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Archive: Scott Polikov

New Urbanism, Smart Economics Rejuvenate an Old River Town

Scott Polikov / Sep 02 2010

For Release Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scott PolikovThe people have spoken in Owensboro — an Ohio River city of just over 50,000 souls in mostly rural western Kentucky. They want to hitch their town’s star to a dazzling waterfront and downtown agenda.

The turning point was a “21st Century Town Meeting” in 2007, organized with help from the national nonprofit organizing group “We the People” and supported by the Public Life Foundation, funded and chaired by veteran Owensboro publisher and philanthropist John Hager.

Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson, who’d authored one of their Citistates reports on regional challenges for the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer in 1991, returned for the kickoff town meeting. Read More »

Toward Roads for People, Neighborhoods: The Dominos Start to Fall

Scott Polikov / Dec 05 2009

For Release Saturday, December 5, 2008

Scott Polikov Two years ago, Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) President John Norquist approached the lectern to address the Texas Transportation Commission upon the invitation of the late Commission Chairman Ric Williamson, an avowed road warrier. Knowing that the transportation commission, the overseers of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), had just embarked on one of the largest road building efforts in recent American history, Norquist said, “Mr. Chairman, I’m not against your big road running between your cities–but I am here to talk about how TxDOT can begin to support local communities, neighborhoods and economic development.”

Williamson and his colleagues were intrigued, but several of them continued to peek at their Blackberrys.

Norquist then started his famous “Highways to Boulevards” powerpoint presentation. When he showed the transformation of a portion of downtown Seoul, South Korea from a scarred aging corridor with an elevated highway into a modern walkable economic development marvel–a reinvented boulevard lined with new buildings and a linear park running down its middle–the commissioners stopped and stared. Norquist had touched a nerve. America has been building roads without any regard to what surrounds them, and it has to look at examples across the Pacific to understand how we have been losing ground here at home. Read More »

$$/Sustainability Matched: New Economics of Place

Scott Polikov / Aug 28 2008

For Release Sunday, August 31, 2008

Scott Polikov America’s 60-year development pattern has broken down, like an exhausted 1950 Chevy rusting at roadside. But the building and real estate industry is only slowly awakening to the new reality.

We all knew the pattern, popularized after World War II and mostly triumphant since. A smart builder discovers and buys an inexpensive piece of cornfield or pasture. Up go single-family houses, or, more recently, many townhomes. Proximity to stores, offices, other conveniences (except perhaps schools) is irrelevant: everyone will be driving anyway. The successful sales prove it.

No longer. Almost overnight, the ground rules for development have been eviscerated. Sure, real estate calculations of cash flow and value are still being made. And yes, local planning and zoning commissions are continuing to hold meetings until midnight to decide whether to approve zoning for the proverbial townhouse project down the street from a single-family enclave. Read More »