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Louis Sauer, architect: Low-rise dense housing in an urban setting

Reading time: 5 minutes -- The architect Louis Sauer specialized in high-quality, high-density, low rise housing. His urban designs were typically just three stories tall, with configurations of intertwined townhomes, set in patterns so that each home had a separate and private yard. 

“Mio” apartments in Seattle — Density of 205 units per acre

Reading time: 5 minutes -- The "Mio" apartments in Seattle are 41 units with a density of 205 units per acre. I present it here not as something we can copy for Arcata, but as an example of what can be done. I do not like all of the design choices, nor believe that this design in its entirely would be suitable for us. Yet I feel we can learn and profit by looking at its design.

Inclusionary Zoning, objective design standards approved in Santa Cruz

Read time: 7 minutes. Skim: 2 minutes. -- We can look at how Santa Cruz has dealt with some of the same issues we face here in Arcata. Santa Cruz already had an existing 20% inclusionary requirement. New proposal: Projects with a 25% inclusionary requirement get a 30% density bonus. Projects with a 30% inclusionary requirement get a 50% density bonus. Other issues: Public hearings for new larger construction.

A vision of sustainable housing for all of humanity – Vishaan Chakrabarti

Vishaan Chakrabarti in a 10-minute TED talk. I believe that the answer is hiding in plain sight, that there is what I call a “Goldilocks” scale that sits between the scale of housing and towers: two- to three-story housing that should actually look very familiar to most of you, because we built the most beloved parts of our cities with it.

Linear Park and Woonerf examples for us to look at

What concepts for a full-width Linear Park in the L Street Corridor would work for Arcata? Here are some images from other cities to show what's worked for them.

Podium Construction: New apartment buildings all look the same

The buildings are five to seven stories tall and have a boxy shape. The ground floor is a parking garage, sometimes combined with shops. Four or five stories of apartments or condos sit on top of this concrete “podium,” so they’re often called podium buildings. They cover a large area compared to older apartment buildings, often taking up a considerable portion of a block face. These buildings are prevalent because they maximize developers’ profits by balancing leasable floor area (more is better) with construction cost (less is better). Simply put, podium buildings represent a proven formula for creating marketable housing at a reasonable cost.

3D Modeling: We’re still waiting

Original article: June 16, 2022 --We've been promised the 3D modeling for at least four or five months now. *** ONE AND A HALF YEARS NOW **** Why is 3D Modeling so important? Look at the pictures here and decide for yourself.

Redwood City Downtown Precise Plan – Form-Based Code

Redwood City's Downtown Precise Plan includes Form-Based code and Planning Commission review. It all took 4 years to develop. The Form-Based Code can serve as a model for Arcata.

MIG City Planning and Design: Communities can plan their own futures

MIG is a design and planning firm with over 200 employees in 14 locations, founded in 1982. "We believe that the environment around us has a profound impact on our lives. We plan, design and sustain environments that support human development." "We are a community of designers, planners, engineers, scientists and storytellers engaging, involving and acting with people in creative problem solving."

Utah Senator Mitt Romney calls bike lanes “the height of stupidity”

This just goes to show that almost anything can become controversial. Last year, Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton warned Fox News viewers that Democrats "want to make you live in downtown areas, and high-rise buildings, and walk to work, or take the subway, or ride an electric scooter" and "make us all poor."

Gary Patton: Let’s not wait around for someone else to tell us

Gary Patton: Let's not wait around for someone else to tell us what has happened to us, and about the history that has been made in our names. Let's talk to our neighbors, and friends, and get to work. We have challenges and opportunities to confront, and it's not "the government" that is supposed to do things. WE are supposed to do things.

The $300,000 starter home is going extinct

The figure of $300,000 is shown as a house that is "attainable" for a couple or small family, based on earnings and ability to pay the mortgage and expenses. And a house at $300,000 or below just is not available anymore. --- The answer? Smaller units. Higher densities -- apartment buildings, that is. And if there cannot be condominiums (see: The Housing Market Needs More Condos. Why Are So Few Being Built?), then this equates to renting and not owning. Ownership opportunities have become a part of the past.

Windowless bedrooms? Sunlight is considered a luxury benefit

In recent years, windowless bedrooms have become somewhat normalized on college campuses. Students at the University of Texas, Austin and the University of Michigan are currently renting dorm bedrooms without windows. Sunlight in your bedroom could become a luxury as cities debate allowing landlords to rent windowless rooms in former office buildings to alleviate the housing crisis.

Visualizing Compatible Density

Examples of a range of density housing, with photos and descriptions. -- Density is a controversial subject in virtually all American communities and is often viewed as a thing to be feared. Density can be ugly. More bigger buildings, more asphalt and concrete, fewer trees and green space, less sunlight and privacy, and even less air to breath.

Berkeley modular “village” housing with rooftop garden

Garden Village is a 77-unit student-orientated apartment building located in Berkeley, California completed in August of 2016. Designed to echo the massing and rhythm of the community, the innovative design departs from the standard single-volume building. Instead, 18 distinct building volumes are spread out in a garden and linked by exterior walkways in a design that seamlessly integrates into the surrounding fabric of the community.

Pre-Fab Modular Housing – a dozen articles and more

Modular housing could be an answer to state housing crisis. A collection of articles from other sources, and lots of photos. Modules can be assembled into apartment buildings 40% more quickly and 20% cheaper than traditional construction. ------- From factories in Vallejo, Sacramento, Klamath Falls OR, Idaho, Canada, and China.

Berkeley approves housing plan, with pledge to upzone wealthy neighborhoods

The Berkeley City Council voted  unanimously to approve their 656-page Housing Element, an eight-year housing plan. The plan shows how Berkeley will add at least 8,934 new homes over the next eight years. The plan commits to rezoning several major streets in an effort to encourage denser development in some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods.

Can the Superblocks of Barcelona work in Arcata? Yes!

The Barcelona "Superblock" design that is capturing the imagination of city citizens in Europe and all over the world -- Can this concept be applicable here in Arcata? The answer is a resounding YES. It is perfect for us here in Arcata.

Organic Food Waste: It’s very considerate of people….

"It's very considerate of people to separate their trash." Perhaps require new construction to accommodate or have collection services for food-waste -- as is done in Korea currently.

Does Building Luxury Condos Create More Affordable Housing?

This article is a re-print of the article of the same name in the July 25/August 1, 2022, issue of The Nation. It is...

A possible 6-story design for Arcata

Here's a 6-story building that could work in Arcata, with some modifications. Originally proposed for Santa Cruz, it incorporates many of the design elements and features people here have said are important.

Meriam Park, Chico: Where Form-Based Code didn’t work out so well

Why the Chico Meriam Park development in Chico is a terrible example of Form-Based Code

UC Berkeley lawsuit decisions may affect Arcata too

Did UC Berkeley bring in more students than they'd promised? How much should the University contribute to infrastructure costs? And -- is any of this applicable to Cal Poly Humboldt and Arcata ?

Redwood City has PlanComish review

Redwood City's Downtown Precise Plan was adopted in 2011, after three or four years of development.  It is helpful to us because it incorporates a well-designed Form-Based Code -- and has a blend of Discretionary Review and Ministerial Review.

McKinleyville is transparent. Arcata is not.

How is it that McKinleyville has all of the info for their Town Center plan in one location?  And in Arcata, the same info is scattered all over the place -- or is in obscure locations that so buried that it might as well not exist. Read more here.

McKinleyville Town Center – The County web page

Links to the Humboldt County website for info on the McKinleyville Town Center, and Mad River Union articles.

3D Model flyover of the McKinleyville Town Center

Flyover showing the 3D model of the McKinleyville Town Center Zoning Map showing the future buildout of the proposed Town Center Core mixed use area. From July, 2021. 2 minute video

Affordable Housing: Thinking ‘Outside the Box’

Providing housing for working-class people does not involve rocket science. Major technological breakthroughs aren't required to create low-income housing. It is a matter of national will.

Density Guide for Housing Types

A density guide that shows the variety of types of housing that is suitable for different density levels.  Which types would be suitable for Arcata?

Three things California must do to address Affordable Housing

Changing the RHNA allocation and Tax Credits could do more to help build Affordable Housing. An article from The Marin Post.

Redwood City DTTP – Explore the document

Redwood City's Downtown Precise Plan includes Form-Based code and Planning Commission review. It all took 4 years to develop. The plan can serve as a model for Arcata.

Vancouver, British Columbia: 40-story buildings proposed

A plan for Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia involves new building heights of 40-stories, seriously changing the existing neighborhood.