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Many cities and towns are looking to Form Based Codes (FBC) as a way to combat the woes enabled by traditional single use zoning (e.g. the loss of historic neighborhoods, sprawling development patterns, increasing reliance on the automobile, to name a few). In a nutshell, FBC regulates how a building relates to its surrounding environment and less so on the building’s actual use (I’m oversimplifying here…for a better definition check out the Form Based Code Institute).
Many great communities share a particular DNA—the scale of the buildings, the width of the streets, the mix of uses, etc. Just as slight variations in DNA result in different people, slight variations in land use regulations can lead to different places. These differences can be essential to retaining what makes our cities and towns unique.More
For most Denverites, summer weekends involve a Subaru or Toyota, a tent and a two-hour drive to the mountains. Last weekend, I threw my tent in the “way back” of my friend’s Four Runner and headed to South Park, Colorado.
I trust that you’ve all seen an episode or two of South Park—the irreverent adult cartoon that gained infamy as a result of one of the Internet’s first viral videos. But did you know that South Park is indeed an actual region of the Colorado Rockies? Host of a handful of towns that boast a combined population of about 1,500, South Park is also home to several thousand cattle, gold medal trout fishing, fabulous camping and beautiful mountain vistas.
Last Saturday afternoon, we stashed our fishing rods, peeled off our waders and headed to McCall’s bar in Fairplay, Colorado. With a year-round population of 610, Fairplay is the booming metropolis of South Park. What could make us abandon the abundance of rainbow and brown trout just begging to be caught on the Middle Fork of the South Platte, you ask? The answer is simple: USA vs. Ghana.More
This morning I sat down with my two-year-old son to read a book called Harry and the Lady Next Door. Though I’ve been familiar with the story since my own childhood, a hidden story within the story revealed itself to me today. But let’s start with the basic premise:
Harry (our protagonist) is a small, friendly, spotted dog of the terrier variety, who loves “all his neighbors…all except one.” The neighbor in question is the infamous Lady Next Door (antagonist), who sings incessantly, very high and very loud, which of course hurts Harry’s sensitive ears. She sings higher than the peanut man’s whistle, louder than the siren on the fire engine, higher and louder than all of the neighborhood cats put together. So Harry sets out to make her stop.More
The Maine Arts Commission has launched a new initiative called Creative Communities = Economic Development, which makes “substantial awards to communities that will allow cultural organizations to become strong partners in their communities’ development, leveraging collaboration between cultural, municipal and economic development interests.” Executive Director Donna McNeil says she was “tremendously inspired” by the Foundation’s Heart & Soul work in Maine (and by Bill Roper’s talk last year at the Friends of Midcoast Maine’s annual meeting). McNeil wants to give the arts and culture sector a voice in larger community economic development planning, where they are usually undervalued or overlooked.
The project will help put the State’s Quality of Place Initiative into action, “putting your money where your mouth is,” so to speak, by offering two $50,000 grants to Maine cultural organizations in partnership with a municipality. Successful applicants, “should be on the precipice of redevelopment with culture as a central player and demonstrate that these funds will function as a ‘tipping point.’” Other criteria include a commitment of leadership, collaboration, and public engagement, including youth.More
Being the new kid on the Heart & Soul block has been easy in a lot of ways. People are welcoming and open and seem genuinely interested in hearing from me. But in other ways, breaking in to this world has been nearly impossible. How does one gather information about a field that’s so unique that its players frequently don’t even know they’re in the game?
I find myself observing a lot, hesitant to contribute until I know more. I frenetically Google while on conference calls. I browse what I hope are relevant blogs and news articles, always looking for something to pique my interest. Because the Foundation is in the business of connecting the dots, there is no well-worn trail littered with crumbs for me to follow from one innovation to the next.More
You’ve likely read the many remembrances of Stewart Udall, conservationist, former secretary of the interior, and the last surviving member of President Kennedy’s cabinet. Udall died March 20th in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the age of 90.
For many westerners, Stewart Udall earned elevated status as a favorite “son” who did well by and for the West. As Interior Secretary in both the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, Udall played a significant role in the preservation of 3.85 million acres of public lands, which included the creation of 50 new national wildlife refuges, eight national seashores and four national parks—Canyonlands in Utah, North Cascades in Washington, Redwood in California and Guadalupe Mountains in Texas—not to mention 20 historic sites, including the now famous cultural hub, Carnegie Hall.More
Photo: © Pedro Meyer, 1997
Just the other night I was casting around for some blog post inspiration. We all work so hard in the trenches and in our heads that sometimes it’s hard to get out of the present and think a little more broadly.
So there I am reading my local weekly paper and out jumps an essay about Plato. That is one of the attributes of living in a college town: professors will share their musings, often “dumbed down” for us mere mortals. In this particular article, Professor Victor Nuovo discusses “Laws,” a less well known work of Plato’s, and reminds us of the role of individuals:
“[I]f the rule of law is to accomplish [peace], it cannot be imposed upon a people from the outside or from above. It must operate within each individual member of society....” (Addison County Independent, March 11, 2010 p 17A).More
A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to tour more than a dozen progressive small towns and cities in western Washington state; I met many local officials and personally experienced some of their greatest achievements, primarily in the realm of the built environment. Many projects included mixed-use centers, walkable neighborhood designs that connected people to their downtowns and mixed-income housing developments. Some projects were brand new and others were designed to enhance historic charm and character. During the tour, however, I was struck with the realization that something was lacking: only a few of these places or project sites truly fostered intergenerational needs, and in particular the needs of children.More