Posted in LAM ONLINE, PEOPLE, REAL ESTATE, REGULATIONS, RESIDENTIAL, tagged Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, affordable housing, Ben Carson, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Congress for New Urbanism, Demolition, deregulation, Donald Trump, Enterprise, HOPE VI, Housing Density, HUD, HUD Secretary, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Mixed-Income, National Low-Income Housing Coalition, New Urbanism, Privatization, Urban Institute on February 16, 2017|
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By Zach Mortice
The Rockwell Gardens public housing project in Chicago, demolished in 2006. Photo by Paul Goyette.
The founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) started off with a bang. The small but influential cadre of advocates for walkable and traditional-looking urbanism began meeting in 1993—the first big gathering was held at the historic Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, with its “enormous entablature,” as the historian Vincent Scully noted in his opening remarks. The CNU’s beginnings dovetailed with the passage of a piece of legislation that enshrined the group’s approach to city building as federal policy: the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program. After decades of crumbling, dysfunctional government-built-and-managed public housing projects, housing would instead be at least partially constructed and controlled by private developers and management companies. They would build lower-density, “mixed-income” communities of row houses and garden apartments. By the numbers, the lower density was made easier because Congress, in 1995, ended what had long been the “one-for-one” replacement rule for any public housing to be demolished. Housing vouchers, to be used to pay private landlords (who are not required to accept them), were considered sufficient for tenants not accepted into newly built units. At any rate, the policy change posed no obstacle to architects and planners.
But the 2016 election of Donald Trump was a tidal wave that washes over every corner of government—public housing design guidelines and funding policy included. HUD and the New Urbanists’ HOPE VI legacy is, pending a likely confirmation, in the hands of Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and GOP presidential primary candidate, who is neither an expert nor even a novice (more…)
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Arizona state legislators want to deregulate a number of professions, among them landscape architecture. Credit: Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Doug Ducey is a former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, the ice cream franchise, and as such, can’t be expected to know a lot about landscape architecture. Which would be of no consequence were he not now the governor of Arizona and hot to deregulate a number of professions, including, at least initially, landscape architecture. His surrogate in the Arizona House of Representatives, Rep. Warren Petersen, like Ducey, a Republican, introduced a bill this winter that would end the state’s professional licensing requirements for landscape architects as well as for geologists, assayers, yoga instructors, cremationists, citrus fruit packers, and driving instructors. Ducey seems to see these licenses as barriers to work, a “maze of bureaucracy for small-business people looking to earn an honest living,” as he said in his State of the State address this year.
Landscape architects in Arizona, as you might expect, were struck by something close to panic and rose in opposition to the proposal, which passed in the state’s House Commerce Committee on a party-line split in mid-February. Legislators received 1,500 letters from landscape architects arguing against the bill, and 150 landscape architects showed up at the committee hearing. The pushback worked; landscape architects were removed from the bill in early March. They made the case, of course, that landscape architects are licensed in order to prove they have the competency to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, one legislator, Rep. Jay Lawrence, a Republican, suggested those concerns be left to (more…)
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