Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Making a Special Place

Last night, as part of the formal presentation by General Growth Properties of their redevelopment plans for Columbia Town Center, they showed four short videos with commentary by Anirban Basu, Ann Forsyth and Roger Lewis about various elements of the plan.

Anirban Basu is an economist and the Chairman and CEO of the Sage Policy Group. Ann Forsyth is a professor of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University and Roger Lewis is a columnist for The Washington Post and professor emeritus at the University of Maryland School of Architecture.

This is the first of four videos, it’s a little over four minutes, well worth the time.

Find more videos like this on HoCoMoJo


Chuck said...

Recently saw Anirban Basu speak at a conference and found him a very interesting and engaging speaker with a rich set of facts on the economy, most notably locally. If you get a chance to see him speak, it is worth it. Also, it is always good to hear how well we are positioned locally and stack up economically (thank you nearby Feds).

Bob O said...

Wow, great video, well produced, I particularly liked the background music and the transitions between the speakers and how they built on each others' arguments.

I do disagree with their common theme: that people want a more concentrated, "urban" environment to live in as they go about thier daily lives.

Yes, to a sense of community, I say, but wasn't that what the village centers were for? And was not that why "downtown" Columbia is the way it is? (was there ever a downtown Columbia in the plan, or in anyone's desires?)

Is not the Inner Harbor or urban town centers, or downtowns, that you find in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Paris or London? (BTW, I've been to or lived in them all.) precisely what Columbia was trying to avoid?

I have not yet reviewed the presented plan, and I did not attend the meeting where this was "discussed." I don't even live in Columbia, and, quite frankly, I don't like Columbia very much--it seems quite sterile to me. That's why when I moved to Maryland in the late eighties I chose Ellicott City. It has a downtown/town center, albeit with it's own, organically grown, flaws. So, my opinion is tainted.

Oh. But I did grow up in New Jersey. And NJ is the butt of many jokes regarding many things, including urban and suburban development. So. I have some experience in these matters.

A plan like this promises to make Columbia a little piece of New Jersey, right here in the hear of Maryland.

Hey, I can always move to Carrol County.

Bob O said...

Oh, and isn't Ann such the great Ozzie? Good to hear her accent, but watch out for socialist living tones.

Bob O said...

And, as usual, thanks for bringing this to us, WB. You do a great job with this blog, and I appreciate your dissemination of information. Well done.

Anonymous said...

From Dr. Basu's comments at about 01:11:45 in the 10/13, Part 2 event:
"There is this broadly shared notion, for whatever reason, that the best thing for a healthy fiscal environment is a lack of development, and that new development actually places additional burdens on existing taxpayers. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know that this has become a quite popular view. It's just not consistent with any data."

Perhaps Dr. Basu hasn't read Population Growth, Density and the Costs of Providing Public Services, by Helen F. Ladd in Urban Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, 1992, pp. 273-295, and pondered its included data. It was reviewed here.

There are fact-based reasons, not just popular views or notions, as to why some municipalities began using impact fees decades ago to reduce their additional density's resulting increased public services' costs from then causing increased tax burdens on existing taxpayers. I don't think any of us want a higher tax rate.

Bob O said...

Anonymous weighs in with some data. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Basu is a radio personality these days. Nothing more.