Examining his impact on a city after being let go.
For a guy whose name has lately been splashed all over the local media after being fired from his role as planning director of the city of Vancouver, Brent Toderian is eager to talk up his city. We met to talk and tour the city about a week after the news became official that Toderian’s contract had been ended “without cause,” a high profile change in city administration that has left some urbanist-types worried about the city’s future (and some developers in a state of relief or even celebration).
Picture Austin in the early 1980s. The population was just about 350,000, making it one of the 50 biggest cities in the United States—not tiny, but also not a major metropolis. Despite being the capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas flagship, Austin was still a relatively small, low-rise, low-density city. So, in 1984, when the city rewrote the rules that guide the city’s development, land use, and zoning—known as the Land Development Code—this powerful document was drawn up for the small city it was then.
Back by popular desperation, a recession-halted program from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation will soon resume installing speed humps on neighborhood streets. Residents on more than 800 city blocks have petitioned for the traffic-calming asphalt lumps over the last three years. They want to slow traffic and make their streets safer, dissuading all those drivers straying into residential areas—directed by navigation apps and sheer frustration—as they try to avoid the horrendous traffic elsewhere.
The project-manager-turned-public-servant discusses the ideas that helped him defeat an incumbent for a seat on West Hollywood’s city council.
John D’Amico, 47, is the newest member of the City Council of West Hollywood, Calif., which is a small, independent city of 34,000 people almost completely surrounded by the metropolis of Los Angeles. But unlike the typical cadre of attorneys and organizers who fill these sorts of seats in cities across the country, D’Amico comes to his new role with a master’s degree in architecture and urban design and a second in aesthetics and politics, plus more than 20 years of experience in the field.
Population growth slows in the U.S., air quality rules challenge density in California, and farmers look at Detroit as a new agricultural center -- all on this week's Planetizen News Brief, produced for Smart City Radio.
Full Transcript (Audio available as .mp3 at Planetizen)
Bulldoze? Densify? Walk away? There are many ways cities can react to shrinking populations and abandoned neighborhoods. Planetizen readers decide which ways are the best.
It's hard to think about Detroit these days without picturing empty streets, cracked windows, and chaos -- essentially, a broken city. In fact, if the idea of a "broken city" needed a poster child, Detroit would be high in the running. Between 2000 and 2007, the city lost more than 30,000 people. More than 15,000 homes are currently under bank ownership. More than 3,100 homes were torn down in 2008.