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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Smart Development

The Northern Kentucky Health Department recently held a symposium on "smart development" or as they titled it "livable communities". They have posted the presentations on their website (link above) and there is some good stuff on there. Feel free to look at the presentations yourself but I am providing a summary below:

1. Slide 21 of Economic Benefits Part A:
Smart Growth Principles (my short commentary on how Fort Thomas ranks with each of these)
• Provide a variety of transportation choices. (Does TANK service around town count?)
• Make development decisions predictable, fair, and costeffective. (While I do not have a lot of first-hand experience with the city I have heard this is not always predictable and fair)
• Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions. (While I have only lived in the city 3.5 years I have not seen the city actively solicit input from the various stakeholders)
• Mix land uses. (I would have to give Fort Thomas a good grade here. Although Fort Thomas is not exactly the most planned community it has evolved with a good mix - schools, parks, and dining choices mixed with housing)
• Take advantage of compact building design. (Older housing stock employed this technique - a high population density)
• Create a range of housing opportunities and choices. (A good mix of price points, sizes, and type)
• Create walkable neighborhoods. (See my past post on the walkability score)
• Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place. ( A solid A+ in this category)
• Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas. (Mixed grades on this one. Pocket parks on one hand but on the other hand development in areas that should be preserved - a la Memorial Pkwy)
• Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities.

2. Part B - Examples of Urban design. Not a lot of applicability to Fort Thomas but nevertheless some unique examples

3. I would skip the entire slide series under "Who Buys Traditional Neighborhood Design?", the graphics and slides were tired and there was not a lot of good information provided.

4. By far the best grouping of slides comes from "Design, Finance, Marketing, & Construction" presentation:
  • Slide 5 - staggering statistics on land use
  • Slide 21 - sites surveys indicating 1/3 of buyers are looking for smart growth options
  • Slides 86 - 95 - compare smart design houses to conventional. Which looks more like a Fort Thomas home?
  • Slide 100 offers this quote "The place is the product but knowing how to market and brand
  • the project as a place means doing it differently."

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