Planned Development: The Foundation of a Sustainable Community

After exploring the Olympic stadium case study, turning to the sustainable community seems like the proper step in revealing recent solutions of many green-conscious developers. Before environmentally-friendly design was an issue, cities grew according to the suburban sprawl model where high density in cities forced families to move to the outskirts (see photo right). Because of this, a geographical separation between work and home has been formed that remains in most modern cities. Consequently, these conditions have previously forced urban planners to design cities for cars rather than people. With the environmental problems that plague cities today, it is apparent that they need to be planned so that when they do expand, they grow in a manner which is sustainable for both the environment and its population. Many cities are turning to urban planners in order to create sustainable communities. The specific goal of these urban planners needs to be to create a planned development that has the ability to be self-sufficient. This can generally be achieved through designing mixed-use projects and making changes in zoning codes. While researching the results of planned urban development, I came across two blog posts that I believe strengthen this argument. At these two well-researched blogs, I decided to offer my opinion on the subject. The first post, California Uses Zoning Changes to Cut Carbon Emissions, is written by Joshua Rosenau, a doctorate student of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at the University of Kansas. His post discusses the benefits of planning urban design around efficient infrastructure, and specifically how recent changes in California zoning codes will reduce carbon emissions and promote a healthier lifestyle. The second post focuses on a more macrocosmic view of planned development. In Improvement of Environment in Urban Cities: Green Cover with Planned Developments is Key, engineer Partha Das Sharma outlines the necessary key concepts for creating ecologically efficient urban cities. In addition to posting my comments on each blog respectively, I have also posted them below.

"California Uses Zoning Changes to Cut Carbon Emissions"
I would like to thank you for giving extensive insight into how California's zoning changes will in fact make a difference in the realm of urban development. I am interested in the way that you present infrastructure as if it is the foundation for sustainable projects. I agree that in many cases, infrastructure is an afterthought, but many times that is because planners are able to distinguish important destinations later on in the life of a sub-city. This is why I agree that planned development is the perfect compromise when it comes to integrating transportation into urban planning. Although your original assertion is that carbon emissions will be reduced by these zone changes, you continue to exploit the human benefits of planned urbanism. Specifically, you give the example of how planned urban development will allow people to walk to the market, decrease the amount of food they purchase, and in turn have the ability to purchase fresher food since trips to the grocery store become more frequent. This change in infrastructure from cars to foot creates a sustainable city while encouraging a sustainable lifestyle for the individual. This lifestyle change is one result of progressive urban development that I may have never considered if I had not read this post. I also found your argument to be credible in the sense that the results have changed your perspective on urban development, considering you seem to experience the benefits of progressive development on a day-to-day basis. The integration of facts among your personal account supports your argument on both a macro and micro level. At the end of the post, you mention that in less dense communities, private grocery stores are "economically inefficient." Although it seems plausible, it would help your assertion to provide the statistics or to "paint a picture" of how dense is dense enough to support this development style. Additionally, the title of the post suggests that the blog will discuss zoning codes, but the bulk of the text is dedicated to exposing the benefits of pedestrian infrastructure. Your post gives valuable personal insight into the difference between car and pedestrian traffic, and the title could draw attention to this.

"Improvement of Environment In Urban Cities: Green Cover with Planned Development is Key"
Thank you for offering such a thorough outline of the conditions that will allow a city to evolve with recent (though not mandatory) environmental standards. By presenting your argument as an outline, you allow your audience to see the steps individually and expose the major benefits that can be produced from changing one aspect of a communities design. Since I have begun my blog, I have found that there is a limited amount of sources that merge the realms of sustainability and real estate development, but this post offers an extensive amount of information in these areas. I appreciate that you take the time to explain the cultural factors of sustainability as well as the physical. While I have explored the importance of creating sustainable structures, your post has highlighted the necessity of sustainable communities, including the social effects of green park space in a project. My target with this comment is to specifically discuss the importance of planned urban development. It is beneficial to your argument when you note that urbanization is irreversible, and thus, it is important to make sure that the urban planning remains sustainable in the future. This being one of the biggest problems with the sporadic and quick development practices of the past decade. This is a perspective that I had not thought to analyze until reading your post. Additionally, I find that mixed-use projects should be the basis of these planned developments. By integrating business and shopping districts into residential projects, the city becomes about the individual rather than the car (see photo above left). Like you mention, this will also impact the environment via the reduction of pollution. Although you present your solution very precisely, I believe that it would strengthen your argument to mention the political influence on projects in addition to planning problems. Zoning regulations can prevent mixed-use developments or the amount of green space that a project may contain. Do you believe that city legislation should unconditionally allow these types of projects? Additionally, I am curious to know whether or not you see the guidelines that you present being used in the urban planning of today's most rapidly growing and progressive cities such as Dubai?

1 comment:

Jamie Zekofsky said...

I would like to start off by saying that although this is not a subject encountered every day, I find it fascinating. Having grown up in an area where cars were a necessecity, I always dreamed that walking to the store would be an attainable part of my every day life. It is very important to start making green communities and now I see how urban planning is at the center of it all.
I think you are very knowledgeable in your comments regarding your subject matter. In your response post to, "California Uses Zoning Changes to Cut Carbon Emissions" you mention that infrastructure is an after thought and give a possible reason behind it. The shows your deep understand of the roots of this situation. After looking over the article, I agree with you feeling as though the author was discussion emissions and happened to focus more on the human benefits. One comment that specifically stuck out in my mind referred to how dense is dense. That would have been much more helpful for the author to explain in greater detail. In your response to "Improvement of Environment In Urban Cities: Green Cover with Planned Development is Key", you focused on the importance of planned urban development. In understanding a bit more about this practice, I agree with you in saying mixed-use projects should be important in these planning projects. You did very well in making your opinions clear in a constructive way.
While I feel that you did a great job in explaining your points, I would like to offer a bit of constructive criticism: one thing I would have liked to have is a better understanding of certain topics of discussion. In discussing your ideas and opinions you express a lot of urban development lingo, for example, mixed-use. Although I was able to decipher the meaning, it took a bit of research. All in all, it was a great blog and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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