial fragmentation three dimensions should be included: the number of fragments, the size of the fragments and the configuration of fragments.
This paper will analyze the retail centers spatial location in the municipality level according to the three dimensions that construct spatial fragmentation. The research will attempt to understand if the spatial fragmentation of retail centers correspond to the residential and social spatial distribution. Subsequently, the mobility and accessibility implications of retail fragmentation in the urban area will be examined.
Director Park: Portland's Newest Public Piazza
This presentation will explore how the planning, design, construction and management of Director Park has helped build a sense of community in Portland’s downtown core. Originally donated for parkland by the Portland’s founders, the block was privatized and developed as the city grew up around it. After many decades of calls for the block to be restored to park use, with downtown residents suffering for lack of open space and the retail core losing shoppers to carefully manicured suburban malls, the site was donated to the City a second time for a park by an adjacent property owner with the provision that there be a subsurface parking garage below. A passionate and informed coalition of neighborhood, open space and business interests was harnessed to a large project team including consultants, project managers, the urban redevelopment agency and philanthropists to craft a multipurpose plaza intimately woven into its social and physical context.
Next, a management plan that relies upon community engagement with the space was implemented to harness the synergies achieved during design and channel it back into ongoing operations at the site and therefore back into the downtown community. Director Park counted over 220,000 visitors its first year and quadrupled its event earnings forecast despite Portland’s rainy weather. It has become a landmark site for meeting, eating and people-watching, a result that validates the City’s collaborative approach in developing and managing an urban plaza.
University Bike Path: A Collaborative Effort between the Graduate Architectural Studio, the State, and the University
The design of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s bike path was a proposal to link the Southern Campus with the Traditional Campus downtown. This project was a collaborate effort between the graduate 502 Studio, the Community Design Workshop, the city, the state, and the Economic Development Authority for the city. The completion of the one million dollar enhancement grant from the Department of Transportation and Development of Louisiana is completing construction in October. The design and construction of this path is truly a collaborative effort from the graduate students to representative professionals, civil engineers, landscape architects, architects, as well as the community of Lafayette Economic Authority, the city and the state. Each played an important part in helping this important connector device that allows for linkages between our two campuses. This project included the graduate Urban Design Studio proposing urban design strategies for the Southern Campus and connection strategies to the Traditional Campus. The CDW, an outreach studio of the School of Architecture and Design for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, continued the design process, wrote the grant, participated with various professionals and produced the construction documents ready for bidding. From conceptual design to completion of construction has taken approximately six years due to being interrupted by the hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the bureaucracy of the DOTD. This magnifies the importance of collaboration, patience, and endurance. The paper will discuss the process from the studio to the collaboration of all participants to the final completion of construction.
Revisiting the Five Points Partnership: Measuring the Success of Citizen Sponsored Revitalization
In 1996 a group of concerned citizens in Norfolk, Virginia bounded together to save their community. Although participatory formats and community-based design projects were not wholly new, the fact that this urban reclamation effort was entirely citizen initiated and operated was unique. The Five Points Partnership is a grass-roots effort to revitalize the geographical heart of Norview, Virginia. It is a coalition of citizens, businesses, schools, churches, and public safety officials bound and determined to ‘fix’ their community from the ground up. Coordinated by Bev Sell and a board of directors, the partnership has actively endeavored over the last twelve years “to instill pride in their neighborhood and help develop a safe healthy environment for those who live, work, learn and play in the Norview area.”
During the first two years, the partnership worked on a number of band-aid programs to facilitate change. The alliance confronted drug-dealers and prostitutes head-on, thereby reducing criminal activity in the worst of the districts. Politically, they confronted the city politics and overturned injurious rulings related to zoning and historic preservation. On a more social side, they organized a number of community events, including pride parades, and community picnic and clean-up days.
By 1998, the group partnered with Hampton Roads A.I.A. Young Architects Forum to formulate a long-term plan to restore their dilapidated town-center. As a junior professor and one of the ten young architects who helped assisted in the study, I had a personal stake in the overall process and the potential outcomes. Together, we hosted a number of community design charrettes, which were attended by over fifty individuals from different schools, churches, civic groups and social organizations. These workshops realized a plan consisting of 44 recommendations, which we hoped would serve to revitalize their community, both physically and spiritually. At the time, the members of the community realized that the urban restoration of this once thriving neighborhood would not be achieved by any one grand act, but would involve longer intervals of time, numerous individuals, and a continuing series of small healing steps.
Too often our profession offers many of the rudimentary tools necessary to facilitate change, but does little to follow up on the hardships confronted by citizens along the way. This paper asks the question, “Do the long-term plans conceived by professionals actually facilitate the communities of need with the tools necessary to realize real change, or are they merely utopian visions that patronize our professional ambitions?” This paper will revisit the Five Points Partnership and the Norview neighborhood to access the successes and failures of the last few years. Through interviews with those directly involved, the paper will recount their personal experiences. And finally, it will access the original 44 Recommendations and evaluate the validity of their merit. Did the Young Architects Forum give the community the tools of citizenship necessary to actively participate in the political forum or urban reform, or did we merely leave them with pretty pictures and a failed pipe dream?
Integrated curriculum for students of urban planning and public health
Portland State University’s School of Urban Studies and Planning and School of Community Health offer a dual graduate degree program in urban and regional planning and public health (MURP and MPH degrees). In an effort to synthesize the literature, languages, principles and applications of each discipline, the Schools created a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) course designed for graduate students of both programs. HIA is defined as a combination of procedures, methods, and tools that systematically judges the effects of a policy, plan, or program on population health. In addition to meeting the needs of students interested in the association between the built environment and health, there is a growing workforce demand for combined skills and languages. This demand is likely to increase as cities and regions continue to blend bureaus and agencies due to shrinking budgets. Currently, only five U.S. universities offer an HIA course, and this presentation will share the consistent themes we discerned during a review of existing HIA course objectives, assignments, and applied projects. We will include in our presentation of themes a discussion of two primary course objectives: 1. to explain the benefits and limitations of using HIA to consider community health in decision-making, and 2. to describe how planning policies and programs affect health disparities. The presentation will include the perspective of a faculty member and an MPH/MURP student.
Exploiting the Site for Creating Healthy Communities: An Architect’s View
Competition entries offer architects and landscape architects valuable opportunities to propose specific elements of healthy communities. They can suggest physical and spatial features and additional uses that have not been specified in the program or have not occurred to clients.
In “The Ramblas of Life” entry for the California Senior Housing Competition in Novato, California I proposed a meandering path that strings together food stalls down a highly sloped site that otherwise could not be developed. This path, meeting ADA requirements, would create small-scale specialized growing areas between clusters. Larger scale orchards and vineyards, everyday social events like buying milk and annual harvesting holidays would offer the retired residents jobs and chances to participate in community activities. The intent was to marry healthy living habits to landscape and site and to invite walking, growing food, and stewarding the land to encourage the evolution of an active community that can build relationships with the adjacent suburban neighborhoods.
The “Foot-Hills” entry for the Market Value Competition in Charlottesville, Virginia also creates pedestrian-scaled spaces but in an urban context. Located between downtown housing and office spaces, this series of small piazzas would strengthen existing uses and create places for new ones that vary by time day, day of week and season. Like the Ramblas of Life proposal, the Foot-Hills project utilizes an organizational system of circulation that is activated in a variety of ways, by existing and invited events. The project provides a physical space that stitches together moments of urban life.
Building Social Engagement through Creating a Place’s Vitality
Place and the placelessness as described by Relph have been strongly debated since 1979. The typical issue of contentment about places concerns the great diversity of people using the places, and furthermore, many urban spaces and places lack meaning. Some public places in many cities in Indonesia face the problem of “restriction” of use. People perceive many open public places as spaces that create fragmentation between the privileged and the deprived. Architect, landscaper, urban designer and planner always try to make beautiful places. They are looking to implement strategies to make a city healthy and beautiful and they also try to anticipate the needs of its people. On the other hand, communities are struggling to fulfill their needs of spaces for living, working, selling, shopping, recreating and socializing. The physical growth of the city is not overtaken by the growth of the dynamics of city life. Everyday life and people’s needs progress together with creativity in using many tactics to utilize urban spaces for their social and economic needs. At this point, not only space, but also time, culture and events offer important ways to make places become vivacious. Public places can be created beyond the archetypal perception of being beautiful, large, and referring only to their physical design. It is the aim of this study to see how to build social engagement through creating a place’s vitality.
Developing the Elder-Friendly Community
A cultural anthropologist, Stafford has been engaged with issues of aging and place through writing, teaching, consulting, ethnographic research and personal reflection for 35 years.
In this keynote presentation, Dr. Stafford will discuss the implications for older people of our modern tendencies to both fragment the bodies of aged persons and fragment the communities in which we reside. He will argue that similar forces may be at work at both levels of experience and that the key to creating elder-friendly communities is found in a collective effort of reunification – a new culture of aging. He will sketch a deep map of home that emerges from his ethnographic research into the meaning of place for elders and provide a blueprint for creating thriving communities that valorize the social life of elders and tap their multiple potentials to contribute to their neighborhoods, towns and cities.
Alternative Approaches to Arts- and Culture‐Based Development: Influencing Livability through Fringe Arts, Full Participation, and Civic Tinkering
Art is increasingly utilized by communities as a development strategy. The horizon of possible approaches to art and culture-based development is quite broad. Marginal, fringe, experimental, and DIY arts activities are emerging in smaller cities, many with little or no prior history of these kinds of events.
Utilizing ethnographic field research from a case study of a small American city and drawing on secondary data from other small cities, this presentation will share findings on the contributions that such marginal or fringe events may make to place identity, development, and livability, while highlighting the role of such activities and events in the public life of the city.
Small to mid-sized cities will increasingly encounter fringe and marginal arts groups and events, yet little research has been done on the contributions that such fringe arts activities make to the development and identity of those places. Marginal arts activities and events hold potential to challenge the existing meanings and uses of public spaces, to inscribe new meanings for public spaces, to generate civic dialogue, to attract a small but creatively significant sub-set of the creative class, and to open the cultural and arts development processes to new meanings. However, there are significant and unique challenges for cities, planners, and officials interested in encouraging or collaborating with these kinds of endeavors.
The Healthy Built Environments Program: An Interdisciplinary and Connected Way-of-Working
The achievement of a healthy environment necessitates interdisciplinary and connected ways-of-working across the built environment and health sectors. It also demands the bridging of theory and practice, the sharing of government and industry perspectives, and the delivery of inter-disciplinary education for the professionals of today and tomorrow. This paper discusses an initiative where this is currently occurring. The Healthy Built Environments Program (http://www.fbe.unsw.edu.au/cf/HBEP/ ) – now well established in the Built Environment Faculty of the University of New South Wales, one of Australia’s leading tertiary institutions – receives its main funding from the State Health Department. Driven by a vision to plan, design, develop and manage built environments in ways that promote and protect the health of all people, the Program has interdisciplinary leadership from the built environment and health. It fosters cross-disciplinary research, delivers education and workforce development, and advocates for health as a primary consideration in built environment decision-making.
This paper provides an overview of the Program’s achievements as an exemplar in bringing the combined efforts of researchers, educators, practitioners and policymakers from the built environment and health sectors to the prevention of contemporary health problems. The paper concludes by considering how those from the built environment and health disciplines can work more effectively in interdisciplinary and connected ways to achieve healthy spaces and places for all communities.
Public Space Usership: Does the Built Environment Matter? A Case Study of the Historical Center of Santo Domingo
This study analyzes the impact of the built environment on public space usership from a behavioral standpoint in the context of the historical center of the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, an issue so far weakly explored in the country.
The concept of “public space usership” was operationalized as a destination choice and a route choice model of pedestrian trips to urban parks and plazas; data was gathered on local residents’ park usership behavior and on the qualities of the built environment in both parks and pedestrian links in the Colonial Zone; a multinomial logit model was then developed to evaluate destination and route choice behavior of local residents.
The estimations results show that the most important factors affecting destination choice are distance, as a measure of accessibility; existence of commercial and institutional land uses in the immediate surroundings of parks, as indicators of proximity to other street activities; design attributes such as shade levels and architecture quality, and safety perception. This study also found that the importance individuals place on these factors varies according to the main activity users wish to engage in when visiting parks and to whether the visit occurs during daytime or nighttime. Findings also suggest that some individuals might in fact get a positive utility not only from visiting the park but also from walking to it, evidenced in deviations from the shortest path to walk on routes that are perceived not only as safer but also as more pleasant.
Development of an evidence-based Health Impact Assessment model using CommunityViz
Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is becoming a more commonly used planning tool, but quantifying health outcomes in response to changes in the built environment remains a challenge. Often, local planning and public health departments are able to identify potential indicators of health (e.g. access to parks, exposure to pollution sources, or access to health care services) but lack the data and resources needed for building evidence-based models that link these indicators to measurable health outcomes (e.g. rates of diabetes, asthma, or cardiovascular disease). There is substantial added value when forecasting health outcomes rather than simply measuring the more abstract indicators of health, as measurable health outcomes are more likely to resonate with stakeholders and decision makers and will allow for estimation of the health-related fiscal impacts of urban planning decisions.
This paper provides an overview of an evidence-based HIA and scenario planning model developed using CommunityViz software for the San Diego, California, region using local built environment, travel behavior, and health data. The paper first identifies the data sources required for the model and describes the relationships found in the data between built environment characteristics (e.g. residential density, land use mix, access to transit) and health behaviors/outcomes. Next, the paper provides a description of the development and use of the CommunityViz-based planning environment, focusing on a case study demonstrating the application of the HIA model in a San Diego neighborhood. The finished model will be available for use by regional, county, and local governments throughout the San Diego region.
From formal open spaces to attractive and inviting city environment for everybody (accessibility for handicapped people)
One of the factors of livable habitat is accessibility. Everything: objects, functions, services, open spaces – should be in short distance and adapted for easy use. The most restrained group is handicapped people. Society has focused attention on "physical" accessibility of open spaces for about 20 years. Corresponding regulations and standards have been developed. The tendency was started by volunteer movements for the city environment, and public building surveys of access and adaptation for handicapped people in the large cities. Consequently special maps of availability came into existence, showing people the most convenient tracks through the city. Unfortunately federal design standards say that for every building entrance it is enough to be equipped with only one ramp. And it contains nothing about special requirement for the interiors.
The special problem is increasing adaptability of the city environment for handicapped people. The next task is to make public spaces out of doors or within interiors more attractive, inviting for their communication, social problems solving, for education and getting strong positive emotions and impressions as a result. Krasnoyarsk has a lot of open territories, socially active zones which can be used in this movement - adaptation and creation of attractive and inviting spaces for all groups of the population, especially for handicapped people.
Opportunities and Challenges in Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Policy, Environmental, and Systems Changes to Promote Physical Activity & Healthy Eating
Over the past century, the global pattern of disease has shifted away from infectious disease towards chronic disease, with chronic disease now accounting for 60% of deaths worldwide. In the United States, chronic disease now accounts for 70% of deaths, a substantial proportion of morbidity, and more than 75% of national health care costs. Poor diet and physical inactivity are among the major determinants of early and unnecessary death. However, despite evidence that these major determinants can be modified, preventable death remains a major public health challenge of the 21st century, largely due to an emphasis on addressing individual behavior through education, and limited use of policy, environmental, and systems changes to promote physical activity and healthy eating for entire populations. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has been leading a statewide effort to develop, implement, evaluate, and sustain safe and healthy community initiatives through County and Municipal Health Departments since 2006. This presentation involves analysis of opportunities and challenges in changing policies, environments, and systems to promote physical activity and healthy eating by the York City Bureau of Health. Activities include developing partnerships with local government and community organizations, implementing Complete Streets policies and procedures, ensuring parks and playgrounds are safe and accessible, enhancing community gardens, and advocating for a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax or ban through a city ordinance. Issues discussed include: developing and maintaining partnerships, effective planning steps, identifying and overcoming implementation barriers, and practical strategies for evaluating critical processes and outcomes of policy, environmental and systems change.
People, place and planet: promoting sustainable communities, locally and globally through engaged, active universities
The huge global challenge of climate change now overlays all the current issues of poverty, ecological degradation and conflict. Learning to live sustainably has never been more urgent. Local and global issues are ever more closely interconnected -the global pervades the local just as the local pervades the global. In order to address these immense challenges, new forms of learning are needed and the paper will argue that universities need to play a leading role.
The paper will explore the potential for universities to play an active role in creating and promoting the learning that is needed for local and global communities to live sustainably. In particular it will examine the potential of the RCE movement to develop a global network for transformative learning. It will examine to what extent universities are part of the problem and how they might become part of the solution. RCEs are Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development which have been endorsed by the UN University. This initiative of the UN Decade for ESD ( 2005-2014) aims to develop a global knowledge network to promote sustainable communities. RCEs are cross sectoral and involve educators at all levels of formal and non formal learning. Most RCEs have started from universities and build on existing networks as well as creating new ones. These networks are multi level, and form a spider’s web of local, regional and global linkages. The paper will focus on two examples, the London RCE(UK) and the Greater Nairobi RCE (Kenya).