Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Urban Design Perversions

Comment on yesterday's Plan Philly post:
There *is* a baby in the bath water here.

While I agree Jannie is introducing this bill on behalf of CCPB, and that in its current form prohibits natural intensification (a better term for what's needed than "density"), the idea of cornice-line preservation is a good urban design rule that does not necessarily imply a more stringent build-to line.

Structures like mansards, for example, preserve the cornice line, without demanding setbacks, while permitting natural intensification. So urban design solutions exist for the CCPB's "problems".

The problem is, of course, that this bill represents a perversion of the intent of urban design; it should not be entertained any more than it has to, to yield a definitive "No" vote.

But I'd urge the Planning Commission to draft a series of recommended urban design overlays, both as examplars of good practice and to aid in an eventual transition to design codes from use-based ones.

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