Overlooking the potential effects of national policy.

Warren - Wikipedia, 04/09/2014

Warren – Wikipedia, 04/09/2014

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

Approaching neighborhoods with a community focus

Boise—city of neighborhoods? Credit: Andrew Crisp. Accessed 4/5/2014.

Boise—city of neighborhoods? Credit: Andrew Crisp. Accessed 4/5/2014.

This Spring, members of our Community and Regional Planning cohort have embedded themselves within three Boise neighborhoods, Morris Hill, West Valley and Collister. Through interviews with residents and major stakeholders, each neighborhood has revealed a rich local history, diverse, fascinating individuals and together have opened a window into better understanding the larger city itself. However, our process, in my mind, has also revealed the blatant underrepresentation of neighborhoods within the local planning process.

Boise can and should more fully embrace a neighborhood planning approach. Both city officials and residents themselves have made strides in recent years, but more can be done to integrate a neighborhood focus into the larger effort to guide growth and change in the city. Instead of planning for neighborhoods, policymakers ought to engage in efforts to empower neighborhoods to plan for themselves.
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A “Small Community” within the Community?


Boise City Comprehensive General Plan (City of Boise, 1963)

“In the consideration of residential areas, the neighborhood is usually considered to be the basic unit. It is generally conceived of as a small community within the community having more or less homogenous physical character and interests. The preferred pattern for a neighborhood centers about the elementary school site and play area and is designed to be free of unnecessary vehicular traffic.” (Boise City Comprehensive General Plan, 1963)

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Dolores Hayden: The Cycle of Suburbia

"Dolores Hayden", accessed 2/3/2014, www.doloreshayden.com

“Dolores Hayden”, accessed 2/3/2014, http://www.doloreshayden.com

Dolores Hayden is an accomplished academic, author, poet, historian and urbanist. Her career has been speckled with success and notoriety; the notability of her publications would make some of the most-read authors cower with respect. Hayden is most known for her work delving into the antithesis of “idealistic” living: the Suburb. Continue reading

Community choices for Idaho: Idaho’s community program

At the annual conference of the Idaho chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-Idaho), Ted Vanegas  presented on the Community Choices for Idaho (CCI) program. A Senior Transportation Planner with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), Vanegas used this session to share the history of the program and how it advances ITD’s strategic goals of mobility, safety, and economic opportunity. Continue reading

The hidden costs of centralized animal feeding operations

The face of modern day agriculture has made a radical shift over the past few decades.  Most agricultural production in the United States is no longer done on small family owned farms, but on enormous corporate farms and animal feeding lots . One of the biggest changes comes from the rise of the Centralized Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This new face of agriculture, and in particular CAFOs have the potential to seriously damage not only our environment, but also the health of our communities.
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Stand and deliver: testifying at a planning and zoning hearing

Meridian City Hall, Idaho - Wikimedia, 12/16/2013

Meridian City Hall, Idaho – Wikimedia, 12/16/2013

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.
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