31 March 2009


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Come meet with these municipal "CEOs" and share a dialogue with them about their vision for their cities in these challenging times.

There are many changes occurring over the planning and development landscape that are affecting the private sector these days. Cities are starting to feel the downturn in the economy pinch their budgets and services, too. The ULI is one of the few organizations that can bring the public and private sectors together to talk about issues that are affecting us all.
  • Did you know Mission Viejo is reinventing retail? The Shops at Mission Mall boast the largest solar installation of any U.S mall.
  • Do you know Laguna Niguel residents are known for preferring to drive to work (source: American Community Survey)? How will this impact the city's plans to focus on redevelopment around the Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Metrolink station?
  • Did you know Orange, Tustin and Laguna Niguel are ranked among 11 of the 34 cities in Orange County as the least costly to do business in (source: Rose Institute, Claremont McKenna College, 12/19/2008)?
  • Did you know more young people, ages 24-35 are leaving Orange County today than any other age group (source: OCBC). Mayor Cavecche speaks of "handing off our legacy for future generations that will call Orange home" in her recent State of the City speech. How does a city attract and keep its young residents today? Ex: Are Chapman students staying to live and work in Orange after they graduate?
Thursday, April 16, 2009 7:30 am to 9:30 am First American Title Company 5 First American Way Garden Room #5 Santa Ana
For more information, call 800-321-5011 and mention #81230909 or go to the ULI website.

10 March 2009

How to create a culture of walking...

"Communities have a right to up-to-date, good quality, accessible information on where they can walk and the quality of the experience. People should be given opportunities to celebrate and enjoy walking as part of their everyday social, cultural and political life".

The trails in Mission Viejo are great for leisure and recreation, but not everyone lives like this 'Super Mom', out blazing the Oso Creek Trail for a little exercise. For the rest of us, we need to be coaxed into exercise to the point that we don't even know we are exercising. By creating enhanced walking experiences from desirable place to desirable place, can be that coaxing element.

Currently, when walking around Mission Viejo, we are offered the streets as our main connection element. The 5' wide curb adjacent sidewalk, next to a tiny and poorly maintained landscape setback, adjacent to a sea of asphalt at our underwhelming retail centers is not exactly a enhanced walking experience. Nor is it comfortable to traverse across the bridges in this city where you constantly feel like your going to be run over by a car.

So, what actions can be taken?
What we (the City staff and council, current property owners and incoming developers, and residents) need to do is:

  • Actively encourage all members of the community to walk whenever and wherever they can as a part of their daily lives by developing regular creative, targeted information, in a way that responds to their personal needs and engages personal support.
  • Create a positive image of walking by celebrating walking as part of cultural heritage and as a cultural event, for example, in architecture, art-exhibitions, theatres, literature readings, photography and street animation.

  • Provide coherent and consistent information and signage systems to support exploration and discovery on foot including links to public transport.

  • Financially reward people who walk more, through local businesses, workplaces and government incentives.

  • Looking at future improvements by hitting the drawing boards with quality design consultants and with an open and flexible mind to providing creative solutions to real problems which exist in community today.
Now is not the time to sit on our heels and relic in the aging 'Masterplan' of the community and think that maintaining the quality of our community is by doing nothing. We are already seen our houses and retail centers deteriorate, many people have already invested in the long term of their properties by making sound improvements; most have not. If we want our community to continue to be the city where people come to shop and raise their families, we must invest in it.

It's not too late to re-think the 'Masterplan'!

'Super Mom' was featured in a past article in the OC Register. All other photos taken by author. Some content courtesy of Walk21.

06 March 2009

New Research: 18- to 34-Year-Olds Key to Green Economy

Younger consumers connect the dots between climate change causes and buying truly green brands.
New research conducted by EnviroMedia Social Marketing indicates young Americans, an estimated audience of 76 million people, will power the new green economy and are the key to future economic growth.

This national opinion poll reveals a clear generation gap in understanding the cause of climate change — and marketing experts say businesses that pay attention may find new growth strategies.

More than any other age group, 18- to 34-year-olds believe global warming is caused by human activities. Additionally, the research indicates Americans who believe in this connection are almost twice as likely to buy more green products in this economy than Americans who believe it occurs naturally.

* Overall, 51 percent of Americans believe climate change is caused by human activities. Twenty-nine percent believe climate change is occurring naturally, and 15 percent say climate change needs to be scientifically proven. Just 3 percent of the public does not believe climate change exists.

* Sixty-four percent of 18- to 34-year-olds believe humans cause climate change —more than any other age group.

* Those who believe climate change is caused by human activity are more likely to have attended college; believe that green transportation or electricity from renewable resources is most beneficial for the environment (rather than recycling or minimal/reduced packaging); and are influenced more in their green purchasing decisions by third-party certifications than by word-of-mouth or manufacturer labels.

* More than half (56 percent) of the people who believe electricity from renewable resources is the most beneficial action for the environment believe humans are causing climate change.

About the Survey
Opinion Research Corporation surveyed 1,000 people January 23 - 26, 2009 by telephone in a random digit-dial sample, with a +/- 3.2 percent margin of error. The survey question: See details at http://www.enviromedia.com/enviroblog/?p=983

Photo Courtesy of The Green Blog