Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smart City Radio

Let me preface myself-- currently, I work full-time (I must specify full-time because I also intern part-of-my-time or part-time, in a local City's Planning Department) for a non-planning related company. I sit and push buttons, move papers, yakkity yak on the phone, As I am mindlessly going through my work, I try to infuse my day with a hint of planning. I'll read a few planning articles this hour, look at a few City websites here, work on my Internship work there...and so forth and so on. Well, in my jaunt of reading my daily planning articles, I came across this gem today. Go ahead and put this on as you're working away, cooking at home, sipping some wine and I think you may just enjoy your time thinking about planning just a bit more!

Smart City Radio

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Modern Day Revival: Howard or Le Corbusier?

This interesting article looks at Howard's Garden City concept but infuses it with a modern take based on high city densities. Urban Garden Cities on steroids. Take a looksy. The concepts portrayed in this article are more of a hybrid based on the traditional minds of Howard and Le Corbusier. Enjoy!

Read the full Article Here- Planetizen

Monday, August 15, 2011

Biking? Fun? Could it be true?!

If only our bike rides to work, to restaurants, to friend's houses, to the beach could be accompanied by DJ Sets, snack tables flanking bike paths, costumes and glow sticks. This is the day that I one day will plan for... but in the mean time, here are two fun events for those that love biking (and the causes it may support) and/or events that showcase alternative transportation. I have lived in San Diego for the majority of my life and have never heard of these events. Publicize, publicize, publicize these events, friends!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Community Garden Reform in San Diego

My first post brings exciting news! After battling for many years to streamline the process for starting community gardens in San Diego, local food advocacy group "1 in 10 Coalition" won a great victory for their fellow residents. Community gardens can now be started on any commercial or residential zoned land, with sale of produce allowed onsite in commercial areas. Previously the permitting process was expensive, lengthy and confusing.

This is great news, and it strikes close to home for me, as I've been working closely with Project New Village to prepare for the opening of the Mt. Hope Community Garden. With this new ordinance in place we can finally begin to break ground on the garden - a much-needed addition to a neighborhood in dire need of increased access to healthy fresh produce. It will also be the closest community garden to my own home in Encanto. I imagine the Mt. Hope Community Garden becoming a vibrant urban sanctuary as well as a place where neighbors can explore alternatives to the energy-dependent industrial food system. We'll also be helping the gardeners explore certification options so that they can then sell their extra produce at the local farmers market. All in all, this ordinance will have great benefits for both the health and economic development of the community!

Media Contact: Parke Troutman, 1 in 10 Coalition
Friday, July 8, 2011 619.297.0295


Community Gardeners Applaud the City’s Streamlined Regulations

San Diego, CA — Yesterday, Mayor Jerry Sanders signed into law new city rules that will help residents create much needed community gardens. The City Council unanimously approved the new regulations on June 7 in response to costly bureaucratic problems community groups encountered when trying to grow food in vacant lots. Momentum for change came after the International Rescue Committee spent $46,000 to get a permit for the New Roots Community Farm in City Heights.

The 1 in 10 Coalition, a local group promoting access to healthy foods, has been working for several years with Councilmember Todd Gloria to simplify the regulations. “the turning point came at the beginning of the year,” explained Diane Moss, the executive director of the non- profit Project New Village. “Council President Tony Young had allocated $50,000 to help us start a garden in Mt. Hope, but the best site SEDC could find was in a commercial zone where community gardens were not allowed. That gave the issue new urgency.” Sherri Lightner, replacing Councilmember Gloria as the chair of the Land Use and Housing Committee, pressed for a quick overhaul of the regulations, which will no longer require the expensive permitting process in residential and commercial zones.

“For the last several years, enthusiasm for community gardens has been building, and I expect that a number of the proposed gardens waiting in the wings will begin to materialize,” said Judy Jacoby, director of the San Diego Community Garden Network (SDCGN). “While we’ve been working on the code change, we’ve been creating resources to help people who want to start community gardens. Starting and running a successful community garden can be challenging and we want to help people do it right so that their garden is not only a source of fresh fruits and vegetables but is also welcomed as a positive addition in their community.” SDCGN has created a website dedicated to providing the public with information and resources on gardening.

The 1 in 10 Coalition is a network of local food activists dedicated to encouraging access to healthy food for all San Diegans. Its ten-point platform is devoted to reforming regulations concerning poultry, bees, farmers' markets, composting and, of course, community gardens. Its supporters include Victory Gardens, Healthy WorksSM School and Community Garden Program, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, Food Not Lawns, Roots Sustainable Food Project, the International Rescue Committee, Project New Village, and the San Diego Community Garden Network (

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Think globally. Bike Locally

Since the Brundtland Report of 1987, sustainable development has often been referred to as one that affects the 3 basic E's-- Environment, (Social) Equity, and Economy (and some choose to include Ecology, as a forth prong). The stepchild, in my opinion, of the aforementioned equation is that of Economy. While development must be financed in some way, shape, or form (public; private; public-private partnerships...alot of alliteration going on, so far!), establishing a stable local economy is often left at the wayside in favor of compromised design, regulatory policies, and unwavering public opinion. Even more so, as discussed in the previous post, our urban fabric is supported by a road system that caters to the crossing of economies. How easy is it to drive to the other county's IKEA, rather than purchase furniture from a local-craft consignment store? Too easy. Convenience paves the way for auto-dominance... and vice versa. What planners and city officials have noticed, as of late, is that encouraging and promoting bicycle use within a city, is one way to keep money in the local economy.