Colleen Edwards interviews Chip Pierson, Dahlin Group Architecture Planning
In today’s interview, Chip Pierson from Dahlin Group Architecture Planning talks about the obstacles in the path of sustainable planning. With success measured by meeting environmental goals, business goals for viability, and the community’s goals, it is difficult to take a project from the envisioning through entitlements. The chances of the project getting through all of these steps intact? Just about impossible. So who wins and who loses? And when one side wins big, does the whole project go away?
A lot of this discussion has been put on hold for the last couple of years, as the economy has dealt a blow to new development and infill redevelopment. But the conversation is far from over.
Chip sees an ongoing conflict in mixed-use communities between what the city wants for an area and how its residents are going to live with it. A grocery store sounds good, but the days of a little Mom-and-Pop operation are long gone. So the supermarket needs a big footprint, as mandated by the super-chains. And the back side of the store—home of the garbage cans, grease traps and delivery trucks—makes its immediate neighbors unhappy with its sights, sounds and smells. Planning how to let multiple uses co-exist and thrive is one of the challenges to the planning community.
The Urban Land Institute is a non-partisan research and educational resource in urban planning, land use and development. It studies and interprets real estate trends, publishes papers and holds conferences that discuss raising the bar in communities throughout the world. Although the site has limited public access (it is a membership organization) its goals and history make for interesting reading.