We are back from the Labor Weekend and glad to have almost everyone in the office this week!
Last Friday, we had a guest presenter for our brown-bag lunch hour. Heather Bromfield presented her very interesting thesis on how Brazilian cities used vacant and underutilized land in downtown areas to address unmet housing needs for workers and the potential to apply such an approach in other contexts, such as in the U.S.
In my research, I explore a Brazilian zoning designation – called “Special Social Interest Zones” (ZEIS) – that obligates property owners to produce affordable housing in areas with plentiful amenities, especially rapid transit access. I focus on one case study in the historical downtown area of São Paulo, Brazil, and use my findings from interviews with residents of a new housing development to understand how well this zoning designation was able to meet the intent of the policy. I also discuss how a similar zoning policy might be possible in California in light of the unmet housing needs here, by focusing on the specific challenges and possibilities presented by U.S. land use law and legal precedents.
– Heather Bromfield
On track with this topic, check out this article from the The Mercury about the Habitat Conference in Quito, Ecuador and the future of City Design in general.
“How cities look — the grand vistas, monuments and planning schemes so beloved of developers and politicians — is unlikely to figure on the Quito agenda. The focus will be on how cities can better serve the needs of inhabitants, rich and poor.”