Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Toronto Star "One Toronto" series

The latest installment, "Toronto’s political divide is real, but it can change — especially in the suburbs," argues that the urban/suburban political divide evident in Toronto (and by extension in other metropolitan areas) is more complicated.

Toronto has been roiled for a few decades beginning with the city's amalgamation with some of its suburbs in 1998 -- before then the governments were separate but also cooperative in a metropolitan government which provided some services, then with the Rob Ford mayoralty, and now with the ascension of Rob Ford's brother Doug to Premier of Ontario and his pushing forward legislation to cut the Toronto City Council, on which he briefly served, in half, just a couple months before the election.

Other articles in the series:

-- "Part One: Are Toronto’s elites really downtown? It’s not so simple"
-- "Part Two: People used to move to the suburbs to save money. Now, nearly every corner of Toronto has downtown rent"
-- "Part Three: Toronto is more diverse than ever, but downtown is falling behind"
-- "Part Four: Meet Toronto’s ‘reverse commuters,’ the people going the other way while you’re stuck in traffic"
-- "Part Five: All of Toronto is getting older, but it’s tougher to age in the suburbs< -- "Part Six: Downtown Toronto is becoming like ‘Downton Abbey’ as service workers get pushed farther from the core"

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Guardian "Walking the City" series

In advance of today's World Carfree Day ("World Carfree Day: Saturday September 22nd), the Guardian has been running a series of articles called "Walking the City."

I wanted to have a feature on applying pedestrian streets principles in DC, not for long streets called pedestrian malls, but for a block or two, here and there around the city, where it can work.

In the past, I've been negative when pedestrianized districts have been proposed in DC (e.g., "How to f*** up 17th Street NW in Dupont Circle," 2007) but now I realize I was too much influenced by the first pedestrian mall I ever saw, in Kalamazoo in 1986, and its relative failure.
Burdick Street Pedestrian Mall Kalamazoo MI
It did not look this vibrant when I saw it.  This postcard is from the 1960s.

Kalamazoo Pedestrian Mall in the 1980s, after the JC Penney closed
Kalamazoo Pedestrian Mall in the 1980s, after the JC Penney closed.

I remember being very surprised at the Dutch ThinkBike workshop in 2010, when one of the facilitators pointed out DC doesn't have any pedestrianized areas and shouldn't that be something to be addressed?

-- "Reprint from 2010: The Dutch ThinkBike workshop in DC,"

In the US, pedestrian malls that are successful tend to be in college towns, but not exclusively such as Third Street in Santa Monica, places with a preponderance of people without cars.  In the region, Charlottesville and Winchester have pedestrian malls that remain successful, albeit with some property vacancies.

Charlottesville

For pedestrian malls to be successful, they need to be well designed, well managed, well programmed, and perhaps most importantly, highly visited because empty spaces don't attract visitors they repel them.

-- "Now I know why Boulder's Pearl Street Mall is the exception that proves the rule about the failures of pedestrian malls," 2005
-- "K Street: Last of the pedestrian Malls," Sacramento Business Journal, 2009

But the thing I had to get over is thinking about this in terms of long pedestrian malls or large pedestrian districts like in Essen, Hamburg, or Liverpool, and more in terms of one or two blocks, here and there, where it makes sense in the local context.

And building on and extending from there.  Like what I suggested a few weeks ago for Silver Spring, Maryland.

-- "Making "Downtown Silver Spring" a true open air shopping district by adding department stores

And no, I am not talking about "shared spaces" where pedestrians mix with cars.

More on this next week.

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Friday, September 21, 2018

It's not like transit "outsourcing" I mean "public-private partnerships" are necessarily smooth sailing

WMATA has released an RFP for the operation of the second phase of the Silver Line ("Metro will outsource operation of Silver Line's second phase," Washington Business Journal). 

The Union announced they are opposed, seeing outsourcing as leading to safety and other issues,  although most comments on that score make the point that it's not like WMATA is running great now, with virtually all non-construction operations provided in-house.

While I do agree that WMATA needs to consider outsourcing as a way to reduce costs, and that needs to be seen in part as a shot at the major unions for their unwillingness to be more collaborative in considering system improvements and cost reductions, it shouldn't be seen as a smooth path.

Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post A-Line flagger Chris Dugent holds a stop sign as the train passes at Steele Street on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

Denver Transit Partners, the major example of finance-design-build-operate-maintain transit operation--this consortium got the contract for the Maryland Purple Line light rail too--is suing the transit agency in Denver in a dispute over charges against payments concerning certain aspects of operation of the A Line train ("Regional Transportation District sued by Denver Transit Partners," Denver Post). From the article:
Denver Transit Partners, through the lawsuit, is trying to force RTD “to reimburse them tens of millions of dollars for the crossing gate attendants that DTP has been paying for all along,” according to a RTD news release.

The transit consortium is citing a change in law, or a change in the interpretation of law, by federal and state rail safety agencies as being the reason for its failure to get final approval of grade crossings and quiet zones on RTD’s commuter rail system, according to RTD’s news release. Denver Transit Partners is attempting to recoup lost revenue, because of continual grade crossing failures, by suing the district, the release said.
That might be. I don't know the ins and outs of the safety regulations.

And in this case, maybe the change requires a mutual response from both DTP and the transit agency.

 And at least with there being flaggers in Denver, people aren't dying, as is the case in South Florida with the introduction of the Brightline railroad service ("Brightline train crashes into car in Hallandale Beach," WPLG-TV).

But usually it's on the other side, and the transit agency is left holding the bag.

When I was talking with an ex-Transport for London official when I was there in June, we discussed these kinds of issues, how such projects become 100% contractual, they aren't "partnerships." There, because of various national laws, transit services have to be operated by the private sector, with the exception of the London Underground, and services where the private sector will not bid, therefore requiring that the transit agency be the "Operator of Last Resort."

He commented on how the Crossrail concession wouldn't allow a change in technology which was developed after the contract was signed.

Using it will be cheaper and more reliable, but because it's not in the contract, they refused to change the specifications.  So the change will be installed after the trains are delivered, costing more money, and adding to the delays of opening the system--which has moved back by one year ("Crossrail delay: New London line will open in autumn 2019," BBC News).

I've written too about how the Purple Line is now a "contract" and there isn't much room for change or flexibility as a result ("A Purple Line update: the downside of Public Private Partnerships" -- they are contracts, not partnerships").

Even without complex financing-design-build-manage-operate-maintain contracts, lawsuits between government agencies and construction firms are pretty common.

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(Too often) Politics doesn't favor proactive responses by government, especially when the threat is averted

Civil Defense Map for Washington, DC, 1959Redundancy.  In college, not for a class, I came across work by Charles Perrow about the concept of "redundancy."

That's the point that you have multiple systems and backups for elements that have the potential for fault. It's been a strong influence on my thinking about organizations and systems ever since.

Separately, in business there is the concept of "resource slack," where resources are not fully committed or constrained and thus available.

In times of reduced financial capacity and "just in time" manufacturing and tightly linked supply chain management and logistics, there's little room in business or government for redundancy or slack resources that are able to be drawn upon in times of need.

For example, if a subway line goes out of service, it's not like a transit agency has hundreds of buses sitting around in reserve or the drivers to operate them.

Preparedness as a fault.  It's unfortunate that sound practice in emergency management -- "be prepared" -- is seized upon by political opponents when it turns out that the advance preparations were unneeded.

This is happening in Virginia, which mercifully wasn't really hit by Hurricane Florence although earlier predictions expected it ("'Somebody's gouging us': Virginia lawmakers question $60M price tag for storm response," Richmond Times-Dispatch). From the article:
Virginia lawmakers on Thursday sharply questioned the costs of the state’s preparations for Hurricane Florence, saying they were shocked to learn officials committed to spend up to $60 million to set up shelters and deploy response teams for a storm that ultimately veered south.
Members of Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration have stood by the decision to order the first-ever mandatory evacuations of low-lying coastal areas, saying it was a call based on scientific predictions about the potential path of a storm that had minimal impacts in Virginia but devastated eastern North Carolina.
Flooding in Lumberton, North Carolina after Hurricane Florence, CNN photo.  The area had been hit similarly two years ago as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

It'd be worse for Gov. Northam had he been Governor in North Carolina.

In 2012 the NC State Legislature passed laws forbidding government agencies from acknowledging climate change, and by extension extranormal weather impact, on building regulations for fear it would reduce property values and harm real estate development interests ("North Carolina didn't like science on sea levels … so passed a law against it," Guardian). From the article:
But dire predictions alarmed coastal developers and their allies, who said they did not believe the rise in sea level would be as bad as the worst models predicted and said such forecasts could unnecessarily hurt property values and drive up insurance costs.

As a result, the state’s official policy, rather than adapting to the worst potential effects of climate change, has been to assume it simply won’t be that bad. Instead of forecasts, it has mandated predictions based on historical data on sea level rise.
Preparedness costs money.  And recognition of the necessity.

But the problem with the response of Republican legislators in Virginia to the so-called waste of money in response to a threat that never materialized is that the next time, officials could be hesitant to take proactive steps, fearing political consequences.  Then, the consequences could be much worse.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence inundate the town of Trenton, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

FEMA.  WRT FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, I've been thinking that it needs to be extracted from the politics of governance altogether, and constituted as a kind of sixth branch of the military, functioning like the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is a hybrid agency with both military and civil elements--reconstitute FEMA as focused on the "defense of the US from disasters" in terms of mitigating the potential effect of disasters as well as responding to disasters--but somewhat disconnected from vagaries of politics.

The old Civil Defense agency focused on saving lives in case of nuclear war.  Why can't we take a similarly serious approach in those areas that are particularly vulnerable to various effects emanating from climate change including hurricanes, storms, and wildfire?

-- "Organizing to Reduce the Vulnerabilities of Complexity," Charles Perrow, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 1999

Yes, the military is subject to politics too, but the way military bases and units function day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year is relatively exempt from that.  That's the way FEMA needs to be functioning.

Flood waters isolate homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence September 19, 2018, in Lumberton, North Carolina. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As currently constituted, the leadership of the agency changes with each change in government, and can be worsened depending on how seriously politically-focused officials take the management and crisis responsibilities seriously in terms of agency management, leadership and operations and its need for experienced professionals.

-- 2017 HURRICANES AND WILDFIRES: Initial Observations on the Federal Response and Key Recovery Challenges, Government Accountability Office

Plus, in terms of disaster preparedness and emergency management, way more money needs to be spent proactively in terms of reducing risk rather than in post-crisis response.

This New York Times opinion piece, "What Trump Doesn't Get About Disasters," isn't really about "President Trump" and his failure to understand epidemiology ("Nearly a Year After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico Revises Death Toll," New York Times) so much as it is a discussion of how emergency management practice in the US has been shaped in favor of thinking about disasters as discrete events, rather than as certain types of disasters such as hurricanes having elements that are addressable in advance of a specific event.

Articles such as "How To Build Hurricane-Proof Cities After Irma and Harvey," The Atlantic, and "Hurricane Florence’s floods caused severe property damage. Here’s a solution | It’s time to talk about managed retreat from the coasts," Vox, offer proactive proscriptions, from better zoning and building regulation requirements. From the Vox article:
Mostly, though, we're stuck with a harder question: What to do before the next storm to prevent such losses?

One solution is strategic retreat: moving out of harm’s way. As seas rise, flooding is becoming almost a weekly occurrence in cities up and down the East Coast. Wilmington, North Carolina now is subject to chronic tidal flooding due to sea level rise. As storms grow stronger, so are the calls to walk away from the most flood-prone places.

For many, the notion of retreat brings to mind post-apocalyptic visions of empty highways, rusty skeletons of buildings, and houses grown over with weeds. It’s daunting. But scenarios that involve retreat don’t need to be. Innovative thinking about the role of relocation can foster cohesive, rich communities as some move to safer, higher grounds.
Not taking measures in advance of weather events that we know are going to come sooner or later is the height of political and governance failure.

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Robert Venturi, Denise Scott-Brown, Post-Modernism and Learning from Las Vegas

Post-modernist architect Robert Venturi died.

-- "Robert Venturi: the bad-taste architect who took a sledgehammer to modernism," Guardian
-- "Robert Venturi, postmodern architect who argued ‘Less is a bore,’ dies at 93," Washington Post

With colleague and wife Denise Scott-Brown they ushered in a post-modern approach to architecture which didn't necessarily require demolition of all that had come before.

They are particularly well-known for their book, Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form, which analyzed the architecture of Las Vegas as an illustration of building design that contravened traditional approaches based around a building's normal form and organization and ornamentated but traditional building forms.

-- "Lessons from Las Vegas," 99% Invisible

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Parking Day this Friday | An in-street restaurant patio for Takoma Beverage Co. using parking spaces, Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland

Port-a-park: A temporary park was set up in a parking space on Mission Street by Rebar, an art collective.
The group Rebar declared Sept. 21 "Park(ing) Day" and installed this temporary park in a parking space on Mission St. in downtown San Francisco, CA. The group moved the park to several different parking spaces throughout the day. Port-a-park: A temporary park was set up in a parking space on Mission Street by Rebar, an art collective. The park was moved several times that day. Chronicle photo by Laura Morton.


In 2006, a planning/artist collective in San Francisco called Rebar Group created what they called "Parking Day," to demonstrate the high cost to placemaking from dedicating so much public space to the automobile, for car storage ("Drop a coin in the meter and enjoy the park," John King,San Francisco Chronicle, 2006)

This event has become a world-wide phenomenon, existing and expanding beyond that of Re:bar which disbanded a couple years ago.

But Parking Day is important in how it sparked a greater focus on placemaking and public space not just within planning departments but also transportation departments and citizen advocates.

And it continues, as it will be held this Friday, and is held every year on the Third Friday in September.

-- ASLA Parking Day webpage (the Parkingday.org web domain is somewhat lost but still has valid info)
-- DC DDOT Parking Day 2018, which lists 28 participants
-- a Google News search finds many participants across the US
-- and in Singapore there will be 109 examples, "PARK(ing) Day: Green light for fun at some carparks Straits Times

While Parking Day is an ephemeral event and too often fails to spark deeper structural changes ("Walk to School Day and Park(ing) Day as missed opportunities for community organizing," 2013), in many communities it has led to the creation of more permanent initiatives including in-street permanent "parklet" ventures.

-- San Francisco Sustainable Mobility and Climate Action Strategy
-- "Long Beach joins the national 'parklets' trend: Three restaurants have won city approval to convert a few highly valued parking spaces into green space. In some cities, the parklets are open to the public, but these will be for patrons' use only," Los Angeles Times
-- "Sunset Triangle Plaza: LA's First Pedestrian Plaza Conversion is Now Open!," Inhabitant
-- People Street Parklet Program, City of Los Angeles
-- Pavement to Parks research initiative, San Francisco
-- Reclaiming the Right of Way: A Toolkit for Creating and Implementing Parklets, UCLA

It also helped to spawn the "tactical urbanism" movement.

-- Tactical Urbanism Volume 1
-- Tactical Urbanism Volume 2
-- Better Block Foundation
-- City Repair,Portland (effort pre-dates Rebar Group, and probably influenced it)
-- City Repair's Placemaking Guidebook, second edition
-- Neighborista, a blog on creative tactical urbanism projects
-- Tactical Urbanism Public Space Stewardship Guide
-- Tactical Urbanist’s Guide to Materials and Design

Note, that's "tactical urbanism" not "temporary urbanism" ("Building the arts and culture ecosystem in DC: Part One, sustained efforts vs. one-off or short term initiatives," 2015).

Sunset-Triangle-Plaza-Rios-Clementi-Hale-Studios-2-537x357
Sunset Triangle Plaza, Rios-Clementi-Hale-Studios

But not in the DC area, at least in terms of making over parking spaces permanently for parklets and patios.

Although we have to acknowledge the greater use of space formerly dedicated to parking for bike lanes and bike parking.
15th Street NW cycletrack
15th Street NW cycletrack in early stages, when drivers still were learning about them.

Bicycle corrall, 11th Street NW, Columbia Heights
Bicycle corral, 11th Street NW, Columbia Heights

And some other examples of redirecting interstitial spaces away from the car. Foremost was the taking away of traffic lanes in 2005/2006 to expand Thomas Circle, returning it to its original size in a move that pre-dated the parklet movement.

This example from the northeast corner of the intersection at 5th Street and New York Avenue NW is more recent.

5th Street and New York Avenue NW, northeast corner, 2017
2017

5th Street and New York Avenue NW, northeast corner, 2008
2008

So I was surprised yesterday to see that in Takoma Park,Maryland, the Takoma Beverage Company has expanded their restaurant patio into the parking lane, taking up two one additional space beyond the sidewalk section.

Note that Takoma Bev Co is a combo "coffee shop" and bar and the food is good, and reasonably priced.

I believe it is the first example in DC, Montgomery County, Arlington County, or Alexandria where "interstitial parking space" is being dedicated permanently to parklet-type use.
An in-street restaurant patio for Takoma Beverage Co. using parking spaces, Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland

According to Suzanne Ludlow, City of Takoma Park City Manager:
As you may have noticed, Takoma Beverage Company is the first of our local restaurateurs to take advantage of the City’s new Outdoor Café Permit, approved by the Council this past summer.  The new permit allows businesses like Takoma Bev Co. to offer outdoor seating to patrons wishing to take full advantage of their menu offerings. 
The permit, which allows for the use of the City’s right of way (which can include on street parking spaces), requires the business to submit a site plan illustrating how the outdoor café will be laid out, provide liability coverage for the City, and be in full compliance with all food and beverage requirements established by Montgomery County.  
Permits can be issued for three month, six month, or twelve month periods. The outdoor locations will be monitored on a regular basis by City staff to ensure that sidewalks allow for the free flow of pedestrians and that the business is complying with a variety of other local laws including the polystyrene ordinance and the property maintenance code.

The one tricky thing is on Sundays, when this space is used by the Takoma Farmers Market. It has to be pulled up then.

The new extended patio has been in place for not quite two weeks.

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More on cultural planning and community history documentation elements

Speaking of Aaron, about one month ago he blogged the piece "Local urban scholarship," making the point that some communities are well documented through historical research and publications, while many are not.

I have a bunch of pieces on cultural planning, including on the value of community media ("Voting vs. civic participation | elections vs. governance") and another making a point similar to Aaron's but about documentary film-making ("Culture planning at the metropolitan scale should include funding for "local" documentary film making," 2016).

But his piece makes me realize this needs to be expanded and extended.

Culture planning at the state scale.  "State" scaled cultural plans and local cultural plans ought to include an element on history and culture documentation covering print, visual, and aural media forms.

An an example of the aural, I've blogged about the podcast done by Preservation Maryland called PreserveCast.  Ideally it should also be carried by public radio in the region.

Culture planning at the metropolitan scale. And at the "local" scale, I'm starting to think that there should be metropolitan-scale culture plans too.

I had a germ of that idea more than ten years ago, when I realized that DC's City Museum could have been more successful if it had been positioned as a regional history museum, because face it, much of the history of the places in the metropolitan area outside of DC proper is inextricably linked to the City of Washington.

But the metropolitan scale is particularly important for local/metropolitan urban, culture, and historical scholarship.

And for media and communications.

In fact, I've been meaning to blog separately about one of my latest ideas, that instead of every community having their own "community access" channels (you could still have them), what about a metropolitan scale cultural television programming initiative, a cable channel but featuring the best of what the area has to offer.

Rather than the kind of ratty stuff most communities do, instead do it at the scale and quality of production values evinced by NYC's cable/broadcast channel, WNYE, branded as NYC Life or the Book TV programming on the weekends by C-SPAN but around culture more broadly.  Another model is the CUNY TV channel in NYC by the City University of New York and BRIC TV, the cable access channel in Brooklyn.

Wisconsin Historical Society publications featured in the Wisconsin state booth at the National Book Festival, 2018
Wisconsin Historical Society.  Just after the piece it was the National Book Festival in DC, sponsored by the Library of Congress, and one of the features is a kind of "Hall of States" featuring exhibits by the state affiliates of the LOC's Center for the Book.

Many of these exhibits feature state-specific publications on writers from the state, literary maps, best books on the state overall or from the past year, etc.

WRT Aaron's point, the Wisconsin booth featured a bunch of books published on local history by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

University presses.  Many states are fortunate to have such organizations with such publishing programs, as well as university presses, which tend to publish these kinds of titles as well.

Bookstores carrying local books once they've been published.  Another element is being able to find these books locally after they have been published.  While Local History Press is good at getting their books into bookstores, university and nonprofit presses are less well represented.

Local museums tend to not do a great job with this--Museum of the City of New York is an exception, as is the National Building Museum in the DC area, and art museums like PS1 in NYC tend to have great bookstores with a good deal of coverage on local art matters.

At Christmas, I wanted to buy the book Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital for my next door neighbor, as she had been featured on a local NPR story that was out of the same theme, and I had to go to a couple bookstores before I could find it, and where I did buy it, Busboys and Poets on 14th Street NW, they only had one copy.

So I was pleasantly surprised how this year the booth for the Arlington Historical Society at the Arlington County Fair featured a slew of local publications for sale that would be very hard to find outside of a library.

Probably every community needs to publish a book comparable to "A is for Arlington," which was produced and published by the Arlington Public Schools.


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Geography of Facebook Friendships: DMV edition

Aaron Renn of Urbanophile calls our attention to a NYT piece ("How close is your community to every state in America?"), headlining it "State Boundaries Are Real," making the point that based on a study of Facebook relationships, people's relationships tend to be pretty close to home--intra-county first, intra-state second, and not much for crossing state boundaries, even when counties abut state boundaries.

I asked Aaron about it, hypothesizing the greater likelihood of such connections across state boundaries in the Washington Metropolitan Area (which includes DC and parts of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and when connected with Baltimore, Pennsylvania) could be an exception.

It turns out this is the case.  The only real case.

DC and Maryland, and the entire DMV--DC, Maryland and Virginia--are the primary exception, nationally.

I understand the DC-Maryland connection, because DC is physically connected to Maryland, while it is separated by a river from Virginia, but cross-county/cross-state connections are strong throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area.

And similarly situated cross-state metropolitan areas where suburban and exurban areas are tied to the center city especially in terms of employment, in particular Philadelphia-NJ-DE and New York City-New Jersey, and to a lesser extent Boston and Chicago, do not have the same level of intensity of connections.

But there is greater than average connection between Kansas City Kansas and Kansas City Missouri, but much less strong compared to the DMV.

He shares with us a higher-resolution image that you can click through on.
district-of-columbia

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An illustration of the complexity of urban construction of new housing from San Francisco

Affordable housing issues and "subsidy of market rate construction" housing are issues always in the news.

Tax abatements/subsidy of market rate housing.  WRT the latter, some elected officials are looking to end the 10-year tax abatement on newly produced housing ("Councilwoman Bass proposes eliminating 10-year tax abatement," Philadelphia Business Journal) and want to redirect the monies to affordable housing production.

But while it's looked upon as a subsidy, it's also a "residential recruitment device," and in a situation where Philadelphia continues to lose population even as other cities like Boston, DC, and NYC gain population, that's important.  Although there is no question that maybe a 10-year full tax abatement is overly sweet ("Philadelphia 10-Year Tax Abatement Here to Stay, for Now," NBC10) and perhaps the program needs some readjustment.

A similar debate is happening in Richmond ("Richmond's tax incentive program is promoting housing inequity," Richmond Times-Dispatch), unless you have a digital subscription, you'll need to access the article via a library-based articles database).  Also see:

-- "Stoney administration pitching council on tax break for Manchester developer; Richmond assessor: 'Why do you need to incentivize somewhere that's so hot?'"
-- "In reversal, developers pledge affordable units in Manchester project up for taxbreak"

It's tricky because people don't understand that generally the cost of construction of new housing, even rented at market rates, might not "pencil out" at least in the intermediate run.  And that the cost of construction (and land) is high and therefore renting it to other segments of the market isn't efficacious.

"Lifetime customer value" of a new resident.  And when you look at the total value of new housing in terms of resident income and sales taxes and other elements, just like how in direct marketing, you "buy" customers losing money in the short run, but making money on the "back end" in terms of purchasing over time and consideration of the total "lifetime value of the customer," the same goes for cities and adding new residents, especially those of high income.

Workforce housing production.  There is a great piece in Multihousing News about workforce housing production.  And I was surprised to see that MassHousing, a state government instrumentality, is happy to provide subsidies to projects that end up providing a "discount" to market rental rates of 10% to 20% tops.

-- "Work It!—Financing Solutions to the Middle-Market Housing Affordability Gap"

New Housing Construction in San Francisco.  Jim Dyer is an community advocate and I subscribe to his Flickr photo feed (we met once at a conference years ago, he is a biking advocate too), and I saw this photo, displayed at a meeting in his San Francisco Council District held by the elected official, Supervisor. Vallie Brown ("Community meeting aims to overcome impasse on new Divisadero housing construction," Hoodlline).

The projects are controversial because they propose a density that is greater than that which exists currently, in an area that is predominated by low height industrial type buildings.

20180917 d5-housing

When so many of the discussions on new housing focus on only one element, the fact that this slide lists six basic elements:
  • financing
  • affordability levels
  • community benefits
  • land ownership
  • transit access
  • housing types
plus whether the project is:

  • public
  • private
  • or a mix
along with 
  • "notes to consider"
is pretty incredible.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

World Carfree Day: Saturday September 22nd

The Guardian calls our attention to how more car free communities would improve air quality and reduce deaths and illnesses related to air pollution.

Car Free Day is a way to bring attention to this fact ("We can cut air pollution drastically right now. Here’s how").

The DC area has a "Car Free Metro DC" initiative but it isn't particularly visible.

-- World Carfree Network

H Street Festival crowd shot, September 20th, 2014
H Street Festival crowd shot, September 20th, 2014


I'm thinking just as various neighborhoods and cities have festivals from Adams-Morgan Day to the H Street Festival in DC, and how I keep advocating for Bike Expos and such on the part of transportation departments and college campuses, besides "back to school" events and such, Walk to School Day in October, Bike Month and Bike to Work Day in May, etc., that sustainable mobility agencies and programs should organize an annual transportation festival in association with Car Free Day.

Think of it as "not the auto show."

Toyota exhibit at the Cleveland Auto Show
Toyota exhibit at the Cleveland Auto Show

Although I'd call it "car light" and allow car sharing vendors to participate.

Model it after Ciclovia/CicLAvia--Los Angeles County tends to get between 100,000 and 250,000 participants in their "Open Streets" events, which they move around to different locations throughout the county.

CicLAvia, San Fernando Valley, March 22, 2015
Cyclists and rollerbladers enjoy the streets during a CicLAvia event in the San Fernando Valley. Photo: Rob Rovira, March 22, 2015.

But also in a very purposeful way, include focused exhibits on various elements of sustainable mobility--various transit modes, biking, walking, school and campus-focused programs, delivery programs, car sharing, bike sharing, scooter sharing, transportation demand management, trails and friends groups, etc. E-vehicles I'm not sure.  It still promotes automobility.  OTOH, you can get money from producers for sponsorships (same with car sharing).

Arlington County, Virginia has done the expo part, with the Arlington Car-Free Diet program but not linked with "a festival."  And social media campaigning.


The two elements need to be combined into one.

In DC, I've argued that Massachusetts Avenue, at the least from 9th St. to Dupont Circle would be a great place to do this as it would not impinge on any regular bus routes, is centrally located, is close to transit stations, and is highly visible.

Aerial_view_of_downtown_Washington,_D.C., Massachusetts Avenue is in the center right
Aerial view of Downtown Washington,D.C., Massachusetts Avenue is in the center right of the photograph.

====
Before the Metrorail system opened in DC, there was a "festival" on the National Mall, introducing Metrorail cars to the public. DC did this with the Streetcar c. 2007-2008.

Poster highlighting the creation of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and celebratory events on the National Mall, 4/1/1967
Poster highlighting the creation of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and celebratory events on the National Mall, 4/1/1967.

There was a festival on the National Mall when the US Department of Transportation was created.

But I think from the standpoint of "what have you done for me lately" ("A consultant told Metro what many riders already know: It's the service," Washington Post), sustainable mobility programs and agencies need to be more outwardly focused and marketing "all the time."

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Dockless Bikes/Why We Can't Have Nice Things/Ignoring Past Experience

Dockless bicycle share bicycles (LimeBike) left on the Sligo Creek Trail, Montgomery County, MarylandI know I am beating a dead horse here, as it appears that most of the traditional (non-electric powered) dockless systems that were deployed in the US over the last year seem to be disappearing ("Theft and destruction of dockless bikes a growing problem," Washington Post).

-- "Bike sharing data from Seattle," June
-- "Maybe New York City just needs to invest in public secure bike parking (re: dockless bike sharing)," April
-- "I finally figured out why mobility services are buying other mobility services: they're acquiring customers already familiar with smart mobility," July

Over the weekend, my brother who lives in South Florida sent me this article, "The bike in the middle of Biscayne Bay: Why we can't have nice things in Miami," from the Miami Herald). It laments that vandalism etc. makes it impossible for dockless bike share to succeed there.

Yes, it does.  And everywhere.  Even with the very first attempt at bike share in the late 1960s in Amsterdam.  After a few weeks, the bikes were all gone, either stolen or wrecked ("How this Amsterdam inventor gave bike-sharing to the world," Guardian).

That's why the response in later iterations was both sound locking systems (second generation, Deutsche Bahn's Call-A-Bike) and later third generation systems with relatively impregnable dock-based systems in Europe with particularly hardy bikes.  (I say the "fourth generation" is dock-based systems that are solar powered.)

The dockless systems unleashed over the last year, but previously in China and elsewhere, ignored those lessons.  Cheap bikes.  Cheap locks pretty much (not for the Jump e-bikes).  No docks.  In a place like Singapore where crime is taken very seriously, people won't vandalize bikes.  That's not the case in major cities in the US or the UK ("Mobike no more: dockless bikes could soon be gone from UK streets," Guardian), or elsewhere.

I am reminded once again of a story told by Olmsted when he was creating Central Park.  He was at the garden party of a grandee, who complained to him that the landscaping and accountrements Olmsted was installing in Central Park was nicer than his own garden.  Olmsted replied that far more people would be using Central Park and it had to be built hardier in order to withstand all the use it was going to get.

Even systems with higher order checks on use, like Airbnb have had problems with vandalism by "guests" ("$5.3 million home in San Francisco wrecked after Airbnb rental," KGO-TV)  to the point where stays now come with $1 million of protection for the property owner (What is the Airbnb Host Guarantee? | Airbnb Help Center).

And it's not like car sharing systems leave the cars unlocked.  You go through a driver's license check first, each use must be authorized by the credit card before you have access to the car, there is a hardcore unlocking procedure.

I have zero "sympathy" for the failed dockless bike schemes, because they ignored past experience with "free range" bike sharing.  In places where people can vandalize, that small percentage of the population that has that propensity to violence will act it out, wrecking the system for others.

Broken seat, LimeBike dockless bicycle shareAlthough, not all of the problems with the bikes are due to vandalism.  The bikes are cheap and break easily, even when not being pushed to the edge.

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Separately, I've come to believe, at least in the US, that the issue about people not biking for transportation isn't access to bikes.  If access had been the issue, then you'd have seen lots of people using the dockless bikes for non-recreational purposes.  That wasn't the case.

Capital Bikeshare dock station in Takoma Junction, Takoma Park, MarylandInterestingly too, the visibility of the dock stations for bike share might aid as a marketing device, but also as a branding and community building element--potentially, if that aspect is developed by the system.

I'd figure out a way to encourage "super users" to become brand ambassadors, volunteer trail ranger programs, to expand the user base.  In the case of DC, the system grows in membership from year to year but not hugely.  Other systems, like Divvy in Chicago, do a lot more marketing and community building.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Department of Duh: Apartments not always successful next to transit stations

Bisnow, a real estate information company, ran a conference on Prince George's County and in their write up of the event, "Why Building Apartments Next To Suburban D.C. Metro Stations Doesn't Always Work," they make the point that you can't just construct a building anywhere. From the article:
Developers see suburban Metro stations as some of the most prime opportunities in the D.C. region, and Prince George's County in particular has several undeveloped transit stops that appear to make it poised for growth. But some developers who have done transit-oriented projects in the county say it is not as simple as just building apartments on top of a Metro stop.

The Metro-centric developments that have had the most success have included a host of retail and restaurant offerings, neighborhood services and employment opportunities, Transwestern Mid-Atlantic Multifamily Group co-director Robin Williams said. "A handful of others have had residential but not accessibility to employment and/or walkable lifestyle amenities," said Williams, speaking Thursday at Bisnow's Prince George's County State of the Market, held at The Hotel at UMD. "And we've seen some real struggles there."
Duh.  I've been making that point for years and years, even before I got "schooled" on this while analyzing various MARC train stations in Baltimore County when I worked there.

-- "Tips for urban revitalization, including transit," 2009
-- "What matters isn't "transit oriented development": what really matters is compact development and integrating transportation and land use," 2011
-- "What the State of Maryland still doesn't get about smart growth," 2011
-- "Bad Montgomery County policy/law initiative #1: removing density bonuses for building around MARC train stations," 2012
-- "
Prince George's County still doesn't get "transit oriented development" and walkable communities: Greenbelt edition," 2012

It's about both transit access and place and urban design characteristics simultaneously. I wrote this in the 2009 piece:
So a couple lessons are: (1) put the stations in places with the right morphology. This includes a focus on active streets and streetscape. (2) have a station area plan, especially if the spatial patterns need to be changed. (3) have an economic development plan focused on sparking new development where appropriate, and improvement of existing buildings and businesses.
Note that Metrorail, a hybrid commuter railroad and heavy rail subway system, has the same issue.  Distant stations, especially endpoints, without place characteristics, haven't been particularly successful as development nodes.

And it's an illustration of the problem of the failure to codify the lessons from Metrorail and transit oriented development in the DC area.

Basically it's worked really well where there are existing centers and nodes, even if the process takes decades.

 It hasn't worked so well where the station connections are distant from centers and nodes, even if they are somewhat proximate (Alexandria is something of an exception, but they'd do way better if there was a more central connection within the core). It hasn't worked so well in sparking improvement in areas that are disconnected from centers and nodes (e.g. West Hyattsville, Greenbelt, Vienna).  And it could work a lot better if there was a strong focus on urban design and connection (Prince Georges Plaza, Fort Totten).

And this is pretty much the case across the board. I know it's true in Greater Baltimore, although there it's abetted by the failure to have a transit network rather than two truncated lines.

 That's the case in Miami, where many of the stations were located in places "that needed development," not in locations that were already successful and destinations.  It's true with the BART system, even stations touted for what became unsuccessful TOD projects like at Fruitvale in Oakland ("Bitter fruit in Fruitvale," 2006).

You need station area plans and a means to effectuate them.  More recently, I've argued that station areas need to have "public improvement districts" created even before they open.

-- "(In many places) Public improvement districts ought to be created as part of transit station development process: the east side of NoMA station as an example," 2016

(I am about to write a piece about this and the Purple Line, using Takoma Crossroads/Langley Park as an example.)

And similarly, we need to create TMDs as a matter of course for station catchment areas.

-- "Creating transportation management districts (sustainable mobility districts) as an organizing framework," 2017

If we did this, there would be much faster improvement and a greater take up of sustainable modes than through the trickle down processes that occur as part of the "market."


Building it is key.  But they have to be given a good reason "to come" if they are comfortable with existing transportation and land use processes.

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Lehman Brothers and the Great Financial Crisis: Ten Years Later

I still don't understand fully "high finance," and so I am not sure about "credit swaps," interest rate swaps, etc., and how they influenced the Real Estate and Finance driven "recession" in the US and Europe.

The New York Times has a very detailed special section, "Crisis and Consequences," and after reading it which I haven't done yet, maybe I'll understand high finance a bit better.

Back in 2008, not unlike John Gapper of the Financial Times ("My naive part in Lehman's downfall"), I too thought it was the right response for the US Government to not bail out Lehman Brothers as it went into bankruptcy. Government officials were hesitant because of all the criticism of their bailout of Bear Stearns a few months before. From the article:
A few hours before Mr Paulson spoke, the Financial Times published a rather jaunty column by me, advising the Treasury secretary to take the weekend off to pursue his hobby of birdwatching. The government should resist the pressure to save Lehman Brothers, as it had Bear Stearns and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage institutions, I wrote. It had “talked tough about moral hazard . . . but been a soft touch.”

Within days, Mr Paulson took my advice (and that of others) and allowed Lehman to collapse, triggering the worst postwar financial crisis and unleashing economic and social damage that still endures. It is rarely that an article backfires so rapidly and spectacularly, and I have had a decade to reflect on my part in Lehman’s downfall.
Yes, it sucks that excepting a few companies, leaders, and stockholders there wasn't much consequence for the "moral hazards" that financialization of so much of the economy got us into.

A protester in Chicago.  Photo: Keystone.

But I failed to consider  the ramifications of letting such a big actor fail and the mulit-year e negative impact this would have on real estate development -- both office and multifamily residential -- in urban cores.

The market was devastated and took years to recover, although some cities like Washington, Seattle, San Francisco, and "West Los Angeles" managed to recover sooner, although certain types of construction like condominiums, took much longer to recover.

But as we all know, the consequences of the GFC are far greater than the construction meltdown in US cities.

The government response, focused on maintaining financial institutions but not in helping the people, mortgages, and businesses that were "collateral damage," led in the US the rise of the "Tea Party" and rightward "populism" in Europe, including the Brexit vote in the UK.

In the US, the Tea Party furthered the anti-government strains within the Republican Party.  Whereas the Occupy Wall Street movement likely has had some impact on the current move for a more progressive Democratic Party.

I say I am not that good at economics (I do understand microeconomics pretty well in practice), in particular macroeconomics, but I definitely understand the concept of Keynesian economics, and why governments are supposed to be "countercyclical" in fiscal responses to crisis.

To stoke demand in times of recession, they should spend.

Note that what happened in 2008 is also a classic example of what Marxists call a "capitalist crisis," and it was a joke that Tea Partiers complained that the government was taking over the economy, that President Obama was a socialist, etc., as this was a classic example of the government stepping in to bail out capitalism."

-- "The Global Crises of Capitalism: Whose Crises, Who Profits?," Global Research

Also a good example of "neoliberal overreach."

-- "Neoliberalism: The Idea that Changed the World," Guardian

Unfortunately, in Europe definitely and in the US somewhat -- although there was a fiscal response in terms of the ARRA, the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act -- it wasn't enough because of Republican opposition, the response was government fiscal austerity, which New York Times columnist economist Paul Krugman has written about ad nauseam ("A General Theory Of Austerity?"), which extended the recession by many years.

Sadly, that was the time to build big infrastructure projects, when money was cheap and demand was low keeping prices down, but as the Republican response against "high speed rail" showed, the bias against government involvement and investment of almost any kind meant we failed to do any of that.

That's another economic lesson I learned, because I was aware, growing up in Michigan, how much of the state's infrastructure, be it dormitories at colleges or sidewalks, was constructed as part of New Deal projects, and this investment had great impact in later years and continues to do so.

Of course, in the US we've learned that Republican opposition to fiscal spending because of a concern about debt is total b.s. given what's happened to the US government budget after a massive tax cut for corporations and the wealthy ("Republican tax cuts to fuel historic U.S. deficits: CBO," Reuters).

Republicans are fine with debt if it funds tax cuts but otherwise they don't want to support government spending for much other than the military. And even though they produced the "debt crisis" by cutting taxes, they become a-historical and use the debt as the reason for further cuts to social spending.

In the UK, austerity led to the Brexit vote. The Conservative Party shifted "responsibility" for their recession from their choices on austerity, blaming the EU.

In Europe, austerity drives much of the hard right response in many countries, although this is abetted by immigration from Africa, which has been abetted both by the consequences since the US-initiated war in Iraq which destabilized the Mideast as well as drought further south.

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While yes, it's true that for the most part, no one went to jail and that's probably not good there are a bunch of lessons.

The big problem is that the government response was focused on institutions, not people ruined by the failure of institutions.

The second was the failure to apply Keynesian approaches for substantive fiscal stimulus.

The third is the failure in the adoption of neoliberal approaches to government -- government always bad, market always good, globalization of the economy -- was the failure to build a substantive safety net for people buffeted by the changes, from robust health care access to housing assistance. 

Although this problem has existed since the time of the Reagan Administration.  But as economic shocks become more severe, the need for and the consequences of not having such a safety net become more pronounced.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

North Carolina Main Street presentations

I was at a farmers market today, talking to some people working on Main Street programs in DC, and I wasn't particularly cheerful.

I have learned so much about how commercial district revitalization works and it amazes me that DC, despite having a Main Street program for 16 years, and many programs across the city, hasn't really codified the learning that has occurred across programs both in terms of success and failure, doesn't leverage the value of commercial district revitalization programs as a network, doesn't have the same commitment to technical training that it did at the outset, and has a two sizes (Business Improvement Districts for bigger places and Main Street for smaller places) fits all approach to commercial district improvement when a greater range of approaches and a more defined set of supports is needed.

Despite being down about this here, I happened to come across the North Carolina Main Street website and they are featuring their annual conference which was in March, and have almost all of the presentations up on the site.

The two plenary presentations were by Ben Muldrow, of Arnett Muldrow, a planning consulting firm that uses design and branding methods in their approach to commercial district revitalization planning and Ed McMahon, now a fellow at the Urban Land Institute, who is a national leader on the value of aesthetics and design in defining and maintaining community identity.

-- The Future of American Downtown – Ben Muldrow
-- 21st Century Economic Development – Ed McMahon

Both presentations are very good. ... I'm not sure I've heard Ben Muldrow speak. If not it was someone else from his firm at the 2005 National Main Street Conference in Baltimore, and it was mind blowing to see how they applied the design method and branding to "land use planning" and commercial district revitalization.

I've seen Ed McMahon speak a few times, and he is always good at rekindling the desire to keep at this work.

This is a slide from Ed's presentation, where he contrasts 20th and 21st century approaches to economic development. I particularly liked the line about "transaction vs. vision" in driving projects.
Slide on 20th vs. 21st century approaches to economic development, Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute
It's funny.  There's a slide in the McMahon presentation featuring a photo of the book, Cities: Back from the Edge by Roberta Gratz, and that was the one book I recommended to the woman I talked to at the booth. 

I always say if you only have time to read one book on commercial district revitalization, that's the one, because it's easier to grasp than Jane Jacobs as it is more of a set of vignettes or case studies of various improvement initiatives.

Both keynote presentations key on the value of place and distinctive communities as a way to attract and keep "capital."  I don't feel like elected officials and stakeholders really understand and believe that here in Washington.

I first wrote about this in 2005:

-- "Town-City Branding: We are all "destination managers" now"

The book I mentioned in that post, Tourism Development Handbook: A Practical Approach to Planning and Marketing by Kerry Godfrey and Jackie Clarke is for the most part, excellent, and I am surprised it is out-of-print.  It's applicable to commercial district revitalization as much as it is to tourism.

The point I made in the blog entry is that if we make places great for ourselves, often they'll be attractive to visitors as well, and the additional spending by the visitors will help support a broader range of retail and services.

The book I am trying to read in preparation for some posts in advance of World Tourism Day (September 27th), is The Competitive Destination: A Sustainable Tourism Perspective. It's even more of a primer than the other.

(Unlike states like North Carolina, New Jersey, Connecticut, and others, DC doesn't have an annual Main Street training conference, although various organizations do various economic development presentations throughout the year.)

Secrets of Successful Communities, presentation slide, Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute
Secrets of Successful Communities, presentation slide, Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute

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Great resource: Urban Wayfinding Planning and Implementation Manual

-- Urban Wayfinding Planning and Implementation Manual, published by the Sign Research Foundation which it turns out has a resource library with more than 4,600 items, and the International Signage Association

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Should small city economic development over minor league baseball and other sports be treated differently from big city cases?

Potomac Nationals move to Fredericksburg.  In the DC region, the Potomac Nationals minor league baseball team affiliated with the Washington Nationals will be moving from Prince William County to Fredericksburg, Virginia, because the team owner couldn't get a deal with the local government and the team had been served notice by its league that it had to develop a new stadium by a certain date ("Fredericksburg approves Potomac Nationals new stadium, Washington Business Journal").

Pawtucket Sox move to Worcester.  Separately, the Pawtucket Sox, affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, after many years of trying to develop a new stadium, in part with state subsidies and loan guarantees, decided to move to Worcester, Massachusetts, because of the inability to get a bill through the Rhode Island State Legislature.  (Technically a bill was passed, but with a provision that made the law a deal killer.)

The Diamond, Richmond.  Wikipedia photo.  Compared to Greensboro, the current stadium location is not in the core ofthe city but more on the outskirts.

Richmond's tried for years to build a new minor league baseball stadium.  Richmond, Virginia has been going back and forth for years about building a new minor league baseball stadium too   ("A new baseball stadium is striking out in Richmond," Washington Post; "Editorial: Can big, beautiful RVA arena lead to a new park for the Flying Squirrels?," Richmond times-Dispatch). Among other things, delays led to a loss of one team affiliated with the Atlanta Braves and a gap without a team, before landing a new one.

One of the problems is the complicated political structure in Virginia.  As a city, Richmond is disconnected from counties, and the Richmond Metropolitan Authority funds cross-jurisdictional infrastructure, but it's difficult to get the counties to agree to pay towards a facility wholly within Richmond.

Louisville.  Louisville has a minor league stadium on the waterfront, and it was a key element of the downtown revitalization program there ("Waking Up Louisville's Downtown," New York Times; "A closer look at the ACC baseball tournament – is it really a 'multimillion-dollar gift' to Louisville?," Louisville Courier-Journal).

Fluor Park at the West End, Greenville, SC.  Wikipedia photo.

Greenville, SC.  Greenville is a small city revitalization success story ("Liberty Bridge, Falls Park transformed downtown," Greenville News, "Opening the Gate to a Vibrant Main Street in Greenville, S.C.," New York Times).

It took a few planning iterations before elected officials and stakeholders accepted the idea put forth by planning consultants that instead of hiding a waterfall placed downtown, they should show it off, which they did by removing a road bridge that obscured it.

Once they did, in 2004, the downtown became a destination, and the city continues to build on and extend that success with other elements, including the West End Field minor league baseball park located downtown, which opened in 2006.

Note how the minor league baseball stadium in Greensboro is embedded in the center of the city. How cool is that?

Greensboro, NC.  What really got me to thinking about this was a few years ago, in an interview with an economic development official in Greensboro, NC (for pieces related to colleges as economic drivers, they do some amazing stuff in Greensboro), we argued for a moment about how his foundation provided $25 million towards a minor league stadium ("How other cities have funded baseball stadiums," Wilmington Star News; "Ballpark money from Bryan fund?," Greensboro - Triad Business Journal).

Are minor league stadium matters worthy of deeper academic study?  But since, I've wondered if I was too doctrinaire.  That perhaps community considerations need to be outlined and weighed differently than how I look at it for big cities (see my big city sports facility evaluative framework here).  Just as I argue for a more nuanced look at the issues for cities--all the while angling for the best deal for the community as opposed to the team owner--the same goes for small cities.

When so many smaller communities are "hollowing out," minor league baseball as well as college sports and other events can be important community anchors.  And I remember how a minor league stadium project in Memphis won an award from the Congress for New Urbanism back in 2002, partly because it anchored a new ballpark district, with additional mixed use development.

I think the issue of minor league stadiums in smaller cities is worthy of a separate vein of academic research, separate from that on the impact of professional sports teams in large metropolitan areas, which comprises a majority of the studies in the field.  Note that this is different from spring training sites too.  (In the DC area, there are also minor league teams in Bowie, Frederick, Hagerstown, and Waldorf, Maryland, as well as teams elsewhere in Virginia and Maryland.  The main minor league team for the Washington Nationals is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is within driving distance.)

Note that isn't just for baseball. Also for soccer ("Louisville City FC stadium isn't only Butchertown project," Louisville Courier-Journal"), and college facilities--Baylor's football stadium used local funds and maybe some of the money for the University of Washington football stadium in Seattle too.

And I also remember issues concerning minor league baseball in Brooklyn and Staten Island, where there are active teams in facilities partly funded by the city and state.  So it can be a bigger city issue also, but usually with special considerations.  Outside of NYC, I don't know of examples of minor league teams also located in the same city alongside major league teams.

Pawtucket.  The Providence Journal has been covering the Pawtucket stadium proposal for years, and in the face of the loss of the team, published an analysis, "How Rhode Island lost the PawSox."

It's a great, thorough piece and it discloses something that I didn't know, that because of problems with previous stadium proposals as well as the loss of millions of dollars of public money on former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's failed video game venture, Senator William Conley, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, decided to hold hearings around the state, the lengthening the process, but to truly gauge citizen sentiment on whether or not to support public funding.

Such a hearing process is almost unprecedented and a real statement of leadership.

At the hearings, 70% were in favor, and in terms of online submitted comments, 60% were in favor.  Conley moved the project forward in the Senate, but key officials in the State House balked, and the project sputtered, leading the team to decamp.

Probably the hearings run by the Senate should have been held jointly with the State House, thereby developing consensus across the Legislature.

According to the article, while Senate participants in the process believed their concerns were addressed and the project had statewide support, House members did not, and because they hadn't run a thorough public process of their own, they believed that a majority of their constituents were opposed.

Interestingly, during the public process a number of interesting proposals were raised, and some were incorporated into the final legislation, such as:
... steering half the annual naming rights, $250,000, to Pawtucket to help keep up with the city’s share of bond payments. The bill also added an assessment on premium tickets for the same reason. And DiPalma liked the team’s added pledge to build 50,000 square feet of commercial development near the park.
Plus, the original deal negotiated by the Governor and the Mayor of Pawtucket got the team up to providing 54% of the cost of the stadium + any overruns, which according to Senator Conley, was significantly higher than was typical for other minor league stadium deals.

With the disagreements among elected officials and a reticence to advocate for it, especially when political opponents criticized support, the legislation wasn't moving in Rhode Island.

Not unlike how I argue that Bilbao was prepared and seized the opportunity, "pouncing" on the Guggenheim when the Austrian city that they approached first backed out ("Why can't the Bilbao Effect be reproduced?"), during the process Worcester approached the team's ownership with a proposal and relatively speaking, unanimous support. From the article:
When the Worcester City Council voted in December of 2016 for Ed Augustus to try to lure the PawSox, he was sure there was no chance.

But as city manager, he was Worcester’s CEO, and his “board” had just given him a mission.

So Augustus chatted about it with Joe Petty, the part-time mayor, and the two were soon wondering if it was worth the time. “Long shot” was an understatement.

“Well,” said the mayor, “give it your best.”
Postcard produced by the Worcester Canal District Association promoting support for moving the Pawtucket team to a new minor league stadium in Worcester.

Once Pawtucket's period of contract exclusivity ran out, Worcester moved forward.  As did many other communities.

But in Worcester, residents favored a stadium as a way to utilize 18 acres of land that was vacant and an eyesore and even developed a postcard campaign to communicate their support ("PawSox move to Worcester started with Gene Zabinski's postcard," Worcester Telegram).

And in the face of the death of the Rhode Island deal, Worcester eventually succeeded ("Worcester and PawSox sign letter of intent to build $90M stadium," Worcester Business Journal), in part because they started more than one year before all the other cities that contacted the team after it was clear that Rhode Island wouldn't provide bond loan guarantees.

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One element of the proposed Pawtucket deal needs to be adopted by other communities, charging a higher tax on premium tickets, suites, etc.

Downtown Durham, NC before the addition of a minor league baseball stadium
Downtown Durham, NC before the addition of a minor league baseball stadium

Downtown Durham, NC after the addition of a minor league baseball stadium
Downtown Durham, NC after the addition of a minor league baseball stadium

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