Tag Archives: Smart Growth

Poor Richard Volume 2 Review | Portland Book Review

Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2) by Mark David Major | Portland Book Review
by George Erdosh, April 20, 2015

The review of Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners by the Portland Book Review is available.


“Here is a strange paperback that some readers will love and others won’t read past page three. Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners consists of fifty-two pages of text, one for each week of the year, and a facing black-and-white high-contrast photo illustrations, somewhat related to the subject author Mark David Major selected for that week.”

Read the full review here: Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2) by Mark David Major | Portland Book Review

Down the full review here: Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2) by Mark David Major | Portland Book Review

PoorRichardv2_FrCoverPoor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2)
by Mark David Major, Foreword by Steve Mouzon
140 pages with black and white illustrations.

Available in print from Amazon, CreateSpace, and other online retailers.

Available on iBooks from the Apple iTunes Store and Kindle in the Kindle Store.

For the best digital eBook experience, the author recommends purchasing the iBook version of the book.

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Planning Naked | March 2015

Planning Naked | March 2015
by Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A, The Outlaw Urbanist contributor

Observations on the March 2015 issue of Planning Magazine.

1.  The absence of the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) in this month’s op-ed, “Developing Partnerships”, by  APA Executive Director James M. Drinan, JD is a conspicuous omission.

2.  Informative “Legal Lessons” column by former New Jersey Supreme Court judge, Peter Buchsbaum, on brevity in land use law: 1) speak plain English; 2) avoid invective (e.g. abusive or “purple prose”) language; 3) be concise; 4) the record is king (i.e. proof); and, 5) planning is visual (e.g. show, don’t tell). Judges “want facts and reasoned arguments” (pp. 11).

3.  Excellent article on “Putting Berlin Back Together” by Katherine Burgess, AICP with informative maps of spatial information and research & design-oriented approaches in planning policy in the city after re-unification. The article provides a stark contrast to the predecessor articles in this issue on immigration (‘more resources”) and super TIFs (“capture state taxes”), which, once you drill down, are really about feeding on the public purse.

4.  Which is immediately followed by an article romancing Sea Ranch, California, “From Romance to Reality” by Christine Kreyling, celebrating the “sublime” supposed environmental sensitivity of a prototypical far-flung mid-twentieth century “utopia” sprawl development with “an average density of one dwelling unit per acre” composed of a 10-mile long maze of cul-de-sacs two hours north of San Francisco along the coastal highway.

5.  APA apparently doesn’t like gambling much judging by “When Casinos Are Too Much of a Good Thing” by Jake Blumgart, unless it’s gambling with the public’s money, of course. The benefits of casinos are “uncertain and uneven” but can you name any business or industry where the benefits are certain and even?

6.   “Recycling to the Max: Earthship structures cause conundrums for planning departments” by Kristen Pope is a perfect example of a 1st world problem where the industry is ahead of a profession too focused enforcing the rules instead of creating solutions. “Planning departments may have to develop guidelines as various situations arise” as “other communities do not have clear standards for Earthship building” (pp. 46). Jeez.

7.  “Golden age of street design” by Reid Ewing in the Research You Can Use section is short and sweet. This should have been given priority over the Sea Ranch, California article.

8.  Kimberly Burton’s Viewpoint article, “Planning from Scratch” on travel etiquette on Ghana’s streets is an implicit endorsement of the shared space concept for streets.

Planning Naked is an article with observations and comments about a recent issue of Planning: The Magazine of the American Planning Association.

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Quantifying the Cost of Sprawl | Emily Badger | CityLab

Quantifying the Cost of Sprawl: In infrastructure, service delivery and tax receipts
by Emily Badger, CityLab, May 21, 2013


Sprawl is expensive. It costs more money to pave a road and connect a sewer line to five families each living a block apart on wooded lots than to build public infrastructure for those same five families living in a condo. It costs more money (and takes more time and gas) to serve those families with garbage trucks, fire engines, and ambulances. And in return… those five sprawling single-family homes likely yield less in tax revenue per acre than the apartment building that could house our fictitious residents downtown.

A report… from Smart Growth America, which surveyed 17 studies of compact and sprawling development scenarios across the country, sizes up the scale of the impact this way: Compact development costs, on average, 38 percent less in up-front infrastructure than “conventional suburban development” for things like roads, sewers and water lines. It costs 10 percent less in ongoing service delivery by reducing the distances law enforcement or garbage trucks must travel to serve residents (well-connected street grids cut down on this travel time, too). And compact development produces on average about 10 times more tax revenue per acre.

Read the full article here: Quantifying the Cost of Sprawl | CityLab.

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Preview | Poor Richard | An Almanac for Architects and Planners


A high-resolution preview of the front cover is below.

The witticisms and sayings of Poor Richard are organized by calendar weeks, one generic theme per week, and a single saying for each day of the week – plus one for “years in the state of leaping” – adding up to a full calendar year. Each week of the calendar week is accompanied by a high contrast, black and white illustration designed or selected to get people thinking differently about cities. A high-resolution preview of “On Cities” for pages 86-87 with an accompanying illustration (inverted detail of the Nolli map of Rome presenting civic space in black and blocks in white) is below.

“On Cities” for the 34th Week in the Calendar Year on pages 86-86. Click on the image to see a high resolution version.

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners also includes a foreword by Julia Starr Sanford, a preface from the author, an Introduction incorporating the “Declaration of Planning Independence” previously published on The Outlaw Urbanist, bibliography and illustration credits, and an Afterword featuring The Outlaw Urbanist manifesto.

Poor Richard, An Almanac for Architects and Planners by Mark David Major, AICP, Foreword by Julia Starr Sanford, Forum Books, an Imprint of Carousel Productions, 136 pages, 5.0″ x 8″, $9.99 (in print); also available in eBook, format and price TBD.

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MORESO | What Would Jesus Do | The Sermon on the Street

Blessings on the poorly connected street,
For they shall find a grid to call home.
Blessings on the street that suffers isolation,
For they shall find comfort in a family of streets.
Blessings on the meek street,
For they shall inherit the city’s fortunes.
Blessings on streets that hunger and thirst for righteous design,
For they shall be filled with people.
Blessings on the safe streets,
For they shall provide mercy to pedestrians.
Blessings on the richly connected streets,
For they shall become a city.
Blessings on the placemakers,
For they shall be called the children of the city.
Blessings on those who are persecuted because of righteous design,
For they shall one day live in a great city.
Blessings on you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against the city.
Rejoice and be glad because great are your rewards in the city, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You are the salt of the Earth but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled over by the automobile.
You are the light of the city. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lantern and hide it. Instead they put it on a post in the street, and it gives light to all pedestrians on that street. In the same way, let your city lights shine before others, that they may see your good streets and glorify the greatness of your city.

Moreso is a series of short ruminations or thoughts of the moment, usually of less than 500 words, from The Outlaw Urbanist.

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