I like to tell my wife — a mathematician — there are three types of people. Those who can count, and those who can’t.
I am among the mathematically challenged. Arithmetic I’m OK with. And I like facts and figures too. And I learned enough in grad school statistics to never trust anyone else’s numbers.
So I was delighted to come across a story from 2013 (thanks to reader PT and MMM) that actually proposes a [hypothetical] model apartment building and then varies the parking requirements. One space per unit. Or more. Or less, per unit. And then traces the consequences of that on the shape of the building, the number of apartments supplied, and the rent of those resulting apartments. There are also significant consequences made visible for the neighbours and the neighbourhood, what with garage doors or surface parking and setbacks.
It made for an interesting read. Not without room for quibbles, of course. But for anyone involved in planning advocacy, this story is worth a read: http://www.sightline.org/2013/08/22/apartment-blockers/ http://www.sightline.org/2013/08/22/apartment-blockers/
I do wish our planning department could come out with some similar factual, simply explained “stories” that ordinary citizens can read and get a better understanding of why there will be more development in their neighbourhood but the roads won’t be getting wider/bigger; why having extensive tracks of low density housing means that higher density often means very tall buildings instead of “like Paris, just six stories…”; or why having a variety of housing types in every neighbourhood benefits everyone; or why evolutionary change is better than the “frozen in time” by detailed zoning system we have now; and driving till you can buy is a mugs game, as is the municipally-sanctioned ponzi scheme of peripheral greenfield development. In this line, I’ll point out that the single most searched for historic blog story here was on how to make the wrong arguments to planning committee.
Until then, enjoy this read: