The City of Boise asked the Boise State Community and Regional Planning graduate students to look at the neighborhoods of Boise. The task: investigate factors that would increase their planning capacity – their ability to acknowledge needs, leverage assets and apply appropriate strategies to inform the future of development. As it turns out, that is no easy task. Provided with three study areas located within the Collister, West Valley and Morris Hill neighborhoods, and encouraged to coordinate with their respective neighborhood associations, we set to work. Continue reading
When the history of Idaho is counted and retold, there are some elements that are hardly ever missed. The Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clark, Native American tribal affiliations, immigrant settlements – all of these tend to be covered and recalled without much under-representation. Another of these historic staples is Idaho’s mining industry. What do perhaps get overlooked, perhaps if only in the context of building and sustaining communities, are the national policies that affect economic efforts in the states. Idaho is no stranger to this. Limitation Order L-208 in 1942 is an example of how a national policy, and perhaps international war and conflict, can disintegrate a burgeoning town or settlement overnight. We should look at the histories of places like Warren, Idaho if we intend to learn a thing or two about planning for unexpected change in economies and policies. Building resiliency into communities should include not under-estimating the impacts of national interests and policy decisions. Continue reading
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, when you combine pictures from multiple eras focusing on the same thing, the differences (or similarities) can speak volumes for themselves. In this video blog below, I wanted to draw attention to an area that I feel needs some serious TLC on the development side. While there are likely reasons, stories – or even excuses – as to why these areas are undeveloped after so long, it seemed quite logical to use some of the free technological tools at our disposal to make an argument or two. First, is that 30 years is far to long for a parcel in a downtown area to be a dirt plot, and second, the main high-speed entrance to the downtown area should be a welcome sign, not a brown, dusty parking lot. Continue reading
The Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow (EPCOT) was Walt Disney’s unrealized dream. Sure, there’s a place called EPCOT down there in Orlando located within the vast city-unto-itself of Walt Disney World, but it isn’t Walt’s EPCOT. It aims in the same direction, but misses the mark by several yards. How so? Because Walt’s idea wasn’t a theme-park that resembled a City of Tomorrow, it was a City of Tomorrow that just happened to be planned near his theme parks. It was an actual plan for a technologically forward and green society that could be the model for the rest of the United States. The vision was huge – Walt didn’t do small. Interestingly enough, the idea wasn’t altogether new (then or now). In fact, Disney owes a great deal of his imagined City of Tomorrow to Ebenezer Howard and folks like Le’Corbusier’s Radiant City. We can’t talk about the future without talking about the past, it seems, and these imagineers seem to make that point clear. Lets take a look at some really nifty links, videos and articles that draw a line from the Garden Cities of Howard to the imagined implementations of the Disney age (and beyond), and other designs that have seen a similar influence.
Oh, and, please keep all hands and feet inside the ride at all times – for your safety, of course! Continue reading
An intentionally pretentious, while moderately accurate title. While they may not have been exactly what Plato had in mind, it would appear they were empowered in the way he might have imagined. In many ways, the organization ‘built’ Chicago, steering it and planning for its future – a course that led it to today’s Windy City. Their names adorn neighborhoods, streets, museums, and public infrastructure. These individual’s contributions to the city, perhaps, kept it from stuttering incrementalism or economically stalling at times. Without their power, influence, and money, Chicago would look altogether different, and other places that emulated designs and plans would clearly not look as they do. Organizations such as the club have helped to bring change to stymied growth and development, revitalize city areas, and capture culture.
The need may arise, or you may be called upon, to testify at a public hearing. For some, it may be as intimidating as a courtroom – perhaps in some respects like being the defense counsel, or in others, like being a party pursuing a civil suit. This pressure might feel overwhelming, but there are ways to prepare and educate yourself that may enable you to deliver a ‘pitch-perfect’ performance. That does indeed mean that there is a responsibility on your part (the citizen) to know the proverbial “Field of Play” when it comes to hearings, and it is the responsibility on their part (the planning body) to make the process clear and equitable.
The Streetcar idea for downtown Boise won’t go away. There is a great desire by some, Mayor Bieter chief among them, to see Boise retrofitted with a clean, classy, historical component that shuttles thousands around downtown and economically stimulates the area. As many know, Boise’s Downtown once had a Streetcar line in its repertoire of amenities. The Streetcar is therefore an organic piece of that history, and should really be approached in that way. If we want the Streetcar, we can’t sell it as if it is going to be the transportation asset we need (it isn’t), but we can offer it as the historical asset we want and couple it with a real, sincere approach to increasing connectivity and making an economic impact – expand VRT.