The podcast version of the California Planning & Development Report (www.cp-dr.com), the leading independent source of news and analysis for the urban planning community in California. Covering policy, housing, transportation, finance, trends and more. Featuring Editor Bill Fulton, Contributing Editor Josh Stephens, and special guests.
Rick Cole: From California to Congress for New Urbanism
In the 1990s, Rick Cole presided over the update of Pasadena's general plan, which led to the development of one of the most recognizable transit-oriented developments in the United States (recognizable to planning nerds, at least): the Del Mar Transit Village on Los Angeles Metro's Gold Line. At the time, the city was a hotbed of New Urbanism thought, of which the Del Mar Transit Village was a prime example. Despite the high profile of New Urbanist ideas, and of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Del Mar remained a relatively isolated example of the ethos and the aesthetic.
In the ensuing decades, Cole moved on to serve as city manager in Azusa and Ventura (where he collaborated with CP&DR Publisher Bill Fulton), and in the past decade he served in the Los Angeles Mayor's Office and, most recently, as city manager in Santa Monica, from 2015 to 2020. The consummate Californian and longtime proponent of New Urbanist is now taking on a formal, national role, as the leader of the Congress for the New Urbanism itself. Cole official became CNU's executive director in May.
CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Cole about New Urbanism's influence on California, California's influence on it, and its prospects here and around the country now that it has gone from a radical upstart theory to a motivating force among many progressive planners, designers, and developers.
Single-Family Zoning Upheaval & Pending Legislation
A wave of cities throughout California, including Sacramento, Berkeley, and Oakland, have pledged to do away with single-unit zoning and permit duplexes by-right. It's a seemingly simple principle, but a potentially vast planning challenge. Bill Fulton and Josh Stephens discuss this latest trend in planning and what it means for cities that have already adopted it and for cities that might be considering it.
Meanwhile, the legislature is considering a raft of land-use bills that are as diverse as they are numerous. Bill and Josh take a look at some of the highlights.
L.A. Planner-Councilmember Nithya Raman
Elected to the Los Angeles City Council in November, Nithya Raman ran on an explicitly urbanist platform. Her slogan: "Nithya for the city." Raman had previously worked in the City Administrator's Office analyzing funding for homelessness initiatives and, more recently, led a nonprofit that advocates for women in the entertainment industry. Initially, though, Raman arrived at public service via urban planning. She earned her master's in urban planning from MIT and spend several years working her in native India, advocating for impoverished populations in Delhi and Chennai.
Raman's council district, District 4, spans both sides of the Hollywood Hills, including wealthy, homeowner-dominated neighborhoods like Larchmont Village and Sherman Oaks as well as denser, lower-income neighborhoods like Van Nuys and Hollywood. Raman's city council platform includes several planks related to progressive land use and attention to disadvantaged populations, including rent forgiveness, subsidized housing, and vastly increased services and housing options for unhoused people. Raman is the second urban planner to serve on the Los Angeles City Council and the first to serve since Ed Reyes was termed out in 2013. In unseating former councilmember David Ryu, Raman became the first challenger to win a council seat in 17 years.
CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Raman on February 18.
Top California Urban Planning Stories of 2020
In our final podcast of 2020, Bill and Josh discuss CP&DR's most popular stories of the year, including the impact of the COVID pandemic on cities and planning's responses to the year's social justice movements.
Related Article: A Year Like No Other
Top Planning Books of 2020
Planetizen.com recently came out with its annual list of the Top Urban Planning Books of 2020, including contributions from CP&DR's Josh Stephens. The books cover timeless topics like housing and the history of planning as well as vital issues that have received increased attention of late, including those of social justice, race, and gender.
Bill Fulton spoke with Josh and Planetizen Managing Editor James Brasuell about this year's list and how it reflects the present and future of urban planning.
October 12, 2020: Diana Lind & "Brave New Home"
In Diana Lind's new book Brave New Home: Our Future in Smarter, Simpler, Happier Housing, Lind shows why a country full of single-family houses is bad for people and the planet, and details the new efforts underway that better reflect the way we live now, to ensure that the way we live next is both less lonely and more affordable. Lind explores the homes and communities that are seeking alternatives to the American norm, from multi-generational living, in-law suites, and co-living to microapartments, tiny houses, and new rural communities. Brave New Home offers a diagnosis of the current crisis in American housing and a radical re-imagining of the possibilities of housing.
Based in Philadelphia, Lind was editor in chief, and later executive director, of Next City, a leading urbanist website and nonprofit. She currently leads the Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia, where her work fosters an exchange between the creative and business communities.
CP&DR's Josh Stephens spoke with Lind about how Brave New Home can help planners anticipate, and promote, innovative approaches to housing.