Sunday, March 04, 2012

Nashville's new downtown zoning code puts human interaction and walkability above cars

The stereotype is that the high growth, "new south" is all about highways and sprawl. Actually, a lot of cities in the region are building out light rail systems and opening up to more sustainable urban design.

Nashville might be taking the lead with it's new zoning code.

From The Switchboard Blog

“The Plan calls for a ‘thoughtful mixture of uses including residential, retail and office, to ensure that Downtown doesn’t close at 5 p.m. or even after the concert ends or the restaurants close, but is instead a welcoming home for a diverse residential population.’ Multiple stories encourage multiple uses within each building, increasing the likelihood that one of the uses will be active at any given hour. Compare this to one story buildings which lack activity during the off-hours of the single use.

“To be viable, Downtown must accommodate numerous services and functions. By promoting form over use, the DTC allows for a mixture of uses. Because various functions occur at different times of the day – working, shopping and recreating during the day, entertainment and home-life at night – mixed-use, 24/7 neighborhoods use existing infrastructure more efficiently and function in a more sustainable way . . .

“As stated in the Plan, ‘While residential development has flourished in recent years, the creation and enhancement of urban neighborhoods is still a goal. Residential living will thrive in Downtown when residents feel that they are part of a neighborhood, supported by shared public spaces and the services and amenities needed for daily life.’”


One very important thing is that the code is not just aimed at a small area of dowtown, but is aimed at creating cohesive organic connections between a number of core districts.

My experience from NY, is that by real dynamic places can't live alone. To save a downtown, you must create a base of connected core neighborhoods.

One big thing is they are scrapping minimum parking requirements--something Brooklyn still hasn't done!

From Streetsblog

Two years ago, Nashville scrapped parking minimums completely for its downtown, a fact called to our attention by blogger Charlie Gardner. The elimination of parking mandates in the area seems to have proceeded without controversy, based on contemporary news articles.

New York City, in contrast, is moving toward reducing parking minimums in certain “inner ring” neighborhoods, but it remains to be seen whether they will be eliminated or merely reduced. Here, parking minimums are seen as politically necessary.

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