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Thread: Urban design toolkit

  1. #1
    Member
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    Dec 2009
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    Nashville
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    Urban design toolkit

    I am working on putting together a toolkit or example book of standard uses - gas stations, fast food, branch bank, small retail, strip center - but with good urban design. Of course that can mean a lot of different things. In an urban setting I think it means the building at the street with parking behind or beside. But in a more suburban or rural setting a knee wall and good landscaping could be very appropriate. Good examples of access management would be very useful as well.

    I have been through many of the threads from previous years and have found some great leads. I know these topics have come up before, but I am not looking for guidelines or standards, just real world, on the ground examples. If you have pictures or even a contact - the developer/architect/planning department - that would be best, but even an address I can Google Street View would be appreciated.

    Ultimately we are trying to put a book together so we can show developers that it can be done. I have heard from many developers lately that what many planners and designers consider "good urban design" is just simply bad for business (especially in this economy), and we are looking to show them otherwise.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    I don't know whether you've checked the Cyburbia Gallery, but you can find photos under "Best practices" here. There's also a "new urbanist" and "worst practices" galleries as well.
    Je suis Charlie

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    May 2009
    Location
    Seabrook, New Hampshire
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    59
    Does the state of Tennessee (or your county) allow you to enact an "ugly tax" of sorts? Sometimes, zoning laws and land use regs can be too restrictive, and the intent is not to be extreme, but encouraging. Some towns are enact "big box taxes" of sort, or bundling size (volume or area) into their impact fees/permit fees, etc. If you are allowed to tax parking spaces in front of a building, (or gas pumps, large signs, etc), I would do that.

    If something is absolutely critical for a business--or a rule cannot practically be complied with--the business pays a tax or fee for waiver. The business owner then has an understanding that those funds will be entered into the CIP or other improvement fund to offset the harm of ugly or less compatible forms and uses.

  4. #4
    Member
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    Nashville
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    I am not sure if we have the enabling legistlation to do that sort of thing or not. But, the idea behind this toolkit is to show developers that it can be done and provide them with the resources to investigate on their own.

    We have used regulatory measures to get good urban design in different areas of the city, but we are finding they work best in areas where the market and the density make it viable. In other locations - especially where safety is a concern - it is not as feasible to mandate a particular form, but we can begin to make it easy to do the right thing.

    I am especially looking for good examples of parking to the side of the building. This seems to be the best compromise because it begins to create a street wall while keeping the parking visible from the street. In the long run buildigns can fill in the gaps.

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