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blodgett

Growing Communities conference

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check out the conference brochure at gvmc.org for the June 12th "growing communities conference". for the price and time, it is well worth it. Reid Ewing's session alone, plus a founding new urbanist, and UofM Arch and Planning Dean - Doug Kelbaugh.

Successful New Urbanist Developments**

Peter Allen of Peter Allen & Associates. Land developers have come a long way in adopting new designs based on historic principles of good urban form. However, building truly successful developments requires so much more. Peter Allen is a well known developer and educator from the Ann Arbor area and will share critical aspects of successful urban development projects including land acquisition, financing, assessing profitability and more. Some of the sessions:

Making Transit Oriented Developments**

Alden Raine, of DMJM Harris. With all the talk in Grand Rapids about new transit options for our future, it is time to take a serious look at developing centers and nodes associated with those options. Join us for this important presentation on how to build Transit Oriented Developments ( TOD ʼs) and learn what might best fit our proposed S. Division BRT and similar projects which may be ahead for Grand Rapids

For Whom the Town Plans**

George Fulton, PhD. U of M. This presentation will take a look at recently released population forecasts for Michigan and our metropolitan area and help paint the picture about who we are becoming. This information will have profound implications for our future demographics, our future land use and master plans and how we hope to build better cities and communities in the years ahead.

Cities as Energy & Climate Change Solution**

Center for Clean Air Policy

As America faces the twin challenges of unsustainable energy consumption and an increasingly erratic climate, we also have the chance to undertake widespread solutions by rebuilding our cities and infrastructure to support more efficient forms of transportation. Studies show that by building with better design, we can increase access to goods, services and each other, while at the same time reducing overall energy spent. This session will highlight a recent report on mitigating climate change.

Registration_Brochure_2008_e_distribution_final_.pdf

Registration_Brochure_2008_e_distribution_final_.pdf

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I'd be very very watchful for any population data that does not match the current reality. In my township, we've just recently replaced nearly all the population data in our future land use plan - after we found all the US Census and other projections to be waaaay off the mark. We had to go dig up all our data ourselves in order to obtain an accurate picture. Demographically, our township is growing in only one age group: empty-nesters. All other age groups are shrinking. For what it is worth, my firm opinion is that we need to be focusing our energy on the redevelopment of our existing housing stock within a radius of downtown that could easily be served my mass transit - NOT the establishment of new housing starts at the perimeter (where some developers might be more inclined to pursue TND designs in open farm fields). Just my two cents...

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For what it is worth, my firm opinion is that we need to be focusing our energy on the redevelopment of our existing housing stock within a radius of downtown that could easily be served my mass transit - NOT the establishment of new housing starts at the perimeter (where some developers might be more inclined to pursue TND designs in open farm fields). Just my two cents...

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You are right on with that. We need to focus on existing and connected urban places and quit worrying about unconnected suburban elements. Make our existing urban places better at the building, block and street level. Make the public realm better for pedestrian activity. Increase density. Integrate transit. These urban places can also be the coherent small towns and villages that exhibit the ability to house vertical mixed-use in their downtowns and walkable neighborhoods (relative to their downtown) on their perimeter.

But we all know this already...right?

In the future, this will hopefully allow us to deliver the most important thing to our citizens and population centers. Food.

I do think that the conference will have at least one person who has and is championing this cause, on the ground in Ann Arbor. Developer Peter Allen. Much of his work as been toward increasing density and rebuilding the urban fabric of Ann Arbor. I doubt he would be promoting building in greenfields....thankfully.

But you are right, no more cookie cutter TNDs in the greenfields. Hopefully the economy and energy prices will finally kill all that off, permanently and forever.

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Planning consultants don't have the luxury to suggest and/or do whatever they want...even if they believe it is the best possible strategy. Their work is often guided by the client, i.e. the municipal planning commission. Going around telling PC's that they are wrong and giving them opinions on stuff you weren't asked about tends to get consultants fired. Staff planners have a bit of an easier go at it but still they have people they must answer to as well.

I'm not saying I don't agree with those principles because I do. I'm just saying it is not that easy to implement them.

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Agreed, we can not just rely on planners.

In this country we tend to desire to simplify complex systems in order to facilitate efficiency. Efficiency trumps many things in a nation where quantity trumps quality - for many "necessary" reasons.

We have replaced small family farms that grow and raise complex mixed crops and diverse species in small scale natural systems with CAFOs and corn monocultures. Because big jobs require big industry, allegedly.

We have replaced limited or no zoning that is locally calibrated and mixes uses at a very fine grain in a sensible way with a one-size fits all monoculture ordinance that is eerily the same from region to region.

We have replaced local vernacular architecture with cookie cutter architecture. We now have on overarching building code throughout this state, whereas even as recent as 10 years ago, there were 2 to 3 different codes in different municipalities.

Efficiency and national security trump all other decisions.

We need to begin to take these things back from the industrial machine. We all need to work together to change the single use monoculture planning which is quickly becoming obsolete. Not just planning consultants, but citizens, farmers, and architects. While restoring our cities, towns and villages we also need to restore our pastoral countryside and turn it into sustainable and humane food production.

We all need to demand better, buy local and reinvigorate a local method of doing things at smaller, more sustainable scales.

What we should be demanding in regards to placemaking the human habitat are two things: urbanism and ruralism/Agrarianism. We need only these two things, calibrated, connected and at a graduated variety.

Neither is more important, nor mutually exclusive. They are symbiotic.

Anyway as to the topic thread, the GVMC is doing many of these things on a fairly small budget. Peter Allen is doing many of these things, on the ground in bricks and mortar. Doug Kelbaugh is a founding member of the CNU - which is addressing these issues. To have these people accessible here for a relatively inexpensive fee is a big deal. We can all learn something from them and the other presenters.

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Urban Planet was quickly mentioned in the presentation at the conference's welcome session. I felt like stopping the speaker to ask how many people in the room were members here :)

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Urban Planet was quickly mentioned in the presentation at the conference's welcome session. I felt like stopping the speaker to ask how many people in the room were members here :)

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I went over to Rose's on the lake about 5:25 after I got off work, hoping to catch the end of 4pm post-conference gathering organized by United Growth of Kent County, but I didn't see anyone I recognized and there was no obvious group left. There was one table of 6 that had people who looked like they could have been at the workshop, but I didn't ask.

Instead I spent an hour flyering Gaslight Village and East Hills for my PedalGR ride.

Did anyone go to Rose's?

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Attached is a link to channel 13, which ran a segment on the conference. There are portions of an interview with Doug Kelbaugh and Peter Allen. You can check out the video and story at the link below. The video should be linked on the right hand side of the article.

For those of you who attended this conference, what did you think of Kelbaugh's keynote speech? What did you think of Peter Allen's session or Reid Ewing's session? Both of these sessions were excellent.

Ewing is an engineer who provides a lot of data toward utilizing cities as energy and climate change solutions. He really hit on VMT's and how they impact some of our problems. Changing CAFE standards will not get us to where we need to be, despite whatever the politicians say. These CAFE standards are only one piece. We need to live closer to where we work. We need to live more local.

This theme was pretty much reiterated by all three of these leading practitioners. This was probably one of the more valuable conferences the GVMC has ever held, IMO.

link

If the link doesn't work, here it is....

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/story.asp...=93738#comments

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Attached is a link to channel 13, which ran a segment on the conference. There are portions of an interview with Doug Kelbaugh and Peter Allen. You can check out the video and story at the link below. The video should be linked on the right hand side of the article.

For those of you who attended this conference, what did you think of Kelbaugh's keynote speech? What did you think of Peter Allen's session or Reid Ewing's session? Both of these sessions were excellent.

Ewing is an engineer who provides a lot of data toward utilizing cities as energy and climate change solutions. He really hit on VMT's and how they impact some of our problems. Changing CAFE standards will not get us to where we need to be, despite whatever the politicians say. These CAFE standards are only one piece. We need to live closer to where we work. We need to live more local.

This theme was pretty much reiterated by all three of these leading practitioners. This was probably one of the more valuable conferences the GVMC has ever held, IMO.

link

If the link doesn't work, here it is....

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/story.asp...=93738#comments

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