This week, California attempts to usurp zoning control from cities to increase affordable housing, rivers used to catch on fire in pre-EPA America, Melbourne’s trees get email addresses, and what does the term ‘Orwellian’ actually mean?
An abundance of asphalt and concrete increases air temperatures locally, which can exacerbate the effects of heat waves and generally cause unpleasant conditions. This is known as the urban heat island effect and it can be true for both sprawled suburbs and dense cities. Savannah’s beautiful green spaces offer a prime example of how the benefits of dense development can be achieved while mitigating or eliminating the urban heat island effect.
Weekly Links: Westerners Love Their Public Land, An App to Track Tsunamis, and Ride-Sharing is Increasing Traffic Congestion
This week, fixing the misleading election result maps, traffic congestion increases as people choose Uber and Lyft over transit and walking, only 26% of residents in Mountain West states support increased mining on public land, and a potential app to detect and monitor tsunamis.
Buckhead has sometimes been referred to as the Jewel of Atlanta, though this title is severely threatened by its increasingly underwhelming user experience. Its lack of vibrancy, identity, and walkability make the neighborhood a shining example of poor urban design and undercut its ability to attract residents and businesses. In its attempt to remain relevant, Buckhead should look to Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, Virginia’s Tyson’s Corner, and Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood.
Pro-helmet and anti-helmet advocates both make compelling arguments in the quest to make cycling safer. While better urban design principles would fundamentally solve the safety problem, courts may find that cyclists have a duty to wear a helmet.
Cities are in love with small coffee shops, artisan burger shops, and boutique clothing stores. The only thing they like more is taking people’s property and converting it to those types of businesses. This is, of course, a bit of hyperbole, though many would make that statement with much more sincerity. A bill passed by the Georgia Legislature would allow local governments to condemn blighted property and sell it to developers. It’s not a bad idea.
A bill in the Georgia Legislature would allow property owners to swap “No Trespassing” signs for purple lines to ward off trespassing. Without a widespread campaign to educate the public, the use of such an arbitrary symbol could make criminals out of innocent hikers and outdoorsmen.
Home and small music studios are the lifeblood of the Atlanta music scene. Recent violence in city neighborhoods has given rise to an ordinance to eliminate studios from residential areas. While an updated regulatory scheme may be necessary, the proposed Atlanta ordinance is a step in the wrong direction.
This is an important question since structures built under the auspices of an old zoning code that are now excluded from the current zoning code are at odds with the updated vision for the community. This may not be a big deal when, say, a house is constructed a year after an area is rezoned for commercial use. However, it becomes increasingly problematic when that house is now a power plant and the one year has increased to ten. This ability to develop based on a 10 year old zoning code creates uncertainty for potential residents and developers who may find the nonconforming development to be an undesirable neighbor.
Density doesn’t have to be a bad word. Allowing more people to live in strategic and desirable areas in closer proximity to one another doesn’t necessarily mean turning all parts of the region into Manhattan. While we aren’t talking about San Francisco or New York levels of density, we are talking about raising the density levels in certain parts of the region to something a little less Mayberry and a little more DC or Seattle.