Tacoma — TacHOMEa: Infill Tools for a Happy City

Tacoma is a city of neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have distinct natural and built environment features that make them unique urban places. Each of these neighborhoods have an instrumental role to play in the collective need to accommodate future growth in the city. Current policies encourage the densification of neighborhoods to manage growth while other policies mandate the protection of the character of single-family residential areas. Some recent residential development in the city has caused backlash from community members and illustrates the difficulty of achieving the goals of density and compatibility simultaneously. The challenge ahead for the City of Tacoma is to meet the needs of its current and future residents in a way that recognizes evolving trends while still preserving the important qualities that lead to unique and cherished neighborhood character.

Intensifying Melbourne: Transit-Oriented Urban Design for Resilient Urban Futures

Australian cities are some of the lowest density and most car-dependent on the planet: intensified urban development and improved public transport to meet the imperatives of population growth and a low-carbon future is a major challenge. Despite decades of compact city policy there has been little change to the practice of ever-expanding suburban fringe development and freeway building that entrenches and exacerbates car-dependency. One of the major blockages to transformational change has been a lack of design vision that can capture the public imagination for more sustainable urban futures. In 2010 we commenced an ARC Linkage research project called 'Intensifying Places: Transit-Oriented Urban Design for Resilient Australian Cities'. This project seeks to analyse the potentials for Australian cities through developing visions for transit-oriented futures that can achieve broad community acceptance in a democratic framework.

Portland — Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Plan

This Strategic Plan is designed to guide future investments by the Metro TOD Program, in order to ensure the program maximizes the opportunities for catalyzing transit-oriented development throughout the region and effectively leverages additional resources to comprehensively advance TOD in all station areas and frequent bus corridors.

Integrated Land Use and Transportation Policies: What Can Reykjavík, Iceland and Other Cities Learn from Portland, Oregon?

This paper discusses integrated land use and transportation planning policies in Portland, Oregon and the lessons learned in the city’s fight against sprawl and extensive automobile-use. In particular, it focuses on how Portland’s experience with such policies can be of use to other cities which are dealing with sprawl and extensive automobile-use, particularly Reykjavík, Iceland. Portland is very famous for progressive planning and there is a wealth of information in the literature about its experience. The city is often mentioned in relation to planning initiatives such as urban growth management, smart growth, transit-oriented development (TOD), New Urbanism, and integrated land use and transportation planning to name a few. Integrated land use and transportation planning aims at mitigating problems stemming from automobile use and creating a compact and liveable city environment with land use solutions. Like most North-American cities, Reykjavík was mostly developed after the arrival of the automobile and is considered sprawled compared to most other European cities. Therefore it could learn from cities such as Portland which has dealt with similar problems as Reykjavík in an innovative and strategic way for close to four decades.

Chicago — Urban Design Strategy Report

As commute times lengthen, energy prices rise, and housing preferences change, compact, walkable urban designs have gained a higher profile nationwide. The Chicago region is no exception. Affluent suburbanites are returning to the central city and new mixed-use, transit-oriented developments are emerging in communities like Glenview and Grayslake. Recent research links compact, mixed-use developments to improved health, vibrant economies and many other social and environmental benefits. As the GO TO 2040 plan develops, good urban design will serve as the foundation on which many other regional strategies are built.

This report defines “good urban design,” identifies elements of this concept, and provides examples of how it can be measured. It also describes the effects of implementing urban design, rather than conventional development, in terms of economics, transportation, environment, and other areas. Finally, the report describes the differing effects of applying urban design in different parts of the region. This report addresses transit oriented development (TOD), which is essentially the application of urban design principles near transit; the redevelopment of greyfield sites; and the planning of new greenfield development sites using urban design principles within the development.

The Effects of Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary on Urban Development Patterns and Commuting

This research investigates the effects of Portland’s urban growth boundary (UGB) on urban development patterns and mobility. Three different methods are adopted for evaluating Portland’s UGB: intermetropolitan comparisons; comparisons inside and outside the UGB; and, statistical analyses utilising regression models. Intermetropolitan comparisons do not support the conclusion that Portland’s UGB has been effective in slowing down suburbanisation, enhancing infill development and reducing auto use. A significant level of spillover from the counties in Oregon to Clark County of Washington took place during the 1990s, indicating that the UGB diverted population growth into Clark County. Results from the statistical analyses also support the above findings. The UGB dummy variable was not significant during the 1980s and 1990s, indicating that the UGB had little impact on the location of new housing construction during the 1980s and 1990s. Unlike the UGB, the Clark County dummy variable is significant for both models, supporting the spillover effects of the UGB.

Harvard Patterns: An Analysis of the Allston/Cambridge Campuses

As Harvard faces a period of great physical growth and change, it is particularly important for its planners and designers to work from a strong basis of understanding of the varied patterns that make up the University’s existing fabric. This report comprises an initial effort by Harvard Planning and Real Estate (HPRE) to document and analyze those patterns. It is intended as a working document for the many members of the University community who share responsibility for decisions concerning the future of the unique and rich physical setting that is the Harvard campus.