The Street Plans Collaborative places a high value on research, writing, and communication. Contributing to the academic and real world conversations that impact the built environment is a priority for us, both as professionals and advocates.
Our writing, projects,and advocacy work has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic Cities, NPR, Next American City Magazine, Streetsblog, Planning Magazine, Grist, Utne Reader, New Urban News, Tree Hugger, Momentum Magazine, The Village Voice, The Miami New Times, The Hartford Courant, The Real Deal, Model D, and The Miami Herald.
Mike Lydon is also a correspondent the lead author of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action, Long-term Change (Vol.I and II), and an Interchange Blogger for Planetizen, a positition he's held since 2005. Mike is also a founding co-editor of A Living Urbanism and the co-founder of Pattern Cities.
Tony Garcia is the former Managing Editor and Publisher of Transit Miami.com and is a frequent voice on local planning and architecture issues. Below are a few of our current and past writing and research efforts. He is also a contributor to Huffington Post and Next American City.
THE SMART GROWTH MANUAL
Mike collaborated with Andres Duany and Jeff Speck in writing The Smart Growth Manual, ranked by Planetizen as one of the top ten urban planning, design, and development books of 2010.
"The goal of The Smart Growth Manual is clear from page 1: to create a guidebook for smart growth following the pattern of the Charter for New Urbanism. Duany, Speck and Lydon have achieved that in spades (the Charter is included in the appendix, in case we missed the connection). It even clears up some of the architectural arguments that attach themselves to New Urbanists, such as this segment of Section 14.1, Regional Design; "While new buildings should not be compelled to mimic their historic predecessors, designers should pay attention to local practices regarding materials and colors, roof pitches, eave lengths, window-to-wall ratios, and the socially significant relationship of buildings to their site and the street; these have usually evolved in intelligent response to local conditions." In addition to making the old "traditional vs. modern" argument irrelevant, Duany, Speck and Lydon have truly managed to boil down the best parts of current practices into a highly readable, portable book." - Planetizen
The Manual is now available for purchase online and at bookstores everywhere.
Open streets initiatives temporarily close streets to automobiles, allowing residents to walk, bike, skate, dance and utilize the roadways in countless creative and active ways. From Los Angeles to Ottawa, and Missoula to Miami, open streets have become a way for cities to build community, promote active transportation and reconnect neighborhoods divided by traffic.
The project website showcases dozens of current initiatives across the continent and allows municipalities and advocacy organizations to share information and resources on their open streets initiatives as they evolve and expand. The Open Streets Guide features best practices from 67 initiatives across the continent, and serves as a tool for cities looking to start or grow an open streets initiative. Click here to download the free electronic copy of the guide. A print version will be available on March 21, 2012 at www.OpenStreetsProject.org.
TACTICAL URBANISM: SHORT-TERM ACTION, LONG-TERM CHANGE (Vol I and II)
Improving the livability of our towns and cities commonly starts at the street, block, or building scale. While larger scale efforts do have their place, incremental, smallscale improvement efforts are increasingly seen as a way to stage more substantial investments. This approach allows a host of local actors to test new concepts before making substantial political and financial commitments. Sometimes sanctioned, sometimes not, these actions are commonly referred to as “guerilla urbanism,” “pop-up urbanism,” “city repair,” or “D.I.Y. urbanism.” For the moment, we like "Tactical Urbanism," which is an approach that features the following five characteristics:
• A deliberate, phased approach to instigating change;
• The offering of local solutions for local planning challenges;
• Short-term commitment and realistic expectations;
• Low-risks, with a possibly a high reward; and
• The development of social capital between citizens and the building of organizational capacity between public-private institutions, non-profits, and their constituents.
The Tactical urbanism project is an ongoing body of work that aims to document and share tactics from around the world.
From 2008 to 2012, Tony Garcia was the managing editor and publisher of Transitmiami.com, a website dedicated to planning and transportation in South Florida. The site provides a group of passionate professional planners, advocates and every-day citizens with a forum to discuss needed changes in how planning and development occurs in South Florida.
Transitmiami.com pursued a variety of community and city-wide campaigns, ranging from lowering speeds on Brickell Avenue, to reforming the local Transit Tax. Most recently, Transitmiami.com Utilized a multi-faceted web-based media platform to build grassroots support for the City's passage of Miami 21, a highly innovative form-based code that now codifies smart growth.
LIVING URBANISM is a forum for ideas, proposals, and critiques that stretch beyond the daily discourse of architecture, urban design & planning practice. Controversial ideas and topics are welcomed as they foster discussion and innovation. Critique is desired as it initiates the refinement and revision of ideas. Bold research, inqury and new perspectives are encouraged. The collection of these writings, illustrations and initiatives will help guide us as we work toward a better built environment. LIVING URBANISM is directed and edited by Matthew Lambert, Mike Lydon, and Russell Preston.
THE SMARTCODE BICYCLE MODULE
In collaboration with the Center for Applied Transect Studies (CATS), The Street Plans Collaborative produced a Bicycle Module for the SmartCode. The module is designed to “plug in” in to the SmartCode, which is a model form-based code that folds zoning, subdivision regulations, urban design, public works standards and basic architectural controls into one compact document. Available for all scales of planning, from the region to the community, to the block and building, the model code can be calibrated to the unique qualities of each place to which it is applied. It is thus unlike conventional zoning codes based on use and density, which have made mixed use and walkable neighborhoods inadvertently illegal.
Specifically, the Bicycle Module is intended to advance the quality of bicycle planning within smart growth planning and design efforts. To do so, the Module coordinates more than 20 bikeway facility and parking types with the logic of the rural-to-urban transect. Like the “freeware” SmartCode, the Bicycle Module is available for download at the Center for Applied Transect Studies website.