Sunday, June 21, 2015

 

Join the conversation on Monday—how citizens can participate in the urban planning process in Honolulu


by Larry Geller

Mark your calendar for part two of Kokua Council’s program on Shaping Honolulu—tomorrow at Harris Church at noon (optional lunch for donation at 11:30). More below. First, I gotta rant a little bit.

Another condo for the ultra-richFor some reason, editors at the Star-Advertiser give huge front-page spreads to totally unaffordable condo offerings. Is that news?? What about real news that they are skipping so they can promote this expensive real estate?

From the story, the asking price cited is $25 million for a two-story penthouse in an existing Kakaako building. But get this: the article reports that another unit in the same building was put on the market in May asking $35.9 million.

Meanwhile, Honolulu is short 11,000 affordable units, or is it 20,000, 24,000 or 25,000, numbers I have seen in print? How come the shortage, and shortage of any action, isn’t big news? How come proposed senior housing (two new buildings near Chinatown) rates only a story on an inside page deep in the paper?

But I digress.

Kokua Council’s two-part program "Shaping Honolulu"

Monday, June 22, 2015

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Miyama Main Hall, Harris United Methodist Church
Nuuanu Ave. and South Vineyard Blvd.
Ample parking - driveway off Nuuanu Ave.

Maybe we could change the city’s priority if we had citizen involvement in the planning process. I’m not sure anything will change the newspaper editors’ priorities, but that’s minor. What we need is to find how to change the course of development in Honolulu. Nothing less.

Citizen involvement means to me that we first need to learn how we can be part of planning our own living environment. Other cities have figured this out, we can as well.

Kokua Council has invited a panel of people who do know about how Honolulu has been planned, and you can come and ask questions tomorrow (Monday) over a cheap (optional) lunch. The event itself is free.

Panelists are: Jennifer Darrah, Lecturer and Graduate Faculty Affiliate, University of Hawaii, Annie Koh, PhD Candidate, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UH, and Prof. Luciano Minerbi, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UH.

The discussion will be moderated by Beth-Ann Kozlovich, Executive Producer Talk Shows, Hawaii Public Radio.

Part I was hosted by Beth-Ann on her Town Square program on Thursday. You can listen by clicking on this link. The phones lit up by the end of the program and not everyone was able to get their question answered. But you can come in person on Monday and ask yours.

Notice that the panel is composed of experts in urban planning, not politicians.

My hope is that this is the beginning of something.

Do you have questions about Hoopili or Koa Ridge? Wondering what a “master plan” is and how it is created? Or how to change it? Do you wonder how we can ever reach a reasonable goal on affordable housing? What about preserving green space and quality of life issues? Is the paving of Paradise inevitable?

Please come, learn, and ask questions. There’s plenty of parking. No RSVP, just come if you can.


From the announcement:


Monday, June 22, 2015

11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Miyama Main Hall, Harris United Methodist Church
Nuuanu Ave. and South Vineyard Blvd.

Ample parking - driveway off Nuuanu Ave.

Agenda:

11:30 Luncheon (optional): Various Pizzas, Salad, and Dessert—$5.00 Donation

11:55 Welcome, Introductions and Remarks, Larry Geller, President

12:00 Program: "Shaping Honolulu" with Jennifer Darrah, Lecturer and Graduate Faculty Affiliate, University of Hawaii, Annie Koh, PhD Candidate, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UH, and Prof. Luciano Minerbi, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UH. The discussion will be moderated by Beth-Ann Kozlovich, Executive Producer Talk Shows, Hawaii Public Radio.

All of us want to live in a high quality, affordable, people-friendly environment with open space, quality housing, and even preserve farmland for sustainable agriculture. Urban design can be a grass-roots activity, with communities participating with professionals in the design of their local environment.

How do we explain the growing affordable housing shortage while luxury condominiums sprout for the wealthy?

We'll ask the panelists to bring us up to date both on how Honolulu has been planned in the past and to what extent citizens have participated. But more important, since we are advocates: How can citizens participate in urban planning so they don't feel they are simply the victims of it? How do we guarantee walkable streets, open spaces, and an environment welcoming to children, adults and senior citizens? And finally, how might we become involved in current and future planning of our own living environment? Let's learn from our panel how this might be accomplished in Honolulu.

1:00 Adjourn



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