Fewer acres of parkland per capita, fewer dog parks per capita, &Lower park-related expenditures per capita lead to Baltimore-Towson-Columbia region being ranked 19th out 50 of the largest metros in 2015 American Fitness Survey
One of the more interesting developments in Seattle's recent building boom has been the conversation among some residents of the Central District to attempt to organize in the face of displacement....
"the joint relationship between the trust and the homeowner can help keep the property affordable for the long haul. Today’s affordable housing can become tomorrow’s unaffordable housing as soon as it’s sold. Homestead’s renewable 99-year leases keep the property affordable, theoretically in perpetuity."
"In retrofitting suburban centers open space is the ace card. Requirements and fees are not there to repel or sink development but to make it more valuable in the long run. Only shortsighted developers would fight that."
"Embodying the commons principle that the places we live, work and play belong to us all, placemaking emphasizes that citizens must be involved in all aspects of shaping projects in their communities."
As downtown Towson grows, its transportation system needs to grow too, not just with a proposed circulator bus, but by making the area more walkable, bicycle-friendly and parking-friendly, a panel of experts told 40 people at a meeting Monday.
The rise and fall — and tentative rise again — of the "exurb."
"The updated Census county population estimates released Thursday, though, show that the exurbs are now again growing faster than more urban places, according to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey."
Dundalk residents began to make their case Thursday that turning the county's North Point Government Center into a commercial development will cause a loss of open space and is not in the community's best interest.
"... while the county will retain some ball fields on the property, there will be a net loss of open space."
"We're not against developers, but we want open government and we want open space," West Towson resident Josh Glikin told members of the Planning Board during a public hearing Thursday night.
NeighborSpace testified that the proposed fee policy fails to fully address the Council's request to address a much broader set of issues, incentivizes sprawl, perpetuates a lack of transparency in how fees are assessed, collected & used, and continues design standards that are burdensome, inflexible and antiquated.
"...suburban centers have to exhibit the features that a new generation of dwellers is looking for in the same way their center cities are trying to do it ... Great is the danger that in the end, not only will the various "rows" and squares" have similar names, but also use the same generic formulas which will make them indistinguishable from identical architectural tricks, chain stores and streetscaping. The reinvented suburban centers could easily become as much 'anywhere USA' as the suburban malls that preceded them."
Automated, technologically advanced, self-driving cars are coming, and boosters of drivable suburbia are hoping that the adoption of this mode of transportation will be a potent weapon against mass transit and cities. But what they mean for towns and suburbs isn’t quite so clear.
"Probably the biggest change is the demise of the large parking lot. These huge slabs of asphalt dominate suburban commercial landscapes, often taking up 80 percent of commercial parcels. They dominate the streetscape, and arterial suburban roads are lined with them. Without personal vehicles to park, there’s no need for a parking lot. That land could be put to productive use."
The former Bogota, Colombia, parks chief makes the case for effective city activism.
"Citizens can no longer be spectators, they must participate,” says Penalosa." (I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Penalosa at a ULI event in Detroit last summer. It's hard to argue with him on this point).
New data on transportation spending paints an alarming picture.
"The data don't say why transportation is taking a disproportionate toll on middle-class wallets, but it's not hard to target a confluence of factors: sprawling development, city housing affordability, poor transit investment, and the result of them all, car-reliance."
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz unveiled an exciting public and private funding plan to provide $4 million of additional recreation and open space in the Towson area.
Utilizing generous contributions from the Baltimore Ravens, Caves Valley Partners, the Towson Recreation Council and Towsontowne Recreation Council, the County will be able to fund two new turf fields. The County also intends to repurpose the existing concrete Patriot Plaza in front of the County Courts Building into an attractive passive park, complementing the renowned Historic Courthouse Gardens. Up to $800,000 in private funding would supplement $3.2 million of County funds, for a total of $4 million for improved open space needs.
The former owner of the Sparrows Point steel mill in Dundalk and its demolition contractor have been hit with more than $4 million in penalties for pollution violations that officials say occurred during the tear-down of old mill buildings.
"The projects do not have to be completed on the steel mill property, said Jay Apperson, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment. Instead, they could include environmental remediation or conservation efforts elsewhere."
"When told that the so called “rain tax” had nothing to do with taxing the rain and was a charge to curb and treat polluted runoff, 46 percent of those respondents said they would support the fees, and only one-third insisted they would not."
A developer seeking to build a high-rise apartment building for college students in the heart of Towson has been dealt a setback.
"Once Schlachman obtains stormwater approval, Beverungen set several restrictions on the 101 York project, including requiring the developer to pay more than $1.3 million in fees toward open-space projects. DMS also must restrict the building's residents to Towson University students and cannot put a bar or tavern in the building's ground-floor retail space."
We should be thinking, especially in small parks, about how streets and sidewalks can complement the park, or how connections feed into the park. Too frequently we focus our attention solely inside the boundaries of the park and forget the network of sidewalks, streets, and laneways that surround it.
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