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Land Use: The Latest Architecture and News

An Opportunity for Revitalization in Detroit

00:00 - 15 May, 2013
An Opportunity for Revitalization in Detroit, Detroit, Michigan; Courtesy of Flickr User DandeLuca, licensed via <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Detroit, Michigan; Courtesy of Flickr User DandeLuca, licensed via Creative Commons

Young entrepreneurs gravitate to places where they can become the founders of a revitalized culture; where land is cheap and available and innovation is uninhibited by a status quo. Detroit, Michigan has become one of those places. The media gives us a portrayal of a wasteland, a post apocalyptic landscape of dilapidated homes and infrastructure. But there is plenty opportunity for start-ups to redefine Detroit's future. That it why young innovators and risk-takers are needed to bring new energy and awaken new markets within the city. A recent article by Chuck Salter for Fast Company identifies six entrepreneurs who have started businesses in Detroit. They vary from grassroots campaigns to inform people of opportunities within the city to small scale enterprises that bring retail and infrastructure to the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods.

More after the break.

The Danger of the Zoning-Free Approach

00:00 - 5 May, 2013
The Danger of the Zoning-Free Approach, Houston, Texas; Flickr User JoeInSouthernCA; Licensed via <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Houston, Texas; Flickr User JoeInSouthernCA; Licensed via Creative Commons

Despite the romantic notion about cities that develop organically have a rich diversity of form and function, we cannot overlook the deadly side effects of negligent city planning. As Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star points out, last month's tragic fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas is a grim reminder that planning has a time and place and its ultimate utility resides in the initiative to protect residents and make for healthier communities. The tangle of bureaucracy associated with planning, zoning and land use regulations can give any architect or developer a massive headache. In some cases, the laws are so restricting that diverging from bulk regulations becomes very limiting.

Where Does Zoning Fit Into Our Future City Planning?

00:00 - 27 February, 2013
Where Does Zoning Fit Into Our Future City Planning?, NYC.GOV - Department of Planning
NYC.GOV - Department of Planning

Let’s dump the word “zoning,” as in zoning ordinances that govern how land is developed and how buildings often are designed. Land-use regulation is still needed, but zoning increasingly has become a conceptually inappropriate term, an obsolete characterization of how we plan and shape growth. - Roger K. Lewis

Zoning, just over a century old concept, is already becoming an outdated system by which the government regulates development and growth. Exceptions and loopholes within current zoning legislation prove that city planning is pushing a zoning transformation to reflect the goals and needs of city building today and in the future. To determine how zoning and land use need to change we must first assess the intentions of future city building. Planners and architects, legislators and community activists have already begun establishing guidelines and ordinances that approach the goals of sustainability and liveability. The AIA has established Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design and has made a commitment to the Decade of Design: Global Solutions Challenge. NYC has come up with Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design and its Zone Green initiative in regards to updating its zoning resolution. Philadelphia has augmented its zoning to include urban farms and community gardens. It is safe to assume that many other cities will follow this precedent.