Getting Schooled on Walkability

Just as every neighborhood should have a reliable fire station, every neighborhood should have a good public school.

Diane Ravitch (The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, 2010)

school comparison

A comparison between a walkable neighborhood school and an unwalkable sprawling campus (Lisc Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, 2011)

There has been a considerable amount of effort in recent years to build (or re-build) walkable neighborhoods. With professional organization like the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the American Planning Association (APA), to the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy (LI) — all chiming in with their own advocacy efforts. Continue reading

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Planting the seeds for community health

It is no secret that in this country many men, women, and children are going to bed hungry on a regular basis.  According to a 2012 USDA study, as many as 17.6 million households (14.5%) could be considered food insecure. Going hand in hand with the issue of hunger, many individuals face severe nutritional deficits due to poor dietary consumption. Continue reading

Roots in roofs

Green_Roof_at_Vendée_Historial,_les_Lucs

Extensive accessed 10/12/2013 wikipedia.org

Green roofs are a system in which buildings both large and small grow plants on their roofs. They can be edible plants, natural plants, even large bushes and trees to create a “floating park”. There are two main types of vegetative roofs; extensive green roofs which have shallow soil for smaller plants and intensive vegetative roofs which support larger plants. The plant choice depends on a few variables, environment, building structure and design, and what the inhabitants or builders want.

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“I remember when”

Alexanders Boise

Alexanders – iconic haberdashery in downtown Boise

Last night as I was sitting in class listening to fellow students discussing the merits of planning (or not) it struck me just how much things change.  Now before you laugh at what would seem to be a very obvious thought and wondering why I was daydreaming and not listening to the enlightened discourse around the table, let me explain myself.  All the discussion that was taking place centered around the idea of community planning which got me thinking about the Boise I remember as a child.  I was born and raised in Boise as a child of the 50’s and have some very distinct memories of that time. Continue reading

Heavy inner city issues

America’s metropolitan bellies are swelling from the inside out. The nation’s inner cities have higher rates of obesity and inactivity than their suburban neighbors. As America continues to fight obesity it is important to understand the built environment’s role in community health. Below I will show the ways past development failed these areas and how urban planning tactics like walkability and urban renewal can encourage healthy lifestyles. Continue reading