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urban planning ...

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Taking Challenges and Turning them into Opportunities.

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As it turns out, the "Urbanists" had it right. Their calls for walkable cities, traffic calming, roundabouts, mixed commercial/residential and infill development are perfect solutions to some of the challenges facing us today.

Are you looking for a Green Agent? Look no further.

Chris Weller

 

"The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan and the Planned Growth Strategy provide the policy framework for the physical development of our community.... 

The 2006 overall goals for these planning efforts were:

  • Implement Centers & Corridors
  • Enhance the livability of communities
  • Attain stakeholder agreement through the planning process
  • Develop regulatory and capital project plans

Inherent in nearly all the work of the Advance Planning division and the Planning Department is good urban design. Different parts of the built city combine to profoundly affect the quality of Albuquerqueans' lives, so it is imperative that consideration be given to the relationship between land use, economic activity, mobility, preservation and design of public and private spaces and places."

"I say people must be afraid of change because the concepts behind the ecological city are fairly simple. Here they are: Switch to a pedestrian and transit oriented infrastructure with ecocity architecture built around compact centers designed for pedestrians and transit. Roll back sprawl development while vigorously restoring nature and agriculture. Attach renewable energy systems while making things recyclable and using non-toxic materials and technologies. " Src: Cities Can Save the Earth: the urban solution to climate change, species extinctions and peak oil by Richard Register

Nob Hill in the SE Heights/University area has long been an example of good design with walkable neighborhoods and nearby shopping. Many have worked hard on the revitalization of our Downtown area with an emphasis on infill development and Los Candelariaswork/live spaces. The South Broadway and Sawmill areas have also benefited from significant revitalization efforts. We have recently seen beautiful bus/rest stops, sidewalks and artwork springing up in designated "village centers" all over the North Valley. Thank you, Dede Feldman. Work also continues on the extensions of bike trails across the city.

Good urban design has been a priority of city leaders, architects, planners, and community activists, but often market forces win the day. Many of the so-called "Urbanists" have long called for walkable, resident friendly communities with an emphasis on community services, jobs and recreational opportunities that are located NEARBY. In the past few years, the push for affordable housing and conversion of commercial land to residential development has left many communities isolated from basic services and job opportunities which require long commutes.

As it turns out, the "Urbanists" had it right. Their calls for higher density, walkable cities, traffic calming, roundabouts, mixed commercial/residential and infill development are perfect solutions to some of the challenges facing us today.

Albuquerque's Walkability on the Rise - Downtown, Nob Hill and Old Town. James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and Dan Burden, director of Walkable Communities Inc were recently in Albuquerque. Kunstler was at Bookworks in the North Valley. Burden spoke to the North Valley Coalition. "Too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams. They’re unsafe for people on foot or bike — and unpleasant for everybody." See Completestreets.org. See Ten things wrong with Sprawl, a valuable and concise discussion of what is wrong with sprawl from the Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C.

Public-health advocate Richard Jackson argues that the way we build cities and neighborhoods is the source of many chronic diseases (and he has the statistics to prove it).

John Hooker, local architect, Urbanist, and former mayor of The Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque wrote an article about his vision back in 2000 called " A Village of the 21st Century". He said, "At the same time that the world is changing, WE are changing. The Village of Los Ranchos looks a lot like the rest of metro Albuquerque in our five square miles. We are young and old, rich and poor. And like the rest of the country, we are getting older on average. As a community, we must plan to serve our elders in our community - ensure that there is a place for them to live comfortably and safely, and ensure their access to community services. We should recognize that access and mobility must not be limited to only those who can drive. The Village must be a safe place to walk, and we must have access to county-wide public transportation." Hmmmm...sounds like he had a crystal ball.

The whole point of this site is to share what we are learning so PLEASE be a part of the solution. mysuggestions@sustainableabq

Getting Involved (click on tabs for more info)

Ditches to Trails Project ...

Preserving the trails along the ditch banks is the goal of the Ditches to Trails Project. Not only does our trail system provide recreational opportunities but it offers alternative ways of accessing schools, shopping, etc.

North Valley Coalition ...

The city and county wrote their innovative 1992 North Valley Area Plan which was a model for area plans around metropolitan Albuquerque. That plan foresees new "village centers" up and down the North Valley, at Alameda and 4th, Candelaria and 4th, Candelaria and 12th, Griegos and 12th, and elsewhere. A North Valley Coalition was formed from neighborhood associations to nurture that plan and see it enforced.

GreatStreetsABQ.org ...

GreatSteetsABQ.org is working toward more pedestrian, bicycle friendly streets and could use your help as an advocate..

The End of Suburbia ...

This is only the trailer for a very powerful (and somewhat depressing) video on the need to develop sustainable communities. If you need motivation to start making a difference, this video is for you.