Urban link dump

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Here are a bunch of links to items of note about cities:

Blair Humphreys looks at urban density and finds some surprising stats: The Los Angeles urbanized area is the most densely populated in the nation. Oklahoma City and Boston have the same density, about 900 people per km2. (Again, this is urbanized area and includes suburbs, but excludes undeveloped areas.)

In another recent post, Blair reviews the Oklahoma City government website and offers suggestions for improvements that will increase public participation. The 2nd coolest idea: Google-map agenda items. The coolest idea: Let citizens draw areas of interest on a map, then register to be notified whenever an agenda item for any committee falls within that area. We have the technology.... (A commenter notes that OKC's adoption of Accela software for permitting has been helpful for everyone involved in the process.)

Steve Patterson has been delving back into the history of urban design in St. Louis and writes, "I'm beginning to get a greater understanding about why planners from the past did what they did. The problem is a solution to a 1920s problem was not only the solution at the time but for decades to follow -- passed down from one generation to the next without anyone questioning why or if the problem being solved still existed." He has a chart showing how attitudes have changed toward issues like one-way streets, on-street parking, building height and setbacks.

As an example of changing trends in urban design, Steve has posted a document from the early 1970s, a history of St. Louis' urban renewal program. I've just skimmed it, but I'm struck by how early the city began clearing land and relocating people. Steve notes that two of the renewal projects celebrated by this document have since been demolished.

One more from Steve, and it's applicable to Tulsa, too: St. Louis' Outdated Zoning Mandates Excessive Parking.

Nick Roberts is working on a class project: Putting together a historic preservation plan for an area in Lawton. "Obviously Lawton's situation is unique, as a urban renewal-aspiring army town that already tore down pretty much anything worth preserving in the 60s. The challenges are high, but the potential is higher. Good stuff, and I look forward to posting it up." Lawton replaced much of its historic downtown with a suburban indoor mall, complete with vast parking lots.

Steve Lackmeyer has a neat picture: The owners of a five-story warehouse in Oklahoma City's Bricktown have fixed the lighting on the vacant upper floors so that they can light them up at night. As Steve notes, it's "a rare sight in Bricktown - the appearance of life above the second floor."

Charles G. Hill follows up on an earlier post about William Hudnut's idea of increasing taxes on land and decreasing taxes on improvments -- an emptiness tax. Charles points to a critique of Hudnut's idea at Market Urbanism, where the unintended consequences are considered.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 29, 2009 12:23 AM.

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