At Lincoln House March 2014

On to Medellín

Medellín, which has gone from crime capital to poster city for all of Latin America, with its innovations in parks, public space and transportation infrastructure, will host UN-HABITAT's World Urban Forum 7 next month. A Lincoln Institute delegation will join some 25,000 registered participants, engaged in a wide range of topics from resilience to value capture.

Lincoln Institute-related events include the screenings in the Cinema Room of the short video from the Inkling enhanced ebook version of Made for Walking and the documentary film Making Sense of Place – Phoenix: The Urban Desert; presentations on value capture and resilience by Latin America program director Martim Smolka, Lincoln Institute president Gregory K. Ingram, and senior fellow Armando Carbonell at the Innovative Americas pavillion hosted by The Next City, the Kresge Foundation, and the Ford Foundation; a roundtable, Value Sharing: An International Perspective at the Urban Library; a presentation by visiting fellow and Planet of Cities author Shlomo Angel on the Urban Expansion Initiative; the networking event, Using Land Value Capture Mechanisms for Financing Urban Development in Latin America, with the Getúlio Vargas Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank; a presentation of a new publication, Instrumentos Notables de Intervención Urbana, with the Banco del Estado del Ecuador; a discussion of The Atlas of Urban Expansion: 2015 edition with Gregory K. Ingram, as part of a special session of Urban Data for the New Urban Agenda; the networking event, Urban planning and Cities Sprawling concerning Risk Management and Evaluation for Disasters, with the Japan International Cooperation Agency; the training workshop, Urban equity outcomes: Enabling policies and tools to access land and housing, with the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies-IHS and UN-Habitat; and the networking event Addressing Urban Environmental Risk in Latin America.

The Policy Focus Report Implementing Value Capture in Latin America: Policy Tools for Urban Development by Martim Smolka will be available at the convening in both English and a recently published version in Spanish - Implentación de la recuperación de plusvalías en América Latina: Políticas e instrumentos para el desarrollo urbano.

An excellent history of the World Urban Forum can be found at The Next City site here.

The design dividend

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with more frequent extreme weather events and rising sea level in progress, the vulnerability of coastal cities and towns has become a matter of urgency. But out of disasters can come opportunities for innovation. Post-Sandy, a range of new initiatives, tools, policies, governance frameworks and incentives are being tested, including competitions like Rebuild by Design. Design is seen as a key tool for dealing with complex problems by creating integrated strategies to build resilience, sustainability and liveability.

Using the Rebuild by Design process as a case study, Helen Lochhead presented The Design Dividend: An Integrated Approach to Climate Resilience, March 25 at the Lincoln Institute, considering the possibilities for such a process to deliver projects and strategies that can be implemented and brought to scale. The design competition, funded by The Rockefeller Foundation in association with other sponsors and HUD, winnowed proposals from 40 to 10, and final submissions, with implementation strategies, are due next month.

The schemes range from storm-surge mitigating oyster reefs to green and blue infrastructure, and include new technologies for being continually inclusive with stakeholders, and proposed new structures for regional governance. The teams include such leading design firms as BIG, OMA working on Hoboken, and Sasaki, working on the Jersey Shore.

Helen Lochhead, an Australian architect, urban and landscape designer, is currently a Lincoln/Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and the Lincoln Institute. Most recently she has been the executive director of Place Development at Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. She is also an adjunct professor at Sydney University.

Next month, the Lincoln Institute will publish a major report, Lessons from Sandy, recommending future steps to build coastal resilience and examining the role of the federal government and national policies. The report is set to debut at the Regional Plan Association's Regional Assembly in New York City April 25. Also in New York, the Museum of the City of New York is currently hosting the exhibit Rising Waters, a photographic and video retrospective on the devastating storm and its aftermath.

Deconstructing the homeowners association

Over 20 percent of all homes in the U.S. are in homeowners associations, which govern over some 63 million Americans and take in nearly $40 billion in annual revenue through fees. Last week, visiting fellow Gerald Korngold led a workshop at the Lincoln Institute, "Homeowners Associations and Local Government: Current Issues and Future Trends," to take stock of this burgeoning form of governance, with all its legal implications and controversies - including fines for such violations as a wreath shaped like a peace sign to too many stickers on the rear window of a car parked in a driveway.

Ron Cheung from Oberlin College considered the question of whether homeowners associations mitigate or aggravate the dynamic when residential neighborhoods are in distress. Rachel Meltzer from The Milano School of the New School examined the effect of private land use regulation, and Roger Colinvaux, from the Catholic University School of Law, presented on homeowners associations as non-profit organizations. Barbara Coyle McCabe from the University of Texas-San Antonio examined the relationship of homeowners associations and local governments.

Part of the goal of the gathering, organized by Joan Youngman, senior fellow and chair of the Department of Valuation and Taxation, was to come up with themes that are worthy of future research. Korngold's lecture on the subject can be viewed here.

Nature and cities

Lincoln Institute fellows Peter Pollock and Jim Levitt were on hand earlier this month for the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute's 23rd annual conference, Moving Beyond Recession: What's Next? in Denver. Pollock, the former city planner of Boulder, brought together planners from the region, including Aurora, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, for a retreat addressing the importance of metropolitan regions in the Rocky Mountain West.

Levitt, who has been leading an international initiative in large landscape conservation, moderated the panel "Framing an Urban Agenda for Nature." William L. Allen, director of strategic conservation at The Conservation Fund, Bob Ratcliffe, chief of conservation and recreational programs at the National Park Service, and Tim Sullivan, Colorado state director of The Nature Conservancy, joined for a look at how cities and nature have often been seen as incompatible: as two different things and places - but that recently, there has been a rediscovery of the benefits of nature in cities and the need for collaborative partnerships that tackle these complex metropolitan issues beyond their political boundaries.

At around the same time and on a similar theme, senior fellow Armando Carbonell led a workshop in Austin, Texas this month: Nature and Cities, in partnership with the University of Texas Architecture School, part of a project that will culminate in a book. He was interviewed for the blog Open Voices on that effort.

Odds & Ends

Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, will present The Shaping of Regions, the New York Regional Plan and the Origins of Planning in America tonight at Wheelock College, hosted by Friends of Fairsted / Olmsted National Historic Site; a celebration of Olmsted's birthday is also planned ... The Lincoln Institute was cited in the recent White House Climate Data Initiative Launch, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ... Made for Walking was reviewed in the recent issue of Architecture Boston magazine ... What China's cities need is more density, and a look at lean urbanism, from The Atlantic Cities ... In Youngstown, planning for a smaller, greener city ... Peter Pollock is interviewed in the winter issue of Land Trends, a publication of the Alberta Land Institute ... This month's highlighted working paper: Conservation Easements in the U.S. and Abroad, by Harvey Jacobs.

— ANTHONY FLINT, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

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