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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

“Do the little things that make a big difference.”

This week, PlanningPool is reporting from the Gaining Ground Summit in Vancouver! Check out the amazing agenda of speakers related to cities and sustainability, and let us know if there are any upcoming events which you would particularly like us to write about.

Jared Blumenfeld, from the US Environmental Protection Agency, started off the Gaining Ground conference lectures with a lively, entertaining, and eye opening talk about  “The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future.”

Jared Blumenfeld of the EPA, seen here at a ceremony for the San Francisco Bike Coalition's Golden Wheel Awards. Thanks to Sasha Magee on Flickr for the Creative Commons photo!

His comments about the race for greenest city were met with snickers. Although it is a worthwhile race, … Continue Reading

“The First Step of Cultivation” in Little City Gardens: Zoning for Urban Agriculture

Inch by inch, row by row...urban agriculture challenges residential zoning in San Francisco. (Thanks to Little City Gardens for this great photo!)

Earlier this spring in San Francisco a team of experienced urban farmers signed a land use agreement for a plot of land to expand their growing market-garden business.  Unlike most productive urban landscape in cities, which are community gardens or NGOs, Little City Gardens is a for profit enterprise. Owners Brooke Budner and Caitlyn Galloway have set out to experiment with the economic viability of urban farming by designing a financially self-sustaining urban farm business.  The new plot is an expansion of a smaller garden that was started in the Mission District, where they have been providing specialty salad mixes and organic produce to local … Continue Reading

Heritage Streetcar Win: San Francisco’s F-Market & Wharves Line

A heritage streetcar on San Francisco's F-line makes its way to the Castro District. Photo by Rachael Young, used with permission.

Today’s post celebrates a particular planning win, San Francisco’s heritage F-Market and Wharves streetcar line, as well as a broader, equally winning trend of urban streetcar revival.

These days, San Francisco’s six mile F-line line is one of the worlds’ longest publicly-operated vintage streetcar routes, boasting a fleet of restored antique cars from around the world. This fall will mark fifteen years since the local public transit system, the San Francisco Municipal Railway, began running vintage cars in regular service between the Castro and Financial Districts. A decade ago, the route was further extended to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Much-loved by residents and tourists, the F-line serves around 20,000 … Continue Reading

Using Social Media to Make Transit Fun!

Around North America and Europe, a whole lot of energy is being invested in using social media to improve communication between transit agencies and the people who rely on their services. An impressive and ever-growing array of agency-created and privately-produced iPhone and iPod Touch apps disseminate information about transit schedules, service updates and even real-time bus and train locations.

The US-based website CityGoRound helps people to find local transit, biking, walking and driving applications. Advancing its overall goal of making sustainable transportation more convenient, CityGoRound also actively encourages transit agencies to make their data public.

Just as users can access information about transit services, transit providers also can take advantage of social media to gather data from their users. For instance, as discussed in this PlanningPool post, … Continue Reading

Why finding the right price for parking could change the world, Part 2

Getting the price of parking right can be more important than you think, and in Part 2 of this two-part series, we see how San Francisco has been trying to perfect their parking price, and how it can make the city more liveable.

Participatory Budgeting in Toronto’s Public Housing – Canadian Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation

Millions of dollars are collaboratively allocated each year according to the priorities of residents in Toronto’s public housing units. This participatory budgeting process was invented 20 years ago in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and is now transforming budgeting processes in cities around the world.

The Canadian Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation presented a panel on Toronto Community Housing’s experience with participatory budgeting from academic, management and participant viewpoints.

How Participatory Budgeting Works
Dr. Daniel Schugurensky, University of Toronto professor, outlined five stages of participatory budgeting: (1) diagnosis to identify community needs, (2) deliberation to understand, (3) decision-making, (4) implementation of agreements, and, (5) follow up, including monitoring and evaluation.

Each year, Toronto Community Housing spends $9M on capital projects (infrastructure, improvements, etc). Twenty per cent of this budget, $1.8M, is allocated by residents according to their priorities. Once a … Continue Reading