News

Blog post by Jay Walljasper on 22 Jul 2013
Jay Walljasper, Better! Cities & Towns

Neighbors in Conover Commons in Redmond, Washington share an open field as their community gathering spot.

Tags , , ,
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!

Home design: Where do our garages belong?

Front doors and porches should welcome visitors to your home, not an oppressive garage, argue city planners who are pushing builders to relocate them to the backyard

By Sheila Brady, The Ottawa Citizen February 12, 2013
1

Cardel is among builders set to launch a demonstration project in Longfields, bringing homes with rear garages.

Photograph by: Handout photo , Ottawa Citizen

You've seen them on countless suburban streets and maybe winced. They are snout houses: the design reality caused by builders trying to balance rising land prices, shrinking lots, maintaining affordability and delivering convenience for suburban families demanding double-car garages.

These are mostly suburban homes where garages dominate, sticking out front of the house and all but hiding the front door and any windows. Forget about front porches and room for a tiny outdoor living room to dally and say hello to the neighbours. Instead, thousands of homes built in suburban communities in the '80s and '90s were about Home Sweet Garage. But there are rumblings of a garage revolution.

"It's the evolution of the garage," says Alain Miguelez, program manager of development review for the inner urban area of Ottawa. To start, the city passed a zoning bylaw last May forbidding garages on lots measuring less than 7.6 metres if there is no rear access and imposing restrictions on bigger lots, telling developers who want to do business in the city's five inner wards they would have to tuck garages in the rear or have access off a rear lane. A garage on a lot bigger than 7.6 metres cannot take up more than 50 per cent of the house face.

The zoning bylaw is being contested by the building industry and a decision by the Ontario Municipal Board is expected shortly. (See Garage Wars on page 3) There is also a discussion ready to start to modify garages in the suburbs, says Miguelez, who expects talks with builders, developers and community groups will take place over the next 18 to 24 months.

The aim is to take the emphasis off the garage and put it on the house, he says, citing new communities such as Minto's Ampersand in Barrhaven. The energy-efficient walk-up apartments have front doors facing the streets and parking tucked into the interior. Ampersand was built to be close to public transportation, shops and restaurants, taking the reliance off the car.

Mattamy Homes has also developed communities with rear parking in both Fairwinds in Kanata by Scotiabank Place and in Half Moon Bay in Barrhaven.

"These are the type of community planning we will value in the future," says Miguelez.

The concept to overhaul garages is not new.

Snout houses were banned in Portland, Ore., in 2000, despite an uproar from the building industry. But it's a tough battle. Planners in Independence, Texas, for example, looked at banning snout houses in 2004 but backed away.

Contingents of architects and planners have promoted the concept of New Urbanism since the '90s, developing communities built on a grid pattern, with small parks and garages behind homes, like Seaside in Florida and Cornell north of Toronto.

- See more at: http://www.househunting.ca/edmonton/Home+design+Where+garages+belong/7952924/story.html#sthash.xkLL6UC7.dpuf

Home design: Where do our garages belong?

Front doors and porches should welcome visitors to your home, not an oppressive garage, argue city planners who are pushing builders to relocate them to the backyard

By Sheila Brady, The Ottawa Citizen February 12, 2013
1

Cardel is among builders set to launch a demonstration project in Longfields, bringing homes with rear garages.

Photograph by: Handout photo , Ottawa Citizen

You've seen them on countless suburban streets and maybe winced. They are snout houses: the design reality caused by builders trying to balance rising land prices, shrinking lots, maintaining affordability and delivering convenience for suburban families demanding double-car garages.

These are mostly suburban homes where garages dominate, sticking out front of the house and all but hiding the front door and any windows. Forget about front porches and room for a tiny outdoor living room to dally and say hello to the neighbours. Instead, thousands of homes built in suburban communities in the '80s and '90s were about Home Sweet Garage. But there are rumblings of a garage revolution.

"It's the evolution of the garage," says Alain Miguelez, program manager of development review for the inner urban area of Ottawa. To start, the city passed a zoning bylaw last May forbidding garages on lots measuring less than 7.6 metres if there is no rear access and imposing restrictions on bigger lots, telling developers who want to do business in the city's five inner wards they would have to tuck garages in the rear or have access off a rear lane. A garage on a lot bigger than 7.6 metres cannot take up more than 50 per cent of the house face.

The zoning bylaw is being contested by the building industry and a decision by the Ontario Municipal Board is expected shortly. (See Garage Wars on page 3) There is also a discussion ready to start to modify garages in the suburbs, says Miguelez, who expects talks with builders, developers and community groups will take place over the next 18 to 24 months.

The aim is to take the emphasis off the garage and put it on the house, he says, citing new communities such as Minto's Ampersand in Barrhaven. The energy-efficient walk-up apartments have front doors facing the streets and parking tucked into the interior. Ampersand was built to be close to public transportation, shops and restaurants, taking the reliance off the car.

Mattamy Homes has also developed communities with rear parking in both Fairwinds in Kanata by Scotiabank Place and in Half Moon Bay in Barrhaven.

"These are the type of community planning we will value in the future," says Miguelez.

The concept to overhaul garages is not new.

Snout houses were banned in Portland, Ore., in 2000, despite an uproar from the building industry. But it's a tough battle. Planners in Independence, Texas, for example, looked at banning snout houses in 2004 but backed away.

Contingents of architects and planners have promoted the concept of New Urbanism since the '90s, developing communities built on a grid pattern, with small parks and garages behind homes, like Seaside in Florida and Cornell north of Toronto.



































Tags
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!

An impressive example of new urbanism!

Tags , ,
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!

The City of Lancaster, CA, converted a drab, automobile-oriented arterial at the heart of downtown into a lively pedestrian-friendly boulevard that has become a big regional draw and attracted significant economic development in just two years. In a dramatic demonstration of the value of smart streetscape investment at the right location, Lancaster spent $11.5 million for a nine-block makeover of Lancaster Boulevard. Five lanes of traffic, including a center turn lane, were reduced to two lanes, with a wide, tree-shaded, "ramblas," or public space, added in the center of the corridor. Trees and lighting fixtures were installed and on-street parking is provided. Street festivals have been held attracting crowds in the tens of thousands. Nearly $300 million in private investment has ensued, including 47 new businesses and more than 800 housing units built or rehabilitated. The lead urban design consultant was Moule & Polyzoides of Pasadena, CA. Better! Cities & Towns will cover this project in more detail in the January, 2013, issue.

Tags , ,
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!
Tags ,
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!

by Sarah Burch

To the wobbly tune of a passing ice cream truck, a 12-year old girl slowly pedals her bicycle, weaving down a tree-lined street.  Every so often, she reaches into her basket to grab a folded newspaper, and tosses it onto the doorstep of each house on the block.  The houses are fronted by an expanse of perfectly manicured emerald lawn, a spacious garage, and a tree or two.  The girl’s father is just leaving work, and embarking on a 40 minute drive home.  Her mother is doing the week’s worth of grocery shopping at the sparkly new mall. 

Tags ,
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!

Demand for Sprawl is dying – Demand for Walkable Urbanism is growing: Part-2 Discoveringnewurbanism.wordpress.com

U.S. Population declining in far Suburbs – growing in Urban Areas

Tags
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!

Discovering Canada's Most Charming and Distinguished Neighbourhoods

ClassicNeighbourhoods.com presents a visual showcase of many of the country's most desireable places to live

Tags ,
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!

CNU.org
Become familiar with the main concepts behind New Urbanism:
Creating Enduring Neighborhoods

New Urbanism recognizes walkable, human-scaled neighborhoods as the building blocks of sustainable communities and regions. The Charter of the New Urbanism articulates the movement’s principles and defines the essential qualities of urban places from the scale of the region to the individual building.

Tags ,
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!

In 2008, the substantially updated town center of Plessis-Robinson, a suburb of Paris, was named “the best urban neighborhood built in the last 25 years” by the European Architecture Foundation.  A composite of six connected districts ranging in size from 5.6 to 59 acres, the revitalization comprises public buildings, retail, market-rate and subsidized affordable housing, parks, schools, gardens, sports facilities, and a hospital.  Construction was begun in 1990 and took a decade to complete.

Tags ,
Blinklist!Blogmarks!BlinkBits!Ask!