Sunday, October 12, 2008

How Tall Is It??

After watching the discussion on height this week -- in Stanhope and Cameron Village areas -- Fallonia has been doing her homework and researching the impact of height on communities. We know that height in infill homes is quite an issue. What about when commercial projects are being built in the edges of neighborhoods? You know, this ...

Urban Form/Community Character
The height, design, materials, and location of buildings contribute to the quality of the urban environment. That quality can be degraded by buildings that are of inappropriate scale and insensitive design. Existing buildings in the [snip] Corridor are predominantly one or two stories in height, and many have large floor plates and blank concrete walls. New buildings might be taller and architecturally distinct and will therefore change the character of the area—both as viewed from the public spaces on the perimeter of the study area, or as experienced from the sidewalks, parks, and plazas within new mixed-use neighborhoods.

Research led to a study from Bellevue WA where this question was asked and answered. The url indicates it is an official city document. If any analysis like this has occurred in Raleigh, FP would like to know about it. Isn't this the sort of thing neighborhoods are asking for ... impact analysis? It just seems so willy nilly around here.

Locations of Taller Buildings
The arrangement of taller buildings can become a very prominent part of a community’s identity. Some urban critics assert that where taller buildings occur, they should be limited to iconic structures or public buildings, such as cathedrals, iconic towers, or major public buildings. This logic has been used to prohibit higher building forms in large portions of some cities (e.g., Washington, D.C., and Paris).

Others assert that if taller commercial and residential buildings are placed in the right locations, these buildings can provide a sense that a community has well-defined and carefully planned centers of development. By contrast, an urban form of high-rise buildings distributed across the landscape with no strong sense of focus can give the impression of unplanned and haphazard growth. Because they are visible from a distance, taller buildings can strongly affect community character and identity, for better or worse.

Maybe our comp plan will be a guiding light for us all. Surely they are up there doing planning in the Planning Department. Surely.

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