Monday, November 28, 2011

Let’s Get Started

Welcome to the first post of what we hope will be a long-running blog about the future of land-use planning in the North Bay.  For now, there will be two authors.  Tony Battaglia is the owner of Archumana, a Santa Rosa architectural firm.  He was worked on projects throughout the North Bay and has also participated broadly in community affairs.  Tony can further introduce himself in his first post, which will be in two days.

I’m a Registered Civil Engineer who has worked for consulting engineering firms in California, Oregon, and Washington.  Using my dual degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, an alma mater that I share with Tony (Go Bears!), I began my career in water resources before becoming involved in land-use.  Throughout my career, I’ve paired my professional career with community involvement, including serving as president of an industry association and a Petaluma charity, acting as chair of a school district finance committee and of an architectural design board for an 800-unit planned development, and sitting on many standing and ad hoc municipal committees.

 As we hopefully establish a readership and an identity, we’ll look to add other voices that complement the two of us.  For now however, it’ll be only Tony and me.   We’ll post new entries three times per week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, typically in the morning.  If you check in regularly, we hope to keep you entertained and involved.

The focus of the blog will be a focus on contemporary theories of land planning, whether they’re called “new urbanism”, “smart growth”, or something else.  (Personally, I try to avoid “smart growth”.  I fear it sounds condescending.  I think new urbanism is a good idea in many settings, but if I call it “smart” I’m building a wall against others who may feel differently.  And walls never help in the interchange of ideas.)  We’ll explore what “new urbanism” is, whether it’s desirable, and how it should be encouraged or discouraged.   However, we don’t expect that Tony, I, and any future writers will speak with a single voice.  I’ve spoken enough with Tony to know that he and I have different perspectives about how land-use planning should be pursued.  Other writers will surely add more textures to the blend of “Where Do We Go from Here?”

Also, please don’t expect that we’ll explain “new urbanism”.  There are many people who are smarter than us and even they’re still learning how new urbanism works in the marketplace.  Instead, we’ll be here to offer our ruminations, to listen to your comments, and hopefully to work together toward the best possible future.

We have a comment function below, but we also encourage email exchanges with the authors.  If you have thoughts to share, please use either method.  We’ll monitor both and respond as soon as possible.  If the resulting exchange is worth sharing with others, we’ll assemble the exchange, with the concurrence of the correspondent, into a post.

I’ll stop for now, but with the hope that many readers will become regular participants in the future of what we’re beginning here.  Thanks for reading.  We hope you return, starting on Wednesday. - Dave Alden (

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