Tag: Sustainability

Sustainable Neighborhood Pre-Conference Tour and Social

The APA California Northern Section Sustainability Committee and the APA Sustainable Community Division’s Champion Program hosted Sustainable Neighborhood Sustainability Committee Pre-conference MeetUp at Swans Market in Old Oakland on Friday, October 2, 2015. About 30 members enjoyed complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, toured the adjacent C0-housing project (one of the oldest in the Nation) with the project sponsor, two residents, and the lead planner, and afterwards enjoyed dinner at The Cock & Her Farmer in Swan’s market. a Summary and the event invitation follow below.


Hors D’oeuvres and dinner were hosted in Swan’s Market courtesy of  Romney Steele, Owner, The Cook and Her Farmer (THANK YOU Romney!). Romney is a chef, small business owner, cookbook author, food writer, and community builder. She opened her latest Project, the Cook and Her Farmer in Swan’s Market with Steven Day a year ago last summer and provided insights about the business side of this successful urban regeneration project.

For the Co-housing tour, we were fortunate to hear insights about this 15-year old urban regeneration and innovative land use project from some of the key players.

  1. Josh Simon, Executive Director EBALDC (East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation)
  2. Neil Planchon and Michael Coleman, Swan’s Market Cohousing Residents
  3. Patrick Lane, Redevelopment Manager with the City of Oakland’s Economic & Workforce Development Department, Project Implementation Division

Josh has worked with East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation for 14 of the last 21 years as both Executive Director, and Director of Real Estate. His career has been dedicated to working with coalitions of organizations to develop and maintain healthy vibrant neighborhoods and the creation of “Community Hubs” such as Swan’s Market. Josh brings both the technical expertise to develop affordable housing and mixed use community facilities, as well as the clear sighted leadership necessary for the best neighborhood driven outcomes.  Neil has been working actively involved with the Old Oakland Neighborhood Association for 13 years, and with the Cohousing Association of the US for the past 8 years, a non profit whose mission is to promote the awareness and development of cohousing and to provide sustenance to existing cohousing communities in the United States. For the past 11 years, Patrick has worked collaboratively on any number of the City of Oakland redevelopment projects including Swan’s Market. He was also formerly a Manager in the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency.

The insights into this project provided by the core team were eye-opening in terms of what it takes to make the initial idea work and then keep it working, not the least of which is stakeholder commitment and the occasional serendipitous happenings. Neil provided an invaluable book as a resource, Cohousing–A contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves (just published 2nd edition).

A big thanks to Kate Howe, a planner with VIA Architecture, and Director of the San Francisco Office, who took the concept, found the event location, lined up the tour guides, organized the hosting at The Cock & Her Farmer, signed in attendees, and generally made this event a success. Also, a big thanks to Katja Irvin and Rae Smith, who worked with Kate to make this event happen.

Swan’s Market


What–Social/Tour/Dinner:  Meet colleagues and explore a redevelopment success over wine/ beer, a tour of Swan’s Market & Co-housing, Old Oakland and dinner afterwards at The Cook and Her Farmer in Swan’s Market.  Light drink and snack provided, additional food and drink available for purchase.

Explore this historic 1916 produce market adapted for small restaurant kiosks as well as a co-housing project. Tour guides will discuss history, redevelopment and co-housing (1 CM Credit Pending).

When: Friday, October 2nd, 5:30 – 8:30 pm:

  • 5:30-6:15:  meet-up, soft start, complimentary wine/snack (in Swan’s Market)
  • 6:15-6:30:  talk (in Swan’s Market)
  • 6:30-7:30: tour (market & co-housing: Guides from EBALDC & Oakland Planning)
  • 7:30-8:30: dinner at The Cook and Her Farmer or other venues at Swan’s Market.

Where: Swan’s Market, 907 Washington St (enter from 9th Street between Clay & Washington), Old Oakland (4 blocks from 12th St. BART). Map (click).   Enter off 9th Street (between Clay & Washington) through glass doors to a few “APA”-marked tables in the center of the room.

Please REGISTER at Eventbrite to make logistics easier.

Questions:  SustCommAPA@gmail.com; also scott.edmondson@sfgov.org

[Post prepared by Scott T. Edmondson, AICP, founder/past co-director and Research Program Lead of the Northern Section’s Sustainability Committee, one of the APA Sustainable Communities Division’s Sustainability Champions, and a strategic sustainability planner-economist at the SF Planning Department.]

New Division’s New Sustainability Program

APA’s new Sustainable Community Division’s new sustainability program offers insights and resources for amplifying national, state, and local initiatives. With the election of Bob Kern as Chair of APA’s new Sustainability Community Division, the division is poised for it’s first full program initiative (read it here and excerpted below for convenience). It is illustrative of upcoming directions for APA Sustainability and a powerful platform of resources for State APA Chapters and local planners.

Program:  The Division needs to promote active engagement with sustainability issues. There is already significant knowledge and discussions occurring about sustainability. The Division should add value by promoting members’ leadership and expertise. Bob’s vision for our Division is to strategically direct efforts into three areas.

The first area is to focus on a communications campaign. Sustainability is too often misunderstood or dismissed by people because it is not well defined. This campaign would redefine sustainability in ways that better connect with public and private sector decision-makers.

The second initiative is to build a sustainability leadership network nationally and in APA state chapters. This network would grow a movement of planners across the country that advances sustainable solutions in their respective regions, but have a national “toolkit” of materials to catalyze and leverage their efforts.

The third initiative I envision is a virtual training and best practices program. These online resources would be complimented with in-person sessions at national and state professional meetings. Developing a core curriculum with a handful of topics such as comprehensive planning, zoning, etc. is an important first step.

Ten Dimensions of an Eco-City

Abstract (Sage Journals) – Environment & Urbanism, Jeffrey R Kenworthy, Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

Making existing cities and new urban development more ecologically based and liveable is an urgent priority in the global push for sustainability. This paper discusses ten critical responses to this issue and summarizes them in a simple conceptual model that places the nexus between transport and urban form at the heart of developing an eco-city. This involves compact, mixed-use urban form, well-defined higher-density, human-oriented centres, priority to the development of superior public transport systems and conditions for non-motorized modes, with minimal road capacity increases, and protection of the city’s natural areas and food-producing capacity. These factors form the framework in which everything else is embedded and must operate, and if they are not addressed only marginal changes in urban sustainability can be made. Within this framework, environmental technologies need to be extensively applied. Economic growth needs to emphasize creativity and innovation and to strengthen the environmental, social and cultural amenities of the city. The public realm throughout the city needs to be of a high quality, and sustainable urban design principles need to be applied in all urban development. All these dimensions need to operate within two key processes involving vision-oriented and reformist thinking and a strong, community-oriented, democratic sustainability framework for decision-making.