The Bellarine Key Features

Shaping our future – food for thought.

Remaking a suburb for the creative class

Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Posted October 21, 2010 in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

By almost any conventional measure, Dublin, Ohio is a wildly successful community.  A suburb of Columbus, Dublin is one of the wealthiest municipalities in Ohio, with a median family income of $126,402, more than double that for the nation as a whole.  Unlike Midwestern cities founded in earlier days on an industrial economy, Dublin is a modern community that has experienced tremendous growth in recent decades, with fewer than 4,000 residents as recently as 1980, but upwards of 38,000 today.
a home in Dublin (via Chambers Custom Homes, Dublin) Jack Nicklaus's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Golf Club (via GolfWorld)
Dublin is now home to the headquarters of Wendy’s, Ashland, Cardinal Health and several other corporations, including the new-technology OCLC (originally Online Computer Library Center).  Nationwide Insurance and Verizon have significant presence there.  The Professional Golf Association’s Memorial Tournament, one of its more prominent events, is hosted by Ohio native Jack Nicklaus and held annually in Dublin, and the community’s excellent golfing facilities also host numerous other events.  The Scioto River runs through the heart of town, which also can boast a very pleasant historic district.  It’s all working;  you may wonder, why change anything?
Dublin's historic district (courtesy of Goody, Clancy) Dublin's historic district (by: Pierre Metivier, creative commons license)
The answer is that Dublin’s leaders are thinking like a business.  They know that their success has been based on a late-20th century model of office parks, malls, and single-family subdivisions that is now becoming outdated.  Having been on the leading edge of past suburban success, they want to be on the leading edge for the 21st century as well.  And right now, although they have great assets to build upon, they suspect that they aren’t ready for the new generation of “customers.”
Outside of the relatively small historic district, for example, Dublin’s main transportation corridors are lined with development that is relentlessly automobile-oriented and unwalkable, and frequently bland.  What a visitor sees may mask an affluent community, but it also lacks cohesion and resembles nothing so much as run-of-the-mill sprawl, so typical of suburbs built in the 1980s and 1990s:
intersecting Bridge Street, Dublin (by: Doug Kerr, creative commons license)
OCLC parking lot (by: Emily Alling, creative commons license) Dublin Prospect Road, by the Scioto River (via Google Earth)
As recent city manager Terry Foegler told Holly Zachariah of The Columbus Dispatch, what Dublin is missing is what it needs to attract young professionals and empty-nesters: “a trendy, urban area in which to work, play and live.”
While some residents are rightly attentive to be sure that historic character is preserved, Eric Leslie of the Historic Dublin Business Association echoes the need to evolve.  Leslie told Zachariah that development that would get people to live downtown, make walking and biking there easier, and give them something to do would be wonderful: “We need an area where people can stroll and hang out, where people can have some fun.  What we need is an energy.”
In response, the city council has been working on something called the Bridge Street Corridor Study, a bureaucratic name for an exercise to determine whether there are parts of the community’s central area that could be re-imagined to accommodate more walkable, livelier development.  Technical support is being provided by Goody, Clancy & Associates, an architecture and planning firm that has advised clients all over the country – and the world, for that matter – on contextually appropriate urbanist makeovers.  (Disclosure:  Goody, Clancy’s David Dixon is a close professional friend.)  Bridge Street is Dublin’s principal east-west artery, though it takes other names along the way; it runs through the heart of commercial Dublin and the historic district.  The street is also Ohio Route 161 and, in places, US Highway 33.
the focus of planning (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
study area context (courtesy of Goody, Clancy) citizens participate in planning (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Goody Clancy began the right way, listening to businesses and residents, while bringing in nationally recognized experts including Chris Leinberger, Laurie Volk, and Carol Coletta to offer perspective on development trends and markets.  All advised the community to go walkable and mixed-use to be positioned for the future.
“Honestly, I don’t know that any part of it came as a complete surprise to me, particularly in terms of housing stock and the kind of lifestyle environment that young professionals might be seeking,” council member Tim Lecklider told Jennifer Noblit of ThisWeek Dublin. “I’ve been saying for several years on council that we probably have a full complement of single-family homes for a community of our size. To build any more could create a glut of that type of housing.”
the study area is composed of districts with varying character (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Noblit’s article, which was published in December of last year, suggests that other council members are in general agreement, though some have a natural concern that the makeover occur in the right places.  Council member Richard Gerber told Noblit that an evolution to accommodate 21st-century lifestyle preferences could be seen as “the natural progression of things. We built a town and now we have fine neighborhoods that have attracted business.  I think in some way this is just one more part of the process.”
From talking to residents, businesses and community leaders, Goody, Clancy found that Dublin is facing increased competition from downtown Columbus, other suburbs, and other parts of the country for the young talent needed to supply the diverse, skilled workforce sought by modern employers.  “As many as 60,000 people work in Dublin in the course of a year,” Foegler told Philip Langdon of New Urban News; between 5,000 and 8,000 employees are hired every year in the community.
Goody, Clancy subcontractor and market analysts Zimmerman, Volk Associates found that, while “there is projected demand for about 1,500 housing units over the next 5-7 years in the study area,” most of that will be for housing more suited to singles and empty nesters than the community’s current housing stock.  Indeed, apart from the city’s study and as further evidence of a changing attitude, the high-tech OCLC is already examining walkable development alternatives for the 80 acres it owns in Dublin.
it is critical to protect community character (by: Jinjian Liang, creative commons license)
Goody, Clancy’s preliminary inquiry recognized that it will be important to build in a way that creates and strengthens neighborhoods, not just adds to them; that development should strengthen, not diminish, the town’s historic district and character; that transportation choices and more complete streets would be required; that the community’s greenway and open space network can grow.
The firm believes that the Bridge Street Corridor is an appropriate place to focus, with significant redevelopment opportunity due to the presence of several large parcels of land under single ownership (including commercial properties well past their prime), and several property owners seeking higher-value uses for their land.  Focusing on the corridor would also present opportunities for increasing connectivity and transportation access, while avoiding impacts on the community’s single-family neighborhoods, which mostly lie outside the study area.  Many of the details may be found in a Planning Foundations document presented in May of this year by Goody, Clancy to the city.
neighborhoods; park system; arteries needing attention (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
The firm presented its vision for the corridor to the city earlier this month.  Goody, Clancy focused on neighborhoods, key arteries with potential for improvement, and expanding the park and trail system.  Their goal was to illustrate how the city could use thoughtful planning and redevelopment to achieve a future with these outcomes:

  • The Bridge Street Corridor is Dublin’s centerpiece. Dublin’s historical and cultural heart is strengthened and balanced by highly walkable districts and neighborhoods on both sides of the Scioto River.
  • Exceptional green spaces preserve the outstanding natural features in the corridor and seamlessly connect each unique district along the corridor.
  • Mixed-use districts bring together complementary arrangements of living, working and recreation in memorable settings created by distinctive, human-scaled architecture and streets that invite walking and gathering.
  • Greatly expanded choices in housing, employment, activities and transportation attract new generations of residents, businesses and visitors.
  • The Bridge Street Corridor radiates a diversity and vitality that mark it as a special place not only within Dublin, but within the region, nation and world.

the overall vision (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
The concept is ambitious, integrating new townhome, multi-family and loft housing, new office space, new shopping and civic facilities, roof gardens, a trail network, and even space for a light rail line, amidst a fair amount of retained existing buildings.
Recommendations were differentiated for different sub-districts and neighborhoods.  (See numbered sections in image of the planning area above.)  Below, for example, are illustrative possibilities for (clockwise from upper left) the Indian Run district; the edge of the Indian Run district, bordering a natural area; the Sawmill district; and the Riverside district.
vision for Indian Run (courtesy of Goody, Clancy) the edge of Indian Run (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Riverside district (courtesy of Goody, Clancy) Sawmill district (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Earlier this month, urbanist trend-spotter Richard Florida wrote in The Wall Street Journal that, to do well in today’s economy, suburbs need a bit of urban character:

“Just a couple of decades ago, the suburbs were the very image of the American Dream, with their sprawling, large-lot homes and expansive lawns. Suburban malls, industrial parks and office campuses accounted for a growing percentage of the nation’s economic output. Planners talked about ‘edge cities’—satellite centers where people could live, work and shop without ever having to set foot in major cities.
“With millions of American homes now ‘underwater’ or in foreclosure, the suburbs and exurbs have taken some of the most visible hits from the great recession . . . The suburbs that have continued to prosper during the downturn share many attributes with the best urban neighborhoods: walkability, vibrant street life, density and diversity. The clustering of people and firms is a basic engine of modern economic life. When interesting people encounter each other, they spark new ideas and accelerate the formation of new enterprises. Renewing the suburbs will require retrofitting them for these new ways of living and working.”

vision for Tuller/Greenway district (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Later in his article, Florida makes clear that he believes that suburbs that take the necessary steps to become more walkable and urbane will be well-positioned to compete for the creative class (a phrase he coined):

“Walkable suburbs are some of America’s best places to live, and they provide their sprawling, spread-out siblings with a model for renewal. Relatively dense commercial districts, with shops, restaurants and movie theaters, as well as a wide variety of housing types, have always been a feature of the older suburbs that grew up along the streetcar lines of big metro areas . . .
“These are the places where Americans are clamoring to live and where housing prices have held up even in the face of one of the greatest real-estate collapses in modern memory. More than that, as my colleague Charlotta Mellander and I found when we looked into the statistics, the U.S. metro areas with walkable suburbs have greater economic output and higher incomes, more highly educated people, and more high-tech industries, to say nothing of higher levels of happiness.”

While it remains to be seen how much of Goody, Clancy’s vision will be adopted by Dublin as a viable plan, and what the details will be, what impresses me most is the foresight of the community’s leaders in undertaking the Bridge Street Corridor Study and understanding the opportunity they have to be just as relevant to the next thirty years as they have been to the last thirty.  The city now has some important things to think about, and I’m pulling for them.

Edible landscapes – ideal for The Bellarine.

This article touches on the very essence of what is so very special here on The Bellarine …… green space.

Could planting trees be the next crime control strategy?

By Claire Lambrecht | May 20, 2012, 3:28 PM PDT
Downtown Baltimore, Md., from a pagoda in Patterson Park. (Phil Gold/Flickr)
“Ugliness is so grim,” urban beautification advocate Lady Bird Johnson once said. “A little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can help create harmony which will lessen tensions.”
Though criticized for her efforts (some suggested her projects were merely “cosmetic”), Lady Bird Johnson may have been on to something after all. Trees, according to a new study published in Landscape and Urban Planning, don’t just beautify neighborhoods; they also reduce crime.
The study, funded by the Forest Service and the National Science Foundation, compared crime data to tree cover in particular neighborhoods across Baltimore and Baltimore County, Md, between 2007 and 2010. The results, which could serve as a 21st century counterpart of the “Broken Windows“ theory introduced in 1982 by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, demonstrate a striking correlation between criminal activity and the number of trees in a neighborhood.
“In the tree world, we call it the ‘empty tree pit’ theory,” said J. Morgan Grove, one of the study’s co-authors in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. “If you have trees in the pits … they’re symbols of the fact that the neighborhood is cared about. … If they see you breaking into someone’s car, they’re going to call the cops.”
Having that tree cover, and the neighborhood presence that comes along with it, can mean striking changes from one neighborhood to the next. In one area, for example, a 10 percent increase in the density tree canopy went hand in hand with a 12 percent drop in reported crime. These statistics are a far cry from comprehensive crime-control strategy. They do, however, deliver welcome support for advocates, like the late Lady Bird Johnson, who saw the compound interest that could be derived from “something that is lovely.”
( Baltimore Sun)

OECD thinking – well worth watching & learning

OECD Week 2012: Paris, May 22-24

Recovering from the crisis is about returning to economic growth that can sustainably deliver better lives in all senses of the word – jobs for today and the education and skills for the jobs of tomorrow, healthy environment, and equal opportunities.

Economic growth is the foundation stone, but the crisis taught us that it has to be the right kind of growth. In many countries, people are rising up – indignant about inequalities and what they see as a lack of transparency and accountability from their governments and institutions. They are calling for new approaches that focus on growth, fairness and inclusion and address corruption, the rising cost of living and social spending cuts.

Expectations are high for international organizations such as the OECD to help governments in their efforts to find sustainable solutions. It’s a daunting task, but one we can attain if governments and citizens work together. OECD Week 2012 in Paris is a key moment for achieving this and comes on the heels of the success of the OECD’s 50th Anniversary last year.

What happens during OECD Week?

OECD Week combines the annual OECD Ministerial Meeting and Forum. The Forum, a public event, brings together ministers, business, labour, civil society and academia to share policies and ideas. It feeds into the Ministerial Meeting, where government leaders and ministers discuss issues on the global agenda. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ali Babacan, will chair this year’s Ministerial, supported by vice-chairs Chile and Poland.

Highlights of the week include the semi-annual OECD Economic Outlook, as well as three major new reports – the Skills Strategy to ensure that today’s children and young adults are well equipped for tomorrow, the final report of the Gender Initiative and the Development Strategy.

The Forum – 22-23 May
Politicians, business leaders, academics and civil society will discuss and debate ways to shift from indignation and inequality to inclusion and integrity. With record numbers of young people looking for jobs, the middle class squeezed out of the system, financial regulation failures, and faith in governments and other institutions waning, how best to restore trust and integrity in the system and find innovative paths for more sustainable, equitable and greener growth?

Which policies are delivering better lives? The OECD’s Better Life Index, launched in 2011, offers people a chance to say what matters most to them – education, jobs, a nice home, clean air, money – and see how their country measures up. An updated version of the Index, to be released at Forum 2012, includes new dimensions for gender and inequality as well as two new countries, Brazil and Russia.

The Ministerial – 23-24 May
Ministers will focus on policies for a sustainable – jobs-rich, green and equitable – economic recovery. In this context, they will discuss ways to encourage people to learn and maintain skills – the global currency of the 21st century – and encourage gender equality so women can fulfil their potential.  As the economy of one country depends on the economy of all, ministers will also discuss the benefits of a more open trading system and look to strengthen partnerships with developing countries and their relationship with the Middle East and North African region.

BELLARINE 2050 Our Place Our Future The Bellarine Key features

BELLARINE 2050 Our Place Our Future

The Bellarine Key features – March 2012

Natural assets pivot around the open green rural space in harmony with proximity to the Bay and the ocean.

Major industries / present and proposed

Building and construction
Equine / thoroughbred, equestrian, recreation

Current population – 110,000 during holiday season.

Inland developments.

Tourism based
Food production.
Activities – cycling , walking, swimming.
Rail associated activities
Community services – hospital, education, retail, commercial and light industrial.

Coastal developments.

Renewable Energy –
Tidal turbine adjacent to Bay entrance
Wind turbines affshore
Aquaculture –
Onshore and offshore facilities
Abalone plant between St Leonards and Indented Head.
Harbours –
Queenscliff – Ferry terminal and recreational / commercial moorings.
Portarlington – proposed Safe Harbour for both commercial and recreational fishing.
Portarlington – not approved but proposed
Leopold – not approved
Waterfront Geelong
Convention centre
Tourist ships / piers
On shore tourist service facilities
Bellarine2050 Our Place Our Future Overview