California Planning & Development Report
By Calif. Planning & Dev. Report
California Planning & Development ReportMay 14, 2020
Rick Cole: From California to Congress for New Urbanism
Single-Family Zoning Upheaval & Pending Legislation
A wave of cities throughout California, including Sacramento, Berkeley, and Oakland, have pledged to do away with single-unit zoning and permit duplexes by-right. It's a seemingly simple principle, but a potentially vast planning challenge. Bill Fulton and Josh Stephens discuss this latest trend in planning and what it means for cities that have already adopted it and for cities that might be considering it.
Meanwhile, the legislature is considering a raft of land-use bills that are as diverse as they are numerous. Bill and Josh take a look at some of the highlights.
L.A. Planner-Councilmember Nithya Raman
Elected to the Los Angeles City Council in November, Nithya Raman ran on an explicitly urbanist platform. Her slogan: "Nithya for the city." Raman had previously worked in the City Administrator's Office analyzing funding for homelessness initiatives and, more recently, led a nonprofit that advocates for women in the entertainment industry. Initially, though, Raman arrived at public service via urban planning. She earned her master's in urban planning from MIT and spend several years working her in native India, advocating for impoverished populations in Delhi and Chennai.
Raman's council district, District 4, spans both sides of the Hollywood Hills, including wealthy, homeowner-dominated neighborhoods like Larchmont Village and Sherman Oaks as well as denser, lower-income neighborhoods like Van Nuys and Hollywood. Raman's city council platform includes several planks related to progressive land use and attention to disadvantaged populations, including rent forgiveness, subsidized housing, and vastly increased services and housing options for unhoused people. Raman is the second urban planner to serve on the Los Angeles City Council and the first to serve since Ed Reyes was termed out in 2013. In unseating former councilmember David Ryu, Raman became the first challenger to win a council seat in 17 years.
CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Raman on February 18.
Top California Urban Planning Stories of 2020
In our final podcast of 2020, Bill and Josh discuss CP&DR's most popular stories of the year, including the impact of the COVID pandemic on cities and planning's responses to the year's social justice movements.
Top Planning Books of 2020
Planetizen.com recently came out with its annual list of the Top Urban Planning Books of 2020, including contributions from CP&DR's Josh Stephens. The books cover timeless topics like housing and the history of planning as well as vital issues that have received increased attention of late, including those of social justice, race, and gender.
Bill Fulton spoke with Josh and Planetizen Managing Editor James Brasuell about this year's list and how it reflects the present and future of urban planning.
October 12, 2020: Diana Lind & "Brave New Home"
In Diana Lind's new book Brave New Home: Our Future in Smarter, Simpler, Happier Housing, Lind shows why a country full of single-family houses is bad for people and the planet, and details the new efforts underway that better reflect the way we live now, to ensure that the way we live next is both less lonely and more affordable. Lind explores the homes and communities that are seeking alternatives to the American norm, from multi-generational living, in-law suites, and co-living to microapartments, tiny houses, and new rural communities. Brave New Home offers a diagnosis of the current crisis in American housing and a radical re-imagining of the possibilities of housing.
Based in Philadelphia, Lind was editor in chief, and later executive director, of Next City, a leading urbanist website and nonprofit. She currently leads the Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia, where her work fosters an exchange between the creative and business communities.
CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Lind about how Brave New Home can help planners anticipate, and promote, innovative approaches to housing.
Cal APA "Big Conversations": Anna Nelson on Minneapolis Zoning Revolution
In December, the City of Minneapolis did the unthinkable: as part of its Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, it eliminated single-unit zoning throughout the entire city. Now, any lot that currently includes a single home can be redeveloped as a duplex, triplex, or four-plex. While Minneapolis's housing crisis -- like its population -- is diminutive compared to that of California, the housing pressures are real, and planners and advocates believe that limiting the dominance of single-unit lots is an important step toward affordability and equity.
One of the leading advocacy groups supporting Minneapolis 2040, and especially its loosening of zoning restrictions, was Neighbors for More Neighbors. Somewhat, though not entirely, affiliated with the YIMBY movement that has arisen in many housing-constrained cities, Neighbors for More Neighbors is a grassroots housing advocacy group that takes Minnesota's famed neighborliness seriously and literally. As California struggles with its housing crisis -- and considers many local and statewide efforts to loosen zoning -- the California Chapter of the American Planning Association invited Anna Nelson, one of MN4N's volunteer leaders, to speak at its virtual statewide conference, to be held Sept. 14-16 on the internet.
CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Nelson about what the planners in California can learn from Minnesota.
Editor's Note: The recording erroneously says Nelson will speak Wednesday at the APA Conference. She will speak Tuesday, Sept. 15.
August 4, 2020: Black Planners Roundtable
The death of George Floyd and the strengthened, nationwide interest in the Black Lives Matter movement has naturally and crucially highlighted urban inequities. Issues including segregation, economic disparities, environmental justice, housing justice, and a great many others fall within the purview of urban planning. Planners face, more so now than ever before, the opportunity not only to promote equity but also to correct historic injustices--especially those that marginalize and disadvantage Black Americans. The fulfillment of these goals of course involves Black planners. And it calls upon planners of all backgrounds to support the Black community.
CP&DR welcomes a panel of Black planners to share their personal perspectives on the current historical moment and on the future of planning in the era of Black Lives Matter.
Courtney Brown, Planning Associate, Michael Baker International
Warren Logan, Policy Director of Mobility and Inter Agency Relations, City of Oakland
Eric Shaw, Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development, City & County of San Francisco
Bill Fulton, Publisher & Editor, CP&DR
Josh Stephens, Contributing Editor, CP&DR
Editor's note: Linda Tatum, asst. city manager with the City of Long Beach, was scheduled to participate but had an unexpected conflict.
July 20, 2020: Rex Richardson, SCAG President
Immediately upon his election to the presidency of the Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments in June, Long Beach City Councilmember Rex Richardson proposed a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis and, therefore, a top priority for SCAG. The resolution was adopted nearly unanimously, setting the tone for an agenda focused on equity and social justice.
July 13, 2020: Alicia John-Baptiste, San Francisco Planning & Urban Research
CP&DR’s Josh Stephens speaks with Alicia Johns-Baptiste, the new director of Bay Area land use think tank San Francisco Planning & Urban Research. This interview was conducted May 23, 2020.
June 8, 2020: What is The Urban Mystique?
Planners often focus on the minutiae of their cities. But cities are greater than the sum of their parts.
CP&DR Editor Bill Fulton speaks with Contributing Editor Josh Stephens about his new book, The Urban Mystique: Notes on California, Los Angeles, and Beyond. It's a look at the human side of urban planning and at what's great, and not-so-great, about the built environment that Californians have dealt themselves.
Recorded May 29, 2020.
May 28, 2020: Julia Lave Johnston, President, American Planning Assoc., California Chapter
CP&DR Podcast May 13, 2020: Senate Bill 35; Horton Plaza; Telecommuting; Online Meetings; Interview with Meg Walker, Project for Public Spaces
Bill Fulton and Josh Stephens discuss the latest planning news as reported in the California Planning & Development Report:
- The Silicon Valley Battle Over SB 35
- San Diego's Iconic Horton Plaza to be Reborn as Tech Hub
- Will Telecommuting Stick?
- Planning Meetings Move Online
CP&DR Podcast April 14, 2020: Housing Crash, Planning Budgets, Legal Update
Volume 1, Episode 2 of the CP&DR podcast features Bill Fulton and Josh Stephens discussing the impending housing crash caused by the COVID19 economic shutdown, the fiscal pain that planning departments will feel as local revenues dry up, and a few court cases related to the California Environmental Quality Act.
CP&DR Podcast: Mar. 26, 2020: Coronavirus; SB 50; Future of California Housing
CP&DR’s inaugural podcast episode. Bill Fulton and Josh Stephens discuss how California's planning departments are adapting to remote work; how the legislature has promoted housing development even with the failure of Senate Bill 50; and how the virus crisis may exacerbate the housing crisis.
Copyright California Planning & Development Report 2020.