LOS ANGELES--State-level policymakers have engaged in more than their share of debates over the future of smart grown in California this year. They've debated level of service vs. vehicle miles traveled. They've debated the neediness and definition of disadvantaged communities. They've clamored for cap-and-trade funds. They've tried to reform CEQA and get rid of CEQA (well, not quite).
I noticed the da Vinci apartment complex for the first time only a few months ago. How could I not notice it? It looked like a plywood ocean liner beached against the northbound side of the 110 freeway. Rising 4-5 stories at the time, it hovered over the freeway, uncomfortably close to the roadway. I remember hoping that it would have serious soundproofing. And air filtering.
Where is Robert Bruegemann when you need him?
A few years back, Bruegmann wrote Sprawl: A Compact History, an exaltation of low-density growth. It called for cities to double-down on all the conventions and mistakes of the previous 50 years. It was a disturbingly anachronistic, but it was provocative, and it was passionate.
It seems that these days there's still plenty of in urbanist literature, but, for better or worse, provocation is getting harder to come by.
After eight years in elected office in California, I can tell you that I often fell into the same trap as everybody else: chasing revenue. When you’re up against the wall on budget problems, any new revenue – especially a boost in property or sales tax revenue – looks like the solution to all your problems.
Over the past few weeks, issues concerning the Central Valley’s future growth and development plans have gained widespread attention throughout the state – even causing Governor Brown to intervene in the Valley’s deliberation processes. With the Central Valley region growing at a faster rate than any other region in California, the policy outcomes of the region's “growth wars” will provide the context in which the Valley’s cities and counties will be able to accommodate its growing population.
Joel Kotkin is just thinking about the children. Too much, if you ask me.
As you may recall, two weeks ago it was Wendell Cox who used the Wall Street Journal opinion pages to herald the “war” that California’s urban areas are launching on the suburbs.
Is the era of smart growth over?
Not exactly, but a group of panelists at the American Planning Association conference in Los Angeles suggested Sunday that we may be moving past the 2000-era concept of what smart growth is – and into a new era that combines managing growth, placemaking, climate change, demographic change, and the need for economic growth.
Probably too much has been written about the Tea Party movement already--which may be emerging as a distinctive voice in land use politics (see CP&DR Vol. 26, No. 15 August 2011)--but sometimes the urge to comment is irresistible.
This week Governor-elect Jerry Brown’s office announced that the incoming governor would take part-time residence in the Eliot Building in Downtown Sacramento upon taking office in January.
So, yet again Wendell Cox – a leader of the anti-anti-sprawl crowd -- has trotted out an impressive-looking quantitative report that purports to prove that certain metropolitan regions have high home prices because of "more restrictive land use regulation". In his New Geography piece last week, which linked to a report on his web site, Cox seemed to attribute virtually all the variation in home price around the country to land use regulations – just as he has done in the past.