Hello Seattle: Project for Code Reform

As most of us at PlaceMakers settle into Seattle for this week’s 25th Congress for the New Urbanism, we look forward to seeing many of you on the west coast. For those of you who can’t make this year’s congress, be sure to check in with the social media hashtag, #CNU25. We’ll bring you a recap of some of our favourite ideas this time next week. In the meantime, to contribute to the virtual sharing of ideas about how to up livability in our communities, we are making many of our Placemaking@Work webinar series free for the month of May.

Even if you don’t have time to watch them all during May, go ahead and sign up for any that interest you. Once you create a quick account and “purchase” the free webinars, you may watch each segment indefinitely. However, once May is over, you won’t be able to sign up without the usual fee of $15 per webinar.

If you are joining the Congress in Seattle, at posting of this blog, there were five seats still available for the Project for Code Reform Workshop. Six of us code geeks will lead this day-long Wednesday workshop, considering a range of land use law interventions to help places become more walkable. You’ve heard us blog extensively about character-based land use law, on how to use form-based codes instead of use-based codes to make neighborhoods more market responsive. That market being dominated for the near future by the silver tsunami who wants to lock it and leave and the Millennials who want to walk the stroller to dinner.

We’ve discussed the Lean Code Tool outlining some of the steps toward satisfying this market demand that may not involve a form-based code, but rather S-M-L-XL interventions. On the XL end of the spectrum, land use upgrades of form-based codes are still the most holistic tools. But in cases without the political will, they are often not the best tools. Here is more from CNU CEO Lynn Richards about the Project for Code Reform.

If you’re considering joining us for the Project for Reform Workshop, we will start the morning with a couple hours of lectures at the Seattle Art Museum to establish the context and complete self-assessments to divide into working groups. If you’re joining us virtually, review the presentations here and here, and take the self-assessment here, to help you decide which of the S-M-L-XL set of tools is right for your community. Then download the Lean Code Tool here to consider which tools you may want to use.

If you’re with us in person, we will set out on a walking tour from the Seattle Art Museum to the International District. Based on which S-M-L-XL group we’ve divided ourselves into, we will be thinking about how our set of tools could change the urban form that we observe along the way. Within the International District, we’ve mapped frontages as good, mediocre, and regrettable, and will be looking at ways that the Lean Code Tool can help.

Ranier Avenue South in Columbia City, as inspiration for the Tukwila CNU Legacy Charrette. Image credit: Steve Mouzon.

Ranier Avenue South in Columbia City, as inspiration for the Tukwila CNU Legacy Charrette. Image credit: Steve Mouzon.

West Seattle, as inspiration for the Tukwila CNU Legacy Charrette. Image credit: Steve Mouzon.

West Seattle, as inspiration for the Tukwila CNU Legacy Charrette. Image credit: Steve Mouzon.

Ranier Avenue South in Columbia City, as inspiration for the Tukwila CNU Legacy Charrette. Image credit: Andrew von Maur.

Ranier Avenue South in Columbia City, as inspiration for the Tukwila CNU Legacy Charrette. Image credit: Andrew von Maur.

As always, we are interested in hearing what you are doing at home to change your suburban nation into a more walkable, bikable place. Make sure you add your work to the Codes Study or let us know about it in the comments below.

Hazel Borys

If PlaceShakers is our soapbox, our Facebook page is where we step down, grab a drink and enjoy a little conversation. Looking for a heads-up on the latest community-building news and perspective from around the web? Click through and “Like” us and we’ll keep you in the loop.

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  1. [...] of my favourite sessions at CNU 25 was the day-long Project for Code Reform Workshop. Along with the session on the CNU Legacy Projects where Lean Code ideas were applied. In the case [...]

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