It's about people, stupid…

No compromise policy research to counter the theft of housing affordability by the non-productive rentier.

It's about people, stupid…

Walkable Neighbourhoods, interesting article by Fernando Pages Ruiz.

Worth a look…..very encouraging as the world moves from medium to higher density living, maybe the dream is no longer the semi with a 30m long garden, as our life styles change from the 20th century dream of copying the large country home within suburbia with a smaller version of the country estate in our rear garden to the 21 century city dweller whose ambition is no longer copying the landed gentry, but the highly mobile city dweller, not sure whether this is an entirely good thing, yes getting rid of urban sprawl, reliance on the car for everyday chores and generally thinking about the environment with all the consequences of consumerism. So what about personal green space? Or do we really concentrate on the value of public green space ( like the Victorians, though that was more about piety and guilt of the awful conditions that most of the poor had to deal with due to the totally free capitalist market with little regulation, thank god for the Roundtree commission, though 3 loaves a day as a minimum wage is still a disgrace….we seem to headed for the same cliff at present).


Thee New American Dream: Walkable Urban Neighbourhoods

By 2020 you’ll be living in a more sustainable community, even if you don’t know it. Market forces more powerful than eco-ethics or energy policies will drive the makeover of our towns and cities into pockets of walkable neighborhoods with varied retail and residential uses in close proximity, transforming both urban and suburban landscapes.
In short, suburban dormitory neighborhoods have become less desirable and downtown neighborhoods are the new American dream.
To compete with resurgent inner cities, the suburbs are developing their own versions of downtown where park-and-shop malls once stood. By 2020 this urban retrofit will be under construction throughout the U.S., even rural towns in regions as unlikely as the Bible Belt have started moving in this direction. By 2030, most of us will live in places that look a lot like Europe, with discernible local character and a defined center of commerce that serves as the nexus for community life.
Sure, the notion of walkable communities has become a political issue pitting rural conservatives against urban progressives. But by and large, the argument has been won through the economic success of walkable urban centers, which has motivated cash-strapped cities everywhere to support the creation of new, so-called lifestyle centers that recreate the urban experience.
The first towns to turn toward urban retrofit for tax revenue include neighborhoods in what Christopher Leinberger, Vision 2020 research chair for Sustainable Communities, would describe as the primary concentric ring of suburban development. Areas immediately adjacent to a competing metropolis, such as Wheat Ridge, just outside of Denver, which has recently undertaken the transformation of a major traffic artery lined with vacant storefronts and narrow sidewalks into a revived Main Street that draws commuters to–rather than through–the heart of town.
They began with a vision, “In the year 2030, people of all ages and abilities live, work, learn, shop, and play along 38th Avenue,” asserted the city’s planning document for the 38th Avenue Corridor Plan, adopted in October 2011. Then, using a low-cost approach, the City put the corridor on a “road diet” in the summer of 2012 by reducing the number of thru-traffic lanes from four to two. The diet created several benefits to the corridor, including a more attractive, pedestrian-friendly environment, reduced traffic speeds, increased safety, and the sought-for economic benefits, including the attraction of new businesses. The project has become the catalyst for a wider revitalization strategy strongly focused on creating multiple, community-focused hubs–or mini downtowns within what was once a sprawling Denver suburb.
Along the same lines, a recent USA Today article profiled several small cities that are becoming more cosmopolitan through similar redevelopment efforts. The article’s flagship was Carmel, a Midwestern suburb 20 miles north of Indianapolis. The town’s self-described European-style redevelopment effort has paid off handsomely: This year Money magazine ranked Carmel the No. 1 best place to live, with low unemployment, excellent schools, arts and culture, nature trails, and a huge community recreation complex. Other urban redevelopment efforts highlighted in the front-page feature included towns in Texas, Utah, and Colorado.
I have personally seen the transformation in the most unlikely place, rural Nebraska, where I lived and worked for nearly 20 years. The town of Ashland, between Lincoln and Omaha, revived its main street with cobblestone crosswalks and lured New York artists with promises of cheap studio space to create an attractive art district that now lures tourists off Interstate 80, and attracts a growing population of retired farmers wanting an urban, but not-so-big city experience. Meanwhile, following the lead of Omaha, which has become a national example of successful redevelopment, Lincoln recently doubled its efforts with a 2020 Vision of its own, in short order creating a vital downtown with ample residential, restaurant, retail, and office development. The result is palpable in the new vitality of downtown Lincoln, and the fact more college graduates now remain as permanent residents after graduation, in fact, Lincoln made the list at the Daily Beast among Richard Florida’s 25 best towns for college graduates, ranked above places like San Diego and Seattle.
The potency of this national shift toward walkable, non- automobile-centered life is both dramatic and historic. Car and single-family home sales have plummeted among people in the 21-to-34 year age group, a demographic that predicts trends likely to survive the next two decades. Auto makers have had to adjust sales to accommodate fleets of car-sharing services, instead of new car dealerships, and single-family home builders are becoming multifamily developers because this cohort of would-be first-time home buyers seems to prefer a small apartment in the high-rent district to a discounted mortgage in the suburbs, according to a recent Federal Reserve study.
I confess to a quiet skepticism about the power of the sustainable community movement at the outset of EcoHome’s Vision 2020 venture. But witnessing the quick conversion of places as far from urban fads as rural Nebraska in the light of all we have discussed during this first year of Vision 2020 has convinced me that Leinberger’s theory of demand-side transformation is indeed the most powerful force working to reduce our nation’s dependence on carbon-based energy. It is perhaps the only force potent enough to make a difference because it is based on human preferences, on what we want to do, vs. what we ought to do. The market, or demand-side strategy works despite political swings and has the self-determining economic muscle that makes things happen. There’s no need to set milestones and struggle to achieve them when social trends take over, as proven dramatically in the state of Florida, where Republican Governor Rick Scott turned down $2.4 billion in federal stimulus funding for a high-speed-rail line, only for private investors to step up and build the line themselves. Why? Because the market demands it.
I would not be surprised to see a similar result in Nebraska, with high-speed rail connecting Lincoln to Ashland and Omaha by 2030. Communities throughout the U.S. will become sustainable precisely because the elements that make them so coincide with the key ingredients of desirable living: a close-knit community, ready access to social engagement, and public amenities that provide recreational opportunities for all. The reduction in carbon will be a by-product of Americans pursuing their American dream.
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Thought for the day

Listening to the news on the radio this morning, an American academic said that the difference between the US higher education system and many other countries , is that they are taught to challenge the tutor to get good grades, obviously be able to justify that challenge. The point being innovation is celebrated over conformity. Thus the great American way. Is the US in decline? possibly, but as long as innovation is the driver there is always a chance of resurgence. I think this attitude comes from their early history of telling the ‘old countries’ to bugger off.

The French seem to be taught this is what a designer is, and this is what you do to get there. Whereas we are taught to ask our selves what design is, helped along the way with tools of context, pattern and ratio. So not quite as extreme as the Yanks but less conforming than the French. Though as usual just an opinion through observation.

A scene from Frank Capra’s Mr Smith goes to Washington
an ordinary man challenges the old ways, fantastic film slightly idealistic (very Capra) but a good moral of the little man challenging ‘the man’, the American dream

Fat Controller

Images taken from my own photo’s plus some web images. A bit of wine seems to make things flow a bit easier.
Images cut out and pasted in PS, very quick. Quite a bit of time on the Transform tool. Warp, Perspective and Skew. Some blur on the edges and reduction on opacity on steam.

 Flattened, Cutout, and poster and general playing. Played around with the roof and made it worse. If it ain’t broke and all that.

More playtime. Added line and mucked about with shadows and brightness. The idea to get the image to join together. Ok a bit abstract but the brain fills in the gaps or is that just me???

Took away the edges to reveal the construction, more movement in it. Red to draw the eye, etc

Conclusion, a bit of fun but need to watch the clock a bit. 3 hours for that lot.

Joined myself and can’t delete!!

Anyone got any idea’s. I am not in manage blogs, so can’t delete. I am not in settings. So its there but no way do delete. This is NOT an intuitive programme (reminds me of autoCAD).

Waisted a whole evening on this, also apologies to those who have two entries on followers, again can’t delete ‘Grant’ or felixfatfunk. I have a blogger account and Google account (which is a combined utube/web/blogger ac). So obviously google account but this other account just keeps appearing on its own. Whatever ever happened to Ockham’s Razor!!!!