A good strategy for Lean might be to leverage the "normal" against the bureaucratic: where the bureaucratic disallows the norm, a bureaucracy is vulnerable. We need to prick the conscience. If someone can't build a business, build a home, build apartments for the middle class, and so on, that's not normal, and the bureaucracy is vulnerable. "Somebody" can be a builder, a businessperson, and especially (for political leverage) cultural-estate groups and homeowners.Read More
Steve Mouzon has written a very useful book for designers and builders (planners, etc.) who hope to capitalize on the web and social media. Steve asked many of us to review his book, and I took him up on it. I’ve already heard of slight revisions based on input, so what I read is the e-book equivalent of a “galley.” Apparently, something like 200 people agreed, so – following his book’s advice – I’ll limit my review to an area in which I think I can add value. For me, the central question is, “How should we approach social media?” That's second to "Who should buy this book?" I think there is a danger of becoming mercenary – and to his credit, I’m sure Steve would be horrified if that were to happen.Read More
In conversation with some people working on Lean, I've been thinking about a few rules for operating in a Lean fashion. They're entirely my own, but I think they have "legs."
Some general rules . . .Read More
Recently, Andres Duany has been floating the idea of "Lean Urbanism" publicly -- in Sarasota and High Point. While it isn't entirely clear what "Lean" might be, on-line discussions are starting to give it some form.Read More
Last August, I posted on codes and building types. As I mentioned, there are two main ways of doing codes. One is a matrix-based approach of clean categories, and the other is type-based. The type-based one tends to branch. A townhouse is a kind of house: a branch off the “house” trunk. A major advantage of this approach is that the code can refer to, in that instance, all houses, or just townhouses. It can prohibit all types of houses except townhouses. It’s an extremely supple and flexible way of working. It dovetails with the way that we talk and think about buildings and places.Read More
There is a philosophical discussion within the New Urbanism about how best to write codes. This debate among friends is about two successful approaches to codes for development and zoning.
DPZ in general and Andres Duany in particular are famously allergic to the idea of curtailing possibilities. They generally like to err on the side of being permissive. This leads them to write codes so that any combination of the permitted building envelope and internal function is allowed. Another approach is to code building types so that the compromises necessary for comity among neighbors are built in at the building-type level, rather than the lot-level. Stefanos Polyzoides is the most vocal proponent of that second method, which came to debate at the CNU in 2012.
One of the verities of the New Urbanism is that we have prominent civic buildings and background private buildings. What about government, though?
An age-old idea of different “estates” or interest-groups making up society is still relevant. Today, we have the Private, the Cultural, and the Governmental—although the latter is nearly invisible on the ground.
One of the most important contributions that Leon Krier made to urbanism has been to differentiate the idea of the public and economic spheres in urbanism.
The Res Publica is for public affairs, the Res Economica is for private, especially commercial affairs, and Res Civitas is for civic affairs, or more accurately, citizens’ affairs. The sum of the Res Publica and the Res Economica is the domain of citizenship.