Good neighborhoods have lots of intersections

Grist admin avatar badge avatar for Jonathan Hiskes by Jonathan Hiskes
It’s a little counterintuitive, but it turns out that having lots intersections is really important for neighborhood walkability and transit use. A new study on Travel and the Built Environment by planning scholars Reid Ewing and Robert Cervero finds that “intersection density” is the single most important measurement for understanding what keeps folks out of cars.
Pedshed summarizes:

Of all the built environment measurements, intersection density has the largest effect on walking – more than population density, distance to a store, distance to a transit stop, or jobs within one mile. Intersection density also has large effects on transit use and the amount of driving.

Visually:maps(Larger version)

 
These images represent the same total area, yet differ vastly in how well streets connect to each other. More connections=more walkable. This is why Dave wants fewer dead ends in his own neighborhood when he puts on his city planner hat.
More good summary, with a slightly different focus, from Kaid Benfield, an influential Smart Growth blogger at NRDC:

The study’s key conclusion is that destination accessibility is by far the most important land use factor in determining a household or person’s amount of driving.  To explain, ‘destination accessibility’ is a technical term that describes a given location’s distance from common trip destinations (and origins).  It almost always favors central locations within a region; the closer a house, neighborhood or office is to downtown, the better its accessibility and the lower its rate of driving.  The authors found that such locations can be almost as significant in reducing driving rates as other significant factors (e.g., neighborhood density, mixed land use, street design) combined.
The clear implication is that, to enable lifestyles with reduced driving, oil consumption and associated emissions, environmentalists should continue to stress opportunities for revitalization and redevelopment in centrally located neighborhoods.  As Ewing and Cervero put it:  ‘Almost any development in a central location is likely to generate less automobile travel than the best-designed, compact, mixed-use development in a remote location.

Benfield mentions a point I’ve been trying to address: “It also makes me wonder why more environmental groups, clearly incensed at BP and the Gulf oil spill, aren’t paying more attention to land use.” He’s right — transportation and land use are what climate policy looks like outside our front doors.

American Makeover: Sprawlanta

American Makeover is a six-part web series on new urbanism, the antidote to sprawl.
Episode 1 was filmed on location in Atlanta, Georgia and Glenwood Park, a new urbanist influenced neighborhood near downtown Atlanta.
Watch Video

LLCC & GIS

This Thursday evening, 13 May, we will hold our next LLCC General Membership Meeting. It will begin at 7:00 PM with David Green (Perkins+Will) presenting our new Geographic Information System (GIS). David will give us a brief introduction to GIS technology, introduce our customized system, and explain how this tool will be used in evaluation of the Blueprints Study recommendations and our future planning efforts. What makes our system unique is that it is customized for the LLCC community, spanning the jurisdictional lines between the City of Atlanta and unincorporated DeKalb County.
OK, so you are asking yourself, “What is GIS and how can I use it?”
A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.
GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.
A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared. We plan to share ours on our website.
In addition to basic demographic data, we hope to displace crime stats, flood plains, zoning, property ownership, tax valuation, real estate trends, traffic patterns, just to name a few. While you are viewing this presentation, we hope you will share with our design team data you would like to see tracked and displayed as well.
To find out more about GIS, in a clear, concise format, visit www.gis.com.
Our meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall of Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1438 Sheridan Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30324.

Good Urbanism 101

Good Urbanites,
Thanks for your support and interest of past Good Urbanism courses and events. Our Spring 2010 course has been scheduled and I hope that you will share this information with your coworkers and contacts. Richard Dagenhart, Doug Allen, and David Green will again be our lecturers and we have some new material which will add to the enjoyment of the class. We have an added focus on density and will be utilizing the classic work of Jane Jacobs as outside reading and a last class discussion topic. Registrants will receive a copy of The Death and Life of Great American Cities as part of the course material package. Please see the information below for more details. Feel free to contact me with any questions. 
I appreciate your help in spreading the word about this spring’s class!
Sincerely,
Katherine
GOOD URBANISM 101: Lessons for Designing Cities
Tuesday and Thursday evenings, April 15-May 4, 2010
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
What is Good Urbanism 101?
Good Urbanism 101 is a six-session course on quality urban design. Learn about the history, principles, and current practices of urban design, including an emphasis on walkability, integration of alternative transportation options, sustainability, and the relationship between urban infrastructure and the urban experience. Join the Georgia Conservancy’s Growth Management Program and Georgia Tech professors David Green, Richard Dagenhart, and Doug Allen to learn about urban design and how different professions can collaborate to improve the city of Atlanta and its region. The professors will be joined by different guests each week who are professionals and experts in their field.
Each of the six sessions will explore a different theme and set of issues that are crucial to the development of the built environment today. These themes include platting and subdivision, street design and transportation, zoning, and urban design. The course contextualizes urban issues in the history of urban design while paying special attention to the specific challenges facing Atlanta.
The courses will be presented in informal PowerPoint lectures with questions welcomed at any time.
Sessions will include handouts and time for questions and discussion. Every session will include a midway break with light snacks available. However, meals are not provided and attendees are encouraged to brown bag, given the evening time of the classes.
Who should attend?
Anyone interested in planning, designing and building a better Atlanta – neighborhood residents, government officials, engineers, non-profit advocacy and advisory groups, architects, landscape architects, planners, attorneys, financial professionals, developers, and real estate brokers.
Register Now! – Space is Limited
Instructors:
Richard Dagenhart is associate professor of architecture and urban design at Georgia Tech, where he teaches urban design seminars and studios in both the Architecture and City and Regional Planning programs and heads the master’s of science-Urban Design Program. He is an architect and city planner with more than 35 years’ experience in teaching, practicing and learning about urban design in the United States and across the globe.
David Green is an architect and professor of practice in the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech, teaching urban design and architecture studios while also being involved in an emerging national and international urban design practice as associate principal with Perkins+Will in Atlanta. He has been involved in all stages of urban design practice from urban design visions, neighborhood participation, zoning and subdivision processes and building design.
Doug Allen is professor and associate dean of the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech where he teaches the most popular course in the college, The History of Urban Form. His teaching focuses on the American City and American Landscape and includes undergraduate, master’s degree and Ph.D. students in architecture and city and regional planning. Prior to becoming associate dean, he maintained a landscape architecture practice, winning numerous awards in Atlanta and across the Southeast.
Continuing Education Credit:
In the past, we have been able to offer continuing education credits for some professions. We have been able to offer twelve (12) AIA Health, Safety, and Welfare and Sustainable Design Continuing Education Credits and twelve (12) AICP Certificate Maintenance Credits. For Professional Engineers and other fields that are self reporting, the Georgia Conservancy is happy to provide assistance. Our credits are still pending approval for Spring 2010, and we will update the website and inform registrants as we learn more.
Additional Information: Good Urbanism 101 is sponsored by the Georgia Conservancy in partnership with the Urban Design faculty in the College of Architecture at Georgia Tech.
ALL PROCEEDS from Good Urbanism 101 support urban design education by giving scholarships or research assistantships to Georgia Tech urban design graduate students! Registration: Register Now!- Space is Limited General registration is $200, and registration for those seeking professional education credits will be $300.
Class Scholarships: We may be able to offer a limited number of scholarships for Good Urbanism 101. To be considered for a scholarship, you must be an employee or volunteer of a non-profit organization whose work involves transportation, urban design, housing, or related issues; a citizen member of a civic association, neighborhood planning unit, or planning or zoning commission; or be otherwise clearly involved in volunteer activities that involve the built environment. To apply, please provide a 500 word statement describing your interest in the class, how you will utilize the class lessons in your professional or personal life, and how you are involved in urban design issues. Application statements should be emailed to Katherine Moore, Georgia Conservancy, kmoore@gaconservancy.orgby March 31. You will be notified one week prior to the first class regarding your application, if the scholarship positions become available.
Location: 75 5th Street NW , Atlanta 30308 (Centergy Building at Tech Square in Midtown). Classes on April 15, 27, and 29 will be held in the 10th Floor conference room. Classes on April 20, 22 and May 4 will be held in the Hodges Conference Room of Suite 380.
Katherine Moore, AICP
Growth Management/Blueprints Program Manager
The Biltmore
Georgia Conservancy
817 West Peachtree Street, Suite 200
Atlanta, Georgia 30308
404-876-2900 ext. 106
KMoore@gaconservancy.org