Nov 292017
 

It’s been my pleasure as founder, of the Oxnard Community Planning Group (OCPG), to participate in the good work of the OCPG and to build and maintain this website. The OCPG brought the Downtown Oxnard Vision Plan Charrette to Oxnard (thank you Dao Doan and the CNU-CA) and has produced events like the 5th Street Tactical Urbanism (Aurelio Ocampo and the OCPG) and Jane Jacobs movie (produced by myself with assistance from Heritage Square and the Oxnard Historical Society).

I now wish to further the work by continuing to support the good work of the OCPG – while starting a new website and blog: www.OxnardRenaissance.org – and the Oxnard Renaissance newsletter.

I want a bit more freedom to call the Oxnard planning scene as I see it. In addition to the new OxnardRenaissance.org website & blog, I have long wanted to create a newsletter relating to Oxnard planning issues and thus far OxnardRenaissance has sent out 15 such newsletters which you can view here and here.

For some time now I have wanted to create regularly scheduled small by-invitation forums for Oxnard based planning issues and the OxnardRenaissance website/blog and newsletter will now focus on these events.

Here is a list of some of the specific issues Oxnard Renaissance will focus on and explore in 2018:

  • Revitalizing Oxnard Boulevard (The City has no current plans to revitalize Oxnard Boulevard)
  • Infill and small-scale mixed-use development housing and development in the Central Business District (CBD) and other appropriate Oxnard locations (City Zoning and Development Standards incentivizes sprawl and make infill housing [small-scale mixed-use] impossible) (Large developers are currently being incentivized at the expense of small-scale mixed-use development in Oxnard today) and (City needs to incentivize and encourage mixed-use development downtown and in other appropriate locations)
  • Oxnard Development Standards are out of date and prevent small-scale mixed-use development in the Central Business District (CBD) and other Oxnard locations
  • Architectural Review in Oxnard to encourage quality building design throughout the City and in the Central Business District (CBD). Currently, in the Central Business District (CBD) the Downtown Design Review Committee (DDRC) will not deny a project from local architects, regardless of the quality of the architecture. This is how it is today in Oxnard, and I know because I was appointed to the DDRC early in 2017. Also, one set of drawings, the design, is submitted to the DDRC and then another set of drawings are submitted for a building permit that may or may not include the DDRC findings, because there is no process to be sure that what is submitted for a building permit – has been reviewed by DDRC staff to assure compliance with DDRC findings. OxnardRenaissance is working to bring better design and better architecture to Oxnard.
  • Oxnard Development Standards and Design Guidelines (Oxnard is not working on updating Development Standards or Design Guidelines as of Nov 2017 – there may be movement no real work being done.) (Currently there are very minimal design and consistent theme guidelines to make Oxnard a unique and attractive place. And what limited guidelines there are the DDRC ignores as a matter of course.)
  • Economic Development issues in Oxnard
  • Oxnard as a truly walkable and bikeable place for people to enjoy our city
  • Planning department is understaffed (Currently Oxnard has ⅓rd the number of planners per capita than other Ventura County cities)
  • Oxnard Downtown Manager announced by the City Manager at the Nov 28, 2017 City Council meeting (I hope to work with the downtown manager to strengthen all aspects of making Oxnard’s downtown into a place where people want to walk and shop and where well designed small-scale mixed-use buildings will be supported and incentivized in downtown Oxnard)

Thank you and hope to see you at OxnardRenaissance.org where the above work will be continued,
Roy Prince

Dec 062015
 

Mission 

The Oxnard Community Planning Group advocates for visionary practices in planning, design, and development that will lead to a more livable and prosperous city.

Vision 

The Oxnard Community Planning Group envisions a city that grows wisely, preserves farmland and open space, drives smart economic development, welcomes vertical density, cherishes our past, and boldly anticipates our future.

Core Values 

The Oxnard Community Planning Group believes in a city that works to meet the needs of all our residents: young, old, people with disabilities, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists; even people who don’t go anywhere. We strive to be open-minded, welcome thoughtful discussion, and are willing to invest our time and efforts towards bringing these beliefs into being.

Sep 272015
 

We have many NEW resources on our Resources Page.

For instance we recently added four links about infill housing, with several great Myths vs Facts articles plus a Infill Design Tool Kit.

There are several new articles about Economic Development and City Planning and Urban Design.

This website is becoming the go-to venue for planning issues and education in Oxnard, CA.

Mar 302015
 
 March 30, 2015  Uncategorized

As two projects in Los Angeles show, public art has more than just aesthetic appeal – it can generate income for developers and local government.

Public art in transit-oriented developments presents a valuable marketing opportunity, both for public agencies and private developers. Dollar for dollar, investments in public art may provide the highest financial returns of any funds committed to an aspect of a transit project.

The intangible benefits of public art—aesthetic beauty, cultural interpretation, education, inspiration, and general improvement of the urban environment—are well-known. But because these are considered “soft” benefits, they are sometimes dismissed as a low priority, especially during challenging economic times. However, experiences in Los Angeles show that public art can be a source of publicity and cash income, as well as beauty.

Wilshire Vermont Station. Image courtesy Riverstone Residential Group

Wilshire Vermont Station, a mixed-use, urban infill development in a downtown neighborhood known as Koreatown, has 449 apartments above 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Twenty percent of the apartments are reserved for low-income renters. Located in the heart of a dense and diverse mixed-income neighborhood, the development occupies land owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of Los Angeles County. A busy two-level subway station operates under the site.

Because the project is largely residential, it was not subject to the city of Los Angeles’s requirement that 1 percent of project cost for commercial development be committed to public art. Nonetheless, Urban Partners LLC, a Los Angeles–based developer of transit-oriented and urban infill real estate, chose to install a pair of 70 foot painted murals, designed by environmental artist April Greiman, who was introduced to the firm by the developer’s art consultant, Merry Norris. The murals were installed at the prominent intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, adjacent to the subway portal. The art program cost $75,000 to design and install, out of a total project cost of more than $125 million.

From this relatively modest in­­vestment in public art the project received more publicity, more public recognition, and more leasing interest than from any other element of the entire budget. The murals became a marketing bonanza.

When they were completed, the murals were featured in several half-page, full-color photographs in the Los Angeles Times. Coverage was provided on the front page of the paper’s local news and culture sections rather than in the real estate or business sections. This allowed the publicity to reach a more exclusive, cultured audience, elevating the project’s reputation as a work of art, not mere commerce. This front-page coverage constituted essentially free advertising, and it created a marketing aura that the developer could not have purchased at any price.

Subsequently, images of the murals have been printed in dozens of publications, including newspapers and national and local business magazines. The images are routinely used by the local transit agency as emblems of the entire transit system, and the site is frequently host to press events and photo shoots. For example, the mayor of Los Angeles often uses the murals as a backdrop during televised announcements.

The private marketing benefits, in real-dollar terms, of this modest public art investment are almost inestimably high. The continuing visibility, publicity, and brand identification that public art provided for the project were purchased for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the project’s total cost.

District 7 Headquarters of the California Department of Transportation. Image courtesy Flickr user Albert K Law

The District 7 headquarters of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), at a nearby site in downtown Los Angeles, moved forward under a very tight budget. Nonetheless, it included a state-mandated commitment of 1 percent of the project budget for public art. Urban Partners LLC, also the project developer, introduced Thom Mayne of Morphosis, the building’s architect, to nationally known artist Keith Sonnier, with instructions to integrate the art program into the building design itself. Doug Christmas of Ace Gallery in Los Angeles assisted with artist selection. With a $2 million budget, and using neon- and argon-filled tubes that abstractly resemble the tail lights of cars, the art installation provides a colorful and changeable display in the building’s otherwise limited color palette. Cooperation between architect and artist was seamless, resulting in a successful fusion of public art and architecture.

Caltrans officials, however, originally were skeptical of this use of funds. To their surprise, the neon installation became a sensation. The illuminated entry element now vividly identifies the building in the government center of Los Angeles. The building is now used frequently as a backdrop for feature films, television shows, and commercials, and has been displayed prominently in print publications around the world. Caltrans receives a substantial, ongoing income stream by licensing the entry plaza as a backdrop for still photography and TV/film.

Raising an institutional structure to the level of global artistry—and creating an unexpected revenue stream for local government—demonstrates clearly the economic benefits of public art. In this case, the benefits are public as well as private, providing income to Caltrans.

Investments in public art are not just for cultural or aesthetic purposes; they also can have a positive bottom-line economic impact, with material financial benefits to their owners. Good art is good business.

Adapted and reprinted with permission from Urban Land, the online publication of the Urban Land Institute; copyright 2012 by the Urban Land Institute.

Original article.

Jul 222014
 
 July 22, 2014  Uncategorized

“Mr. Developer, tear down those walls,” might as well be one of the slogans for São Paulo’s ambitious new urban master plan. It prohibits gated-off buildings in some parts of the city and encourages new developments that provide street-level interaction with retail.

The effort to curb street life-killing development—especially the walled-off residential complexes common across the city—could have a lasting impact on what São Paulo’s streets look like and how its residents interact with each other.

Read more here.

Jul 222014
 
 July 22, 2014  Uncategorized

A new study released today by planning and design firm Sasaki Associates found that food is a major driver of the American urban experience: Eighty-two percent of urbanites appreciate their city’s culinary offerings, and a new restaurant is the top reason nearly half of those surveyed would venture out to explore different parts of their city. The majority of city residents also consider food and restaurants to be the most outstanding aspect of cities they love to visit.

Read full story here.

Resources

 

Must View

“If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.”

– Fred Kent, Project for Public Spaces

Placemaking

What’s the Big Idea?

  1. The current path cities are pursuing is not financially stable.
  2. The future for most cities will not resemble the recent past.
  3. The main determinant of future prosperity for cities will be local leaders’ ability to transform their communities.
Form Based Codes
“Why form-based codes? Because our current laws tend to separate where we live from where we work, learn, and shop, and insist on big, fast roads to connect them all. Roads that are unfriendly to pedestrians, cyclists, and transit. As a result, North Americans spend more hours in their cars than anyone on earth, and a growing number of communities are working to do something about it.” [ PlaceMakers.com ]

Tactical Urbanism

City Planning

City Planning & Urban Design

These firms and consultants seem to get it right

Economic Development

  • Safer Streets – Stronger Economies
  • Fiscal Implications of Development Patterns
  • A candid talk about the future of America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods
  • Competitive Cities for jobs and growth
    “While the report takes pains to note that there is no silver bullet for urban competitiveness, it identifies some key factors and strategies that bear on itThe most competitive cities focus on higher-skill tradable industries, attracting foreign investment, creating new businesses, and growing their existing, already competitive firms (which usually has the biggest impact on job creation). They also have strong growth coalitions of elected leaders, civic officials, and the private sector. Most importantly, they have a clear strategy to exploit their competitive advantages. In Bucaramanga, Colombia, for instance, the city has used its oil revenues to invest in universities known for their research on the oil industry—in turn generating technical skills and boosting human capital. It’s this kind of creative and independent thinking that allows cities to do a lot with a limited amount of resources.”
You Think You Know About Parking?
Design Review

Human Scale Design

Transportation Engineering
  • Context Based Design and the Fate of the Arterial
    A brief and urban look at the way a street engineer can make our streets walkable. The street engineer that pulls out the code book and tells you, with various official sounding citations, that making streets only for cars is the only thing that can be done – is regressive and does not understand where cities are going. We need street engineers that understand walkability, urbanism and placemaking. The code based street engineer is a dinosaur.
  • Institute of Transportation Engineers
    Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach
Oxnard