Preview of West End Project Set for April 28

Join PS21 in the West End on Thursday, April 28. for an overview of “Islington Street Lab,” a community-driven project that will temporarily change Islington Street this June.

Learn how the project could improve walkability and vitality on Islington Street and how you can become involved. There will be a brief presentation and chance to discuss at Port City Makerspace, 68 Morning St. beginning at 5:30 p.m.

islington street lab
PS21 is producing the Islington Street Lab project in cooperation the City of Portsmouth. Numerous organizations, businesses and individuals are contributing, enabling PS21 to bring nationally known “tactical urbanism” expert Mike Lydon to Portsmouth to facilitate community participation.

WHAT: Islington Street Lab – Orientation and social hour
WHERE: Port City Makerspace, 68 Morning St.
WHEN: Thursday, April 28, 5:30-7 p.m. (presentation at 6pm)

More about Islington Street Lab. Hope to see you there!

Facing Climate Change in Portsmouth

An audience of 200 filled 3S Artspace in Portsmouth Tuesday evening to hear internationally recognized climatologist and UNH professor Cameron Wake talk about climate change, the range of impacts Portsmouth and the Seacoast can expect, and how communities can respond.

During this presentation, Wake suggested that, in addition to the sea-level and temperature rise that is certain to happen, the future could hold several “nasty surprises” that would make things immeasurably worse for humankind.

Two days later, a scientific paper described exactly how one of those could happen. See “Climate Model Predicts West Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Melt Rapidly”  — NY Times.

Also see the N.H. Business Review article, “Rising Sea Levels Will Affect Seacoast Economy.

Affordable Housing Update

A Smart Growth Approach to Affordable Housing” — Philadelphia-based planner Jennifer Hurley’s look at housing affordability in Portsmouth and the Seacoast — is now on YouTube. Click below to watch the video by Coruway Film Institute or see video page for bookmarked segments.

Affordable housing follow-up. The ‘action’ workshop on Jan. 29  resulted in a dozen ideas for advancing affordable housing in Portsmouth. Committees are being formed to follow up. Read the action idea descriptions and send us email if you’re interested in working on a particular one.

Housing types preference survey. About 150 citizens, planners, builders and city leaders reviewed images of affordable housing styles during Jennifer Hurley’s presentation on Jan. 28 and voted for those they liked the most and the least. See the images and results.

Food for thought. Links to articles and resources related to affordable housing are listed in the right column under “Affordable Housing.”

 

Support Community Conversation

We need your help to keep the smart-growth conversation going in Portsmouth! Over the past two years, PS21 has invited the likes of Jeff Speck, Mike Manville and Robert Campbell to share thoughts with us on how cities grow best. These events have brought us together, started us talking, and given us ideas about how to keep our city the place we all want to live.

It costs money to bring people here and to host the events. Would you please consider helping us with a contribution of any size? We appreciate the support and knowing that you value what we’re doing. One hundred percent of contributions support our events.

Coming in 2016: Affordable housing expert Jennifer Hurley January 28-29; climate change’s impact on the Seacoast with Cameron Wake in March; and an exciting “tactical urbanism” experiment in the West End in May.

Please help us keep these vital community conversations going by making a donation today to PS21.

Here’s how to donate:

Thank you for helping ensure that we can all enjoy a vibrant, sustainable, and livable Portsmouth in the 21st century and well beyond!

Robert Campbell on the Art of Placemaking

Robert Campbell, one of the country’s most respected architectural critics, talked about architecture with insight and humor at a PS21-sponsored presentation Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Robert Campbell, Architect and JournalistAn architect himself, Campbell described architecture as the art placemaking before an audience of 200 at 3S Artspace. Campbell decried designs that discourage people from congregating and interacting, and at times spoke favorably about streetscapes in Portsmouth.

Robert Campbell is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his work as architecture critic of the Boston Globe. A resident of Cambridge, he was a regular columnist for the magazine Architectural Record for many years and is the co-author, with photographer Peter Vanderwarker, of Cityscapes of Boston: An American City Through Time, which the Chicago Tribune says “belongs on the bookshelf of anyone who cares about the fate of the American city.”

Support for “Architecture Is the Art of Making Places” was provided by Lassel Architects and Manypenny Murphy Architecture. The PS21 series is presented in partnership with: Piscataqua Savings Bank, Seacoast Rotary Club of Portsmouth, and Coruway Film Institute. Media sponsors are Seacoast Media Group and The Sound.

(Read Portsmouth Herald article.)

Two PS21 Events Now on Video

“Seacoast Transportation – New Modes of Getting Around” (5/12/2015)

The moderator is Bill Lyons, a principal technical adviser in transportation planning at the Volpe Center, the U.S. National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge. Panelists are Rad Nichols, executive director of the COAST bus system; Steve Pesci, of COAST and UNH Wildcat Transit bus systems ; and Scott Bogle, senior transportation planner at the Rockingham Planning Commission.

“Street Smarts:  Managing Parking, Traffic, and the Pedestrian Experience in Portsmouth” (4/30/2015)

Rick Chellman is a consultant on street design, traffic planning and urban design with more than 30 years experience.

Parking Policies for a Successful Downtown

What’s the first thing a city should do if it has a parking shortage?

At a PS21 event on April 2, Michael Manville said the city should “play with the prices” to get people to change when and where they park.

“It’s probably the first ten things you try,” he told an audience of about 100 at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth. “If you’re still not getting the return you want, you would think about adding supply.”

The question was one of many parking policy questions Manville, assistant professor of City & Regional Planning at Cornell University,  addressed during a presentation “Parking and Downtown Vitality” at 3S Artspace. Manville studies studies  the relationships between transportation and land use, and local public finance, with a particular emphasis on urban parking.

The presentation was funded in part by the Geoffrey E. Clark and Martha Fuller Clark Donor Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation.

Over the course of an hour, Manville built the case that properly priced parking is crucial to the success of downtowns.

He began by reminding the audience of the purpose of parking — simply put, to assure drivers they will find a parking spot. That’s why cities aim for 85 percent parking occupancy, rather than 100 percent. With examples and evidence ranging from Tulsa to California to Portsmouth, Manville explored the relationship between parking and downtown economies and how cities try to strike a balance between parking that is easy to find, cheap, and a reliable source of revenue. (Hint: you can’t have all three).

WATCH THE VIDEO

The event was the first in a PS21 series this spring that will look at what other communities have learned about transportation solutions for now and for the future.

The Coruway Film Institute, a series sponsor, recorded the presentation April 2 and Seacoast Media Group was media sponsor.

(SAVE THE DATE: Tuesday, April 28. Rick Chellman, who consults nationally and internationally about street design, and lives in downtown Portsmouth, will discuss two-way streets, on-street parking and the pedestrian experience in Portsmouth. )

Islington Street Corridor Plan Debuts After Citizen Input

After several days of discussions with residents and official, Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative unveiled conceptual plan for the future of the West End/Islington Street Corridor (Feb. 23).

The plan looks far into the future and envisions a different, more cohesive and developed area. TPUDC will go away to polish the plan and then develop zoning guidelines down to the level of individual buildings. The new “character-based” zoning plan needs to be approved by the City Council before it can go into effect.

PS21 Hosts Virtual Walking Tour of Islington Corridor

More than 50 residents braved snow drifts and narrowed streets Tuesday evening (Feb. 10) for PS21’s ‘virtual walking tour’ of the Islington Street-West End neighborhood.

aerial view
Islingon Street Corridor

The photo tour, narrated by Joe Calderola, included aerial and street views, photos of historic homes, plans for the Islington Street Corridor, upcoming development, illustrations of the area’s character, and opportunities for the future.

The discussion afterward continued for an hour with participation from Portsmouth Planning Director Rick Taintor and  City Councilors Esther Kennedy and Stefany Shaheen. Karen Marzloff of PS21 moderated.

The tour presentation provided an overview of the area, which will be the subject of  a 4-day public workshop on ‘character-based’ zoning Friday thru Monday, Feb. 20-23.

The workshop will be at the Frank Jones Center, 400 Route One Bypass, Portsmouth, except the final, Monday, which is at City Hall.

During the ‘charrette,’ or design workshop, the public will be able to drop in at any time from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday. Citizens can view maps and materials, talk with zoning consultants,  and leave comments.

In addition, a number of specific sessions are scheduled:

  • Friday, Feb. 20 – Introduction to the Process, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 21 – Roundtable Discussions
    10:00 a.m. – Business, Landowners and Developers
    12:30 p.m. – Building Scale & Design
    2:00 p.m. – Public Realm & Civic Spaces
    (The public is invited to all roundtables, including “Business, Landowners and Developers.”)
  • Sunday, Feb. 22 – Interim Conclusions Plus Review, 5 p.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 23 – Closing Presentation, 6 p.m., City Hall.

For additional details about the design charrette, visit the City of Portsmouth web page about the character-based zoning.

Jeff Speck suggests ways to a more walkable Portsmouth

Jeff Speck Portsmouth NH
Walking Congress Street with Jeff Speck

Renowned urban planner Jeff Speck gave a provocative, idea-filled (and often funny) presentation and workshop in Portsmouth Jan. 22 and Jan. 23. Around 200 people came to the presentation 60 to the workshop. Speck talked about how cities work   and suggested ways  that Portsmouth can become more liveable and successful  through ‘walkability.’

Watch on YouTube:

Read about Jeff Speck’s ideas in The Sound.

Portsmouth Herald: ‘Councilors intrigued by planner’s vision for the city

speck_presentation
Before a full house at Seacoast Repertory Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 22

 

Did you attend? Fill out our 3-question survey.

Primary funding for this event was provided by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the City of Portsmouth, with additional support from Esther’s Marina, Piscataqua Savings Bank,  and PortsmouthNH.com.

Seacoast Local featured the event as a partner in their “Making the Connection” speaker series. Seacoast Media Group was media sponsor.  Many local businesses and individuals also contributed.