Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Mark your calendar: three events on urban planning for the rest of us

by Larry Geller

An adventure in working together on urban planning In Three Acts

Act I: Thursday 5-6 p.m.—Town Square

The discussion begins on Hawaii Public Radio’s popular Town Square program hosted by Beth-Ann Kozlovich. The program features the same guests as below. Tune in at 5 p.m. Thursday June 18 on 89.3 FM on Oahu, or stream from their website here. Call in your questions at the numbers Beth-Ann will announce.

Act II: June 22—"Shaping Honolulu"—citizen participation in planning our city

From the Kokua Council 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.


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

An additional program I just learned about yesterday that looks like it belongs:

Act III: June 24--Creative Placemaking: Art of Urban Transformation

See details and register here. From the announcement:

Interisland Terminal at Kaka'ako Agora
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Speaker: Executive Director of the New York City based non-profit Hester Street Collaborative, Anne Frederick.

An interactive workshop on neighborhood development and local land use decision-making with Anne Frederick, founder of the community design organization, Hester Street Collaborative, which coordinated a resident-led process for a New York City waterfront. What educational or engagement tools can increase resident participation in urban planning and urban design? How can temporary parks and other placemaking strategies bring resources and inspire collective action? The workshop will include case studies as well as discussion about current opportunities here in Honolulu.

I often feel I need one of those “Dummies” books on city planning. I just don’t understand how planning happens here in Honolulu, or how to get involved as an interested citizen.

Or maybe our City Council could use that book. Do you think?

I have so many questions.

How come condos are springing up in Kakaako for the ultra-rich, while the shortfall in affordable housing is variously given as between 11,000 and 24,000 units? Who’s fault is that, and how can we change it?

And how come we’re still debating whether Hoopili should cover our best farmland, or how many cars will be added to our already overcrowded highways as a a result of Developer Oriented Transit?

How come we seem to have master plans that don’t work for us? How can we change them?

Two of these events are related, and one I learned about just yesterday. They seem to go together. See the sidebar for details.


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