88. Motion Activated Two-Step Street Lighting

A significant portion of the city’s electricity bill is generated simply by powering the street lights (in South Bend upwards of $80,000 a month).  Another little known fact is that as the lights age, they begin to dim.  These lights burn 12 hours a day, every day and they are essential for the functionality and…

87. Update Code of Ordinances to Include Energy Efficiency

Policy and the Built Environment aren’t the sexiest of topics to address, but they are among the first things mentioned when looking to improve the health of communities. Throughout his tenure, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has prioritized innovation and workmanship, topics that apply directly to those two facets.  In issuing a continued call to action, if the…

86. Chase Tower as Green Tower

It’s not secret that South Bend has had a challenging situation in the Chase Tower.  Now that it’s undergone millions of dollars in renovation, the Tower is set for a new life.  At the same time, the JMS building across the street is also getting new life. While each of these buildings are under construction, there…

85. District Scale Energy Planning for Neighborhoods

According to the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association, inefficiencies transmission and distribution of energy cost approximately $19.5 billion per year in the US.  This process, includes all of the steps between power generation at a plant to end-use site consumption.  Much of this power loss is through resistance in the wires and equipment, converted to heat. Congestion…

84. Install Neighborhood Seating

If we think of the sidewalks in our neighborhoods as the extensions of public transit that they are, it stands to reason that having some public seating along the way would support use. Beyond this, neighborhood scale seating, much like stoop culture, helps to foster community by having shared public spaces to interact in very…

83. Install Pedestrian Scale Lighting

The Far Northwest District in South Bend has several types of light fixtures; some old historic fixtures that add character, some large cobrahead lights tacked on to telephone poles.  One is suitable for neighborhoods and the other suitable for highways.  Aesthetics aside, using the appropriate lighting in different situations impacts the safety and ultimately the use…

82. Install Neighborhood Traffic Calming

Creating vibrant neighborhoods starts with making them a safe place for everyone.  While there are many large and small changes that could be made, traffic calming can have systemic benefits, including addressing equity. Victoria Transport Policy Institute: Traffic calming tends to increase horizontal equity by reducing the external costs imposed by motor vehicles and improving the…

80. Use Tree Lawns To Distinguish Neighborhoods

In creating neighborhoods with unique character, we don’t have to limit ourselves to tree lawn areas with just turf.  These areas can be more productive, more beautiful, and more functional if we create a set of standards beyond the typical treatment.    

79. Create Gateway Signage for Urban Neighborhoods

To expand on the neighborhood identity theme from yesterday’s post, physical gateways not only help aid wayfinding, but they also contribute to creating a sense of place.  They create links between people and place, as well as links between the different places within a whole city/district.  Additionally, physical gateways contribute to the overall curb appeal…

78. Reinforce City Neighborhood Identity Through Branding

The Chicago Neighborhoods have a great website dedicated to promoting their varied history and character.  Each neighborhood is given a unique logo which is used in various products, from t-shirts to posters, creating unity within the neighborhood and providing a great visual for visitors as well as potential residents. I know that this has happened…

77. Creating Walk Appeal

The ebb and flow of public space vs building in downtown areas creates an enjoyable walking experience called “walk appeal.”  The basic concept is how far we’ll walk is much about what we encounter along the way.  If we want to encourage vibrant, people-centric downtown experiences, then large open parking areas aren’t the way to…