Vibrant urban villages? Plans don’t fit reality

Stitched together by developers from fields and gravel pits, Apple Valley has worked for years to build the kind of downtown where residents can leave home in the morning and walk to the bus, their jobs or local stores.

New restaurants and a hotel, townhouses and a park with water fountains where kids can play have already sprung up in the Central Village, but right next door, there are still empty fields.

The housing market slump caused a slowdown in development that forced city leaders to plead earlier this summer to hang onto public funding that is key to their vision: a $2.3 million Livable Communities grant from the Metropolitan Council to build underground parking below an as-yet-unbuilt complex of housing and businesses on Galaxie Avenue.

SOURCE: Star Tribune – Vibrant urban villages? Plans don’t fit reality.

Eco-towns should be near urban sprawl, say planning chief – Birmingham Post

The Government should drop proposals for eco-towns in rural locations and concentrate instead on developing sustainable communities in urban areas, according to the chairman of Birmingham’s planning committee.

Councillor Peter Douglas Osborn said the council would be pushing ahead with its own plans to build five eco-towns within the Birmingham city boundary.

He said locations favoured by the Government for eco-towns including Long Marston, near Stratford-upon-Avon, and Curborough, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, made “no sense” because they were isolated from transport links and nowhere near urban centres.

Birmingham PostEco-towns should be near urban sprawl, say planning chief

Auckland a city in need of ambition – NZ Herald

Auckland is failing to fulfil its potential and needs to be bidding for ambitious projects such as the 2016 Commonwealth Games, says Ludo Campbell-Reid, the city council’s urban design champion.

Campbell-Reid, who was brought to Auckland two years ago by then mayor Dick Hubbard to give the city a cohesive design framework, has spent a month in London where normally sanguine Londoners are getting excited about the Olympics being held there in 2012.

SOURCE:  NZ Herald – Auckland a city in need of ambition – 06 Jul 2008 -

Golf ‘ruining our green and pleasant land’

The sport’s growing popularity has led to dozens of important parks being turned into 18-hole courses, leading to what English Heritage claims is “irreversible damage to the historic environment”.

The warning comes as the organisation prepares to launch the first comprehensive register of the country’s neglected historic treasures this week.

SOURCE: Telegraph.co.uk

Landscape failed in eco-town plans, says Landscape Institute

The importance of landscape is neglected in the Government’s eco-towns plans, the Landscape Institute said this week.

Chair of the Landscape Institute Policy Committee Jon Lovell said eco-towns provided “an outstanding opportunity” but warned that the sustainability of the proposed eco-towns depended on the integration of landscape planning, design and management. He said that green space needed to be viewed as essential infrastructure – as equally as important as roads, services and other ‘grey’ infrastructure’ components.

SOURCE: Landscape Institute – Landscape failed in eco-town plans, says Landscape Institute.

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