This one is about Strong Towns. As you might imagine, a Strong Town is a place that can withstand a little turbulence. It is a place built to last and it achieves this by growing incrementally in a low-risk way. A Strong Town recognizes that infrastructure costs to service low-density fringe development can bankrupt the city. Instead, it looks to the traditional development pattern for advice. How did cities grow when they couldn't take on debt or rely on state/provincial/federal funding? One parcel at a time, one extra storey at a time, one block at a time, one small experiment at a time...
This is not a movement that stipulates we need our new cities to look like old cities in an architectural design sense. It simply takes cues from how our great-great grandparents managed to build wonderful urban environments without fancy architecture, engineering, and planning degrees. There is an inherent wisdom in the pattern of old cities and we have a lot to learn from it.
I think this message will resonate in Fredericton and I appreciate the work going on at strongtowns.org so I'm getting more involved with their team. In fact, I'll be a regular blog contributor and podcast guest going forward.
That brings me to the multimedia goodies of this installment of Another Place for Me.
First, here is my first blog for Strong Towns.
Saying No for the Sake of Yes
In great cities, large and small, you can’t see what is almost certainly there: one helluva lot of ‘No.’ As in application declined, we're looking for a different kind of development. There are sympathetic no’s, ALLCAPS NO’s, and agonizing debate-into-the-night no’s. You have to be willing to say no to the bad if you want your city to be built with the good, especially with the development incentives rigged as they are today.
Most of us are very uncomfortable with no. We would much rather have a bias to yes, save time and make someone’s day. Sometimes cities are so are overwhelmed by the need to house, move, and employ people that they take what’s on the table with some amendments here and there rather than doing the hard work to envision and solicit what would be best. READ MORE