Category: News

A woman’s place is in the city

A woman’s place is in the city

This article, a version of which was originally published in Next City, is republished with permission

By Marisa Schulz, July 17, 2020

As a planner, writer, and researcher, I’ve spent much of my career listening to people. And I’ve focused a lot of my listening on women’s perspectives — voices that are often absent or underrepresented in the planning process. I’ve spoken to women in South America still battling the impacts of a dictator’s regime; families in Detroit nervous for their neighborhoods to change and what this means for their future there; and young mothers across the U.S. who want to stay in the city but face increasing housing costs and educational barriers for their children.

Each of these conversations is unique, but one common theme emerged from them all. While men and women have many of the same needs and preferences on a variety of civic issues — from the need for access to transportation and the desire for walkable neighborhoods and active public places — women also experience spaces differently than men. They travel differently; have a greater need for safety when traveling to, from, and within public spaces; and are highly impacted by segregated land uses.

Understanding how women experience spaces so we can design and plan for their unique needs is incredibly important to ensure our cities, communities, and spaces are designed for all.

Here, there, everywhere

Women travel very differently than their male counterparts. Men are more likely to travel by car, in and out of a city center. But many women have far more complicated travel patterns, often referred to as “trip-chaining”— dropping kids off at school before work, running errands, and fitting in appointments, all before returning home. Due to lack of access to cars and the shorter nature of some women’s work trips, women are also much more likely to use public transportation or travel on foot. Yet in many urban and nonurban environments, public transportation options are limited or not conducive to tackling multiple errands in a short period of time, because of a lack of frequency during non-peak times and routes being designed for in-and-out travel. In addition, walking or biking are often not safe choices due to lack of consistent sidewalks, lighting, bike infrastructure, and pedestrian crossings. Couple these safety issues with the financial implications of trip chaining (in cities that don’t have integrated transit services, people must pay a fare for each leg of the trip, inflating their transport costs), and simply moving through the city becomes a major problem for many women.

This is both an American issue and an international one. For example, in Santiago, Chile, researchers focused on the transportation experience of women who live in the urban periphery. Women there spent considerably more time accessing work and healthcare — frequently with young children in tow — and had heightened perceptions of insecurity while using public transit. They spent so much of their day trying to get to work or appointments that they were regularly commuting and running errands in the dark.

Women, as we know, experience higher rates of assault, violence, and sexual assaults than their male counterparts. In the study in Chile, all focus group and personal interview participants had personally experienced, or knew someone who had experienced, some sort of violence while using public transit. Lack of lighting, restrooms, and location of transit stops around high-frequented, public areas were all major issues.

Here in the U.S., women experience the same issues of actual and perceived safety risks while using public transportation. And they are spending more money to avoid these risks. A 2018 study of New Yorkers found women were harassed on the subway far more frequently than men were, and as a result paid more money to avoid transit in favor of taxis and ride-hail. As Wired reported at the time, “women in New York City spend an average $26 to $50 extra on transportation per month for safety reasons, and up to $100 each month if they are their family’s main caregiver — as much as $1,200 more than men each year.”

Transport for London has adopted a whole host of forward-thinking policies that aim to reduce inequalities in the transportation experience and ensure women feel safer when traveling at any time of day or night. These include enhanced lighting and signage; increased enforcement at public stops, and expansion of “Project Guardian,” an initiative that tackles sexual offense on London’s transit network; and continued conversations with women about what improvements need to be included. Los Angeles Metro is following suit by surveying and understanding the unique mobility needs of women in LA County to inform future policy and design.

In the space

While ensuring safety from moving between places is important, planning and designing for women also needs to consider their needs while in these places. During daylight hours, public spaces are more likely to be used by women. And yet, those spaces are mainly designed for men’s needs. Amenities that encourage safety — lighting; preserving sight lines — are a must, and the more people the better. But other features are also important when designing places for women.

Designers and planners need to think about how public spaces provide opportunities for women, children, and the aging population all in one space. Research here has shown women devote more time than men on average to childcare and serving as informal caregivers to aging family members, although this gender gap has narrowed over time. As this role spills over from the private to the public realm, it’s important to recognize and understand the need to design multi-generational spaces, even when that risks gender-stereotyping.

In the late 1990s, Vienna led in tackling inequalities in site planning and design by employing gender mainstreaming practices and policies, and the results are incredible. The city has since designed about 60 gender-sensitive pilot projects and considered another 1,000. These include an apartment complex built by women for women, called “Women-Work-City.” The development includes stroller storage on every floor, wide stairwells to encourage talking with neighbors, flexible layouts, and accessible public spaces for kids and adults. Vienna has also redesigned parks based on their findings about how men and women use public spaces differently. The results pointed to a need for increased security, accessibility for everyone of all ages, and facilities favored by girls, like badminton courts and places to sit and talk.

How can we do better?

Women are often decision makers for their families and the social glue that connects people to places in their communities. Yet, as half of our population, their unique needs have historically been overlooked in planning and design, in part because their viewpoints are underrepresented in positions of power within cities. As of 2019, fewer than one-fourth of U.S. cities with populations over 30,000 had women mayors. As of 2016, 30 percent of council members in the largest cities are women, down from 33 percent in 2010.

And while more women are entering planning, architecture, and engineering, this lack of historic female leadership has impacted our cities and neighborhoods in a big way. What can we as planners and designers do to ensure women play a greater role at all levels of the planning process today and in the future?

  • Ensure women have a voice: Design inclusive planning processes that intentionally involve women. Identify key female stakeholders and engage with them from the beginning to help identify goals, shape the process, and help with connecting to the community. Involve them throughout the process to provide feedback on engagement, visioning, design, and the final plan. And use metrics to understand who is responding so that you can adjust outreach tactics if you are not getting enough female participants.
  • Listen: Women of all ages have so many stories to share. Emphasize that their unique perspectives are not only helpful in creating policy and design solutions, but that they are experts because of their unique experiences. The publication Women Working perfectly captures this sentiment: “It’s important to recognize women as experts when they talk about the relationship between everyday life and the city. They continue to be principally responsible for domestic work, caring for the home, and their families, which makes them specialists in the territory — and of the changing needs of people in different stages of life (childhood, youth, senior).”
    Listening doesn’t necessarily need to be in a one-on-one interview. Walk the city or place with female stakeholders to truly understand their perspective, their experiences within the community and space, and how they envision improvements.
  • Employ different engagement techniques: Planners and designers should always use different engagement techniques — both online and face-to-face — and this is especially true for involving women throughout the planning process. Of course, there are the proven methods of surveys, websites, interactive apps, and face-to-face meetings. However, inclusion does not only mean promoting women’s participation in formal settings and structured forums, but also recognizing where they have impact through their tremendous ability to network. Women can have a very strong influence on their families, friends, neighbors, and religious communities. Many instances of gender inclusivity have come through these more informal structures. Tapping into these networks in an authentic way is an important and powerful tool to access more female participation in a planning and design process.
  • Make planning accessible for mothers, families, and working women: Think about the timing of engagement meetings or events. Often these are at night to accommodate working participants, but for mothers and families without childcare, this timing can make it difficult to attend. Scheduling these events during the day or on weekends, in addition to evenings, opens up more opportunities for families to participate. Offering childcare or kids’ activities during the event — where parents can drop off their kids, or participate in planning and design with them — has been a hugely successful tool in engagement. And scheduling pop-up workshops alongside larger community events, such as festivals or parades, is another fantastic way to engage mothers and families.
  • Think about gender — but also think beyond gender: As Linda Gustafsson, gender equality officer for the Swedish city of Umea put it, “We have to always think about gender in the city, but we cannot only think about gender in the city.” Each community and stakeholder is different, so while ensuring women are active participants in your process provides an important perspective, recognizing and honoring their differences and other unique perspectives — whether racially, culturally, or economically — is equally as important.

Marisa Schulz is the Principal of All Together, a Chicago-based design studio focused on community branding, engagement and placemaking. She holds an MCRP from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA from the University of Michigan.

General Plan Guideline alert: Environmental Justice

General Plan Guideline alert: Environmental Justice

From OPR, June 24, 2020

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has updated the General Plan Guidelines to include revised guidance on environmental justice (EJ) in response to Senate Bill 1000 (Leyva, 2016). This resource expands on the preliminary guidance provided in the 2017 General Plan Guidelines and will help local planning agencies, stakeholder groups, and the broader public better understand the requirements and methods for addressing EJ topics in the general plan enacted through SB 1000. The updated guidance provides:

  • Additional clarity on when EJ requirements are triggered and to whom they apply;
  • More specific guidance on how to identify and engage with disadvantaged communities (as defined in State law) throughout the general plan update process; and,
  • How to identify and address the specific needs and issues faced by disadvantaged communities through the general plan and its implementation.

In addition to the guidance, OPR has published an example policy language document along with a set of case studies to highlight EJ-related policies and initiatives that can be replicated or strengthened to create positive local transformation across California.

For any questions regarding SB 1000 or these EJ resources, please send an email to

AICP | CM: Covid Conversations with APA New York Metro Chapter and PLANRED, Chile

AICP | CM: Covid Conversations with APA New York Metro Chapter and PLANRED, Chile

By Alex hinds and Hing Wong, AICP, July 24, 2020

Northern Section’s International Program is co-hosting two “Covid Conversations” with our APA colleagues in New York and the Chilean Planners Network (PLANRED). The first part of the free two-part webinar aired on July 23, and the second part will air on July 30 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.

The July 23rd session was recorded and is posted at

It focused on current, compelling topics such as socioeconomic and environmental injustice, racism, social unrest, and violence, and also discussed concerns for freedom, democracy, and governance.

Anthony Drummond was a panelist in Session ONE. Some of you may remember that he is from the Bay Area, went to San Jose State University until 2003, and served on the Northern Section Board as the Student Representative and South Bay RAC. He is currently the Director of Land Use, Housing, and Planning for New York City Council Member Margaret S. Chin (District 1).

On July 30th, Session TWO will focus on housing, transportation, density, climate change, and related social justice issues and responses.

You can sign up for the July 30th session at

Registration is simple and fast. After you click the ‘submit’ button to register, you’ll be instructed on how to connect via Zoom. Copy that information. You’ll need it to log to the Zoom session.

This webinar series offers 1.5 AICP | CM credits per session. The ID numbers are #9202838 and #9202839.

4 International experts on ZOOM: Cal Poly SLO CRP’s Spring 2020 series

4 International experts on ZOOM: Cal Poly SLO CRP’s Spring 2020 series

Provided to Northern News by Cal Poly Prof. Vicente del Rio, PhD

Engendering Cities: Designing sustainable urban spaces for all, by Inés Sánchez Madariaga, PhD

Inés Sánchez Madariaga, PhD, is an international planning expert with an impressive amount of professional and research experience. She has published widely, conducted numerous important projects, and held several positions at UNESCO, UN-Habitat, the European Union, and the Spanish national government. Her latest book (with Michael Neuman) is “Engendering Cities: Designing Sustainable Urban Spaces for All” (New York: Routledge, 2020). Link to Ines’s Global Urban Lecture for the UN-Habitat here.

See this presentation on YouTube here.

The urban land and affordable housing global crisis, by Geoffrey K. Payne

An architect and planner, Geoff specializes in urban land development and housing in developing countries. He has done consulting and research in several countries, and worked for several organizations including the World Bank, UN-Habitat, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Geoff has taught at the Development Planning Unit (DPU)–University College London, Oxford Brookes University, and others, including a week-long workshop at Cal Poly’s CRP in 2009. See Geoff Payne’s work here.

See this presentation on YouTube here.

Place marketing and destination branding, by João Freire

João Freire has a BA in economics and an MSc and PhD in marketing. He is a Professor at the Portuguese Institute of Marketing Administration (IPAM) in Lisbon. He has worked with clients from various continents, his research has appeared in several international publications, and he is a founding member of the International Place Branding Association. After years of quantitative and qualitative research, João has developed new ideas and unique methodologies for the construction of place brand identities — the focus of his current work.

See this presentation on YouTube here.

Sustainable urban design in a post Covid-19 era, by Kobus Mentz

An architect with a master’s in urban design from Oxford Polytechnic, Kobus Mentz is one of Australasia’s leading urban thinkers. He has worked on over 600 projects in 80 towns and cities internationally and is often invited as a consultant or advisor to help teams unlock complex urban challenges. He is the director of Urbanismplus, a practice active in Australia, New Zealand, India, China, and the UK that is widely known for pioneering sustainability-based practices, through demonstration projects, research, publications, and new methodologies. Kobus is an adjunct professor in urban design, University of Auckland, New Zealand. See more of his work at

See this presentation on YouTube here.

Earn required CM credits by viewing July’s law seminar
TIME FOR WEBINAR word with Notepad and green plant on wooden background

Earn required CM credits by viewing July’s law seminar

By Libby Tyler, FAICP, July 20, 2020

Did you miss APA California and Northern Section’s July Law Webinar? You can fulfill your mandatory 1.5 Law Credits while learning how recent housing legislation preempts local planning and zoning. Just view the Webinar video and log your LAW CM credits.

Watch now (1:31:30); then log your 1.5 law credits here

California is considering additional legislation to address the housing crisis, further preempting local planning procedures. This session, held on July 10, 2020, reviewed recent legislation — including SB 330, the suite of ADU bills, and the Housing Accountability Act — that limited ad hoc review tools in favor of predictable and objective standards for residential projects. Pending California legislation and examples from other states that seek to rethink zoning exclusively for single-family residences were also discussed.

Featured speakers included:

Eric Phillips is Vice President for Policy and Legislation of APA California and a partner at the law firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen in San Francisco. Before attending law school, Eric worked as a planner and has been involved professionally in California planning issues since 2002. His law practice focuses on land use, real estate, and CEQA compliance, and he has particular experience with State Density Bonus Law, the Housing Accountability Act, and other housing laws.

Stephen Velyvis is the Legislative Director for APA California –Northern Section and a partner at the law firm of Burke, William, and Sorensen in Oakland. He is a land use and environmental law attorney representing public agency and private clients in administrative proceedings and before state and federal trial and appellate courts. He routinely represents clients in land use-related matters including local and state planning and zoning laws.



Questions? Contact Libby Tyler, Northern Section Ethics Director, at or (217) 493-4372.

NOTE: Required CM credits for online Ethics training are available through December 31, 2020 

Graduating into a pandemic-afflicted world

Graduating into a pandemic-afflicted world

By Atisha Varshney, AICP, July 17, 2020

ARE YOU A RECENT GRADUATE with a degree in urban planning or a related field?  Are you feeling lost in the fallout from Covid-19 and wondering how to navigate the next few years or even the next few months?

With an F1 visa and a huge student loan, I graduated in 2010 with a master’s degree in landscape architecture. Job opportunities were scarce, and I had to work extremely hard to stand out. It wasn’t just about being proficient in technical skills or having a strong knowledge of the subject, but more about candor, persistence, and the ability to create opportunities.

I have been in this industry for 10 years, living in New York, San Diego, and now the San Francisco Bay Area. I have come across many industry partners, clients, and peers who are immigrants like me and who are actively contributing to the architecture and planning industry. When I look around in the Bay Area, I see the tech industry celebrating immigrants and leveraging their endeavors and innovation.

But in the planning industry, this level of support and mentoring is absent, especially for new graduates, regardless of whether they immigrated or grew up here. I often see young graduates who find themselves lost when navigating their careers. I was fortunate to have been mentored as a mid-career professional at a firm built on social equity.

In response to the needs I observed, I created a four-minute video sharing these five tips to help young professionals achieve their short- and long-term career goals.

  • Find a mentor

  • Complete your professional certifications

  • Increase your knowledge

  • Leverage your institution

  • Be action-oriented

After first sharing the video on my LinkedIn profile, I hosted mentoring sessions for a small cohort of recent graduates and junior professionals. I worked specifically with immigrants and international students since their situations are complicated by the need for a visa sponsor for employment, plus many do not have local families to support them. The collaborative format of the mentoring sessions allowed the cohort to learn from each other and share resources while forming long-lasting professional relationships. The idea is not to find them a job, but to help them build their credentials and become better-informed professionals.

I’m inviting my peers and those interested to share their personal experiences through a virtual roundtable that I’ll be hosting with immigration lawyers, public agency designers, advocacy groups, and design consultants. Please sign up here if you are interested in being added to the group email list.

Atisha Varshney, AICP, is an urban design and planning associate with WRT. She holds a master’s in landscape architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and a bachelor’s in architecture and design from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. You can reach her at

Director’s note

Director’s note

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, July 22, 2020

Planning for equity and inclusion

Much has recently been said, and by so many, about the countless inequities in our society and the underlying systemic racism that led to so many. Is there more to be said? We have a universal and societal problem and we need to keep the conversation going until it is fixed. A sage of the first century said, “We are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are we free to desist from it.” (Ethics of the Fathers, 2:21) We must make a start.

I can’t pretend to fully understand the extent that inequities exist throughout our society nor can I, as a white male, fully understand what it is like to be judged and discriminated against because of the color of my skin. Like many of you, I’ve taken the last couple of months to listen, learn, and seek to understand how to make meaningful change.

Call to action

I’m hopeful and encouraged that so many people have taken the time to listen and think inward. Now is the time to think outward and act. In fact, taking action in this regard is part of our AICP Code of Ethics:

“We shall seek social justice by working to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of the disadvantaged and to promote racial and economic integration. We shall urge the alteration of policies, institutions, and decisions that oppose such needs.”

For planners who can influence policy, APA’s Planning for Equity Policy Guide provides guidance to support equity in all aspects of planning. APA California has a Racial Justice and Social Equity page with resources for planners.

Take the time to understand the implicit biases we have (see toolkits) and — for those of you involved with creating policy — encourage your organization to host a bias training session.

Remember, there’s no action too small to start on this journey, and our efforts should not relate just to our professional lives.

Where and when

For starters, when you hear something that isn’t right, say something. It can be at the dinner table, on a conference call, or any number of places. And, if someone offers you actionable feedback, listen with an open mind.

We all have room to grow, and together we can help shape a better future. We might choose to take action in different ways; however, silence or complacency is not an option for creating change.

What’s next

So, how do you want to show up for change? What action(s) will you commit to doing? Do you have an accountability buddy or two to make sure you and they follow through?

My immediate and current actions are to write and broadly disseminate this note and to finish reading “The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein (bought from a local brick-and-mortar bookstore).

I commit to listen and learn how to make things right — and to act!

San José General Plan review and Station Area Advisory Group reconvening

Via email from Leslye Corsiglia, SV@Home, June 11, 2020

Across from San Pedro Square, San Jose

ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, the Diridon Station Area Advisory Group (SAAG) will reconvene for the first time since January. (Find the agenda and Zoom information here.) All are welcome. The SAAG and the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback on some of the City’s most recent analyses and proposals related to the Diridon Station Area Plan (DSAP), which you can find here.

While these new city analyses only represent the start of the next phase of public input and discussions, the vast majority of staff recommendations align with SV@Home’s Housing Vision.

The General Plan Four-Year Review Task Force Meetings are also restarting, with the first video meeting June 25. Here are the agenda and details of work to date, and virtual access information. Critical policy areas to be discussed include expanding citywide the Task Force’s recommendation to exempt affordable housing developments in Urban Villages from cost-prohibitive ground-floor retail requirements.

Nine pathways to much-needed housing

Nine pathways to much-needed housing

By Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, and John David Beutler, AICP, June 3, 2020

This article presents our professional opinions, not those of our employers.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SAFE, AFFORDABLE HOMES has become even more apparent these last three months. Those without homes cannot safely shelter in place; and overcrowded housing, not dense housing, promotes the spread of disease. Our housing crisis has exacerbated the covid-19 crisis.

We believe desperately-needed new housing can be added if we upgrade zoning and design standards and adopt policies that promote smart density. As planners we should focus on and find ways to protect existing residents, preserve affordable homes, and produce more housing (the three Ps of Assembly Bill 1487). We must rethink regulations and policies that impede the construction of new housing and that contribute to the housing crisis. These nine strategies remove obstacles to new housing by upgrading zoning and design standards and putting policies in place to promote smart density:

1. Allow for a wider range of housing options, and in more locations.

A monoculture of single-family detached housing reduces an area’s potential number and diversity of housing units without increasing neighborhood livability. We must update land use policies to enable a wide range of housing types in addition to single-family and midrise multifamily, (e.g., duplex, triplex, fourplex, live/work units, townhouses, and accessory dwelling units). Often called “missing middle housing,” these types allow the market to increase housing density and diversity with buildings that maintain a similar scale to single family housing. Density doesn’t mean taller, larger, and out of place.

Allow for a wide range of missing middle housing. This fourplex sits comfortably next to single-family homes and is neither taller nor wider.

2. Reduce arbitrary setback requirements.

Setbacks are one of the least-considered and yet most-pervasive development controls. The spaces resulting from setbacks, particularly side yard setbacks, are frequently unusable and do nothing for the urban environment. Over one third of a parcel’s developable land can easily be lost to setbacks, forcing sprawl and reducing walkability. We should know what we are trying to achieve with a setback and how much space is required. For instance, since backyard fences are often six to seven feet high, a one-story building at the parcel line does not diminish its neighbor’s light and air more than the neighbor’s own fence.

This garage at the property line serves well as part of the neighbor’s fence. A required setback would waste land.

3. Remove parking minimums.

Eliminating parking minimums will maximize residential development capacity and reduce housing costs. In expensive cities, the $25,000 to $50,000 cost for each off-street parking space makes housing more expensive and the space required for parking reduces space for housing. In many of our denser urban areas, ride-hail apps, car-share, and bikeshare, combined with walking and public transit, have made personal car storage less important. Furthermore, when self-driving cars become a reality, car ownership will precipitously decline. Cities like San Francisco and San Diego are already eliminating parking minimums and the sky is not falling.

Parking degrades the sidewalk and takes space away from housing. Structured parking is particularly expensive.

4. Relax stepbacks, the so-called daylight requirements.

To mitigate the effects of taller development near existing low-density housing, standards sometimes require stepbacks for the taller building. But a 45-degree daylight requirement can greatly reduce housing capacity, particularly for small parcels in areas with many existing single-family dwellings. This reduction makes affordable housing less feasible and diminishes our ability to accommodate families in need.

5. Loosen open space requirements for projects close to parks and community amenities.

One of the great advantages of cities is shared amenities. Not every cluster of homes has to provide its own school, fire station, or grocery store. And like these and other amenities, open space can be shared and need not be provided on every lot or for every unit. A house across the street from a park should not have to provide the same on-site open space as a house a mile from the nearest park.

There is little need for on-site open space near parks. Shared amenities like parks are among the strengths of urban life.

6. Define what we mean by neighborhood “character.”

Some policies require that developments be compatible with established neighborhoods, leading those opposed to development to label a proposed building as “out of character.” “Character” in this context has a fraught history. It has been used loosely and unjustly to exclude minorities and those lower on the socio-economic ladder from certain areas. Cities can set maintaining community character as a goal, but they need to define what that “character” is and, thus, what is an acceptable issue to discuss in relation to new development. A model for this is the study of the existing conditions that define neighborhood character in preparation for the adoption of form-based codes (FBCs).

Neighborhood character comes in all sizes. This apartment building fits as well in its neighborhood as would a single-family home.

7. Embrace small lots.

Many land use policies encourage lot assembly, yet large-lot development tends to be over-scaled and inwardly focused. Combining lots is even worse for historic districts or neighborhoods with fine-grained building and lot patterns, and affordable housing developers might not have the means to assemble parcels. Walkable cities are dense but built at a human scale, like many older parts of Bay Area cities.

This new development on a 100-foot-wide lot shows there is no need to consolidate lots for overscaled buildings.

8. Incentivize small units.

Patrick Condon, in his new book, “5 Rules for Tomorrow Cities” (2020), discusses the “collapse of birth-rate” worldwide. As of 2018, the average number of births per woman in the US was 1.73 and declining. Family housing is important, but cities should also provide smaller, less expensive units to match trends in family size and allow more people to enter the housing market. Regulations or policies that cap the number of units (but not the building area) encourage fewer, larger units and discourage smaller, more affordable units.

9. Influence the conversion of outdated malls and big box stores to housing.

Changes in the retail market and potential state-level action (as proposed in SB 1385) will be stimulating the conversion of big box stores, empty parking lots, and outdated shopping malls to housing. Rather than be caught off guard, municipalities can be proactive in creating design standards for this conversion and by enabling horizontal mixed-use development.

Let’s get to work

Even though we are beset by covid-19 and other crises, we must not lose sight of our longest running crisis, a woefully inadequate supply of all kinds of housing. Rather than succumb to the illusion that a particular building style should dominate, we need to provide housing of all types in our urban and suburban areas. We offered nine policy recommendations to help you craft the regulations that will create the better and more inclusive cities we all want.


Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, is a Planner IV-Supervising Planner with extensive experience in land use and transportation planning, urban design and housing. She is a socially-conscious, passionate, determined change-maker and city builder. Leila utilizes equity, diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability and public health measures to facilitate greater community engagement and create lasting impacts for a diverse population. She uses her consensus-building and analytical skills to address urban planning challenges with creative solutions. You can reach her at

John David Beutler, AICP, has worked as an urban designer at the intersection of urbanism, land use, and transportation for the last 20 years, first at Calthorpe Associates and then Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). John’s work has focused on the importance of human scale and human-centric design in addressing issues of sustainability and equity. He works at scales from the building to the street, neighborhood, city and region. You can reach him at