We believe the guidelines essentially guarantee a false and bland uniformity by describing the restrictions in such detail that all designs will be essentially the same. There's a reason buildings looked the way they did in the 19th century. Aren't there different opportunities in the 21st? Our cities are living organisms, not period backdrops. New construction should proudly claim our point in history.
In urban planning there is a concept called a “urban transect.” The urban transect divides development patterns into six categories, from lowest intensity (rural preserve) to middle intensity (general urban) to highest intensity (urban core). The urban transect concept is useful because it organizes complex patterns into an understandable map and it clarifies how one category transitions into another.
Covington is currently in the middle of a redevelopment boom, with new projects going on in MainStrasse and downtown. Historically there are two categories of commercial property development, and each respond to either the automobile or pedestrian. Covington has examples of both development categories. Which is best for Covington?
Just because a city is suburban doesn’t mean it has to act that way. The City of Villa Hills approached us with the idea to grow the city, to increase density and diversity of housing without building large apartment complexes and to create central, mixed-use spaces.
Our last post posed the question, “why doesn’t infill development fit in our communities?”
We talked about some reasons: economic factors, contradicting construction methods, scale, and most of all, a disregard for context. Being the ambitious malcontents we are, we refuse to believe we're stuck.
Everyone complains about the design of urban infill. It looks the same. It tastes the same. It smells the same. We should want development that is respectful of the character of the community, but is expressive of who we are as a community now, not 100 years ago.
Cities are social forms more than built forms. I was reminded about the importance of connecting places for the pedestrian, creating short blocks, activating dead spaces or buildings with limited activity at the street levels and the opportunity represented in side streets and alleys. Making projects led by place and not the project.
When cities are struggling psychologically and economically, investment in public spaces may be seen as a non-essential response, but the truth is that even a small investment in quality public space delivers a diverse return to those with the foresight to see its value.
Green building design involves finding the balance between building and the sustainable environment. The intent of sustainable design is to create buildings that improve the quality of life for people and the environment we live in.
It’s no secret that people get attached to their parking spot. Whether it’s in front of your home or your favorite coffee shop, (where you go every day) you feel entitled to YOUR spot. But is it really yours?
It is easy to look at the development in OTR and downtown Covington and see the upside. More and more, we have beauty replacing blight and new, interesting places to eat, shop, and live. It is because it’s so easy to see the benefits, that we so quickly lose sight of the downside.