A couple of days ago, I attended the Orange County 2012 Redevelopment Conference which featured some great speakers.  These were my favorite comments as well as some interesting statements:

Galina Tachieva:

  • Why do we need sprawl repair?  Exurban is too expensive to build and not sustainable environmentally.
  • Must rethink the model for health and well-being.  We’ve been deprived of the simple and natural activity of walking due to the way we have built our communities.  We’ve built in a grand scale since the introduction of the car, but we need to build on a human scale.
  • More urban environments are being sought by younger generations. (a recurring theme)
  • Think of long-term – how will the next generation benefit?
  • Higher density desired by younger actually performs better – more in municipal taxes, environmentally, well-being
  • Most foreclosures in the exurbs. Affordability is wiped out by the long commute.
  • Wall Street is using walkscore.com as an underwriting tool.
  • Streets and thoroughfares have a social function, and we have forgotten this.
  • Arterials to be adapted when go they through certain areas.  Fast traffic kills real estate. (Harping on it, but think CR 535 through Lakeside Village).  Repair slowly.  Start with landscaping and expand sidewalk.

Gregg Logan:

  • Gen Y vs. Boomers make decisions about where to live and choice of real estate product based on difference reasons.  Young people are seeking more urban environments, or is it that they dislike driving and appreciate convenience?
  • During a recession, the size of the American home decreases (new homes starts) and as soon as an uptick occurs, the size increases again.  We saw this is 2011.
  • Much of home ownership growth will be homes without children and/or single people.  They don’t necessarily want an attached home, but what kind of products are we providing them?  How do we make their choices more desirable?  Smaller homes on smaller lots?
  • When given the choices from rural to suburban with housing only to suburban with a mix of housing and businesses to denser options, the overwhelming top choice was suburban with a mix of housing and businesses.  People are looking for better suburbs which behave like cities.
  • Baby Boomers are still coming to Florida and are looking for safe urbanism.  Generation Y is looking for more diversity, accessibility, and fun.  In housing, they desire to see smaller but better, green/sustainability. and technology.
Owen Beitsch
  • Half of Florida’s popultion moved here since 1990, so half of our housing stock is relatively new.
  • Orlando has not been constrained by man-made of organic features.
Chris Brown
  • Case study of Delray Beach: 1) public infrastructure improvements like narrow streets and landscaping; 2) parking with good lighting and shade and not obtrusive; 3) density; 4) promote mixed use; 5) special zoning like historic districts (link)
Robert McDonaugh
  • What underutilized assets does your city have?
Hazel Borys
  • When you were 7, did you have a place you could go to alone that gave you a sense of autonomy and independence?  Is there anywhere on your street that you would allow your 7 year-old to go?  Street gathering places, porous homes (where children come and go), and coparenting are lost on new communities.  The types of streets and neighborhoods that encourage this are illegal to build today.
  • The character of streets must change as they move through an urban area. (Again, 535!)
  • This is the first time that the next generation (our children) is expected to have a shorter life span.  ”The last child has left the woods.”  Due to our sedentary lifestyle, more will die from obesity and car accidents (not as pedestrians).  In 31 states, minimum school size standards make it almost impossible for children to walk to schools.
  • Not legal: mixed use, building to street, narrow streets, alleys, various housing types intermingled, civic
  • Legal: autocentric suburbs, euclidean zoning (separated uses), setbacks, regional sizing, large scale
  • Must connect urbanism to dollars
  • U.S. economy was founded on the trading of goods, moved to the trading of services, and now our new currency is the trading of ideas, which creates local markets and we’re back at trading goods.
  • www.placeshakers.com
  • Florida leads the way with more form-based codes than any other state.
  • Tax revenue: an urban mixed use mid-rise brings 25 times the tax revenue per acre than suburban development while less land is consumed, more jobs are created, and more residential units are provided.
  • For every point on walkscore.com, home equity goes up $3000.
  • Prius can’t compete with walking, biking, and taking transit.
Susan Caswell:
  • Orange County is serious about working to these issues…and to make these a reality.
  • Planning Department has been setting the stage to put infill and mixed use codes into place.
Craig Ustler:
  • Developers are late to the party.  Those that continue to develop widgets will just add to the sprawl.
  • Think neighborhood, not project.
  • Urbanism does not equal density.
  • Transit oriented development is most successful with various modes of development around it.


Author: Tory Parish