50th Presenter Abstracts

Elliot Akwai-Scott | Jonathan Allen & J. Gary Rogers | Selena Anders  | Courtney Anderson | Jessica Atwater & Rex Burkholder | Armaghan Baghoori | Sherry Barrett | Laura Banks Bochinski | Suzanne Brown | Lise Burcher | Rex Burkholder & Jessica Atwater | David R. Burns | Marjorie P. Callahan | Melissa Cannon | Carolina Casares | Thomas Coleman | Brian Cook | Kurt Creager | Nicole Daws | Melvin Delgado | Jane Dembner | Andrew A. Fox | Skip Graffam | David Green | Nidhi Gulati & C. Scott Shafer | Staci Haber | Lisa Hallo | Heidi Hansen-Smith | Hiro Hata | Cindy Heath | Philip R. Heywood | Eric Holcomb & Lauren Schiszik | Holly Holtzen | Changshan Huang | Thomas Hubka | Mary Ann Jackson | Jane Margaret Jose | Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard | Michael Lewyn | Brianna M. Lyons | Thomas Macias | E. Christopher Mare | Brian McDonald | Michael A McDonald | David McKeown | Michael W Mehaffy | Amanda Micklow & Mildred Warner | Mika Moran | Neil Myers | Shelley Oylear | Rick Phillips | Johannes Pieters  | Kristin Porter | Wolfgang F.E. Preiser | Wilma Quan & David Schecter | Scott Ranville | Patricia Ríos Cabello | Alcestis Paraskevi Rodi | J. Gary Rogers & Jonathan Allen | Adam Rosa | Steve Rossiter | Peter Rumble | Angela R. Russell | Peter Sarlos | Scott Scarfone | David Schecter & Wilma Quan | Lauren Schiszik & Eric Holcomb | Dan Schoenholz | Joseph Schuchter | C. Scott Shafer & Nidhi Gulati | Scott Sernau | Andres Sevtsuk | George Glade Shaw | Gordon Shaw | Bianca Shulaker | Timothy Smith  | Felia Srinaga | Shannon M Sweeney | Sven von Ungern-Sternberg (1) | Sven von Ungern-Sternberg (2) | Drusilla van Hengel | Kim Voros | Mildred Warner & Amanda Micklow | Elizabeth Westburg | Gary Clinton Wheat II | Andrew Wheeler | Hallie Willis | Lou Wilson | Jane Futrell Winslow | Mengyuan Xu | Paul A. Zorr


Elliot Akwai-Scott, Planner, Alta Planning + Design, Portland, OR, USA.

Making the Economic Case for Active Transportation

Walking and bicycling advocates have a deep and intuitive understanding of how active transportation creates more livable cities by preventing greenhouse gas emissions, improving community health, and saving households money on transportation costs. However, communicating the value of these benefits to policy makers can be difficult. To effectively interact and converse with policy makers who are unfamiliar with the benefits of bicycling on a conceptual level, advocates are in need of a shared language. Qualitative statements about the value of walking and bicycling investments are often only marginally effective. Quantifying the estimated impact of walking and bicycling can draw interest; further monetizing the economic impact of active transportation can turn policymakers’ heads and create a strong case in competing for scarce funding dollars.

Making the Economic Case for Active Transportation will provide livable cities advocates with a conceptual framework for quantifying active transportation activity, introduce publicly available data resources, and review established approaches to monetizing the impact of active transportation. Making the Economic Case for Active Transportation will highlight local examples of how walking and bicycling create quantifiable, economic benefits around Portland and its suburbs, evaluate recent trends in transportation use, and demonstrate how active transportation is among the most cost-effective investments for creating livable cities.


Selena Anders, Professor, University of Notre Dame, Rome, ITALY.

From Town to Suburb: The Loss of Urban Form in America after World War II

Pre-World War II streetcar suburbs provided a relief to the pressures of city life at the turn of the century and had a greater affinity in terms of urban form with the small city or town, which they were modeled after. These early forms of suburban communities in the United States have much to offer us today in terms of rethinking our modern concept of the suburb. Due to the development of these early suburban communities during a period of transition from streetcar to automobile, much of the planning of these suburbs included all of the amenities that were to be found in a small city or large town allowing for the development of a diverse socio-economic community that provided for a variety of housing types, public space in the form of town/market squares, a variety of shops, places of worship, public parks, and a full range of secular services such as libraries, post offices, and regional governmental offices. These self-sufficient communities were relatively compact and afforded an alternative to urban living that was similar to the towns we are familiar with throughout Europe. Examination of streetcar suburbs and their evolution during the post World War II construction and development boom is essential in the planning, development or infill of our existing suburbs. It is through the analysis of our built past that it will be possible to reshape the future of the American suburb into healthy and inclusive communities.


Courtney Anderson, Assistant Professor, Georgia State University College of Law

Atlanta, GA, USA.

Health Equity for Displaced Citizens

Populations with poor health are disproportionately comprised of ethnic and racial minorities who are impoverished, undereducated and segregated from the rest of society. Although these factors are interconnected, two necessary elements of the solution to this problem operate independently. The first, community economic development (“CED”), stimulates a community’s economic progression by increasing residents’ access to desirable jobs, housing, income, and other necessities. The second, health equity, refers to the elimination of socioeconomic factors that cause health disparities among targeted demographics. In order to use this mutuality to achieve results that reach beyond the city limits, an inclusive legal framework that combines health equity and CED must exist.

This article lays the foundation for such integration by introducing an original concept I call health equity development (“HED”) and I set forth a working definition below:

“Health equity development” is an interdisciplinary movement to eliminate health disparities in low-income and minority populations. It empowers individuals to leverage their collective resources and investment opportunities to reform unjust socioeconomic infrastructures that contribute to adverse health outcomes.

I assert that a health equity development framework should be used to create and evaluate health the impact of health care improvements on suburban residents. To support this hypothesis, I examine the symbiotic relationship between health equity and CED, and how this framework can connect residents who have been displaced to the suburbs of Detroit to the economic progression in the downtown areas of Detroit, Michigan.


Jessica Atwater, Project Assistant & Rex Burkholder, Metro Councilor, Metro, Portland, OR, USA.

Cities and Climate Change: Metro and the Portland-metropolitan Area’s Experience

Examining the changing suburban and urban landscape through the lens of climate change planning offers unique insight into the many benefits of compact, mixed-use development.

Everyone has a place they call home. As our world is made of a great many varied landscapes, so our homes differ in their characteristics; humans have adapted to virtually every climate the world has to offer. No matter the climate though, more than ever before, we are living in cities. More than 50% of the world population lives in cities. This number is expected to continue growing.

The scientific community has identified a challenge that threatens the future of all our homes: climate change. Cities and their metropolitan areas are in a unique position to protect more people and more easily reduce impacts on the environment by working to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through strategic land use and transportation planning, often referred to as smart growth.

This paper explores the relationship between planning for climate change and changing metropolitan areas, including the typical suburb, through smart growth. Metro's 2040 Growth Concept and Climate Smart Communities project have and will achieve GHG emissions reductions, cost savings for residents, and more '20 minute neighborhoods.'

If selected, this paper will be updated to reflect the most recent work on the Climate Smart Communities project, household trip diary information, and econometric trends for housing in the Portland-metropolitan region.


Armaghan Baghoori, Masters student, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The glue of the city: Designing an interconnected system of public spaces in Calgary’s center city

Public spaces are one of the major elements that form the urban structure. The ability of public spaces to work efficiently in the overall urban system is firmly connected to their placement in a city. According to theories, urban elements are considered as dots which are connected together by different lines and shape the main structure of a city. These lines can be streets, pathways or other linear spaces that create physical connection among nodes. A good form of urban design should provide people with a sequence of simultaneous experiences so that it improves the movement and increases the number of people in spaces, and therefore produces more vibrant public spaces. Continuity of public spaces can lead to the enhancement of the quality of public spaces and brings a sense of unity for the users.

As a way to further investigate these theories, Calgary’s center city (located in Alberta, Canada) will serve as the study site. Calgary, despite its various high quality public spaces, includes many spaces which are not well connected and that are neglected by pedestrians. An assumption of this research is that if people are provided with a network of public spaces rather than single destinations, this will encourage greater use and lead to a higher quality of public realm. The intent is to improve the quality of the urban structure by creating a network of public spaces so that they are interconnected and therefore create a flow of pedestrian movement and circulation.


Sherry Barrett, Sustainable Communities Program Associate, Upstate Forever, Spartanburg, SC. USA.

The Turning Point: A Story of Advocacy, Partnership and Community Buy-in

In late 2011, we established a relationship with leaders in Duncan, a small town in suburban Spartanburg County, South Carolina. In early 2012, we met with them to discuss how to advance active living in their community. A steering committee, led by us, was selected and convened, including the Mayor, town staff, a Council member and a local business owner. Plans for pedestrian overlay districts were discussed and developed, and enthusiasm was evident. It became apparent, however, that one of the missing pieces in the effort was a meaningful, holistic vision for the town and an action plan to reach that vision. Through a local foundation, we committed $7,000 for a consultant-led effort to development such a vision. However, the steering committee doubted this amount would solicit bids from qualified consultants for a high-quality plan. The Mayor was hesitant to commit town funds. We were about to move forward with the smaller pool of money when a member of the steering committee publicly committed to investing in the project. Another private citizen agreed to contribute as well. In the end, the town also provided $2,500. Today, the “Conceptual Downtown Streetscape and Pocket Parks Master Plan” is a blueprint for change in Duncan. The real success of this story was not the extra money secured for the consultant. The success was the shift that occurred when leaders and private citizens decided to invest more of themselves and in so doing, became a full partner with full ownership of the project's outcomes.


Laura Banks Bochinski, Student, Prescott College, Bellingham, WA, USA.

Making Suburbs Lovable: Grounding Suburban Residents in their Homes, Neighborhoods and Public Spaces as a Foundation for Sustainability

Sustainable practices often begin with a sense of belonging and responsibility to a place and a community. NIMBY campaigns are a driving force for environmental protections policies. But with about half of families in the US relocating at least once every five years, most people do not have much incentive to care about what happens in their back yards.

Suburban residents relocate more often than any other group. They move for job or business opportunities, because of life changes such as marriages, divorces, births of children, the emptying of the nest, retirement and aging, and because of financial changes that either enable them to purchase more expensive homes or make it necessary to downsize. These pressures are inevitable artifacts of modern American life, but they can be mitigated through planning, design, education, and policies that facilitate and incentivize staying in place.

This paper offers solutions to the problem of making suburban houses into homes instead of real estate investments. Some of the ideas discussed are designing adaptable homes that can be reconfigured to accommodate life and family changes, encouraging private and community gardens that foster a spiritual connection to the land, educating people about the natural landscape around them and offering opportunities to participate in restoration efforts, creating neighborhood green spaces and cooperative community centers, and designating public spaces where neighbors showcase their good stewardship and strong community ties.


Suzanne Brown, Manager, Neighbourhood Development Strategies, City of Hamilton, CANADA.

 

City of Hamilton’s Neighbourhood Action Strategy

The Neighbourhood Action Strategy was created in November 2010 to address health and well-being inequities in Hamilton neighbourhoods which were highlighted in a local newspaper series, “Code Red”. Using a Social Determinants of Health framework, a neighbourhood planning process was developed by blending community planning with asset-based community development, as well as emerging research, knowledge and practice. The City of Hamilton and Hamilton Community Foundation committed to implementing this approach in 11 Hamilton neighbourhoods in an effort to build strong healthy neighbourhoods. To accomplish this objective, the Neighbourhood Development Office was created in the City Manager’s Office and Council allotted $2M to assist with implementation. The Strategy was identified as a corporate strategic priority.

To date, 10 neighbourhood action plans have been developed and four have been endorsed by Hamilton City Council, with the remaining six queued to come forward over the next several months. The creation and facilitation of the planning process was supported by public health staff, city planners and community development workers. The plans were developed by resident-led Planning Teams, and each component of the plan was vetted through the broader community for input and endorsement. The completed plans present a clear vision for the future and describe projects that are implementable, achievable and have widespread community support.

Implementation of the plans will take place between 2013 – 2017. The eleventh Action Plan will address the needs of a suburban neighbourhood within the City.


Lise Burcher, Councillor, Director, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Professor, University of Guelph, Guelph, CANADA

This case study for the mid-size city of Guelph, Canada, documents the intensive citizen engagement and capacity building strategies developed and undertaken over a three year period, and the outcomes achieved in the form of community design principles and adopted concept scenario. Beginning in January 2010, the community engaged research documents the process facilitation and capacity building strategies undertaken with the citizens of an established downtown neighbourhood facing significant change with the imposition of a large-scale brownfield intensification proposal in their established, “blue collar”, mixed use community. The measured and documented outcomes achieved throughout the comprehensive and multi-faceted approach are described from first building capacity to enable citizens to engage meaningfully and equitably, and then undertaking a number of engagement, visualization and design development methods to ensure citizens could engage fully from a basis of shared knowledge and power with municipal officials, professional staff, consultants, and development proponents. Methods designed and utilized are evaluated and documented as “lessons learned” for replication within similar contexts and conditions.

The case study challenges the inequity of citizen access to the municipal community planning and design process, and the lack of professional expertise available to citizens to meaningfully engage in the planning process. It also questions the lack of clarity of the role of professional, municipal planning staff and elected municipal officials in serving the public interest.


David R. Burns, AICP, Principal Planner, City of Lacey, Lacey, WA, USA.

Public participation helps ease urban transition under "Smart Growth".

The city of Lacey is a suburban community in the state of Washington located approximately 60 miles south of Seattle. Lacey has been planning under Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA) for over two decades. A major challenge for Lacey’s GMA planning is making a transition to a more urbanized environment that is sustainable and based upon “Smart Growth Principles”. A key component of planning under GMA and a main emphasis for Lacey’s planning process is meaningful citizen participation.

As a suburban community, Lacey is charged with implementation of GMA concepts emphasizing "Smart Growth" that will help transition Lacey to a more sustainable and "livable" city. This necessarily includes strategies for transition to a land use form and distribution that will include infill with higher density, mixed use development, a range of transportation options, housing choices and walkability.

Suburban residents have become accustomed to standard Euclidian zoning neighborhoods that separate land use types into monotonous and dysfunctional land use zones made up of one land use type. This requires use of the automobile to accomplish daily tasks and does not provide key elements of a healthy city. Yet residents are typically ready to voice objection and opposition to any new development that represents change from the current suburban land use model. This is arguably the single most difficult obstacle to implementation of smart growth concepts and transition of the suburban community to a more sustainable and livable form.

Neighborhood residents can generally agree on two things; they don't want sprawl and they don't want density in their neighborhood. Unfortunately, these two concepts are mutually exclusive and residents can't have it both ways.

To address the disconnect that comes with residents supporting the concepts behind "Smart Growth", but being unable to embrace the strategies in their own neighborhoods to make it work, Lacey has emphasized a public participation program to solicit public involvement and provide meaningful participation in Lacey’s planning process. Lacey’s has focused on “place making” and having residents help identify and define unique assets and values for their neighborhood as a basis for its neighborhood planning.

This process has involved bringing tools to neighborhood groups that residents need to be able to understand issues of urbanization and to learn how to apply land use strategies that can make Smart Growth concepts work for their individual neighborhood. This process needs to identify, preserve and enhance those local values, qualities and characteristics important, unique and defining for the neighborhood. This is used to guide new development for successfully integration into the fabric of existing neighborhoods and to promote the transition of the suburban landscape into a more workable urban form.

Through adoption of a public participation plan and implementation of a number of planning projects, the City has had early success in bringing residents into the planning process and supporting these new citizen planners as they learn and design ways to achieve neighborhood objectives and Smart Growth functionality.

This paper looks at the city of Lacey's efforts in making citizen participation a painless and valued part of city planning process. The paper reviews important components of citizen participation and early project examples in Lacey that have been successful in implementing smart growth strategies and concepts that are promoting Lacey's transition of its suburban landscape into a more urbanized livable city.


Marjorie P. Callahan, Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Oklahoma, College of Architecture, Norman, OK, USA.

Best Practices: Lessons from Visioning, Dialoguing, and Collaborating with Suburbia

Work with communities reconfirms what a crucial role the architectural dialoguing and visioning can play in addressing the unique needs of both large and small communities as they confront planning --whether due to economic necessity or good opportunities.

During my career as private practitioner, and then as a professor of studio and professional practice in academia with invaluable support from graduate students, we have had a stream of experiences and dialogues with suburbia mostly in Oklahoma about a wide array of architectural and planning challenges and opportunities. These experiences taught us the importance of understanding such processes as: (1) reporting, (2) using social media, (5) collecting inventory, and (7) not the least, -raising and obtaining funding to transform planning into reality.

While working with different municipalities has made us realize that a “one size fits all” approach does not work, our journey convinces us that certain core issues arise in each architect/academic outreach/planner community exchange. In what follows we describe a suggested “basic tool kit/treasure chest” of strategies and observations for successfully working and communicating with suburban communities. Specifically, we (University of Oklahoma College of Architecture) will be highlighting our most recent venture, fostering new ways of working, with the City of Yukon, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

From our academic perspective, we hope it demonstrates at the same time why architects and the work we do are vitally important to the quality of our lives.


Melissa Cannon, Student, Portland State University - Institute on Aging, Portland, OR, USA.

The Suburban Shopping Mall: Can it Contribute to the Health and Well-Being of an Aging Population?

Humans are extremely sensitive to environments. As our society ages it is increasingly vital to design and build environments that encourage healthy, active lifestyles among older adults. As Dr. Richard J. Jackson explained, “We must be alert to the health benefits, including less stress, lower blood pressure, and overall improved physical and mental health that can result when people live and work in accessible, safe, well-designed, thoughtful structures and landscapes (2001, p. 3).” Many traditional neighborhoods have been built under single-use zoning guidelines that necessitate driving automobiles, which is a huge obstacle for aging in place. The enclosed shopping mall has long been an icon of these suburban areas, and recently urban planning has been directed at re-design solutions that include retrofitting faltering shopping malls. The following research reviews literature about the history and future of suburban shopping mall development and the impacts of this type of land use planning on the lives of older adults. It also examines the current popular use of malls for older adults (i.e., “mall walkers”) to fulfill certain needs for health and well-being, as well as existing resources that demonstrate the potential for malls to restructure themselves to address the need for accessible service centers within suburban, car-dependent areas.


Carolina Casares, MD, MPH, Program Director, Health Initiatives, American Cancer Society, Office of Health Disparities, Sustainable Social Health, Decatur, GA, USA.

Sustainable Social Health

Health is a complex construct. An individual’s physical and mental health is directly influenced by the social conditions in which they live, work, worship and play, most popularly referred to as the “social determinants of health”. More importantly health disparities are linked to the factors that comprise the social determinants of health. This adds complexity to addressing inequalities in health. The social aspect of health specifically relates to the concept of equity. Since its introduction in 1947 by the World Health Organization (WHO), it has been defined by many as the measure of how well society does at offering equal access to goods and services to everyone and its success determined by the ability afforded to each individual to contribute back to society and be self-sustainable. In essence health and sustainability are intertwined. By implication, this means that any society that is unhealthy is unsustainable and cannot be maintained for long and will cease to function at some point. That is why it is important to address health inequalities within a broader social-ecological context. This presentation will engage participants in an interactive learning exercise.

Learning objectives:

After attending this session the participants will:

1. Be able to articulate how the social determinants of health challenge the achievement of sustainable health.

2. Be able to articulate the knowledge and skill set needed in building bridges between health strategies and livable communities.

Expected results: Identify innovative ideas that will inform the development of a multi-dimensional sustainable social health framework.


Thomas Coleman, Senior Supervising Planner, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Chicago, IL, USA.

Pontiac Livability Study: Downtown Pontiac Transportation Assessment

Pontiac, Michigan, the town for which General Motors named its famous line of cars and trucks, is an economically distressed city of approximately 66,095 people, down from a peak of 85,000 in 1970. Long a suburb of Detroit, the downtown core of Pontiac has become depopulated in favor of the surrounding suburbs of Oakland County. The Pontiac Livability Study sets in place a strategy for reconnected the downtown to the most immediate suburbs and setting the public realm framework in place to revitalize commercial and residential development in the downtown itself, providing a walkable, mixed-use alternative to surrounding residential suburbs.

In the middle of the 20th Century, the vision for growth in the region and the need to increase automobile throughput surrounding Pontiac drove the design of the Woodward Loop. However, demographics and economic conditions changed and traffic has decreased along this arterial. Today, rather than connecting Pontiac’s neighborhoods and destinations, as a key transportation corridor should, the Loop segregates downtown Pontiac from surrounding communities – hindering economic growth, cutting off downtown from surrounding neighborhoods, and leaving small residential pockets isolated from community context and amenities.

Over 12 months, 500 residents participated in community workshops and a 3-day charrette that lead to a plan to support a road diet of Woodward Avenue Loop, sidewalks, bike paths, and the first large scale cycle track in southeast Michigan.

The paper/presentation will give an overview project and describe the recommended changes and improvements to transform a once auto dominated community in Southeast Michigan.


Brian Cook, Public Health Researcher, Toronto Public Health, Toronto, ON, CANADA

GIS Mapping of Toronto’s Food Retail Environments to Inform Low Income Apartment Tower Community Revitalization

Toronto is a city of towers, home to more than 1200 tall residential apartment buildings. Constructed in the 1950s-70s with middle income, car owning families in mind, shifting demographics has resulted in an increasing concentration of lower income, new immigrant households. People living in these neighbourhoods are more likely to face health inequities, caused in part by poor access to healthy, affordable food. Local government is focusing new efforts to build healthier apartment tower communities. The Toronto Food Strategy, part of the Toronto Public Health Department, has collaborated with Planning and other City and community partners to analyze the spatial relationships related to economic and geographic access to healthy food. Unlike similar “food desert” mapping that focuses on supermarket proximity, the collaboration has assessed the full breadth of food retail establishments. Through GIS mapping techniques, the project analyzed food retail environments across Toronto to understand the layering of health, economic and social disadvantage in lower income apartment tower communities. The findings have provided detailed and unique insights into factors affecting the availability and consumption of healthy food and are informing a toolkit of solutions that local government can champion to support healthy communities. This has yielded practical results. The GIS mapping has supported the implementation of the Mobile Good Food Market that sells fresh produce in lower income tower communities. Findings are also informing the Planning Division’s innovative new Residential Apartment Commercial zoning to enable non-residential uses such as expanded food retail in and around apartment tower clusters.


Kurt Creager, Director of Housing and Community Development, Practitioner, Vancouver, WA, USA.

Creating and Sustaining Inclusive and Equitable Communities in the Western USA

Creating inclusive and equitable communities which serve the needs of people of different incomes, ethnic origins, races and classes is a challenge internationally. It is especially challenging in areas characterized by low density suburban development patterns which are auto dependant and where jobs are often disconnected from affordable housing. This pattern of development typifies much of Western USA Suburbia which is fertile ground for public policy action and community development. Research and practice by planners, economists and designers in North America demonstrates that equity can be created and sustained by linking development finance, land use and transportation planning when suburban areas are retrofitted with high capacity transit. Achieving the dual public policy aims of equity and inclusion require thoughtful and carefully crafted finance and development strategies that are synchronized with and implemented within a context of a comprehensive community development strategy. Regional community engagement is also necessary to align assets and target resources. Recent work by the investigator(s) in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Puget Sound communities of Bellevue and Redmond, Washington and the Metro Phoenix, Arizona area will be contrasted and compared. Tools and techniques transferrable for use elsewhere in North America will be identified and described.


Nicole Daws, Doncaster Hill Place Manager, Manningham City Council, Doncaster

AUSTRALIA.

MC² Community Hub - innovative planning for community health, wellbeing and inclusion

MC² (Manningham City Square), Manningham City Council's new $39 million multi-tenanted community centre, the largest of its kind in Victoria, was officially opened in September 2012. This vibrant community hub provides access to a wide range of organisations in one accessible location, with services and programs available in health, education, welfare, arts and culture and children’s services.

The square in MC² refers to the modern, angular shape of the building and the fact that the building’s civic plaza will function like an old style town square or meeting place.

In addition to the new community support facilities, an expanded library, art gallery and café, public realm and bus access improvements will strengthen community connectedness and encourage participation in programs, events and festivals.

Innovative features of the MC² project include:

• Largest community centre of its kind in Victoria (12 tenants)

• Prominent, accessible community hub created through a whole-of-government partnership approach

• Integrated service delivery model based on community needs assessment and consistent with State and Federal Government policies

• Designed to 5 star Green Star rating, including a trigeneration system – a first for Local Government in Australia.

A community open day and Fine Design Market held on 16 September attracted 4,000 people and more than 8,000 people have visited MC² since it opened.

MC² is a key element of the Doncaster Hill Strategy, which will see the creation of a sustainable urban village in the heart of Manningham and an additional 8,000 residents over the next 20 years.


Melvin Delgado, Ph.D., Professor of Social Work & Chair of Macro-Practice, Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA, USA.

Social Justice and the Obesity Crisis

Livable cities require healthy residents, and residents with excessive weight. Being overweight or obese significantly alters daily living activities and health. The subject of obesity will only increase in significance nationally and internationally in the immediate future. The problem of overweight and obesity in certain communities has approached a crisis level, necessitating comprehensive efforts that are participatory, incorporating community assets, and stressing social change efforts. The importance of race and ethnicity cannot be overlooked in any effort to better understand overweight and obesity.

This presentation will address the importance of access to nutritious food and exercise space at the community level for people of color (African-American, Asian-American, and Latinos). Many experts have begun to propose campaigns and programs that can have an impact on overweight and obesity on the community level. This presentation will draw upon the latest literature, research, and thinking on this subject, and identify significant community barriers and promising efforts that address overweight and obesity using a social justice perspective. A social justice construct emphasizes the importance of justice for population groups and communities, and not just for individuals, and as a result, it lends itself to broad-based analysis and interventions. Clearly the problem of obesity can best be appreciated, understood, and addressed through a social justice lens that stresses interventions at the macro, mezzo, and micro levels.


Jane Dembner, Director of Community Building and Sustainability, The Columbia Association, Columbia, MD, USA.

New Life for Old Plans: Re-imagining America's Most Well-known Planned City for the 21st Century

Forty-five years after its founding, the new town of Columbia Maryland is back on the urban planning map. Residents, the county government, developers and the largest home owners association in the country (38,000 households) are re-imaging Columbia as a more livable and connected community. And not only are they talking about it, change is taking place on the ground.

This paper will describe the reinvestment going on in Columbia to respond to market demand and community calls for change to re-imaging Columbia for the 21st century. Some of these include:

  • Aging in Place: Enhanced programming and infrastructure to support our growing older adult population so they can age in place;
  • Connecting Columbia: Extension of one of the signature features of Columba – its existing 94-mile paved trail system - to expand its utility for active transportation.
  • Downtown Redevelopment. Transforming the mail-centered town center into a new downtown with 5,500 new dwelling units and 6 million additional square feet of non-residential development within a setting of public gathering places.
  • Stormwater Management: Extensive investments in and public education about watershed management to improve water quality and “slow the flow.”
  • Healthy Lifestyles: Expanded focus on health with reinvestment in 23 outdoor pools; three fitness facilities with indoor pools; hundreds of playgrounds and parks, trails and targeted programs for groups at high risk.

This paper will address the re-imaging Columbia and reinvestment in Columbia to reinvigorate this suburban new town that was founded on equity, diversity and sustainability long before those terms entered the urban design and planning lexicon.


Andrew A. Fox, Assistant Professor, College of Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Suburban Street Stormwater Retrofitting: Design Implications in the Sprawling American Southeast

Low impact development (LID) stormwater retrofitting is an exciting new approach to managing stormwater within existing street rights-of-way. Direct benefits of installing LID stormwater retrofits include enhanced water quality, heat island mitigation, localized wildlife habitat enhancement, traffic calming, cost savings, and general improvement of the pedestrian experience. However, little is known about their effectiveness in conventional suburban housing developments. Existing research regarding LID best management practices (BMPs) at the subdivision scale has been focused on new - or “greenfield” - applications rather than the study of retrofitting the entirety of existing housing developments.

The adverse environmental consequences of traditional suburban development patterns are well documented. Streams, wetlands, and other surface waters are acutely sensitive to the land disturbance activities characteristic of conventional residential subdivisions. A trademark feature resulting from these consumptive development practices are unnecessarily wide streets that perpetuate the prevalence of the automobile at the expense of both water quality and the pedestrian experience.

This paper addresses environmental quality through the study of street stormwater retrofitting in an existing 300-acre residential suburban housing development in the Southern Piedmont Region of the United States. More specifically, this study developed hydrologic models to calculate the volumetric flow variation(s) resulting from various LID street retrofit configurations, and compared them to the existing flow levels achieved through standardized local development and stormwater regulations. The results of this study demonstrate that stormwater retrofits in suburban conditions provide significant benefits because they mitigate already degraded hydrologic processes and systems, especially when regarded cumulatively at greater scales.


Skip Graffam, RLA, ASLA, LEED® AP, Landscape Architect, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Patchwork—A Model for Sustainable Neighborhood Design

In response to the ambitious sustainable development standards set by the Living City Design Competition, this award-winning design submission titled “Patchwork” re-imagines the post-industrial grid of Philadelphia as a new model of ecological, social, cultural, and economic self-sufficiency.

Using an “evolving block” strategy, the team phased incremental and achievable improvements over a 25-year span. To achieve 100% on-site renewable energy for thousands of households, homes are retrofitted with façades of photovoltaic panels, and a commercial spine is shaded with solar power-collecting canopies. Vacant parcels punctuating row home blocks transform into a pedestrian-friendly network of green spaces populated by play areas, community gardens and urban farms. Existing row homes are either retrofitted, renovated or replaced, with materials salvaged from demolition for reuse elsewhere in the neighborhood. This method supplies over 30 million bricks and three million square feet of wood for the building of new homes. Rain gardens and roof cisterns combine with district-level “living machine” water treatment centers located along the green space network, reducing the neighborhoods’ per capita potable water consumption from 69.3 gallons per day (the amount used by an average American) to 9.2 gallons, and easing demand on the combined sewer system. Lastly, the long-abandoned Red Bell Brewery is refurbished, creating local jobs and opportunities for farming.

This paper details how the interdisciplinary design team implemented sustainable design within an existing urban framework by utilizing local resources and encouraging community engagement and respect for the vernacular culture and architecture.


David Green, Principal/Professor of the Practice, Perkins+Will/Georgia Tech College of Architecture, Atlanta, GA, USA.

The Pathology of Suburbs

The session will include a general outline of the impact of the 1926 decision in Euclid v. Amber and the Standard City Planning Enabling Act, and how specific components of both, when properly understood; can be utilized today to create a sustainable framework for suburban development. At issue in this session is the operational relationship between the ability of zoning to regulate land use and the execution of Section 6 of the Enabling Act. This relationship will be described through a historical analysis of the transformation of the suburban model and how those models were regulated. The analysis reveals that the suburbs that utilized master plans, as defined by the Enabling Act, were executed in a manner that has proved to be much more sustainable in terms of infrastructure investment and changing land-uses. The form of the street system, public rights-of-way, can produce either a system that accommodates change or it can produce a system that is single-use only (e.g. the suburban office park or the cul-de-sac subdivision). There is also a direct relationship between the operationally sustainable nature of the Act’s master plan and the legal framework constructed in Justice Sutherland’s opinion in the Euclid case. Sutherland is clear that the intent is to create a regulatory system that is flexible with regards to both location and changing needs of society without compromising the ‘meaning’ of the regulations. Like the constitution itself, a system that creates the flexible regulatory framework alongside a clear accommodating system of rights-of-way can adapt to change without fundamentally reorganizing the entire system.


Nidhi Gulati, Park Planner & Designer, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

& C. Scott Shafer, Professor, Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences,

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Texas A&M University

From Space to Place: neighborhood park as a ‘Third Place’

In the United States, there is a growing trend towards livable cities that facilitate physical, psychological, and social well-being. According to Congress of the New Urbanism, the great American suburb served by the automobile, does not fulfill all these functions. Urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg points out three realms of satisfactory life as work, home and the ‘great good place’ as the third. The third place is one that facilitates barrier free social interaction, for example the American main-street, the English pub, French coffee house etc. Despite the ever existing need for such places, greater travel distances of the automobile era have stripped our urban fabric of these. As the suburbs age, finding the right opportunities and solutions for successful retrofitting is essential for long term change. The Charter of the New Urbanism points out that in the American suburbs, neighborhood parks have the potential to serve as ‘third places’. Research also reveals that parks and open spaces are positively correlated to economic development, healthier lifestyles and people’s attachment to their neighborhoods, further supporting their inclusion in the urban fabric. There is a great amount of overlap between the concepts of sense of place, place attachment, rootedness and sustainability. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to link these dots from an environmental psychological perspective and access the potential of neighborhood parks as Third Places; places that may have the capacity to root their users and become a key piece in the list of solutions for suburban retrofit.


Staci Haber, Master of Urban Planning Candidate, New York University, USA.

Transit In Suburbia: An Analysis of Perth, Australia’s Mass Transit System And How American Suburbs Can Overcome Automobile Dependency

Providing public transportation in the suburbs has been a prolonged struggle for government officials and planners in the United States. There is a long-held belief that high density is a key factor in the success of a mass transit system, which would mean alternative transportation options, besides the automobile, are limited in suburban areas. Scholars have concluded there needs to be between 30 to 40 residents per hectare in order to have a viable transit service. Others have suggested a figure closer to Hong Kong’s density (400 people per hectare) would be the only way public transportation makes sense. Despite these assumptions, suburbs across the world are proving transport policies can greatly alter the feasibly of a transit system. In particular, Perth, Australia (12 persons per hectare) has succeeded in producing a public transportation system, one that combines a bus and rail network, and offers a competitive system alongside the private motorcar. It is only after the system matures that urban form, such as transit-oriented development and “park n’ rides,” will intensify the land around the station and offer solutions to increase patronage without changing the suburban landscape completely.

This paper compares Perth’s rail and bus system, as well as urban form, to a domestic public transit project in Orlando, Florida, and demonstrates how transportation in a low-density environment is possible. An analysis of Perth’s system shows four key transportation policies and initiatives that play a vital role in their success: bus and rail integration, regional planning, strategically located stations, and education programs. Perth’s system exemplifies the key to reviving suburbs and encouraging commuters and tourists to utilize multiple forms of transportation. These options allow for a more sustainable, productive growth and greater flexibility in areas that are not normally considered appropriate candidates for public transportation.


Lisa Hallo, Sustainable Communities Program Director, Upstate Forever, Greenville, SC, USA.

Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Trail: Year 1 Findings

Overweight and obesity rates in the United States over the past decade continue to increase as the levels of physical activity among youth and adults have declined. The built environment is often considered a foundation for health affecting decisions related to many health outcomes including inactivity and obesity. Recreational trails are examples of built environmental supports promoting regular physical activity.

The Greenville Hospital System Swamp Rabbit Trail is community infrastructure designed to promote active living and multi-modal transportation. The trail connects downtown Greenville, SC, to Travelers Rest, SC, through many suburban and rural sections of the County. To successfully evaluate trail user patterns on the Swamp Rabbit, five modes of evaluation were utilized including direct observation, intercept surveys, random digit dial surveys, focus groups, and interviews with businesses in close proximity to the trail.

Findings included an estimated 359,314 annual trail users, 93% of which were white, 62% male, and 38% female. An overwhelmingly large number of trail users visited the trail on weekends, and lack of awareness was the most cited reason for not using the trail. Businesses adjacent to the trail reported increases in revenues ranging from 30% to as high as 85%. Trails such as the Swamp Rabbit demonstrate the ability to reshape suburbia to promote more active lifestyles, simultaneously having a positive economic impact on suburban, rural, and downtown areas alike.


Heidi Hansen Smith, Community Programs Coordinator, Hawaii State Department of Health, Healthy Hawaii Initiative, Honolulu, HI, USA.

Building Partnerships to Implement Complete Streets in Hawai`i

The Healthy Hawai`i Initiative (HHI) and Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalitions (NPACs) are expanding partnerships with the Counties of Honolulu, Maui, and Kaua`i to implement Complete Streets policies that support increased walking and bicycling. In 2012, HHI provided training by national Complete Streets consultants to 237 County officials, transportation staff, and community organizations. The training included meetings with County officials and community groups on how to incorporate Complete Streets design into specific projects, and technical workshops for County transportation engineering and planning staff on how to apply Complete Streets concepts to transportation projects. Together, the meetings and workshops supported the growing partnership between HHI, the Counties, and the community to unite policy with practice by increasing capacity to integrate Complete Streets policies into transportation infrastructure projects. The training provided ways for partners with diverse roles to employ recommendations for specific projects to improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The training enabled the County officials, transportation staff, and community groups to develop action plans that focus not only on individual roads but also on changing procedures so that all users are routinely considered during the planning, designing, construction, and operation of roadways. Feedback from participants indicated that the most useful aspects of the training were learning street typology concepts and techniques for designing streets that permit more comfortable and safe pedestrian and bicycle access. This paper will discuss how the training enhanced the partnership between HHI, the Counties, and the community to create Complete Streets systems in Hawai`i.


Hiro Hata, Associate Professor of Architecture in UD; Visiting Associate Professor of Urban Planning, School of Architecture and Planning, University At Buffalo/SUNY, Buffalo, NY, USA.

Retrofitting a Suburban Mall (Northtown Plaza) into a New Town Center:

My PowerPoint presentation for the Portland conference will share the result of my recent research on retrofitting a large under-performing obsolete suburban mall: Northtown Plaza in the Town of Amherst, NY into a walkable and livable mix-use town center. My focus will be on discussing strategies and methods of place-making to substantiate a set of research findings. The research was an extension of an interdisciplinary urban design studio I conducted in the University at Buffalo.

The challenges of the studio comprised of a group of planning and architecture students were:

1. how to engage the students with a real-world client, the Amherst Industrial Development Agency, a part of the state-wide network charged with bringing new businesses to the Town which sponsored the studio;

2. how to apply the tenets of the town’s Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) provision to redeveloping the 50-acre shopping center; and

3. how to create an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable 24/7 town center to attract new residents and businesses by taking full advantages of a strategic site between the University at Buffalo’s two campuses: North Campus and South Campus.

I will present three types of master plans for the site emerged from the studio: the Central Park typology; the Linkage typology; and the Urban-Block typology. I will highlight strengths and weaknesses of each so as to draw a set of recommendations I submitted to the sponsor. I will use a case study methodology to illustrate best practices of sustainable place-making for revitalizing the under-performing mall.


Cindy Heath, Executive Director, GP RED, Plainfield, NH, USA.

A Holistic Approach to Community Connectivity

The health impacts of a built environment designed for active transportation and recreation have been well documented. However, designing for intentional connectivity among important community destinations is often overlooked. An assessment, mapping, and design process which identifies gaps in the active transportation system centered around where people travel in their daily lives is an equally wise investment in community and environmental health and economic viability. This approach can transform the way active transportation systems and health related community assets are perceived and used, and has the potential to influence positive behavior change, inspire community-building social interactions, and address active access equity issues. Assessing existing transportation and recreation trails, greenways, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks in concert with community assets and amenities advances the planning and design process toward developing an inclusive and connected transportation system serving everyone, including children, seniors and people with disabilities, and is a vital component of healthy, whole communities.

Explore the various options available to community and transportation planners to make the transition from a car-centric community to a more holistic, active and connectivity-centered environment. Case studies of communities choosing to focus on the positive health impacts of designing infrastructure, policies and capital investments to facilitate active lifestyles will be presented. National active transportation initiatives including Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, Healthy Communities Surveillance & Management Toolkit, Health Impact Assessments, and Safe Routes To Play complement existing bicycle and pedestrian friendly efforts traditionally serving adult commuters. Leaders advocating for healthy and whole communities choose to design a connected system of active transportation networks to school, work, play and key community destinations.


Philip R. Heywood, Associate Professor in Urban & Regional Planning, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA

People making Places, Places making people

Conference Issues addressed:

•Public Places for Social Life and Civic Engagement

•Integrating Public Health and Planning Methods

•Generating Community Participation in the Suburbs

•Nature in Suburbia

The presentation will explore the creative cycle of community participation in shaping places in inner metropolitan suburbs, using illustrated examples drawn from Brisbane, Australia and London, UK. Themes that will be explored are:

1. How individual agency can flow into effective community action

2. How such social and environmental values as health, conservation and beauty can be expressed in activities giving rise to valued and much used places

3. How the needs for sustainability can generate community participation in governance and thus help renew the original spirit of individual agency

The re-emergence of the urban watercourse of Norman Creek in inner eastern Brisbane, and the re-shaping of Surrey Docks in inner South eastern London as an urban farm will be traced as examples of individual activism giving rise to sequences of community action, design development, collaborative management and innovations in participative governance. The story of Norman Creek will be traced from its proposed burying for industrial sites in 1985, thorough organized community opposition and advocacy, to new options and collaborative development of open space uses and activities in the nineties and noughties, to its current adoption by the City Council as an example of collaborative environmental management. A parallel process of regeneration is traced in Surrey Docks in South east London, from its 1975 origin in the vision of a local teacher for a nature space for their urban community to its present role as a focus for community life and activities throughout Rotherhithe.

Conclusions will be drawn that individual agency and community activation can be combined in cycles of rejuvenation which can also provide the basis for community partnership in the governance of urban communities.


Eric Holcomb and Lauren Schiszik, Baltimore City Planners, Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Reclaiming Suburbia: A Case Study of Historic Preservation in Northeast Baltimore City

In 1918, Baltimore City annexed approximately sixty square miles of rural Baltimore County. Between 1920 and 1960, much of this annexed land was transformed into an intricate web of suburban-style neighborhoods that centered on small neighborhood commercial districts.

This paper will present a case study on how historic preservation has helped revitalize several neighborhoods and a commercial corridor in Northeast Baltimore City, reclaiming the essential relationship between the residential and retail sections of this area.

By the 1920s, Harford Road in Northeast Baltimore bustled with two neighborhood retail districts: Hamilton and Lauraville. By the 1980s, however, the pull of businesses to regional shopping centers in nearby Baltimore County emptied this commercial corridor, resulting in a communal core weakened by vacancies and underutilization. The residential sections of the two neighborhoods remained strong, but at risk.

Beginning in the 1990s, residents of Northeast Baltimore banded together to revitalize the commercial corridor of Harford Road. A grant-funded master plan authored by Duany Plater-Zyberk Company led to several other successful programs, including preservation-based Urban Renewal plans, National Register nominations, streetscape improvements, corridor studies, a Healthy Neighborhoods initiative, and a Main Street program. The unifying theme in all these efforts for community-based revitalization is great respect for the historic fabric. From this stems the recognition that revitalization can build on the strengths of early suburban development patterns, and historic preservation can leverage social and economic change.


Holly Holtzen, Director of Research and Strategic Planning, Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Columbus, OH, USA.

Informing Federal Affordable Housing Policy with an Health Impact Assessment

Affordable properties rely on multiple layers of funding and subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), USDA Rural Development (RD), and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) administered by state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs). As a result, many affordable properties undergo multiple, yet similar, physical inspections to confirm compliance with program and funding requirements. The physical inspection process ensures the quality and safety of the rental unit, common areas, and grounds. Further, housing quality and safety have emerged as factors that can impact physical and mental health of tenants. Such housing-related health impacts include those associated with changes in neighborhood and housing quality encompassing pest management, indoor air quality, water leaks and mold, structural hazards, peeling paint, and neighborhood safety.

This paper will provide a case study of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) that examined a proposed modification to federal affordable housing policy led by the White House Domestic Policy Council, Interagency Rental Policy Working Group to reduce the frequency of physical inspections of affordable housing properties. A systematic review of the HIA process and collaborative effort between the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Office of Affordable Housing Research; the Ohio U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and USDA Rural Development offices; and The Ohio State University, College of Public Health to inform the policymaking process will be provided. Summary of the HIA findings, as well as lessons learned from the emerging evidence for the linkage between housing quality and human health.


Changshan Huang, Ph.D., ASLA, AICP, RLA, Associate Professor of Architecture, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

A Culture Sensitive Design Approach to Sustainable and Healthy New Town Development: Lessons learned from a demonstration new town project in China

Along with its rapid economic growth, China’s urbanization level has increased from just 18% in 1978 to over 51% in 2011. Meanwhile, China’s farmland has disappeared at an alarming rate. In order to protect the country’s farmland, the Chinese government requires that new urban development should avoid using productive arable land. This pushes new urban development into some mountainous areas which are less suitable for farming. However, such policy creates a new concern as these areas are often ecologically sensitive. Therefore, how to protect the ecological integrity while promoting urbanization and economic development becomes a major challenge in China.

In 2011, the government of Yunnan Province in China selected a number of different cities within the province to implement demonstration projects for new urban development in its mountainous areas. This paper will present one of these demonstration projects – Jiangchuan Shanshui New Town, a satellite town of Kunmin City, a capital city of the province. The new town occupies 546 hectares of land and will house about 36,000 residents with various city functions.

The new town master plan, urban design and zoning plan were completed by an international and interdisciplinary planning and design collaborative team. To address the integration of ecology, culture, economy, and public health, the design team applied so called “six-steps” integrative planning process and the healthy city principles in developing the master plan for this new town. This paper will present such design process and methodology, master plan concept and discuss the lessons learned from this project.


Thomas Hubka, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA.

Unique Character within Ordinary Fabric: Strategies for Identifying the Unifying, Common Character within Popular/Working-Class Suburban Neighborhoods.

The paper presents a vernacular-based, re-interpretation of ordinary housing types and common residential landscapes. It proposes strategies for promoting greater community understanding and appreciation of common or marginal suburban landscapes not usually considered worthy of traditional historic, upper/middle-class, civic, preservation standards and guidelines.


Mary Ann Jackson, Managing Director, Visionary Design Development Pty Ltd, North Melbourne, AUSTRALIA.

Achieving an Accessible Healthy Community: Assessing Accessibility in the Built Environment

Conference Theme: Inclusive Neighbourhoods/ Healthy Communities

Sub Themes: Universal accessibility; Sustainable, inclusive communities; Planning for health & well-being; Ensuring walkability

Abstract:

Can neighbourhoods be considered Healthy, or Sustainable, or Participatory or Inclusive, if they exclude significant cohorts of our society? Can Engaged Communities be created or prosper when, for people with disabilities, the majority of the built environment is difficult to access.

To addresses the shortcomings of available accessibility auditing tools for planners and designers two new, collaborative accessibility assessment methodologies have been developed. The Universal Mobility Index (UMI) is a participatory collaborative process empowering people with disabilities (PwDs) to determine assessments of barrier severity and prioritisation, based on their own lived experience. Input from Disabled Peoples Organisations is also sought in respect to inclusion of PwD opinions in the policy making processes affecting the built environment. The Advanced Access Auditing Methodology (AAAM) is an inter-disciplinary collaborative process involving accessibility assessment by built environment professionals with varying knowledge practice perspectives. Both the UMI and the AAAM methodologies illuminate how barriers to mobility discriminately constrain the autonomy of people with disabilities to exercise their full human capabilities and highlight the current ‘unhealthiness’ of the existing built environment.

Adoption of the UMI by government and non-government organisations can address the current fragmented nature of current access considerations across the built environment and the exclusion of PwDs in the policy process that shapes this environment. Knowledge gained through utilisation of the AAAM process benefits Local Governments’ Urban Renewal Programs, Place Making Strategies, Integrated Transport Outcomes and Asset Management.

Results from both the first UMI pilot and the first AAAM project will be presented.

KEYWORDS: Access, built environment, equity, people with disabilities, participatory, collaboration, inclusion, assessment


Jane Margaret Jose, Associate Director, Elton Consulting, Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

Courage and Common Sense: Women and cities

Themes: Inclusive neighbourhoods;

Public Places for Social Life and Civic Engagement

In an urban world inclusiveness and quality of shared spaces are recognised as contributors to health, happiness and wellbeing. Those with least gain most from the quality of streets and marketplaces, parks, libraries, public art and cultural places. How do we create these places? The paper explores how places we love in cities happened. The focus is on women as architects, designers, philanthropists, leaders and activists who have turned disused land and buildings into shared community places and preserved and reused heritage places to give meaning to future generations.

From headland parks on Sydney’s harbour, to reuse of heritage places as havens in the city, case studies show how women with the courage and passion to influence, act and lead change in our cities have made them better places for everyone. These women are not only professional planners and architects but compassionate, common sense leaders thinking inter- generationally seeking “sustainable” urban change. I use international examples from Better Midler’s Manhattan projects to US landscape architect, Kathryn Gustafson’s work, and Sydney artists, Wendy Whiteley and Jenny Turpin, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore to less well-known imaginative, passionate women. It will reference a curated series of projects in cities across Australia and beyond that all communities and place makers can learn from.

As a survey of place making it will tell of positive changes in our cities from the past and the present, as inspiration to bring about urban change in any town or city, anywhere. The book is to be published by independent Australian publisher Wakefield Press in 2013.


Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard, Ph.D.(Arch.), Co-founder and Director, International Making Cities Livable Conferences, Portland, OR, USA.

Generating Sustainable Community

Sprawling suburbs are unsustainable in many ways – they are energy inefficient, and lack of walkability makes them physically unhealthy. Often overlooked is the toll they take on social and mental health, particularly of children, caused by the social isolation experienced as a result of lack of walkability and absence of hospitable public places.

Humans are social beings. An individual’s physical health is dependent on how well they are tied in to a supportive social network. For children, it is especially critical that they engage in and are supported by a rich face-to-face social network that encompasses all. From the earliest age, children need to learn social skills that will protect their health and happiness, and ensure successful life skills. It is in a healthy, safe and diverse public realm that these skills can be learned.

This talk will show how public places in suburbia can be designed to foster face-to-face social interaction, community, and civic engagement, thereby improving a suburb’s potential to be sustainable.


Michael Lewyn, Associate Professor, Touro Law Center, Central Islip, NY, USA.

How Comprehensive Planning Makes Suburbia More Sprawling

Some commentators treat "comprehensive planning" and "smart growth" as concepts that always go together. But this need not be the case. Often, municipal comprehensive plans reinforce automobile-dependent plans of development. Using one or two examples, I propose to show how comprehensive plans can do more harm than good, and suggest alternative policies.


Brianna M. Lyons, MPH, CTG Epidemiologist, LSUHSC School of Public Health,

New Orleans, LA, USA.

Where The Garden and The Concrete Meet: Decreasing Food Deserts in Ouachita Parish

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals received the CDC Community Transformation Grant for capacity building in the state. In receiving this funding, the state was tasked with performing needs assessments to understand the strengths, weaknesses, gaps, and improvement areas across the state to implement strategic programmatic and infrastructure changes. This paper reviews both secondary data, as well as focus group data, obtained in completing the assessments on food deserts and insecurity in the Northeast region (Region 8) of Louisiana, particularly the city of Monroe.

Ouachita Parish, located in Region 8, is the only urban area within the entire 12 parish region, home to the city of Monroe and Monroe MSA. While the majority of the residents of Region 8 reside within the city of Monroe, a large portion of the city (15 census tracts) has designated food deserts. Greater than one-third (6 of the 15 census tracts) have 100% low access to stores (living more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store). This limited access contributes to the reduced consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and affordable, accessible healthy food options, as well as, increased risk of chronic disease. In addition, focus group participants cited increased cost for healthy foods, easy access to unhealthy fast food and restaurants, and exposure to contaminants in farmed foods and the water supply as added concerns. To effectively move from capacity building to implementation Louisiana must address the limitations of urban food access to sustain healthy, livable communities.


Thomas Macias, Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA.

Know your Neighbors, Save the Planet (and other Notable Social Capital Correlates with Environmentally-friendly Behavior)

Do our connections to other people affect our willingness to engage in conservation and otherwise take actions that might protect the natural environment? If, in fact, environmental issues such as global climate change, natural resource depletion and the toxic contamination of air, water and soil present to us the greatest collective challenge ever faced by the human species, might we find some glimmer of hope in the social bonds between us to help fend off the looming threat of global environmental crisis? If so, what kinds of personal ties to organizations, community and family would be most strongly associated with pro-environmental behavior? Using a nationally representative sample, we propose in this paper that the work on social capital – specifically as it relates to the frequency of social interactions to friends, family and neighbors, and individual levels of trust in government and other people – provides novel insights into the reasons people opt to make changes in consumer behavior, express a willingness to sacrifice time and money, and engage in activism in the name of environmental protection.


E. Christopher Mare, Doctoral Student, Village Design Institute, Bellingham, WA, USA.

Village Design as a Retrofit Solution for Suburbia

The “suburbs,” as distinct socio-cultural settlement patterning, were phenomena only possible in an era of relatively cheap and abundant fossil fuel energy. “Suburb” literally means “beyond the city.” The first suburbs were intended as comfortable country estates for a rising capitalist mercantile class working in the city; thus, Fishman (1987) calls suburbia “bourgeois utopias.” However, in an era when fossil fuel energy becomes scarcer and more expensive, it is increasingly cost-prohibitive to live in one place and commute to work in another. This is already happening in North America as fringe suburbs are being systematically abandoned. This process may be expected to continue and intensify during the coming irreversible period of “energy descent,” making the socio-cultural phenomenon of “suburbia” an historical anomaly. Yet, since there is so much embodied energy already invested in the suburbs, the “logic of prior investment” will compel a global revisioning of the use of this particular form of built environment. This is where I propose to introduce a comprehensive “Village Design” as a solution. Village Design means retrofitting and reconfiguring the entire existing suburban pattern into the perennial – meaning long-term sustainable – settlement patterning of an authentic village landscape. A detailed typology has already been articulated. It could be said that North America bypassed the “village” stage of socio-cultural development in its mad rush toward “manifest destiny.” The “end of suburbia” is merely the opportunity to recapture this wholesome village potential.


Brian McDonald, Research Assistant, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Chicago, IL, USA.

Design Metrics for Health

As the era of Big Data emerges, an unprecedented quantity and quality of data enables greater use of rigorous analytical and measurement tools. The urban design community has access to new resources that it has never worked with before, and the presence of these resources compels us to evaluate our current tools and practices to ensure that we make full use of this opportunity.

In this paper we discuss strategies to add a rigorous methodology to improve upon accepted broad principles of urban design. We focus on the robust academic literature that explores the effects of urban design on public health, and consider how to translate existing evidence into guidelines and tools that can increase the quality of urban designers’ plans. Five distinct components define the broad strategy of evidence-based design:

1. Community Indicators developed and used by cities and nations to assess and promote quality of life in their locality.

2. Research studies that have examined the influence of urban design and public policy strategies on quality of life, and evaluation of common urban design principles in light of this evidence.

3.Development of design metrics oriented to the types of data available and decisions made during the process of urban design.

4.Translation of these metrics into a set of new principles and best practices.

5.Empirical post-occupancy tests needed to validate the design principles and computational tools created and adopted in the previous parts.


Michael A McDonald, RLA, LEED AP, Landscape Architect, Director of Design, DDON Associates / Beijing, PRC, Woodstock, GA, USA.

Vest Pocket Villages

The New Urbanism trend is to abolish suburban living with everyone moving back into the inner city, leaving the suburbs an empty wasteland. However, the suburban lifestyle is entrenched within our American culture and should be studied to formulate development alternatives that will address the concepts of densification and mixed use to promote a healthier, sustainable lifestyle. This study will present a template where depressed strip mall sites can be retrofitted into islands of economically and environmentally sound development. They will promote an eco-friendly lifestyle that will result in a higher quality of life for the residents as well as long term cost savings for the maintenance of the property.

This concept combines elements of New Urbanism and Sustainability with inspiration from the Vest Pocket Park movement which created an island oasis within the urban jungle. In simple terms, it is a development template that will transform non-viable strip malls into vibrant livable micro centers that will increase the value of the real estate of the site and its surroundings, while decreasing the overall environmental impact. The study includes formulating criteria for site selection, identifying quantitative and qualitative features of target sites, establishing a retrofit development template for target sites, defining site specific architectural and landscape character for target sites with emphasis on mitigation of environmental impacts, establishing transit connections and promoting smart technologies. Finally, the study will define a process for agency approval, and design and construction implementation strategies with target site studies to illustrate the points.


Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health, Toronto, CANADA.

Healthy Toronto by Design: The Role of Public Health in Shaping a Healthy City

Context:

Chronic diseases, obesity and sedentary lifestyles are the main health challenges facing today's cities. Toronto Public Health (TPH) is playing a leadership role in influencing the development of healthy public policies that integrate social, environmental and economic factors in building a healthier, more equitable and liveable city.

Approach:

TPH has taken an integrative approach based on a Healthy Toronto By Design framework that involves collaborative work with diverse municipal departments, community and academic partners. The strategies used to embed a health lens in city planning and policy development include: leveraging the power of partnerships to address the complexity of health issues; building the evidence base on built environment and its impact on health; integrating civic engagement into public policy development process; and participating in policy development across governments and beyond the public health sector.

Results:

TPH has developed a number of policy directions and tools, including improving active transportation infrastructure and creating guidelines for an Active City; making Toronto a more Walkable City; creating healthier apartment tower neighbourhoods through removal of zoning barriers; advocating for increased access to affordable housing; integrating health and equity considerations in Toronto’s Official Plan for land development, using mapping tools to identify low income areas with food desserts, park deficient neighbourhoods, and elevated risk from heat-related climate change impacts; and developing a built environment decision-making support tool.


Michael W Mehaffy Executive Director, Sustasis Foundation, Portland, OR, USA.

Urban Acupuncture in Portland and Beyond

The great urbanist Jane Jacobs outlined a strategy for catalyzing livable, prosperous cities by targeting top-down interventions to achieve neighborhood-scale bottom-up growth.  Her approach was very different from the common “silver bullet” strategy – recruiting massive new employers or Bilbao-like “starchitecture” attractions.  Instead, it was a concerted series of catalytic actions, reflecting what Jacobs called a “web way of thinking.”  More recently this strategy has been dubbed “urban acupuncture,” and it has achieved remarkable success in cities like Curitiba, Barcelona and Medellin. 

In the US, Portland is known as an important “laboratory” for urban innovation – yet outside of  its increasingly upscale core, the city is struggling to achieve livable, equitable development.  Outer “first tier suburbs” often suffer from poor mobility, food deserts, lack of equitable access to basic needs, and other serious quality of life issues.  Yet they also often have remarkable diversity of skills and social capital.

What can Portland learn from the examples of those other cities to develop the evident capacity of these neighborhoods?  What lessons can Portland offer in return?  What are the most promising new tools and techniques for a more “tactical” approach to urbanism, and how can they be developed further? We will explore this topic with Michael Mehaffy, a researcher who works with colleagues at Portland's Sustasis Foundation, developing and applying tools for catalytic urban development in Portland and internationally.     


Amanda Micklow, PhD Student, and Dr. Mildred Warner, Professor, Cornell University, Department of City and Regional Planning, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Multi-Generational Planning to Reshape Suburbia: Demographic Change and Theoretical Insights

The American suburb, home to over half of the nation’s population, is at a crossroads. Once characterized by postwar nuclear families, suburbs are now home to a more ethnically and economically diverse population. Planners across the country are aware of the demographic changes, but do these changes also imply a transformation of the suburb’s cultural identity and what, if any, are the implications for reshaping suburbia?

This paper will combine theories of space, culture, gender, social identity and household economics to understand the new American suburb and explore whether multi-generational planning is a method for reshaping suburbia. Using the spatial ontologies of Lefebvre, Bradley, and Harvey as a framework for understanding the built environment as a cultural product, the paper will argue that the processes through which we build, and rebuild suburbs reflect the intersection of competing cultural values. Theories of gender, identity, and group solidarity provide a lens to discuss the planning implications of demographic changes occurring in the suburbs such as increases in non-whites, lone seniors, young families in poverty and multi-generational households.

The paper will conclude with a discussion of multi-generational planning as a tool to reshape suburbia by increasing density, mixed use, transportation and housing options. A new planning methodology receiving attention from both scholars and practitioners, multi-generational planning, which integrates the needs of the elderly and children, may also provide a model for meeting the needs of a more diverse suburban population.


Mika Moran, Ph.D. candidate in Urban Planning, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, ISRAEL

What makes a healthy community? Examining the role of the built and social environment in enhancing physical activity

Previous empirical research demonstrates that environmental needs for physical activity (PA) vary through the different stages of life (i.e. childhood vs adulthood) and according to the context in which the activity is conducted (i.e. travel vs leisure). For instance, living in a suburb may encourage leisure activities among children, and at the same time hinder walking for travel among adults.

The current study examines PA among children and their parents by comparing between residents of urban and suburban neighborhoods. The urban neighborhoods included multiple commercial destinations and an intensive urban fabric, consisting of land-use mix and high density and street connectivity. The suburban neighborhoods included large green opens spaces (including parks, playgrounds and trails) and a sprawling urban fabric, consisting of land-use separation and low density and street connectivity.

Data collection included a comprehensive survey among children (aged 10-12) (n=573) and their parents (n=424), and semi-structured interviews among a sub-sample of children (n=80).

Overall, our findings reveal that although the suburban environment provides more opportunities for PA (i.e. parks, playgrounds and trails), active leisure wasn't more common there. Specifically, children's leisure walking was more common in urban versus suburban neighborhoods, while no such differences were observed in parent's leisure walking. According to the semi-structured interviews, suburban children reported fewer neighborhood destinations to which they regularly walk and a lower feeling of security, which was attributed (by the interviewees) to a lack of people in suburban streets. These findings highlight the importance of the social-community environment in enhancing PA, especially in suburbs.


Neil Myers, Principal, Center for Earth and Environmental Science, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Inglenook: a Sustainable Suburban Community

Williams Creek Consulting, as part of a team, worked to create pocket neighborhood of high quality bungalows with space-saving floor plans and beautifully landscaped common areas offering a unique, sustainable lifestyle.

The design improved existing drainage and zero downstream discharge of stormwater from developed site. Due to the additional “soil storage” the integrated stormwater management system provided more storage than was available in the pre-development condition. The 100 year discharge was reduced from a pre-development rate of 32.1 cubic feet per second to a projected post construction rate of 0.98 cubic feet per second.

Innovative Low Impact Development (LID) techniques were integrated into the overall design which resulted in the following:

•The site plan preserved a one hundred foot wooded buffer at the main entrance to the property along 99th Street which is used to filter, stage, and route stormwater entering the Inglenook site from developed area to the north.

•The project integrated stormwater management and conveyance system incorporates groundwater recharge through infiltration, and provides water quality for upstream/offsite as well as onsite runoff.

•The native landscape design utilizes a planting palate suited for the climate, and does not require irrigation.

•The primary design intent was to limit runoff volume from the site with the goal of improving downstream drainage issues.

Williams Creek was able to satisfy the concerns of City staff and provide a final product that has become a successful catalyst for Low Impact Development.


Shelley Oylear, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Washington County, Oregon, USA.

Characteristics of Suburban Cyclists and Walkers: finding out what citizens want and need in the suburbs and putting it to work

Washington County is rising to the challenge of determining how to effectively encourage biking and walking given the less compact scale of development and with limited resources, a challenge shared by many other suburban communities. To understand barriers to biking and walking, Washington County Land Use-Transportation and Health and Human Services Departments conducted a rapid Health Impact Assessment to research the connections between health, built environment design and transportation policies. A key part of this assessment was a randomized survey of citizens to discover who is biking and walking, where and for what purpose, and what changes would encourage them to walk or bicycle more. Hearing directly from citizens has provided valuable information to help the County plan for a more inclusive and complete pedestrian and bicycle system designed to best meet community need, reduce vehicle use and increase opportunities for physical activity. In addition the work has provided municipal, county leaders, and staff, data to support and promote policy changes, strategies, and infrastructure efforts to improve the biking and walking experience in the County.


Rick Phillips, Associate Vice President, HNTB Corporation, Emeryville, CA, USA.

Access Suburbia – From Plan to App – Embracing Suburbia in Regional Networks of Walkability

Suburbia is a fact, not an option. Most urbanites actually live in variations of suburbia whether by necessity or choice. Any inclusive vision of sustainable urbanism is incomplete – even elitist – if it does not engage the environments where most people live.

A central issue of suburbia is accessibility, typically characterized as the systemic barriers placed by suburbia against movement except by automobile. From these barriers cascade a host of conditions negatively impacting our quality of life: lack of exercise, social isolation, and excessive energy consumption, to name only three.

The signature planning movement of the past 40 years, New Urbanism, rose-up primarily in response to the “ills” of suburbia, prescribing a new model that breaks down the barriers to accessibility by reclaiming traditional patterns of pre-automobile cities. However, this paper takes a different tack: accepting suburbia essentially as it is, can its barriers be overcome and, if so, to what degree?

In a paper for the 49th IMCL Conference, the author speculated on expanding “walkable urbanism” to large geographic scales, applying fractal patterns of multimodal travel – always beginning and ending on foot. This paper applies the same distinctions to suburbia, looking within and amongst suburbia and surrounding urban regions.

The good news is that much is being done already, in the realm of practical, down-to-earth multimodal planning and urban design. This paper will look at this, suggest additional strategies, and even enter the realm of high tech (Could smart phones support suburban walkability? Yes, we have an app for that!).


Dr. Johannes Pieters, University of South AUSTRALIA

The role of legislation in population health strategies - a case study of Adelaide, Australia

For over 20 years policy makers, planning professionals, community groups and academics in Adelaide have been working to improve population health by addressing barriers to greater physical activity, social interaction and consumption of more nutritious food. This paper charts the course of the development of public policies and programs in South Australia that address the distribution of non-communicable diseases, including the recent establishment of a Planning for Healthy Cities course in the Regional and Urban Planning Program at the University of South Australia. It considers the development of key initiatives to integrate planning and health within the context of the specific forms of urbanisation, climate extremes, economic restructuring, demographic change and urban management that characterises the City of Adelaide. One of these initiatives is a transition from the former Public and Environmental Health Act 1987 to the new SA Public Health Act 2011. This new Act requires local government authorities to produce Health Plans and for authorities to have regard to the health implications of development. The evaluation of these initiatives contributes to social, epidemiological and planning theory as applied to the task of understanding how population health can be improved across childhood education, workplace and community settings.


Kristin Porter, Student, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Secession: Its Not All Blue and Gray

When the word “secession” is mentioned, it immediately brings to mind thoughts of the American Civil War. However, a more recent “secessional phenomenon” has been occurring in some of America’s major cities. Two of the most visible examples of this phenomenon are Los Angeles, California and Atlanta, Georgia. The early 2000s saw Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, and the Harbor Area’s attempt to breakaway from Los Angeles. Even more recently, Atlanta has had its own secessional issues with Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Milton, and Chattahoochee Hills. I propose a deeper look to see if colors other than “blue and gray” are the basis of the issue. Additionally, an attempt will be made to try to determine if secession is being used as a form of privatization in an effort to isolate some parts of the city from the problems found in others. Or to see if the opposite is the case, with what could be called “publicazation” is occurring in an attempt to reinvigorate local democracy by bringing government closer to its constituents. Part of this process will include investigating the processes of development that created communities that wanted to secede, as well as investigating how the political organization of local government affects not just the local services and taxation but the broader metropolitan community.


Wolfgang F.E. Preiser, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Architecture University of Cincinnati, USA.

Universal Design at the Urban Scale   

How universal is 'universal'? In a homogenous community and culture it is possible to define and describe cultural norms and expectations, as far as products, spaces and buildings are concerned. However, in a world which is getting ever more diverse and globalized, the question has to be asked whether any one standard and set of criteria can universally meet everybody's expectations and needs.

Universal design originated from the Civil Rights legislation in the USA, guaranteeing equal rights for all citizens. This includes equal access for all, both physical and virtual, and it encompasses the physical, designed and built environment, transportation, infrastructure, products, as well as services (accessible through the internet).

The Seven Principles of Universal Design are used to describe examples and guidelines for designing environments in terms of physical features and sensory performance requirements. They are: 1. Equitable use; 2. Flexibility in use; 3. Simple and intuitive use; 4. Perceptible information; 5. Tolerance for error; 6. Low physical effort; and, 7. Size and space for approach and use.

The presentation contains case study examples from throughout the world, and it emphasizes trends in developing universally planned suburban areas, such as mixed-use and higher density suburban town centers, i.e., moving the city with all its essential amenities to the countryside.

The presentation closes with an image of Tapiola, a privately funded new town outside Helsinki, Finland, where the author studied in the 1960s. This new town is people centered, where pedestrians and cyclists have the right of way, and cars are banned to the periphery.


Scott Ranville, President, Human Life Project - Creating Enlivened, Strong, Sustainable Communities, Littleton, CO, USA.

Improving Suburbs for All Ages: Scorecard and Toolkit

Suburbs were originally created as a family friendly oasis. Today, the suburbs are in need of renewal for both families with children and older adults. How can the suburbs become once again an oasis for all ages?

This talk will present a scorecard tool that will use data from the internet to quickly assess how well the suburban city is designed for families. The scorecard has 12 main categories: Community, Education, Culture, Recreation, Housing, Employment, Cost of Living, Services, Transportation, Health, and Resources.

This output is used to determine each city's strengths and weaknesses.

A case study suburb will show how the weaknesses list can be used for improving the city for all ages with special emphasis on families with children and older adults. For each weakness, potential solutions will be presented which include a description of the idea as well as successful case study examples.

This collection of potential solutions is the toolkit for promoting family friendly cities. Toolkit topics include innovative cross-disciplinary solutions that focus on the triple bottom line: environmental sustainability, financial sustainability, and most importantly human sustainability.

Example toolkit topics include:

- Healthy Mix of Housing Types with Zoning Considerations

- Live/Work Solutions with Zoning Considerations

- Walkable Streets and Public Spaces

- Low Speed Vehicles for Low Cost, Local Travel (MOD)

- Local Food

- Roofs as Economic Generators


Patricia Ríos Cabello, PhD student, Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Querétaro, MEXICO.

Planning and design of sustainable urban parks; a methodology and two case studies in Vancouver and Melbourne.

Urban parks are important resources in the planning and design of healthy and sustainable cities. Parks are public spaces that promote social encounter and diversity, repair urban fabric, create mobility networks, and provide environmental benefits. This study analysed the patterns, principles and values that promote social sustainability in two urban parks in the two most liveable cities in the world: Melbourne and Vancouver.

The study focused on how usage patterns, legibility, and place identity can be drawn as fundamental aspects that enhance cultural diversity, the coexistence of cultural systems, and place preservation -fundamental axes of David Throsby’s theoretical framework on social sustainability-. The case studies employed a mixed methodology that involved the gathering of qualitative and quantitative data through ethnographic, environmental psychology, and participatory design methods. Statistical analysis and content analysis were used to examine the collected data.

Results suggest that legibility determines physical accessibility, being the first step towards cultural diversity. The space configuration and established usage patterns are responsible for promoting or discouraging simultaneous activities and spatial appropriation among different cultural systems. Results show that, in each park, different cultural values and place identity determine the needs and expectations that should be addressed to guarantee place preservation.

This study underlines the importance of employing a methodology that captures users perspectives in the planning and design process. Understanding how usage patterns, legibility, and place identity must be addressed in each space, will lead to responsible interventions promoting socially sustainable urban parks.


Alcestis Paraskevi Rodi, Assistant Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Department of Architecture, University of Patras, Athens, GREECE.

Placebos and medications: Mitigating the contradiction between suburbia and sustainability towards healthy communities

Following the World Commission on Environment and Development Report (1987), urban experts have rightly promoted compact city forms as befitting model for urban growth and panacea against sprawl, without appropriately considering health issues.

In analogy to Amartya Sen’s (2002) re-definition of sustainable development as “enhancing human freedoms on a sustainable basis”, we propose expanding the search for healthy urban form beyond compactness.

Aiming at establishing urban forms that would meet sustainable and healthy community criteria, we have examined eight neighborhood typologies case-studies in residential parts of the sprawling urban periphery of Athens, Greece, widely varying in socio-economical terms.

Our research produced a number of indices and graphs addressing both quantitative and qualitative aspects, that include street patterns, pedestrian quality, area densities, public and private open space attributes, green infrastructure, block and building geometries, building facade continuity, intersection and entrance densities, shapes and cyclomatic numbers of possible routes, etc in relation to physical and mental health. We have subsequently pursued the comparative analysis and evaluation of the case studies according to criteria synthesized of sustainable and healthy community concepts located in recent urban design literature: neighborliness, walkability, accessibility, diversity, connectivity, safety, territorial economy, and compactness/spaciousness.

Thereafter, strategy, policy and design guidelines reshaping existing fragmented and sprawling suburbs towards healthy and sustainable neighborhoods, were derived. Next to applicable deductions, our study alludes to the imperative for urban planning and design theory to further refine notions of mutual exclusion of low urban density and sustainability in view of healthy communities.


J. Gary Rogers, Executive Director- & Jonathan Allen, Community Redevelopment Agency, City of Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderdale Lakes, FL, USA.

The College of Corridor Knowledge-Reinventing corridor crossroads as urban centers

Mixed Use in Suburbia: Infill & Re-Shaped

The State Road 7/US 441 Corridor Broward County Florida has served to facilitate a ten year comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional regional planning initiative that can serve as a model for the planning and revitalization of any commercial corridor in America.

The informal title of this work has become “THE COLLEGE OF CORRIDOR KNOWLEDGE” with the official name of the initiative being the State Road 7/US 441 Collaborative found at: http://www.sfrpc.com/sr7.htm

The Collaborative consist of 16 local government jurisdictions in S.E. Florida (spanning over thirty miles of mostly six-lane roadway sections with aging and inefficient commercial liners and retail centers developed in the 1970’s) working in partnership with the Regional Planning Council to define and direct future growth in the region though consensus driven community planning and intensive economic analysis.

Today there is no physical place to direct new investment, expand the tax base, or to increase the supply of local jobs other than through the redesign and revitalization of the suburban corridors of the region to accommodate transit and neighborhood connected “Town Center” nodes of redevelopment.

Community driven, market-based plans and designs, backed by new zoning codes to guide the future redevelopment of distressed commercial properties along the SR 7 corridor and to encourage corridor jurisdictions to adopt those plans for local implementation have been the successes of the initiative…the results have been spectacular and now the market for commercial development is retuning and corridor investment is on the upswing! We are EXCITED to share this process/story!!!


Adam Rosa, Senior Associate, Camiros, Ltd, Chicago, IL, USA.

The HUD Choice Neighborhoods Program in Action

All across the country, local planners are rolling up their sleeves to transform distressed neighborhoods into great neighborhoods. Working under the HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, planners and community groups are undertaking the comprehensive planning needed to turn distressed housing and long-neglected neighborhoods into viable, healthy and sustainable mixed-income communities that ensure positive outcomes for families.

The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative focuses on strengthening the bonds of housing and neighborhood improvements with appropriate services, schools, public assets, transportation, and access to jobs. It will support the redevelopment of distressed public housing areas within the context of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans. The Choice Neighborhoods program focuses on directing resources to address three core goals:

Housing: Transform distressed public and assisted housing into energy efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long-term.

People: Support positive outcomes for families who live in the target development(s) and the surrounding neighborhood, particularly outcomes related to resident’s health, safety, employment, mobility and education.

Neighborhoods: Transform neighborhoods of poverty into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs.

The author will share his insight and experience in developing two neighborhood Plans through the initiative in distressed areas of Rockford, IL and Austin, TX.


Steve Rossiter, Associate Director, Elton Consulting, Bondi Junction NSW,

AUSTRALIA

Social Sustainability and Suburbia

Sustainability has been the dominant framework for planning new communities for the last 25 years. Our understanding of sustainability has evolved considerably over that time. We are rediscovering the importance of social sustainability and the social dimensions of urban development (an important but often forgotten focus of the original definitions of sustainability). Recent research has found that the most successful new towns and suburbs place an emphasis on social infrastructure and community development as well as physical design and quality (1).

Social sustainability is a framework that can play a significant role in ‘reshaping suburbia’. This paper will argue that we need to reconsider the social dimensions of urban planning and development and incorporate social sustainability more into our approach to planning communities including new or redeveloping suburbs. Social sustainability is “a process for creating sustainable, successful places that promote wellbeing, by understanding what people need from the places they live and work … it combines the design of the physical realm with the design of the social world”.’(2)

This paper will build on this definition to identify the building blocks of social sustainability. While referencing the academic and policy literature, the paper will take a very practical approach and provide clear, applicable guidance on how planning and (re)development of old and new suburbs can better address social sustainability. Case study examples from Australia and the United Kingdom will be used to highlight how social sustainability can be achieved in new communities and what role it has in ‘reshaping suburbia’.

Candidate for Healthy Communities presentation session - linked to the 'Generating Neighbourhood Social Life and Sociability' theme

Refs

(1)Stott, M., Stott, N. and Wiles, C. (2009), Learning from the Past? Building community in new towns, growth areas and new communities, Keystone Development Trust; Department for Communities and Local Government (2006), Transferable Lessons from New Towns, UK Government

(2)Young Foundation (2011), Design for Social Sustainability: A framework for creating thriving communities, Commissioned by the Homes and Communities Agency


Peter Rumble, Director of Health Policy, Planning and Evaluation, Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, CA, USA.

Transforming Healthy Communities: Sonoma Health Action

Research clearly shows that medical care accounts for a small fraction of individual and community health. Far more important are the social, economic, and environmental conditions that influence our choices and opportunities. Recognizing this reality, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services convened Health Action (www.sonomahealthaction.org), a broad-based spectrum of community leaders in 2007, focused on large-scale and systemic community health improvement. The vision of Health Action is simple: Sonoma County will be the healthiest county in California by 2020 – a healthy place to live, work and play, a place where people thrive and achieve their life potential.

To achieve this 2020 vision, Health Action takes a broad approach to community health. Health Action has established 10 Goals with 22 measures to help marshal community-wide resources on issues such as active transportation, community design, educational attainment, access to healthy food, secure and sufficient income, and access to health care for every Sonoma County resident.

Since 2007, through Health Action, Sonoma County has seen an explosion of community gardens, increases in physical activity, and the development of national award winning initiatives such as a community planning toolkit – Healthy by Design – and a work-site wellness program - iWORKwell. Recently, Health Action has gone further, developing a groundbreaking community-wide initiative, Cradle 2 Career, focused on educational attainment and career readiness, and is serving as the leadership group for Sonoma County’s Community Transformation Grant, one of a select few health care reform grants provided to small communities in 2012.


Angela R. Russell, Associate Research, University of Wisconsin Population Health, Institute, Madison, WI, USA.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps – Health beings where you live, learn, work and play

Leading a healthy lifestyle is easier if you live in a community that has access to healthy foods, safe and accessible bike paths and sidewalks, a good education system, supportive relationships and networks, and quality health care. Unfortunately, there are location-based disparities throughout the nation and many people live in communities where leading a healthy lifestyle is difficult.

The County Health Rankings, released annually by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, illustrate these disparities, provides an annual check-up of the health of counties within each state and shows that where we live, learn, work and play matters to our health.

The results of the County Health Rankings reveal that: Unhealthy counties have significantly lower high school graduation rates; have fewer grocery stores or farmers’ markets; and have higher rates of violent crime.

This presentation will discuss how leaders and planners can use the 2013 County Health Rankings to engage in discussion and action toward improving local community health. At the end of the presentation participants will be able to:

1. Describe how to use the 2013 County Health Rankings to communicate about health outcomes and health factors with community stakeholders;

2. Describe how to use the County Health Roadmaps to identify key steps to helping improve the health of their communities; and

3. Learn from the experiences of other communities and gain new ideas to implement in their own community.


Peter Sarlos, FRAIA, MRICS, MIAMA, MCiArb, MLEADR, Architect, Lawyer, Chartered Surveyor (Building), Expert, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

The Impact of Regulatory and Contractual Bias in Building on Community Health and Amenity

When we talk about the health of cities we invariably talk about planning, urban design and environmental issues. There is another side to the discussion that is seldom addressed that focuses on failures in the delivery of the ideas generated by our discussions that is seldom addressed in detail. The failures that occur affect the social and physical health of members of the community can be dramatic and have long term impacts on families and various parts of the community.

The building industry is heavily regulated in its delivery of building stock. Much of that regulation is aimed at ensuring that what is built meets community expectations. That objective is often compromised because of the complexity and volume of statutory controls and contract law. These impact The overly complex nature of the regulations and in contract law results in a rigid and often unfair administration of development projects which in turn has led to a bias by government agencies and in some cases the courts in favour of the builder over the community.

There is resistance within the building industry to address these issues because it is considered by builders and subcontractors that a change in the status quo will undermine the protections that the industry has developed for itself.

This paper addresses the issues of regulatory and contractual bias that is present in the building industry and the impact of the bias on community health and amenity.


Scott C. Scarfone, ASLA, Principal and Founder, Oasis Design Group, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Signature Streets Create Vibrant Social Activity and Spur Civic Engagement

Signature streets are well-designed physically and economically and are thriving places. They are designed to be safe and functional, economically viable, socially desirable and aesthetically pleasant. These streets are where people want to live, work, and socialize. Signature streets are not just about the functionality of engineering or strictly moving people or cars from point A to point B. Signature streets are symbolic, social and ceremonial—they establish a “sense of place” for a city or town. Signature streets must have elements that draw people to them and through them and in that they must establish a pedestrian environment; provide a compatible environment between pedestrians and vehicular traffic; include retail space; and respect and emphasize the uniqueness of the existing urban environment. Signature streets must support safety; enhance the pedestrian experience; promote retail activities; ensure visual and functional continuity; have “green” infrastructure and public gardens; build a unique identity; encourage social activities; and be driver-friendly. Design elements within signature streets connect people to the place and bring them back to the place. To accomplish these objectives a signature streets designs must include: 1) healthy trees, 2) open lawn spaces, 3) lighting, 4) special “green” gathering places, 5) good architecture with proper urban context, 6) variety of seating options, and 7) well constructed interesting details. In summary, signature streets do not happen by accident; they are planned and well designed.


David Schecter, PhD, Professor/Chair of the Political Science Department at Fresno State &

Wilma Quan, Urban Planning Specialist, City of Fresno, Fresno State and the City of Fresno, CA, USA.

Trials, Tribulations, and Transit Planning in California's Central Valley

In this paper we discuss the various transit systems of the suburban Central Valley areas of California, including Fresno proper and the surrounding growth areas.

Geographically, this area is not only at the crossroads of California - located midway between the east and west sides of the Golden State and halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco - it is an area of great change. The urban core of Fresno (pop: 500,000) has given way to a dense set of suburban tracts and there is little rhyme or reason to transit planning and very little coordination between entities who must build and operate transit systems. The area will also soon become the home of the state's first High Speed Rail station, adding yet another layer of transit infrastructure that may or may not coordinate well with the disparate array of available transportation options.

Theoretically, we compare the costs and benefits of existing systems, such as our FAX bus system, initial plans for Bus Rapid Transit, and Park and Ride Locations; with attempts to modernize these options, add elements for High Speed Rail connections and do all of this is the face of increasing budget pressures at the local and state level.

If urban and suburban areas are to thrive in the future, they must do so not only with grand visions of what that future might hold, but also with grand practicality for making projects work in an increasingly hostile and unfriendly political environment.


Dan Schoenholz, Deputy Community Development Director, City of Fremont,

Fremont, CA, USA.

Fremont's Community Outreach Team--A Volunteer-Based Approach to Boosting Community Involvement

When Fremont undertook an update of its General Plan, staff faced a common challenge: how to engage the community in this important effort. Fremont’s remarkable ethnic and linguistic diversity; the decentralized, suburban nature of the City; and a relatively small budget for outreach added to the challenge.

Rather than inventing our own marketing strategy, we recruited a geographically and ethnically diverse group of 40 volunteers to serve on a Community Outreach Team. The mission of the Team was to advise City staff on how to involve the community in the General Plan process. Over the course of four months, the volunteers developed a multi-pronged strategy for adoption by the City Council.

Team members then assisted with implementation. Staff provided meeting facilitation training to volunteers who then helped lead community workshops. Other volunteers assisted with meeting setup and takedown, registration, etc. Volunteers also wrote press releases, arranged for staff to make presentations at neighborhood, service group, and club meetings; assisted with translation and involvement of ethnic media; staffed booths at community events; and used their individual networks to publicize the General Plan update.

Utilizing this approach resulted in the highest level of participation of any long-range planning effort in the City’s history. More than 400 people attended neighborhood-based workshops—several hundred more participated in “targeted-issue forums” on topics such as housing and climate change. Approximately 1000 people signed up for regular e-mail updates. The resulting Plan—adopted in December 2011 and recipient of an Award of Merit from the Northern California Chapter of the APA—received widespread community support.


Joseph Schuchter, Doctoral Candidate, Graduate Student Researcher, Univeristy of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Health Impact Assessment Methods: An Evaluation of Practice in the United States

As a practice still emerging in the United States and other parts of the world, the quality of HIA processes in a range of applications is uncertain. This has implications for its ability to add value to decision-making. No studies have comprehensively examined the quality of contemporary HIA processes in the U.S.. Comparing the reality of practice against practice standards will identify areas for improvement. We evaluated whether information reported in completed HIA's reflected objectively-evaluable criteria proposed by the 2009 North American HIA Practice Standards Working Group. A list of HIAs conducted in the US was compiled from all published reports (83). We excluded those that were: part of an EIR or comment letter (5), characterized as demonstration projects or conducted as student exercises (7), or published before 2009 (44). For the remaining 27 reports, data was abstracted on the five steps of HIA, including the rationale, authorship, funding, decision and decision-makers, participation, pathways and methods, quality of evidence, and recommendations. Over half (15) of the HIA's were initiated by the assessor. There was broad participation in both in screening and scoping, though community organizations were included in less than half (14). An average of 5.2 health determinants were assessed per HIA. Data on health effects analysis show variability in the methods and level of rigor depending on the pathway. Most HIA's reported screening, scoping, and methods, but evaluation plans were often lacking. The specificity of recommendations varied. Further evaluation of the HIA process will improve the practice.


Scott Sernau, Professor, Director of International Programs, Professor of Sociology

Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, IN, USA.

Unity Gardens: A countywide model of community gardening

Community gardening has grown tremendously in the last decade, using underused land, bringing neighbors together with a common purpose, changing the character of neighborhoods and providing a community center while serving a useful purpose in providing fresh food and improved nutrition. One of the largest networks of such gardens is not on the West Coast, where some of the most creative early ventures began, but in the heart of the Midwest in South Bend, Indiana. A network of over 50 Unity Gardens has grown up across the county in urban, small city and suburban locations. Founded out of a desire to address needs of poverty and malnourishment, coupled with abandoned vacant lots, it now serves a thriving countywide network. The core purpose of each garden may differ: a central city neighborhood may be in a “food desert” where there is little offered but fast food. A suburban garden may be less needed for the actual nutrition, but desperately needed as a walkable community gathering point. The Unity Garden system has received regional and now national and international attention as other communities seek to replicate the process, or to adapt it to new venues such as the European allotment garden. This presentation examines the goals and founding of Unity Gardens, and the factors that combined to foster its remarkable growth and county-wide reach, and considers the lessons learned as a national and international model.


Andres Sevtsuk, Assistant Professor in Architecture and Planning, City Form Lab

Singapore University of Technology and Design, SINGAPORE.

Capturing Urban Intensity.

Relationship between density and livability has become the focus of a lively urban planning debate in recent years. Critics of density typically cite congestion and unaffordability. Proponents of density cite vibrancy, walkability and intensity of encounters that dense urban environments offer. While methods for capturing the former are widely operationalized, capturing the positive effects of density remains poorly understood. We focus on the latter and propose a novel spatial analysis approach that can capture the intensity of walkable urban environments.

We define intensity loosely as the volume of spatial interactions that a district has to offer. Bridging morphological mapping with recent network analysis in GIS, we explore how the notion of intensity is captured in four complimentary characteristics of each district: 1) the ground-floor structural typology of buildings; 2) the 3-dimensional pedestrian circulation network connecting outdoor and indoor spaces; 3) the functional pattern of all publicly accessible indoor spaces, and 4) the degree of “publicness” among the different spaces in an area.

We implement the approach in two comparative districts in Singapore using data from detailed on-ground surveys within a ten-minute walking radius in each area. A comparison of metrics is used to describe the differences in the volume of spatial interactions that each district has to offer. Beyond the case analysis, the research illustrates an empirical implementation of urban intensity measurement – a quality that may be difficult to capture, but whose apprehension is vital for developing a better understanding of the positive effects of dense built environments.


George Glade Shaw, Director, Community Development South Jordan City Corporation, South Jordan, UT, USA.

Transforming Suburbia though the City General Plan"

Some communities do get it. The changing economy and resultant fiscal issues have forced the suburbs to re-think their land use and livability policies. This presentation will illustrate the following:

•How the City’s General Plan can be used to bring change in new standards for walkability, livability, housing diversity, and limiting sprawl.

•How goals and policies of the General Plan can be written as decision making tools for positive changes in community mobility, sustainability, housing, and community health and well-being.

•How community strategies can help change the suburban land use pattern to create more livable neighborhoods, more fiscally sound development, and create a magnet for future mass transit investment.

•How, through the General Plan, community consensus in planning for suburban change can be accomplished, even in today’s economy with limited staff and resources.

•How the celebrated new urbanist/mixed use development of ‘Daybreak’ has become an exemplary suburban project, how it was integrated into the City of South Jordan, UT, and how it has helped to reshape suburban patterns and increase physical activity.

•How zoning ordinances and design strategies can be written to implement the stated community goals of compact mixed use/transit oriented development, housing mix, and walkability (walk the talk).

•How examples of new mixed use developments are effecting positive changes in livability with innovative urban design.

See how we did it and we continue to do it here in South Jordan, Utah! (2012 ranking of #18 in the nation--- ‘America’s Best Places to Live.’


Gordon Shaw MCIP PPS, Director, Planning & Engineering, City of Yorkton, Yorkton SK, CANADA.

Broadway - King Street Recreation Corridor Case Study

The health of our residents plays a key role in the sustainability of our community. Connectivity between the home, institutional uses, work opportunities, health and dental facilities as well as shopping experiences is significant to the quality of life for all age groups. Through the integration of a health lens into land use planning policies and practices, we can create healthy built environments, or communities where all residents can: (1) More easily connect with others in their neighbourhood; (2) Walk and wheel safely; (3) Enjoy the outdoors close to home; and (4) Reduce their risk of injury.

This presentation outlines a case study in creating an opportunity for our residents to enjoy a healthier lifestyle by constructing a pedestrian corridor where active and passive recreation occur.

This green ribbon allows residents to view flora and fauna along its edge as well as at Silver Heights Park, Patrick Park, Peaker Park and the Brodie Storm Pond – a length of over one mile.

The pleasantness of pathways and the safety of local parks are important components of the philosophy underlying the design of this pathway and skateboard park. They both make a statement about the resilience of this community’s residents in the aftermath of the 2010 flood and its commitment to our future as a healthy community.


Bianca Shulaker, Student (and Research Coordinator), University of Southern California (and The Trust for Public Land), San Mateo, CA, USA.

Partnerships and Park Design for Healthy Communities

Through a study of six San Francisco and two Los Angeles parks, this paper assesses the impact of specific park design components on park use, level of activity, and community perceptions. The San Francisco parks research was collaboratively done by The Trust for Public Land (TPL), The RAND Corporation, and the SF Department of Public Health, and involved direct observations and surveys collected in 2009 for baseline data and in 2012 after 3 parks were renovated. Baseline data, additional community input, and public health insights helped shape the renovations, and the number of park users increased dramatically (up to fivefold) for renovated parks, with certain zones enabling specific activity levels. For parks without renovations, usership remained fairly constant or decreased, which the survey responses suggest is primarily due to available park features, built environment conditions, and safety concerns. Also in 2012, an increase to 43.5% of survey respondents at the renovated parks reported that they exercise in parks. This is in contrast to 29.9% at non-renovated parks, though over 70% of respondents said they would consider exercise if specific improvements were made. By establishing a comprehensive method of park evaluation and model for collaborative partnership, this study captured a comprehensive view of park use and perceptions, and TPL is able to utilize the findings to make recommendations for encouraging more active use of parks (such as adding signage and specific programming), as well as formulate design and layout ideas for designing safe, active, and engaging public parks in the future.


Timothy Smith AIA, AICP, Principal / Director of Urban Design and Planning, SERA Architects, Portland, OR, USA.

Civic Ecology: A Citizen-Driven Framework for Transforming Suburban Communities

Reshaping suburbia suggests a shift toward mixed use, green buildings, complete streets, densification and transit oriented development… in other words, greener, more efficient forms of suburban “hardware.” While these strategies may lead towards greater efficiency, transformative change will require deeper intervention beyond re-forming and efficiency. Suburban areas must be re-imagined as whole communities animated by active citizenship. In this role they become the place for civic engagement around shared prospects for a resilient future.

This paper describes the Civic Ecology framework for sustainable communities and its application for suburban contexts. Civic Ecology is the integrated web of energy, nutrient, resource, financial, information, and cultural flows and interactions that are envisioned, created, and managed by citizens acting for the common good within a geographically-defined community and its city-region. It is a human ecology of place, intimately integrating both natural and social/cultural systems. It is the “software” of community.

The Civic Ecology whole systems framework is designed to foster a new social contract that empowers citizens to participate in the making and ‘ownership’ of their community’s resource flows. This paper details Civic Ecology principles and benefits, and processes for empowering citizens to envision, create, and manage their community’s “software”. Included are examples of communities employing this approach and utilizing an innovative community resource flow mapping tool.

The Civic Ecology framework represents a new paradigm for suburbia, a soft systems urban design that goes beyond more efficient urbanization and toward deep sustainability.


Felia Srinaga, Lecturer, DR., University of Pelita Harapan, Jakarta, INDONESIA.

Reshaping the Role of the Square in Fostering Inclusive Social Interaction

A city always attracts people to live, to work, to shop, to recreate and to stay in. Many cities, especially in South-east Asian countries are experiencing rapid population growth, including Jakarta, a metropolitan city in Indonesia. The growth of population is more rapid than the growth of a city’s infrastructure or many other facilities, including the city’s public and open space. In Jakarta, urbanization causes many problems related with social-cultural behavior and life-styles of inhabitants. The gap between the privileged and the deprived are more and more difficult to bridge without providing places for social interaction. Modern urban planning and policies in Jakarta have created a city structure and living settings that provide less opportunity for people to engage with outdoor public spaces. Public spaces are limited and lack access both for certain people and all. Many public spaces and designs discriminate against certain group of people, and at times this situation causes lack of participation from all. It is against the spirit of inclusive design. Squares and other public places do not function well and are not successfully designed for all. Realizing this fact, now Jakarta needs and has been working with their open public spaces, squares and pedestrian streets and hands-on making places for all. By understanding the diversity of people’s needs and culture, different life style and habits of using a space and various types of the square in Jakarta, the results of making places are more lively and friendly. This paper discusses how public places in the city center and neighborhood are dealing with developing places for democracy, sociability and collective memory. In sum, reshaping the role of the square allows people to develop friendship, togetherness and minimize the social and economical gap, and finally can foster inclusive social interaction.


Shannon M Sweeney, PhD Candidate, The Bloustein School, Rutgers University, Highland Park, NJ, USA.

What Parents Think of School Mode Choices: A Qualitative Pilot Study

The percentage of children 5 to 18 walking or biking to school in the U.S. has declined over time. In 1969, approximately half of all schoolchildren used active transit, compared to just 16% in 2001. Active transit can be a consistent utilitarian way for children to get physical activity and there is strong evidence that physically active children are at a decreased risk of childhood obesity and the related negative health consequences such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among others. Although surveys of parents have identified correlates of mode of transit to school, such as fears of crime, traffic danger, and inclement weather, the reasons parents select the mode they do and why they identify specific barriers is largely unknown. To begin to address this literature gap, eight in-depth, in-person interviews were performed with parents of children in grades K-8 in suburban Middlesex County, New Jersey who attended school within a mile of their home. Interview field notes augmented by audiotapes were analyzed and coded for themes. Emerging themes included convenience, student’s energy, safety in numbers, community, and specific concerns based on the personality of the child. These themes demonstrate the complexity and the personal nature of school mode choice. In addition to shedding light on parental motivations, this pilot study has implications for the design of future surveys and the elements that should be considered when designing effective interventions and Safe Routes to School programs, particularly in suburban areas.


Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg, former Freiburg Mayor and Governor, State of Süd-Baden, GERMANY

1. Creating Healthy Suburban Neighborhoods: Rieselfeld and Vauban, Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg is world-renowned for its sustainable planning. This was achieved through a holistic vision of what is required to make the city a healthy place for all, in tune with nature and energy efficient. Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg, who as Mayor for 20 years supervised planning policy, will explain the essential elements. Town planning focused on creating a ‘city of short distances’, preventing sprawl, minimizing energy use, protecting nature, and strengthening Freiburg as the economic center of the region. This in turn, supported the policy of increasing walking, cycling and public transit, the creation of livable traffic calmed streets, and the limitation of motor vehicle traffic. The extremely high quality provisions for walking and biking, and interconnected regional railway, local transit and bus system, have resulted in a high increase of these modes.

Dr. Ungern-Sternberg will present the planning principles and design details of the traffic reduced new urban neighborhoods, Rieselfeld and Vauban. The compact, human scale mixed use urban fabric in these new neighborhoods ensures walkability,  a rich social fabric, access to nature, and a sustainable way of life.


Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg, former Freiburg Mayor and Governor, State of Süd-Baden, GERMANY.

Planning for Bicycles in Germany

Freiburg, in the Southwest corner of Germany, is renowned for its superb provisions for bike riders, and the high percent of trips (28%) made by bike. “Successful planning for the bike must go together with a balanced transportation plan that emphasizes the pedestrian, public transportation, and traffic calming, as well as compact land use”, says Dr. Sven von Ungern-Sternberg. Freiburg’s compact land use and sprawl-prevention policies ensure that 90% of the population lives within 5 km of the city center.

Dr. Ungern-Sternberg explains how the City managed to achieve this high use of the bicycle and shows the design details. Initially, Freiburg invested in building bicycle routes completely independent of vehicular traffic, with bridges and underpasses to avoid dangerous intersections, creating a “bicycle highway” that is extremely well used. Mixing bicycles and pedestrians was found to be dangerous, so these bike routes now also have separate pedestrian routes. In addition, a network of wide bike lanes are clearly marked on streets. To increase safety, lanes allow bikes to pull to the front at intersections, and offer special bike lanes for those turning or going straight. Some low traffic streets are identified as bicycle-friendly, and occasionally, to complete the network, bikes are permitted to travel the wrong way along one-way streets. Biking is restricted in the pedestrian zone. Special affordances for bicyclists include: over 6,000 bike parking spaces in the city center, as well as at apartment buildings, schools, and Kindergartens; bike route signs; bike and ride for all public transportation; and a bike service station. Biking is now embraced by young and old, in winter as well as in summer.

“Considering the small investment needed to encourage biking”, Ungern-Sternberg observes, “this is the most affordable way to change the modal split.”


Drusilla van Hengel, NW Planning and Programs Manager, Alta Planning + Design, Portland, OR, USA.

Washington County Bikeways: Designing Facilities to Improve Bike User Safety and Comfort in the Suburban Context

What guidance does a suburban community turn to when it wants to increase bicycle mode share and make bicycling more attractive, safe and convenient? The development of innovative bikeway facilities and current bicycling trends (more people are choosing to ride and riding more often) has received significant media attention. The focus of these stories has been largely concerned with urban cities and the experience of urban bike riders, as cities across the nation experiment with bike boxes, cycle tracks and even bike share systems. The recent development of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide (2011) has also served as a catalyst, in part, for innovative bicycle facilities planning. However, just the word “urban” in the title of this guide suggests that these facilities are for cities.

Recently, policy makers in Washington County determined that improving the bicycle environment would be a valuable investment for the future of the community. However, the existing road design standards, based on AASHTO’s 1999 Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, did not provide guidance on the development of separated bikeways, such as buffered bike lanes or cycle tracks. The Washington County Bicycle Facility Design Toolkit was developed to overcome this barrier. It allows practitioners to select a bikeway facility that provides the maximum amount of separation while meeting the existing land use and roadway context. The following highlights the barriers to developing innovative bikeways in the suburban environment and details the process that was developed for Washington County to overcome these obstacles.


Kim Voros, Planner, Alta Planning + Design, Portland, OR, USA.

Analyzing Level of Cyclist Travel Stress to Improve Network Planning

Models serve as an effective means to understand how factors in a complex system interact by providing a simplified version of the system for study. Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS) is a measure of bicycle network quality that informs the existing travel conditions a bicyclist may experience along a roadway. new studies focus on using data that is more widely available and maintained. These studies also focus on the measurement of traffic stress a bicyclist is exposed to rather than assigning a letter grade of quality to each link in the network. Traffic stress is defined as a combination of perceived danger and other stresses like traffic noise and exhaust. The Level of Traffic Stress (LTS), pioneered by Peter Furth, Maaza Mekuria and Hilary Nixon analysis assumes that people will not use a roadway or facility on which they are not comfortable. This method can be used to measure the ability of a bicyclist to travel between two points without exceeding a specified stress threshold or if the route between points A and B seems impossible for a bicyclist who is not strong and confident. Application of these tools in professional planning practice allows practitioners to provide new visual tools that are useful in showing where targeted changes to a few key streets can yield significant accessibility improvements for cyclists of all ages and abilities.


Elizabeth Westburg, Resident Services Development Manager, King County Housing Authority, Seattle WA, USA.

Building Healthy Communities through Affordable Housing Development

The King County Housing Authority (KCHA) is more than just housing. Serving more than 18,000 households across 23 suburban cities and the unincorporated areas of the county, KCHA progressively partners with service providers to help all residents – children and families, elderly and disabled - not only survive, but thrive. With an aim to serve the whole person, KCHA considers access to quality education, living wage employment, fresh, healthy foods, public parks and affordable transportation as important components of the affordable neighborhoods they design Newly developed, mixed-income communities incorporate parks with public art, walking trails, and features such as exercise stations and community gardens. Redeveloped communities include state of the art community centers that serve the needs of local residents by providing computer access, afterschool programs, ESL programs and employment services. KCHA is combining improvements to the built environment with policy and systems change to support healthy eating and active living through a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities grant. KCHA is also working cross sector with Public Health and Educational systems to better support the educational and life success of its younger residents.

Join this presentation, to learn ways in which KCHA serves people from cradle to career by building healthy communities through housing redevelopment, built environment changes, resident engagement and collaborative partnerships with sectors including health, education, and social service agencies.


Gary Clinton Wheat II, President/CEO, Visit Aurora, Inc., Aurora, CO, USA.

Destination Healthcare: Marketing a Healthy/Healthcare Community

Aurora, one of America's safest and healthiest cities is also one of the nation's largest (56th largest; 9 largest suburb). Featuring not only one, but three award-winning hospitals. This includes two, which are featured in the US News and World Report Top 5 ranked hospitals in multiple categories.

An All-America City, ranked in the top 10 in best cities for men and women as well as a top city for life span. These are just a few of the accolades which propel our city to expand that healthy message through a marketing effort of Destination Healthcare to attract visitors to the healthcare that makes our city among the tops in healthy living and healthcare.

Among the issues discussed in our Destination Healthcare paper will be:

Avenues to Healthy Living

Integrating City Programs to Foster Healthy Lifestyles

Attracting Institutes of Excellence

Matching Patients with Ideal Outcomes

Despite enduring a horrific tragedy, one in which the excellence of healthcare truly saved lives, our City continues to attract new citizens, visitors and centers of healthcare excellence.


Andrew Wheeler, Research Officer, Faculty of the Built Environment, UNSW Sydney AUSTRALIA.

What makes a healthy built environment? Exploring policy interventions to enhance human health and wellbeing

How built environments are planned, designed and developed can promote or detract from human health. Today, many environments act as a barrier to health by limiting people’s ability to be physically active, develop supportive social networks, access fresh and affordable food, and engage in other activities associated with improved health and wellbeing. This is contributing to the rise of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and depression. Increasingly public health and built environment professionals are turning their attention to mitigating the risk factors of these diseases through planning policy. However, there is ongoing difficulty in defining the most effective policy interventions to support people’s health and wellbeing.

This paper focuses on three domains of the built environment linked to positive health outcomes: getting people active, strengthening and connecting communities, and providing healthy food options. Basing its findings on a detailed survey and analysis of scholarly literature on each domain, the paper demonstrates how existing research evidence encourages a comprehensive and evidenced-based approach to policy development. The paper also discusses the factors that contribute to common gaps in planning policy, and how these can be overcome through greater inter-disciplinary collaboration, further research and improved governance.


Hallie Willis, Ph.D. Student, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Creating an Integrated Public Health and Community Design Workforce for Livable Cities

Public health and community design (urban planning, architecture, transportation engineering, etc.) have been interrelated since the mid-19th century. More recently, their interdependence has become more understood especially in light of their integrated contribution to making cities livable. This realization is creating a demand for a more cross-trained workforce. In the last 5-10 years as varied a set of individuals and organizations as the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine and Transportation Research Board, the U.S. Surgeon General, the American Planning Association, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the American Institute of Certified Planners have called for collaboration in education, research, and faculty development between academic schools and departments in these disciplines, more coordination across constituencies and disciplines, interdisciplinary training programs and continuing education. In response, a new community design and public health workforce development initiative is being undertaken to provide resources to practicing professionals and to the academy. This conference session will briefly describe the current demands and future needs of the community design and public health workforce, approaches currently undertaken to fill the gap, and a long-term strategy to prepare individuals with the skills and knowledge to create and maintain healthy communities.


Dr Lou Wilson, School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA.

Public health and urban densification in Australia: synergies and contradictions

The Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, South East Queensland and Adelaide now have long term plans of up to 30 years that set out expected population and urban growth over coming decades. Plans are also in place to manage the process of making urban growth sustainable. These plans have a focus on creating higher dwelling densities and less personal space. Densification is associated with lowering block sizes, expanding house footprints to allotment ratios, urban growth boundaries and transit oriented development but also with the reclamation of public and private space for higher density housing. Urban densification policies are based on an assumption that densification will restrain development on the urban periphery and promote economic activity. These policies have synergies with policies that promote ‘healthy cities’. The latter are premised on the argument that denser cities make for ‘walkable neighbourhoods’, which have health benefits for local residents. However there is contradictory evidence emerging that suggests that increasing dwelling density and removing personal space has implications for public health, especially for children. The residents of Australia’s low density cities have traditionally enjoyed good public health related to open access to public parks, gardens and recreational facilities, which in many cases are maintained free of charge by local government authorities. Densification of Australia’s cities is removing private public space in the form of backyards but also public, community space. The contradictions and synergies between plans to increase density in Australian cities and public health are unpacked in relation to the current debates on these issues.


Jane Futrell Winslow, Doctoral Student, Community and Regional Planning, The University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Pedestrians as an Indicator Species for a Healthy Community-Walkability at Mueller Austin

Community design has significant impacts on human well being from social, physical, mental and environmental perspectives. Research in the emerging field of active living indicates that moderate levels of physical activity have positive effects on human health. There is, however, a lack of access to physical and social space that provide opportunities for physical activity in our communities. This issue has gained momentum in the wave of public health concern over obesity in both children and adults. The body of literature associated with active living addresses walkability for both transportation and recreation to assess the impacts of the urban environment on physical activity. Many of these studies have placed an emphasis on walkability at the neighborhood scale, but few have included comprehensive planning and design issues. The planning principles of New Urbanism promote walkability in live / work / play communities, and offer opportunities to evaluate planning and design strategies to promote physical activity. Mueller Austin, a 711-acre mixed used urban infill development in Austin, Texas, embraces the tenets of New Urbanism in its comprehensive master plan. This case study examines how walkers were targeted in the master plan, with particular attention to ‘best practices’ for walkability. Likely long-term implications of Mueller Austin in terms of walkability and benefits to public health were also evaluated through theoretical perspectives that drive research and practice in both physical activity and New Urbanist transit oriented design.


Mengyuan Xu, Student, Washington State University, Spokane, WA, USA.

A GIS-based Pedestrian Network Model for Assessment of Urban Life Needs Service Deserts and Prioritization of Future Improvement

Access to crucial life needs services, such as grocery stores, gathering spaces and healthcare facilities, are crucial for citizens’ welfare and wellbeing. Lack of access to these facilities may lead to problems including social isolation as well as health issues. Considering that a significant part of the total U.S. population (low-income groups, mobility impaired individuals, the elderly etc.) are mobility-disadvantaged groups who do not have access to a car, it is important to provide citizens pedestrian access to the services. Policy (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act, local pedestrian plans) dictate that pedestrian accessibility be provided, but it may be the case that large deficits of such infrastructure exist, as is the case in the study city. In those situations, lack of local funding for pedestrian means that investments aimed at mitigating accessibility must be prioritized.

The proposed model provides a mechanism that allows users to gauge trade-offs between both equity and efficiency, which are two major goals in urban planning (Le Grand, 2009), in response to different circumstances. Employing a detailed, metro-wide geo-spatial pedestrian network dataset, this model evaluate existing land use patterns and pedestrian transportation facilities by calculating accessibility area maps for life needs services destinations and identifies service deserts for pedestrians in those areas. In addition, the model estimates efficiency and equity implications for the identified deficiencies and thus facilitates the decision making process associated with prioritizing improvements to the sidewalk network.


Paul A. Zorr, Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.

The Civic and Social Engagement in Piazza San Cosimato, Rome, Italy

This paper will be centered on a “Case Study” analysis of the civic and social engagement of Piazza San Cosimato located in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome, Italy. I taught a spring semester design studio which spent the first 7 ½ weeks in studio on campus and 8 ½ weeks of field studies in Rome. The plan is to share with the conference what we discovered during that experience and how it could reshape suburbia.

The experience of this studio was marked by the initial superficial design judgments made on campus verses insightful discoveries made at the site. This site was chosen because the students were scheduled to be living in this neighborhood and could observe first hand how the space worked rather than relying on a Google Earth snapshot of the place.

One of the revelations the student’s had in Piazza San Cosimato was that a delicate balance is required between the daily use by the neighbors and frequent visitors. Other critical factors were the impact of ethnic and age diversity, the proximity to transportation, shopping, housing, and the presence of civic and secular institutions.

The paper will be illustrated with the final design solutions and conclusions drawn from the student’s work. In addition to the paper presentation, the conference attendees will experience a series of multi media documentary videos of the neighborhood and the people that use and enjoy the space.

IMCL 50th Conference