As municipalities throughout North America seek to reform their development patterns (or at least expand their options) from the single-use zoning and automobile oriented regulations of the past century to those that allow for walkable, compact, mixed use places, there is a long list of standards and regulations that must be addressed. Often we discuss these issues in isolation, particularly the reform of use-based zoning into more responsive form-based zoning, and the reform of street standards from automobile-focused approaches to those that also balance the needs of bikes and pedestrians. Not only are these two regulations inextricably linked, but a roster of appropriate walkable street standards is absolutely essential to a form-based land use regulation. Where conventional zoning districts come with their own menu of street types (the ubiquitous local, collector, and arterial — all named for their vehicular function), so does the zoning for walkable urbanism (the street, avenue, and boulevard — to name a few).
Community fascinates me. Not just the idea of it, but the dynamics, and how those dynamics end up stoking or choking our collective efforts to be together. Having worked in a lot of different places, I’ve had opportunity to study community in action, at both its strongest and weakest, in all different contexts — economic, political, cultural — and have tried to identify patterns that lead to results.
I can’t remember a summer that I’ve found such satisfaction in simple pleasures as I have this season. Maybe it’s because this is my forth summer as a Canadian resident — a country that proudly dominates winter and passionately embraces summer. Or maybe it’s because the sobering events of late on many fronts have reinforced the importance of small blessings.