Empowering Youth through Food Sustainability and Healthy Communities

As the idea of healthy communities is becoming a popular way to sneak sustainability into popular planning discourse, I thought it would be interesting to write about a youth empowerment program that is promoting health and organic food systems.

The Food Empowerment Education and Sustainability Team (FEEST) is a Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association program, outside of Seattle, WA. FEEST’s purpose is to create a safe space for youth to gather to grow, prepare, and share healthy, delicious food, while becoming actively engaged in issues of food resources and the built environment in their lives.

FEEST’s young members lead Wednesday organic dinners at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Monthly dinners are open to the community on the condition that … Continue Reading

The Social Life of Public Space in West Africa

Black Star Square in Accra, Ghana [Photo by Author


Of the 163 public spaces included on the Project for Public Spaces’s list of “The World’s Best” only a single nomination is located on the African continent (Greenmarket Square in Capetown, South Africa).  The other 162 parks, squares and plazas are European, North American and a handful are South or Central American.  Is the absence of African pubic spaces on this list due to lack of recognition?   Does this expose a European cultural proclivity for public space? Or perhaps there are not enough African public spaces that meet the standards of this review, which is a cultural standard in itself.  At best, we must recognize that the details of African … Continue Reading

Federal partnerships with local governments, transit oriented development [Conference Round Up]

Planning Pool authors, Daniella F. and Dylan M. attended the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Charlotte, NC. You can check out what we tweeted here @planningpool or with the hashtag #np4sg2011. Dylan’s attended some of the more interesting sessions and workshops at the conference, so you didn’t have to! Here’s a round up of some of the more interesting new work in planning.
Southern Rural and Urban Sustainability Projects: Progress with Partnership for Sustainable Communities
Asheville, NC-HUD, and civic leaders in Asheville partnered to focus on re-development around the Riverfront District. Stephanie Monson, Urban Planner in Asheville, explained that forming partnerships was extremely difficult. Chris Stears with HUD echoed this sentiment, describing his partnership with Stephanie as a “new date.” While partnerships with local governments and civic bodies are necessary for the local government, Stears recognizes … Continue Reading

Citizen Activist accused of “practicing engineering without a license”

Really complicated crosswalk instructions. Photo by our very own Vanessa Kay

Recently in North Carolina news, I heard about a Raleigh resident who petitioned his local and state governments to add traffic signals at two intersections. The NC Department of Transportation responded with charging David Cox with “practicing engineering without a license,” a misdemeanor that could result in a letter telling Cox not to do it again.

How did this happen?

Cox is a member of the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners Associations (NORCHOA), which has been advocating for additional signalized intersections on a road scheduled for widening in Raleigh, NC. NORCHOA, a nonprofit group established in 2006 to work with public officials on the Falls of Neuse Road widening project, represents residents from seven North Raleigh subdivisions, … Continue Reading

Haiti, Board Games, Atlanta Beltline, Progressive Planning in CLT [Conference Round Up]

Planning Pool authors, Daniella F. and Dylan M. are at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Charlotte, NC, for the next few days. We’re going to be liveblogging the more interesting conference proceedings. You can follow us on twitter @planningpool or with the hashtag #np4sg2011. Dylan’s been attending some of the more interesting sessions and workshops at the conference, so you don’t have to! Here’s a round up of some of the more interesting new work in planning.
Planning in Haiti
DPZ and Crabtree Group have teamed up in Haiti to help with smart redevelopment and planning. They’ve formed a plan using wetland restoration along the coast and DPZ’s light imprint development to deal with 10 and 100 year storms and flooding. Engineers have proven that the DPZ/Crabtree Group model actually performs better than nature itself during intense … Continue Reading

Integrated Systems Planning for Energy Efficiency and Conservation

Planning Pool authors, Daniella F. and Dylan M. are at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Charlotte, NC, for the next few days. We’re going to be liveblogging the more interesting conference proceedings. You can follow us on twitter @planningpool or with the hashtag #np4sg2011.

Who here works for a local government?

HDR is an architecture/engineering/consulting firm headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, that has over 180 locations worldwide. The company was commissioned by Corpus Christi to formulate the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy necessary for the City to receive ARRA funds (stimulus funds) in the form of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG). The $3.2 billion EECBG program was modeled after the Community Block Grant program. Corpus Christi was awarded $2.5 million. … Continue Reading

San Luis Obispo County’s Local Adaptation Outcomes

Planning Pool authors, Daniella F. and Dylan M. are at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Charlotte, NC, for the next few days. We’re going to be liveblogging the more interesting conference proceedings. You can follow us on twitter @planningpool or with the hashtag #np4sg2011

Supervisor Jim Patterson answers audience questions


San Luis Obispo County in California is a politically conservative area that was challenged in drafting and implementing a climate change adaptation plan. Faced with resource cuts and shortages and climate change disbelievers, the County struggled to create an effective adaptation plan.
The speakers, Kate Meis and Supervisor Jim Patterson outlined a number of factors that contributed to the strategy’s success:

  • Utilizing current opportunities- general plan updates and community plan, state and … Continue Reading

See you at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference!

Planning Pool will liveblogging from the 10th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Charlotte, NC this week. This conference is organized by the Local Government Commission, a non-profit that promotes more livable communities.

You can follow @planningpool on Twitter or the #np4sg2011 hashtag to hear all about it.

What’s going to make this conference so interesting? Well, for all of you in Canada or the Pacific Northwest, it will be really interesting to see what kind of discussion about Smart Growth there is in a city that is famous for its suburban character. In other words, some things that you take for granted, like urban growth boundaries or inclusive zoning for affordable housing, are much more hotly contested here in NC.

The conference is going to cover smart growth, as well as healthy … Continue Reading

“This used to be an art gallery.”

A visitor relaxes in an indoor replica park at the "Park Here" exhibit in Openhouse Gallery, New York. Thanks to Katie Killary on Flickr for the Creative Commons photo!

Despite the disdain often attributed to artificial plants, natural replicas can be more than just entertaining. Park Here, an art installation at Openhouse Gallery in New York City, goes a step further. In stark contrast to the blustery outdoors, the inhabitable scene replicates a sunny day in the park, complete with chirping birds.

Exposure to nature has been proven to play a role in health and well-being, with documented benefits including relaxation, mental restoration, self control, flow experiences and childhood development. In addition, there are … Continue Reading

Planning Challenge 1: Commercial Aggregation and Subdivision (Part 3)

In the first part of this series we discussed the theory, mechanics, and value of the subdivision process, typically associated with carving up farms to make suburban houses. The second part focused on how developing big parcels as single developments can create problems for urban vitality in the future. In this, the third part, we will walk through how the practice of subdivision might lead the way to a new tool in managing urban redevelopment.

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