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While most of California's cities undergo the arduous wind-down of their redevelopment agencies, a handful of cities have been going about business as usual. For most of the cities that never had redevelopment agencies, business has been, and probably will continue to be, good. Redevelopment took root in economically disadvantaged places, so the likes of Beverly Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, and Sausalito are carrying on contentedly.
As planners have increasingly embraced the principles of smart growth over the past few years, suburban areas have increasingly borne criticism as examples of how not to plan. This criticism often ignores a crucial point: even if suburbs are imperfect—largely because they promote automobile dependency—they are not necessarily hopeless. A recently completed study led by Prof.
When Axl Rose first stepped off the bus from Indiana, took the stage at the Whisky, and screeched out the opening lines of “Welcome to the Jungle,” he probably wasn’t thinking about parking. But he might as well have been.
As inscrutable as public policy may be sometimes, academics and professionals alike sometimes like to believe that they have all the answers. Sometimes, though, an esteemed professor such as USC planning professor Lisa Schweitzer, willingly throws up her hands.
As cities across the state are contemplating if and how they can spur economic and real estate development in the absence of redevelopment, the Los Angeles County city of Alhambra has taken early steps towards a self-help plan.
Last week the Alhambra City Council heard a first reading of an ordinance that would empower the city to employ a range of economic development tools and to pursue funds to pay for them now that tax increment financing is no longer available. The ordinance would vest in the city many of the powers that the redevelopment agency held.
For now, redevelopment in California is dead. But that hasn’t eliminated the need for public policy to support urban revitalization. Indeed, Gov. Jerry Brown still supports aggressive policies in this vein – for example, implementing the SB 375 regional planning law passed in 2008 as part of the climate change effort, and streamlining environmental review for infill projects.
A certain beloved urban theorist once wrote about cities and the wealth of nations. With all due respect to Jane Jacobs, forget about nations. In the age of globalization, nations matter less and less. You'd think that cities would too, with the proliferation of electronic communication and the magic of the "cloud." But, argue John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay, one of the big reasons why cities will continue to thrive is actually up among the real clouds.
Judging by the likes of Apple, Google, and Chez Panisse – to say nothing of the relative stability of housing prices -- the San Francisco Bay Area might not seem like the most likely recipient of an economic planning grant. But the federal Department of Housing and Community Development thinks otherwise.
Forget about setbacks, traffic counts, and environmental impact reports. A new nationwide initiative suggests that planners and community development officials should be focusing as much on canvases, scripts, and jam sessions—especially if those planners are in California.
For years, major cities, especially in California, have held their ground in what some consider an unwelcome onslaught by Walmart stores and their like. In the City of San Diego, however, Walmart has been making one of its most significant plays yet in attempting to establish itself in urban California. Its recent announcement of its intention to build up to a dozen stores comes amid a political battle that has raged for a half-decade.