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January 2013


Pedestrian Safety in China: “New drivers” and Old Principles

GIS, Transit and Urban Planning Sustainable City Services: Cycle of Housing Stock and Age of Residents


How to Plan for Growth: When a Rural Town is Affected by Metropolitan Expansion

A Global Publication

A Global Publication Urban Planning and Development Through Partnership

In Association with Urban Planning and Economic Development Associates Our Vision is to share a full range of interdisciplinary professional knowledge with community leaders, professional planners, businesses and interested citizens having a commitment to operational excellence in the public and private sectors. Contributions from our constituency will assist in facilitating sound decisions in community and economic development to promote continued commitments in creating quality places to live, work and play. Our goal is to provide educational information and services in urban planning and environmental conservation to an interconnected global community that will both enable individuals and communities to adapt to new holistic techniques and solutions to resolve existing and future urban and environmental issues and foster economic and sustainable development.

General Manager/Publisher Pamela Shinn, BS, URP

Editor in Chief

David Weinstock, PhD

Assistant Editor David Loomis, BA

European Consultant Andrey Maltsev

Advisory Board

South American Consultant

Amy Blatt, PhD

Tella Guillermo, PhD

Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP

North American Consultant Amy Blatt, PhD

Scott Ranville

Graphic Arts Consultant

Solenne Cucchi

Dustin Sigaty, BA

Š January 2013 2

“Partnering for a Brighter Tomorrow” Feature Articles


By Andre Maltsev

Photo by Pamela Shinn

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian Safety in China: “New drivers” and Old Principles


Parks: Tools for Planning and Economic Development By Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP

GIS, Transit and Urban Planning By Richard D. Quodomine, MA, AAG

Sister Cities Strive for Intercultural Best Practices


Building Social Parks: A proposal for urban nodes of inclusion in Buenos Aires



By Guillermo Tella, PhD

Sustainable City Services: Cycle of Housing Stockand Age of Residents

Go Big



By Scott and Jenny Ranville

A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US


By Marc Brenman

Photo by Pamela Shinn

By Scott and Jenny Ranville


By Diane Fromme


Photo by Pamela Shinn

By Yekaterina Dobritskaya, PhD

Pedestrian Safety by Andre Maltsev The Netherlands created the Road Safety Strategic Plan 2008 – 2020, which was designed to achieve two purposes: reduce the number of road deaths to a maximum of 500 a year by 2020; and to reduce the number of serious injuries in traffic to a maximum of 10,600 a year by 2020.

Pedestrian Safety The Defenseless and Casualties

Some pedestrians are “defenseless” in a number of ways, made that way by the amount of protection in The Road Strategic Plan primarily focuses on three road situation. All too often, streets are designed that high-risk groups: cyclists, senior citizens and young provide little or no pedestrian or cyclist protection. drivers. This is because members of these groups are most frequently involved in accidents that result in seSeniors and young people, especially those aged 80 or rious injury and death. older, have a high casualty rate. More pedestrians, especially seniors, are hit in intersections. Cars do most of the damage.


The Netherlands is a country of cyclists. The number of people 50 and older who travel by bicycle every day has increased by about 60 percent each year since 1993. The number of older people has also increased, with more and more of them preferring solitary travel.

Infrastructural changes like construction in the cities of 30 km/h zones, the proliferation of speed-limiting devices, providing more information and education, can increase the road safety of pedestrians. From urban accidents between pedestrians and moving vehicles, registered in the Netherlands, we can see the number of serious injuries has decreased since 1993 to 2009, by more than 60 percent. On the other hand, the decrease since 1993 among pedestrians and cars, is much greater than the 44 percent decrease of casualties involving bicycle crashes.

This is, of course, is a great development, since cycling keeps senior citizens physically active and healthy. Unfortunately, this group of people is vulnerable to these kinds of accidents when they occur, hospital admission usually follows. The number of older people who are seriously injured has increased by 50 percent since 2000. cycle crashes with senior people and created a plan of action to significantly reduce them by 2014.

Fig. 1 Source: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment - BRON


One of the reasons why injury occurs so often is that cyclists frequently ride while they are physically unprotected. For this reason, on-the-road cyclist and pedestrian casualties are growing. In the Netherlands, cyclists now account for about 25% of all road casualties and more than 50% of them are serious injuries. Most pedestrians and cyclists are killed in urban areas, at intersections, often in collisions with motorized traffic.

Pedestrian Safety by Andre Maltsev

Young drivers Photo by Andrey Maltsev

Road accidents are the main cause of death among young people. Not only do they lack experience, in difficult situations, they exhibit a greater willingness to take risks, which result in the far greater incidence of young car driver accidents, compared to those of other car drivers. Reduced car use for this age group has produced positive results. Some experiments with public transport are show that alternatives, such as school buses and inexpensive public transport for young people have also demonstrated positive effects.

Fig. 2 Cycling in the inner city of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Senior citizens Certainly, senior citizens would like to remain traveling for as long as possible since it keeps them fit, independent and socially active. Wouters (1991) provides detail information regarding road incidents with older people. Compared with the 30 year olds to 50+ year olds, the paper shows that:

• •

The accidental risk rate among older people is higher than for other age groups; Elderly people have more serious accidents; Elderly people, as pedestrians and cyclists, have a high risk of injury accidents.

The casualty risk of senior road users can be predicted by several factors: • • •

Functional limitations and physical vulnerability; Poor vision in the evening, decreasing of the ability to evaluate speed and distance, not so good of hearing; Reduced mobility.

Fig.3 that usually is is subFig.3Parked Parkedcars carsrequire requirehuge hugeamounts amountsofofspace space that usually tracted from what are already limited public spaces. subtracted from what are already limited public spaces.

2toDrive experiment in the Netherlands was started. In the experiment, young people began getting driving lessons at the age of 16.5, and took driving tests at 17. Until age18, they could only drive under the supervision of a coach only. The practical test for mopeds and step-by-step access to a motorcycle driving license are also aimed at ensuring that young drivers participate more safely in traffic.

The possibilities for improving this situation: • •

Photo by Andrey Maltsev

Driving simulators provides good opportunities for improving the skills. Risk-present training is also effective. Many younger people believe they are far more skilled than they actually are in dealing with road-related risk.

Improving skills for reading road situations. Other road users should pay more attention to elderly people when they are on the road.


Pedestrian Safety by Andre Maltsev

Achieving results

Photo by Andrey Maltsev

In urban areas, because residential streets have been adapted as public space, they are used for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic together. Residential streets therefore require careful design. All trips start on foot or on a bicycle or switch to public transport or cars. It shows that residential streets not only assigned for public or private transport. They also support a variety of social activities: playing, meeting, conversing and commerce, for example.

Fig.4 of bicycle bicycletracks tracksand andfootpaths footpathsisisessential essential to Fig.4 Public Public lightning lightning of to feelcomfortable comfortableand andsafe safeafter afterdark. dark. feel

Almost all types of road-use and target groups may be found on residential streets Although, design of the street might look like a simple task to planners and designers, residential streets are the most challenging. Within the design process, it is important to search for the right location for traffic reduction. Users of bicycles and people walking should have priority on residential streets.

Generally, we can say, safety depends on several factors. These factors include presence and visibility of human-powered adults, particularly women, pedestrians and cyclists, but also street-vendors. It also helps when street buildings – shops, café, restaurants and offices—have windows that open onto the street, creating natural vigilance.

Motorized traffic should be considered a less desirable use. Care must be taken to assure residents can use cars travel to home, shops and other destinations. Even in fully pedestrian zones, some vehicles, such as police, fire and ambulances are necessary.

This may also help parents to supervise their children and keep an eye on what’s happening in general. If a street has sidewalk gardens, seats and other street furniture, especially where the elderly can relax for a while, it is also enhance the safety of streets and other related public spaces.

Within the design process, the following aspects should be considered:

To encourage a continuous stream of all type of pedestrians, the street should be part of an uninterrupted network of public space. Public lighting is essential not only for finding the way, but also to feel comfortable after dark. Designers, when developing a street’s lighting, commit a common error by focusing light only on drivers’ needs for well-lit roadways.

Protection • • • •

General safety Traffic safety/accident reduction Traffic reduction Speed limitation

Traffic reduction measures include cutting both vehicle volume and speed. The most traditional method is known to some as “speed bumps” and to others as the “sleeping policeman”. Another wellknown measure to slow traffic is to place elements on the roadway that force drivers to deviate from a straight line. These kinds of measures are very effective, but also bring a lot of driver exasperation.

Protection, for most people on the streets, lie within safety public areas. This public area will attracts road users of bicycles and pedestrians. If they don’t feel safe enough, for instance, from aggression or traffic accidents, people will not spend much time on the street, and use their vehicles whenever they can. Parents will not let their children play on the street and in public areas, nor partake in social activities.


Pedestrian Safety by Andre Maltsev

Well-designed traffic reduction zones should be included: 30km/h zones and “home space,” where driving is forbidden. In 30 km/h zones cyclists, cars on the right-hand side of the roadway enjoy priority. The whole area, usually located in the town center—including the historical city center with its shopping streets and all the attendeant residential areas—is a 30 km/h zone. Road safety, on these streets meets high standards.

Note, on some sidewalks, especially in the historical center or big shopping district, bicycles can block the sidewalk. Make enough parking for bicycles also doing for these streets good value.

Traffic reduction means winning the road back for children, pedestrians, and cyclists. They can improve both safety and quality of life. Techniques of traffic reduction developed worldwide include auto-free zones, restrict or prohibit motor vehicle traffic, but allow through bicycle traffic.

Photo by Andrey Maltsev

Photo by Andrey Maltsev

Fig.6 Traffic reduction zones should be included: 30km/h zone Fig.5 Traffic reduction zones should be included: 30km/h zone

As we can see in the figure 5 how the sidewalks can greatly improve walking for pedestrians. In most occasions, therefore, a well-paved and rightly maintained sidewalk is necessary. Furthermore, it should be wide enough for people with a wheelchair, stroller, walker or carrying cart.

Fig.6 Typical street walking in the center of Amsterdam Fig.5 for Typical street for walking in the center of Amsterdam

In the early 1970s, Dutch planners had a good Criss-crossability idea. They introduced the woonerf concept in Delft, defining it as “a street for children, where Parked cars predominate many residential streets. They car-traffic is allowed, but only at limited speed.” need huge amounts of space, sometimes in private, but most often in public spaces. Many streets become, in our days, speeding traffic venues. Sidewalks are blocked Walkability by long rows of standing car, even where traffic vol• Room for walking umes are relatively low. Crossing becomes impossible. • Street crossings Cars stay in one by one and very close to each other. Sometimes designers argue that in some neighborhoods, most people do not need sidewalks as long In The Environmental Quality of City Streets, Appleas traffic speeds are low or volumes are minimal. yard and Lintell have shown how sociability declines But even in such conditions, a completely car-free when people cannot easily cross the street wherever street may be still be desirable for some groups: seniors they wish. Shops and other commercial enterprises who are less mobile or parents with small children. get fewer visitors, people have fewer friends and chil-


Pedestrian Safety by Andre Maltsev

dren’s worlds become smaller. Children play areas may become impossible, because neither children nor their parents can use the full width of the street anymore.

What behavioral measures can improve pedestrian road safety?

Parking must not only be regulated and restricted, but also effectively controlled. Restricted parking can be limited to specific hours. This regime is very often used on shopping streets. The same method can be applied to streets around green squares or schools, so they can be used as places where parents can play with children and for safe routes for pedestrians. In many towns, cars are allowed on residential streets. Sometimes, breaking this rule can be very effective in reducing the traffic in dense habitat areas. This makes it possible to create a car-free route connecting business and shopping places for local residents.

Driver training, public information campaigns on mass media and surveillance.

From statistic date we can see, the pedestrian, in most of accidents, is the other player auto accidents. This means driver training centers must pay more attention to teaching drivers safe behavior in the presence of pedestrians.

In the Netherlands, school crossing patrol officers help children cross the road on their way to and from school. It is obligatory fo r drivers to stop for the stop signal of a school crossing patrol officer.


Photo by Andrey Maltsev

• Dutch Ministry of Transport (2010). Final report Masterplan Bike: summary, evaluation and an overview of projects in the framework of Masterplan Bike 2000-2010. Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water. Management, The Hague, the Netherlands. • Road safety research and policy in Europe: mission paper of Forum of European Road Safety Research Institutes FERSI. Forum of European Road Safety Research Institutes, Leidschendam, the Netherlands. • Promotion of mobility and safety of vulnerable road users. Final report of the European research project PROMISING. SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, Leidschendam, the Netherlands • Cost-benefit analysis of measures for vulnerable road users.. Final report of work package 5. TRL Transport Research Laboratory, Crowthorne, United Kingdom. • Methorst R., Monterde i Bort H., Risser R., Sauter D., et al. (eds.) (2010). Pedestrians' quality needs; Final Report of the COST project 358. Walk21, Cheltenham. • Wegman, F. & Aarts, L. (eds.) (2006). Advancing Sustainable Safety; National Road Safety Outlook for 2005-2020. SWOV, Leidschendam.

Fig. 7 An Amsterdam

Fig. 7 An Amsterdam intersection where a separate bicycle track intersection where a separate crosses the 30 bicycle km/h streettrack with mixed traffic.the The road crosses 30 surface of cycle track is marked by using a different pavement. km/h street with mixed traffic. The road surface of cycle track is marked by using a

The ‘Kid-grid’ concept, developed by Ineke Spape, is an example of this method (see http:// About the Writer The idea is that safe and attractive routes will not only connect the schools and play- Andre Maltse is a staff writer for Urban Planning and grounds, but also shops, libraries and other facili- Economic Development News Magazine. Andre also ties in an area that are frequently used by children. works in IT Technology and is a freelance photogra-

pher/journalist from Almere, Netherlands. Born in Russia, Andrea’s career has taken him from Russia, to working in Her Majesty’s service for the British Embassy, to Italy to where he is located today in the Netherlands. You can view many of Andre Maltsev’s works at

Restrictions on cars typically offer some advantageous side-effects. People have the choice of transport mode, as every trip begins and ends by walking or cycling. More people will walk or cycle all the way if the trip is not long. Some of them will use public transport for greater distances.


GIS, Transit and Urban Planning by Richard D. Quodomine, MA, AAG

GIS, Transit and Urban Planning

to the pedestrian. To that end, public transportation can create a large amount of net social benefit. However, these benefits generally accrue at a much greater rate in areas of high density. So, how does a planner utilize GIS to prove the case of overall benefit to a less-sizable transportation network?

GIS ultimately is a means of telling a geographic story. After all, the G in GIS is “Geographic”. Geography translates from “Geo”, Greek for “earth” and “graph” the Greek for “write” or “depict”. In essence, anyone seeking to utilize GIS shouldn’t simply show “where stuff is”. In the world of public transportation, or mass transit, it is important for planners and schedulers to understand that GIS can not just give them a means of more efficiently routing on the transportation network as it is, but also using GIS to create better networks for public transportation. GIS can also add non-network data, like census statistics, businesses, and other data that give planners a better idea of the world around them. In understanding that world, they can find areas that better serve and support transit that are perhaps under-utilized. Transit-friendly design also serves the broader pedestrian environment. In providing transit to the broad pedestrian and non-automotive using community, more people can travel the transportation network safely.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that all transportation networks have two things that uniquely favor transit utilization: bottlenecks and interconnective points. A bottleneck is the point at which the amount of vehicles exceeds the natural capacity of the road. For many years, the temptation was to “build out” of the problem. However, as tax revenues in the US have declined and the realization that creating more underutilized lane-miles for lowoccupancy vehicles did not make for a sustainable solution, the new solution to bottlenecking has been increasingly opting for modal shift, i.e. from cars to buses. This is most ostensibly seen in the concept of the park and ride location, where commuters or others can park at a single point, board the bus, and generally pay for a limited parking fee and transit fare, or perhaps some discounted combination. GIS is often utilized to find the beginnings of bottlenecks and create locations or adapt locations (such as area shopping centers) to a park and ride paradigm. For example, a large shopping mall north of where I reside is currently a host for a bus shelter for a popular downtown express bus (See Figure 1, image courtesy CDTA). The bottleneck exists south of the shopping center over a bridge (there is limited north-south access across the river depicted below the area marked “Zone 1”), so the park and ride serves as a logical point of modal shift. People do not wish to “sit in traffic” over the bridge, and would rather engage themselves productively on the remainder of the trip to downtown. These “Northway Express” buses are comfortable,safe and have such amenities as WiFI on board. Obviously there must be a dense employment sector (in this case the Core Business district known as the Capitol) from which to draw the necessary transit users from the suburban park and ride. By studying commuter shed values, that is, where commuters are and how

We focus first on the “as is” world, that is utilizing GIS for the development of transit on the existing road network. In this case, we exclude absolute fixed guideway means of transportation such as rail, subway, tram or streetcar. These forms of transit are typically in very dense markets that require transit to reliably move the number of people in such a small space. In this case, we focus on buses and other forms of transit that are able to be integrated with the road network. While GIS is very useful in these fixed guideway systems, particularly in terms of travel demand modeling and scheduling, they are not as useful for integrating means of transit into existing road networks. The transportation goal of a bus is ostensibly to reduce the number of cars on the road by placing more people onto one vehicle. The positive externalities include increased access to many areas by those who cannot afford, cannot drive or choose not to have a car, and also to reduce the net vehicular emissions per person. There is also an advantage, therefore,


GIS, Transit and Urban Planning by Richard D. Quodomine, MA, AAG

far they are willing to travel by mode, locations for park and rides can be determined and bus schedules aligned to their needs. Utilization of GIS to view the commuter sheds, establish likely locales for park and rides, and understanding the nature of the commuter who chooses a park and ride solution, i.e. modal shift. Figure 1

As a result of this analysis, pedestrian and transit-oriented design at the destination district can be achieved. This can include, but is not limited to: planned or constrained parking, wrapped parking, expanded sidewalks, shuttle and loopservice buses and destination-supported transit funding. While all of these solutions could write their own article, basically constrained parking could include limiting the number of spots, condensing parking lots, parking permits limited to city residents, and metered parking. Wrapped parking is a concept that places parking behind or inside of multi-use buildings, reducing parking scrape and increasing the economic vitality of streets by increasing usage of the street for businesses or residences. Loop and shuttle buses are private or public buses that go from parking areas to core business areas. Destination-supported transit asks large employers to contribute a bit of the local share of public transportation. In exchange, the transportation provider and businesses can work on schedules that help bring workers safely and on-time to the business’ starting hours or shift times.

Copyright 2012-2013, Capital District Transportation Authority, Used by public permission,, All rights reserved.


What can GIS do? Provide the corridors and areas most likely to support the above designs and concepts. This kind of GIS requires not just well-made maps, but a special group of soft skills to utilize. A GIS specialist will need to work with county or city planning officials, engineers and political groups. It is important to get “buy in� for these ideas. Many residents fear change, from suburban commuters to urban businesses.

GIS, Transit and Urban Planning by Richard D. Quodomine, MA, AAG

Sometimes, change can be more easily adopted if a map is placed before them and then they are allowed to propose alterations. Either a 3-D model (which can be expensive) or a laminated large map with some write-on markers. Allow people to see and understand major changes. Allow experts in public works to see your vision and share ideas in it. There is often a “knee jerk” response of “It’s too expensive”, so often it is more important that the GIS analyst understands return on public investment. One of the things that has held GIS back from being an equal partner in planning is that often GIS analysts are divorced from the murky details of inbound tax receipts and engineering costs. It is vital that planners An example of wrapped parking, Copyright 1999-2013,, and GIS specialists work closely with engi- Public Usage neers, project managers and even (gulp!) accounting and finance to determine how the neat theory of the maps might be brought into the that core sectors build deep roots with an area, are harsh realities of government. less likely to be footloose, and develop positive externalities that lead to long term positive economic An interconnective point is a place where people ag- development. It is the author’s opinion that too many glomerate for a purpose, or in the case of transpor- “economic development experts” chase intrinsically tation, where large agglomerations of vehicles and footloose industries that are simply cashing tax breaks modes converge on a singular geographic point. A rather than investing in business that will develop point could be an intermodal center, a convergence deep roots, are economically competitive, and focus of multiple streets, or a location which is created by a on both returning a profit and in making their indicore attractor, such as a research center, capitol, uni- vidual workers as competitive and productive as posversity or downtown business district. This creates sible. GIS can help locate these interconnective points density, or is created by density. Either way, there is and in concert with good analysis can help deteran in situ crossing of multiple modes. At first, these mine how to utilize these points in economic growth. modes might be as simple as cars and people on foot. Later, as the attractor creates economic opportunity, Another utilization of GIS is understanding core busithere may be more modes, such as planes, buses, wa- ness district capacity. Core Business Districts, at their ter-borne or rail-borne freight. All of these create in- heart, are interconnective points, sometimes massiveterconnectivity. As Canadian researcher T.N. Brewis1 ly so. In many aging cities in the previously industrial noted there are basic and non-basic industries, and northeastern US, a number of core cities have seen basic industries are those that create positive external- wealth transfer to the suburbs. These suburbs often ities, typified by other business opening up to support offered wide, flat space for development. Cities often the primary business. Although Brewis’ 1961 writing had limited availability to build out, and frequently had focused more on the heavy manufacturing and extrac- disadvantageous space regulations (such as height-totion sectors that drove the economy of 50 years ago, width allowance, or FOR regulations), denying attrachis core research has remained true: some industries tive dense urban environments a chance to re-develop are core job creators, and some are created by others. prior space. This created a “green flight” of economNeither is “better”, but it is important to recognize that ic growth to the suburbs. GIS can be utilized to re-


GIS, Transit and Urban Planning by Richard D. Quodomine, MA, AAG

develop urban cores via transit. Many young, highearning professionals prefer the urban environment, with access to a number of social venues they value. It is vital that in order to encourage these urban professionals to continue to be urban, that their neighborhoods are designed to their advantage, which can include wide walking paths, access to transit and other amenities such as boutique shopping. For lower-income individuals, clean, well-lit walking paths and safe access to transit are less about economic development and more about safety for urban dwellers. It is vital that low to moderate urban residents feel safe and productive in their neighborhoods, or their neighborhoods will continue to devalue and crime will increase. However, access to transit increases mobility, which can increase economic opportunity. One of the biggest changes in urban development has been accessing the suburban wealth for people who have not developed the skill set necessary for upward economic mobility. In this regard, local workforce development professionals, such as departments of labor or community colleges are often integral portions of transit oriented development and use of GIS. By pairing lower-income areas with economic opportunities that are targeted to new skill development via transit, new economic capacity is produced. If that lower-income area is near a core business district, long-term economic improvement can occur. Business and other employers can then utilize that data to find areas to expand based on needed skills. As reported by the Department of Labor, one of the primary reasons businesses have been reluctant to hire is the lack of matched skills to what they need2. GIS can be used to match economic distress, economic skills development and the resultant matching growing business in a single core area. Over the last 35 years, research, education and health care have been the most rapid growing sectors in the USA. Manufacturing has changed from a high-investment-per-laborer sector to a highcapital-investment-per-output sector, requiring high technical skills. These sectors invest heavily in skills development and high-functioning / high income education. This results in a very high value sector that is the reverse of the declining older-model heavy manufacturing sector, which has high wages for skills that are declining in demand.

Bird’s eye panorama of Manhattan & New York City in 1873. The Brooklyn Bridge is obviously inaccurate as the bridge wouldn’t be completed for another 10 years. Date 1873

So Why GIS? So, why is economic development important to transit and GIS? Economic development, which for years has become spread-based and multipolar, has now seen a bit of a reversal. Partly due to higher gasoline prices, and partly due to a decline in real American incomes, and partly due to an aging society, denser, more service-oriented environments are in demand. This can include hospitals and other medical service locales, social service needs, and social gathering points for social activities. The latter two causes; that of lowered incomes and aging, are actually intertwined. As highearning baby boomers have retired, lower-earning successive generations are replacing the boomers as the middle class. In concert with the lower wages are higher costs of basic necessities (real estate, gas, food), and this has caused a desire for denser areas, less land and more access to central locations. It is critical that transit understand why demographics are changing and to access those new dynamics. Transit agencies and planners can only understand that through GIS.


GIS, Transit and Urban Planning by Richard D. Quodomine, MA, AAG

We have discussed “destination-oriented” transit, that is, why people use transit to go to somewhere. However, it is also possible to create or identify origins that likewise create transit. For example, in areas where aging populations are prevalent, we know that shopping centers and medical centers are key destinations. So, perhaps Senior centers and other locations where seniors gather is a good place to start a transit line. Another may be a locale where there are many apartment complexes. Still a third may be a university. GIS can locate densities of people with no car or who may have limited access to cars. There are tools such as census journey to work and demographic data that denote populations with no car. These are areas that may be under-served by public transportation. Using GIS to properly depict these populations can result in a better and more efficient use of tax dollars that support transit. Ultimately, the intelligent use of GIS in transit is a function of understanding the broad, holistic realities that are dynamically created by the economic patterns of the city and its surrounding environments. In return, GIS can read these patterns and utilize lessons from them to develop the current transit-friendly development that attracts growth. GIS gives the planner a tool to not just plot a route, but to use the geographic patterns around them to anticipate a route that can be laid for a better system. In concert with good project management and fiscal knowledge, better urban and suburban transit-oriented design can be achieved that creates a great deal of positive benefit. References (1) Brewis, T.N., "Canadian Economic Policy", (c) 1965, MacMillan and Co. (2) Oates, Jane., Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, US Dept.of Labor, April 17, 2011,, acccessed 12/15/2012.


Photo by Andrey Maltsev


About the Writer Richard D. Quodomine, MA is a Transportation Analyst and Geographic Information Systems Coordinator at the New York State Department of Transportation’s Public Transportation Bureau.  Mr. Quodomine is responsible for grant administration and oversight of the state’s massive public transit system, in addition to providing geographic, fiscal and contract analysis for the bureau.    He is the Co-Chair of the Environmental Justice Task Force’s Mapping Workgroup and the Chair of the Professional Development Committee for the NYS GIS Association. He is also an Associate of the Canada-US Trade Center and the New York – New Jersey Infrastructure Working Group.   Mr. Quodomine has appeared throughout the nation as a speaker for career development in Geography, Geographic education at colleges and public schools. He recently co-authored the book “Practicing Geography”, published by the Association of American Geographers, spoke at their national meeting in February, 2012. He also presented this topic at the International Geographic Union in Cologne, Germany, this August. Mr. Quodomine holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from SUNY Buffalo’s Geography Department.

Sustainable City Services: Cycle of Housing Stockand Age of Residents by Scott and Jenny Ranville

HUMAN LIFE PROJECT Creating Enlivened, Strong, Sustainable Communities for All Ages

When looking at city services, do the needs fluctuate from decade to decade or half century to half century? For example, robust school enrollment followed by declining enrollment and then a rise in enrollment again. With the approaching "grey tsunami," the need for senior services will greatly increase. However, in roughly 40 years when the Boomer generation is mostly gone the need for the senior services will be reduced. Littleton, located near Denver, has done a good job in making the city an enjoyable place to live. Many residents want to stay in the city as they age. However, a number of residents have expressed a desire to downsize their larger houses as they become empty nesters. The problem is limited housing options within city limits, much less within the family neighborhoods that they have grown to love. Thus, to downsize, they would have to move to a new neighborhood or out of


the city. The challenges that Littleton faces is becoming more widespread among cities. This lack of housing appealing to older adults appears to be a major reason for school enrollment fluctuation. The cycle of young families moving into newly constructed neighborhoods is reflected in school enrollment increasing. As the families age, the kids graduate and move out of the house, but the parents cannot downsize, which keeps the family house under occupied for 10, 20, 30 plus years. Can schools weather the long cycles of housing turnover to young families? As a case example, the graph below shows the fluctuation of Littleton Public Schools enrollment.1 In the last few years, Littleton did close 2 schools due to falling enrollment.

Sustainable City Services: Cycle of Housing Stockand Age of Residents by Scott and Jenny Ranville

A Potential Solutions for Existing Neighborhoods:

The second graph shows the cycle in average household size, assuming a built-out community where people do not want to move out as they age. Analogous graphs would be needed for non-land locked Modifying existing neighborhoods is one of the hardcommunities still expanding in housing stock and er challenges for improving the city's housing stock. The following ideas are small scale and should allow population. existing neighborhoods to evolve over time. For all of In this graph, the yellow bars represent time periods these options, there can be too much of a good thing. in which the city needs to provide more services and The recommendation is to limit the density of each infrastructure for families with kids, such as schools housing type. and kid oriented events. The grey bars represent time Group housing typically looks like a singleperiods in which the city needs to provide additional 1. family residence from the outside and located within services for older residents such as shuttle service to single-family neighborhoods. Inside, each resident grocery stores. has a private bedroom and possibly a private bathSome research indicates that in locations not hav- room. The rest of the house is common space shared ing enough families in the neighborhood has some by all residents. A certified nurse or care giver may undesired consequences such as bus routes reduced reside on site or visit regularly. Not all zoning codes when too high a percentage of passengers qualify for allow group housing, but allowing group housing will reduced senior rates and grocery stores relocate. Fluc- provide more options for older adults. tuation in needed services is expensive for cities. Accessory dwelling units (ADU) allows a 2nd A more constant average household size makes pro- 2. unit to be built on a lot with an existing house. The viding services easier. The following are housing considerations to help provide an environment for a more ADU may house a recent college graduate looking for a job or an elderly parent. ADUs can also stable average household size.


Sustainable City Services: Cycle of Housing Stockand Age of Residents by Scott and Jenny Ranville


be rented to non-family members. Again, not all zoning allows ADUs. However, including ADUs in the housing mix can increase options for families as well as provide additional rental options.

One of the goals is to support people living and aging in their city. Thus, aging in neighborhood is balanced by optimizing community resources in that larger houses are primarily occupied by larger households. When downsizing, hopefully the person or couple is literally only moving a few feet to a familiar house, thereby minimizing the stress associated with moving. A new young family now has the opportunity to move into the city and live in the larger house.

3. ADUs can be taken to the next level by allowing the ADU to be sold independent of the main house. This can provide additional flexibility for the homeowner. To encourage more accessible housing, zoning could allow the minimum lot size to be ½ the current size provided that a “universal design” house built on each ½ lot. This would allow a homeowner in an existing single-family neighborhood to scrap the house, replace with 2 universal design houses, and potentially live in one of the houses while selling the other house to pay off the construction loan.

1: files/8YXKEM518456/$file/LPS%20Demographic%20Study%20Presentation.pdf

HLP - Consulting/Think Tank/Architecture firm specializing in Creating Enlivened, Strong, Sustainable Communities for All Ages.

About the Writers New/Infill Projects:

Scott and Jenny Ranville run a consulting/think tank/ architecture/software development company, Human Life Project®. Our mission is to promote sustainable patterns, helping cities design for all ages. Our interpretation of the triple bottom line for urban planning encompasses: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and human sustainability. Human sustainability is the most important component for HLP. Jenny has a Masters in Architecture from the University of Michigan. She is an architect, LEED AP, and planning commissioner. Jenny presents at conferences to help encourage cities to become more sustainable and family friendly. Scott has a Masters from the University in Michigan in Electrical Engineering. Today, Scott combines the analytical thinking, research, and software skills to find innovative, data driven, cross-disciplinary solutions to help make cities better places to live. Web Page: Facebook:

For new or lager infill projects, cities could require variety in the housing sizes to help achieve a more constant average household size over time. These new projects present opportunities to make a significant impact on the future direction of the city. 1. For a mixed generational neighborhood, every 3rd or 4th unit should be a different size. For example, if the development is primarily a family neighborhood with 3+ bedroom houses, the "other" houses would be smaller such as patio homes for older adults. The housing mix should attract singles, couples, families with children, and empty nesters. 2. For multi-family units, require a mix of 1, 2, and 3+ bedrooms to accommodate all family sizes. All too often, multi-family is not family-friendly. This needs to change to allow for more affordable family size housing options. Accessibility is big for older adults, so ensuring an adequate mix of accessible units is also very important.


Sister Cities Strive for Intercultural Best Practices by Diane Fromme

Sister Cities Strive for Intercultural Best Practices Seattle, WA boasts 21connections; Baltimore, Maryland has 10; and Lexington, Kentucky pairs up with four...Sister Cities, that is. Communities across the world have embraced the concept and purpose behind sister city relationships: “to advance peace and prosperity through cultural, educational, humanitarian, and economic development efforts.” [1] The sister city initiative was born out of the post-World War II realization that our world needs deeper intercultural understanding. Because urban planners “tend to look at things not just as how they are, but more as how they could or should be,” [2] the potential benefits for urban planners to study and become involved with sister city activities are countless. Delegations of individuals from sister cities of like demographics and characteristics can share ideas, successes, failures, and best practices to further optimal economic development in both communities.

Sister Cities Bridge displaying the flags of Kansas City Sister Cities over Brush Creek, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Source=Photo by author |Author=User:Charvex |Date=17 July 2008 |Permission=Public domain |other_v

or jumelage. These relationships, now under the umbrella of Eurocities, are currently supported and accelerated by the European Union (EU). In Asia, a popular term for sister cities is friendship cities.

In 1956, U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower formalized the concept of international, intercultural bonds by launching the People to People program at the White House Conference on Citizen Diplomacy. President Eisenhower reasoned that by becoming friends, people of different cultures could celebrate The first part of this two-part article explores the his- and appreciate their differences, instead of fostering tory of sister city relationships and gives examples of suspicion and sowing new seeds for war. [1] how city planners can look for cooperative opportunities to learn and grow their communities. Part two, President Eisenhower insisted that the development featured in the Spring edition of Urban Planning and of international relationships should be drawn at the Economic Development News, delivers a few urban- local level with the involvement of city officials and planning case studies to provide a springboard for individual citizens. Thus a common theme for sister city programs is to bring together local citizens with best- practices thinking. grass roots efforts. Eisenhower appointed what is now Sister Cities International (SCI) – originally part of the National League of Cities (NLC) – to serve as the U.S. Historians trace the roots of the sister city phenom- national membership organization for individual sisenon to the aftermath of WWII. At first, municipali- ter cities, counties, and states across the United States. ties reached out to one another through the initiatives SCI became an independent non-profit organization of their administrators and citizens, with the purpose in 1967, and launched the theme, “Connect Globally. of sharing how they would recover from the war’s Thrive Locally.” destruction. [3] Coventry, England reached out to what was then Stalingrad, the Soviet Union, as well Seattle, Washington and Kobe, Japan own one of the as to Dresden, Germany. All three cities had been de- first official Sister City designations, circa 1957. In stroyed by war bombings and were looking to rebuild. May 1962, Seattle’s World Fair displayed a miniature European intercity partnerships go by various names, model of Kobe City and various goods from Kobe. In 2000, the partnership started a high school student including twin towns, partnerstadt,

Sister City Origins


Sister Cities Strive for Intercultural Best Practices by Diane Fromme SCI concentrates focus on areas with “significant opportunities for cultural and educational exchanges, economic partnerships, and humanitarian assistance.” [1] For example, in October 2012, SCI awarded three American cities a Sino-African Initiative grant to fund projects that “target urban poverty alleviation and economic development by increasing resources for the urban poor.” Denver, Colorado will work with its sister city partners in Nairobi, Kenya and Kunming, China. Urbana, IL turns its efforts to Zomba, Malawi and Haizhu District, China. Asheville/Raleigh, North Carolina is helping partners in Osogbo, Nigeria and Xiangyang, China. In all cases, the grant will bring these sister city partnerships closer to the phase three goal of concrete economic development.

program. And in 2004, 32 members of the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle went to Kobe and participated in a dual-city trade and investment seminar to launch economic advances for both communities. These are only a few examples of the potential waiting to be tapped from sister city relationships.

Benefits and Benchmarks Sister cities foster significant economic alliances between countries. Approximately 150,000 Americans visit foreign countries each year, while international programs and tourism bring a comparable number of foreign visitors to the U.S.A. [3] SCI documents at least 694 U.S. cities that run sister city programs, multiplying to nearly 2,000 worldwide partnerships (most cities maintain relationships with several sister cities). This network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in programs in 136 countries on six continents. [1] Opportunities abound to share best practices in education, city beautification, urban planning, economic structure, and cultural events. In this context, the success of a sister city linkage can be best measured by the quality and the quantity of shared activities across these disciplines. Sister city relationships can reach their maximum potential across three phases of development: friendship building, a phase of understanding each other’s cultures; reciprocating, which comes with the opportunity to offer such assets as assistance, training, and best practices; and concrete economic improvement.[3]

Four twinning towns of Brzeg Dolny, Poland Source: File:BrzegDolny-miasta.partnerskie.jpg

The Beauty of Pairing “Like Demographics”

When civic committees choose new sister cities, they make matches with other cities of like demographics. Why? Because the point of a sister city relationship is to learn and grow, ultimately with prime economic, educational, and cultural development in mind. Thus, practices that are best for a small town might not be best for a large city, and vice versa. Blue cities that share port-related concerns and maritime history will focus on different planning projects than interior cities.

Sign showing twin towns of Pápa, Hungary Source:


Sister Cities Strive for Intercultural Best Practices by Diane Fromme

The examples below demonstrate the wisdom in pairing communities with like demographics. Baltimore, Maryland and Rotterdam, the Netherlands share common geographic features. Hot Springs, Arizona and Hanamaki, Japan boast similar natural resources. Lexington, Kentucky and its four sister cities rely on the same industry for economic success.

prestigious universities, medical schools, world-class museums, and other cultural institutions. [4] They also share many of the problems and opportunities common to large, modern cities with diverse populations. Hot Springs, Arizona and Hanamaki, Japan share many traits and resources: Both cities are famous for their natural hot springs and tourism-driven economy. In September, 2012, an initiative through the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership funded a delegation of 10 citizens from Hot Springs to visit Hanamaki. The visit included a study of Hanamaki's bath houses, or onsen, because both cities are famous for their bath houses. This common tourist attraction yielded many discussions about tourism numbers, employee training, and design and architecture. [5] The delegation also toured a sake producing facility, but it wasn't simply for recreation.

Sister cities Baltimore and Rotterdam are both architecturally modern cities because of historical events that forced them to rebuild. Rotterdam's central city district was destroyed at the beginning of World War II. Faced with the task of reconstructing the city, Rotterdam chose to “embrace the future rather than to resurrect the past, thus becoming a showplace for modern architecture in Europe.� [4] The city center of Baltimore was destroyed in 1904 by the Great Fire, so both cities were built from the ground up during the 20th century. Rotterdam and Baltimore share the same approximate geographical and population sizes. These two cities have in common a deep maritime history, large port operations in estuarine waters, and both are home to

After the tour, producers of this boutique sake generously offered to host an apprentice from Hot Springs to train at the facility to become a sake master, thus taking a phase one friendship to a phase two reciprocal relationship. Given the fact the Arkansas is a large rice producer and Hot Springs is home to unique mineral water, the collaboration would allow Hot Springs to explore a new business venture that takes advantage of naturally available resources. Even before this delegation, the sister city relationship had already moved into a reciprocal phase. According to SCI, Hot Springs assisted Hanamaki in caring for more than 1000 evacuees from the coastal area in the wake of the devastating tsunami in Japan in 2011. In addition, the program raised $25,000 for Hanamaki to take care of refugees. Even before this delegation, the sister city relationship had already moved into a reciprocal phase. According to SCI, Hot Springs assisted Hanamaki in caring for more than 1000 evacuees from the coastal area in the wake of the devastating tsunami in Japan in 2011. In addition, the program raised $25,000 for Hanamaki to take care of refugees.

Source: Hall_with_sister_cities_2006.jpg] {{cc-by-2.5}}


Sister Cities Strive for Intercultural Best Practices by Diane Fromme

ate education programs in the U.S. are “internationalizing their curricula to enable future urban planners to work effectively anywhere in the world.” [7]

Lexington, KY offers an example of sister city relationships based on a common economic industry: thoroughbred horse breeding. Lexington, which according to its city website is “The Horse Capital of the World,” has developed sister city relationships with four international cities that are also renowned centers for horse breeding: [6]

The role that urban planners can play with regard to sister city programs ranges from that of initiating community development projects, to advising citizen committees, to donating expertise on site or as part of international delegations between sister cities. Urban planners – a community of visionaries – are invaluable contributors to thriving economic development in cities around the world.

• Deauville, France, became Lexington's first Sister City in 1957. The two cities, recognized as centers of the thoroughbred industry in their countries, feel they derive mutual benefit on cultural, economic, and educational levels.

References [1] Sister Cities International [2] Greg Meckstroth [3] [4] Baltimore/Rotterdam Sister Cities: [5] Hot Springs/Hanamaki Sister City relationship: [6] Lexington's Sister Cities: aspx?page=1410 [7] “Tomorrow's Urban World,” by Darlene Bremer. International Educator, July & August 2008.

• County Kildare, Ireland, became Lexington's Sister City in 1984. Not only is County Kildare a thoroughbred horse industry center, it is also the home of the Irish National Stud, the top breeding facility in Ireland. [6] County Kildare's history of contact with Lexington and its horse interest made it a logical match for the two communities. • Lexington officially twinned with Shinhikada, Japan in 1988. There are many thoroughbred farms housing Japan's top stallions in the areas surrounding Shinhikada. • Lexington's fourth Sister City relationship with Newmarket, England became official in 2003. Newmarket is the “Headquarters and Home of British Racing,” [6] with some 3,000 horses in training within its boundaries.Lexington, Kentucky’s sister cities are designated by this downtown lightpost that marks the distances to each city.

About the Writer Diane Fromme is a freelance writer based in Northern Colorado. She is also an award-winning blogger and an international student-exchange coordinator for Council for Educational Travel, USA. She frequently writes about the ways in which intercultural initiatives and family social dynamics affect the quality of our lives. Her recent articles include “Safe Kids: Grooming Children,” (Rocky Mountain Parent Magazine, June 2012) and “My Inheritance Journey,” (enneagram monthly, October 2012). Her personal essays have been appeared in several publications including the anthology Pulse of the River (Johnson Books, 2006), and Matter Journal (June 2007). You can access excerpts of Diane’s work and link to her parenting blog through

A Role for Urban Planners The deepening of sister city relationships reflects international attitudes which are now embedded in our culture from the start of the urban-planning educational process. Students of urban planning have certainly noticed an increased focus on globalization in recent years as urban-planning gradu


Building Social Parks A proposal for urban nodes of inclusion in Buenos Aires by Guillermo Tella, PhD

Institute of the Conurbation, National University of General Sarmiento (Argentina)

The recent processes of segregation in the city In the last two decades, an acute polarization process of the urban fabric has been installed in the city of Buenos Aires. The emergence of large-scale real estate investments combined with the stimulus to the assemblage and formation of large plots, among other provisions promoted by the urban regulations in force, subverted the traditional patterns of growth with the creation of fortified enclaves that encapsulate activities, fragment territories and segregate population. This is how the 'enclosed parks' came to existence.

Photo courtesy Guillermo Tella

The area of Abasto in the city of Buenos Aires has historically developed within an open urban fabric in which streets, corners and the square have been civic instruments of social cohesion. However, in recent decades, there have appeared processes that break those patterns of growth through fortified enclaves that encapsulate activities, fragment territories and expel population -- as in any other city. Within this framework, we have developed a proposal for intervention based on a collective process that tends to give a new meaning to public spaces for solidarity practices. It is the implementation of a 'Social Park', a network of urban nodes of inclusion establishing containment relationships, strengthening neighborhood relations, offering new opportunities to the community and seeking to recover competing societal values.

The area of Abasto in the city of Buenos Aires

Indeed, while the bunkerization of territories, with high security and isolation, is observed, also the open fabric of the city dismantles, fades and breaks the criteria that have historically consecrated as such. These new logics generate the breaking of socio-urban structures sedimented over time, the qualitative degradation of the preexisting items and increasing demands for mobility by private means.

Photo courtesy Guillermo Tella

So we observe the emergence of a ‘new poverty’ that was added to the traditional poverty of degraded areas of the periphery and the inner consolidated city. Also, the upper classes sought ‘refuge’ in suburban walled fortifications -’gated communities’, country clubs, farm-clubs, or in vertical urban developments, the ‘high-rise country-buildings’- in the traditional areas of the consolidated city.

The area began a series of revitalization with the recycling operation of the old marketplace


Building Social Parks A proposal for urban nodes of inclusion in Buenos Aires by Guillermo Tella, PhD

Institute of the Conurbation, National University of General Sarmiento (Argentina)

The crisis in Argentina in late 2001 was a sharp change in the status and the sense of the different forms of popular demonstration and appropriation of public spaces. The city of Buenos Aires became the epicenter of the nationwide social unrest. The citizenry took the streets as a redefined space for deliberative and solidarity practices, as well as for vandalism and urban disobedience. In this context of social boiling a new scenario for the public space emerged.

After five years of that institutional crisis, there arises in the Argentine cultural field new interpretations related to how much up-to-date is the concept of public space. This happens in the midst of its recurring appearance in close-up as much for the effects of dissemination of the actions of sidewalks renewal, beautification and fencing of green areas and the rise of the concept to the status of ministry in the local government is another relevant data-- as for the numerous schedules of outdoor cultural activities.

Since 2003 the city of Buenos Aires has started off a road of progressive deactivation of such practices, which has been replicated in the rest of the country. The actions and social movements grew less and less effective. Thus, some stabilization of the local economic variables, among other factors, contributed to the partial decline of the activity of the cardboardcollectors, the de-articulation of barter clubs, along with other reasons of internal performance, the deactivation of neighborhood assemblies , since the beginning of various levels of negotiation with the affected depositors, and the ousting of the streets of the so-called 'piqueteros' groups, to the extent that some groups were added to the traditional political forces.

Difficulties and opportunities for the area of Abasto Defined as a 'container concept' because of its ability to connect different areas such as the city, politics or society, the category of public space comes out to be in these years --'between the crisis and the tourism and real estate boom'-- the depository of a varied number of discourses from very diverse origins and fields of interest. However, and going beyond the possible definitions of the concept, the public space remains the site for the expression of social conflicts and disputes, against all the attempts of representation of urban transformation executed from the wills of the political progressivism.

Photo courtesy Guillermo Tella

The issue of historic centers as Abasto has become a central topic of debate in urban policies of Latin American cities. Some of the components of degradation and deterioration that they have are: the increasing impoverishment of disadvantaged social strata, the economic adjustment that reduces social policies, the privatization of services that retracts the presence of the National State, the tension established between the historical-cultural wealth and socio-economic poverty. This accentuates the contradictory nature displayed by the historic centers: the polar pair of opposites established between preservation and development.

One of the main problems of the area is the lack of public spaces and green areas


Building Social Parks A proposal for urban nodes of inclusion in Buenos Aires by Guillermo Tella, PhD

Institute of the Conurbation, National University of General Sarmiento (Argentina)

However, there are still serious conflicts of insecurity, marginalization, clandestinity and degradation which require the input of ideas and management strategies to boost its complex conversion.

Consequently, some questions emerge as major problems to be solved in Abasto: (a) how to channel the synergies of the place towards a common, desired and legitimized horizon, by defining a strategy for action that provides a model of land management, (b) how ensure the viability of the proposals, identifying the resources for its implementation and involving those responsible for decision making, and (c) how to develop participatory and meaningful public-private partnerships, involving all social agents in the local community.

In the progress made by the various processes of recovery and revitalization of historic centers, it is found that for their environmental, social, cultural and economic sustainability, it is necessary to develop plans, programs and projects with a comprehensive and participatory character, with which common principles and guidelines for action start being generated. Whereupon, in the particular case of Abasto, there has raised different fields to work upon:

Photo courtesy Guillermo Tella

- Appreciation strategies: recognizing the cultural heritage of the area as a source of development and potential asset of the collective identity of the city. Thus, structural problems must be addressed, such as degradation of heritage, depopulation and unemployment, privatization of public spaces, dilapidation, slumming and extreme poverty, loss and/or relegation of its centrality, absence of rescue policies, deficits in governance processes, lack of reconciliation of interests between residents and the ‘floating’ population. - Intervention strategies: developing new methods of intervention and comprehensive treatment of the area so as to support it as a ‘living’ center of the city, as an inductor of the concerted action of public and private agents to achieve the sustainability of its rehabilitation and appreciation. This involves policies of ‘relief ’ and overcoming poverty, improving living conditions, environmental preservation, democratization of public management, respect and tolerance for ethnic and cultural identities, and recovery of centrality.

An action plan was begun to be developed to build a system of social containment nodes

The area of Abasto in Buenos Aires must be interpreted as a historic district, after the loss of centrality functions which originated it. The area began a few years ago a series of revitalization with the recycling operation of the old marketplace. It has undergone a path that goes from a state of absolute abandonment to an incipient transformation into tourist attraction.

- Management strategies: the preservation and revitalization of the area due to the complexity of its problems, with a comprehensive vision that can interpret and insert them as part of the urban system as a whole.


Building Social Parks A proposal for urban nodes of inclusion in Buenos Aires by Guillermo Tella, PhD

Institute of the Conurbation, National University of General Sarmiento (Argentina)

This involves the creation of a legal framework that assigns responsibilities and powers of action, and ensures the implementation of efficient management mechanisms which include citizen participation and compromise. It also involves the development of mechanisms for financing and promotion of public, private and mixed investment.

will not be subject to nor depend on the political alternation or departmental management, either. On that basis, we have attempted to articulate the various agents of the local population, who are often confronting or not necessarily cohesive among them. On the one hand, one of the main problems of physical order of the area is the lack of public spaces and green areas. On the other hand, the neighborhood, gifted with largest traditional independent theater circuit of Buenos Aires (which, a couple of years ago, numbered twenty-two), has begun to decrease in number due to the closure of facilities that could not be adapted to the security measures required after the catastrophe of Cromañón. If public space is a 'container concept' as it has been defined, it also represents by such means and by that figure, the area where the necessary points of rendezvous can be found, for the benefit of coexistence and mutual enhancement of actions.

- Recovery strategies: the area of historic centers is going through a crisis that compromises the quality of habitat. Therefore, policies and programs are required to promote urban renewal, anti-dilapidation and de-slumming, environmental restoration, public security, the generation of employment opportunities, neighborhood and citizen participation, the fostering of bonds of solidarity and reciprocity among various agents, and the consolidation of the multiethnic and multicultural spaces that make centers living areas open to creativity and diversity.

Photo courtesy Guillermo Tella

The building of ‘Abasto Social Park’

The Social Park installs the local community as the star of the local processing

Undoubtedly, these strategies install local government as a strong agent, to coordinate and implement development policies. Dependent upon the possibilities and feasibilities of operation of this project amid the political situation described, we have considered the possibility of a proposal to build a citizen network identified with Abasto, which will of execution


In order to provide a response for this multiplicity of factors at play, an action plan was begun to be developed which aims, firstly, to create a permanent territorial management unit and, secondly, to build a system of social containment nodes for the families of the neighborhood and for a cultural promotion to make it an alternative to traditional circuits. Thus, 'Abasto Social Park' takes shape, which retrieves the pre-existing identity and installs the local community as the protagonist of local transformation. The first concrete experience meant to generate nodes for inclusion in areas of segregation have been recently developed in the neighborhood La Estrella, in the municipality of San Miguel, in the second metropolitan belt ring of Buenos Aires, and was called 'Social Park'. Its aim was to organize the local community to enable it to recover for itself social values in conflict, such as: competitiveness and cooperation, solidarity and commitment, safety and recreation, training and labor, future and present.

Building Social Parks A proposal for urban nodes of inclusion in Buenos Aires by Guillermo Tella, PhD

Institute of the Conurbation, National University of General Sarmiento (Argentina)

To revert the plight of the neighborhood the recovery of a vacant lot adjacent was proposed in order to undertake various containment activities there so as to allow the reintegration of young people in the educational system, the generation of tools for access to employment and microenterprise development to enhance local capacities. In this way the local people built a desirable direction and tested management skills acquired by the neighbors.

In conclusion, in the traditional consolidated areas that go through acute fragmentation processes, that accentuate the problems of social exclusion and segregation, have begun to emerge including urban nodes by so isolated and small local initiatives. Thus, compared to a differential growth of the city, it is important to sustain, consolidate and reproduce this incipient experience of social parks, which lay containment networks, which strengthen neighborly relations, which offer new opportunities to the people, and After a couple of years working in the area of Abasto which allow recovering societal values in conflict. through instances of effective participation in social and cultural networks in the area, and of academic contribution obtained via the formation of groups of This document has been prepared with the collaborastudents and representative local community memtion of Gustavo DiĂŠguez, in the framework of the Unibers, working both within the structure of Architecversity of Palermo (Buenos Aires, Argentina). ture degree and the university extension through a research program, the 'Abasto Social Park' has begun to be implemented as the centerpiece of the implementation phase of the ongoing investigation. Then, the project Social Park becomes a device which articulates the various scattered initiatives from the use of existing resources in Abasto in order to multiply the areas for public use among the diverse offer of institutions and private spaces and centers. In all cases, the aim is to encourage a sense of unity to the process, linking the set of tasks from the fulfillment of a central objective taken as common denominator: the physical expansion and qualitative improvement of the use of public space and the conformation of an open system of social cohesion by these means.

About the Writer Guillermo Te is an Architect and Philosophy Doctor (PhD) in Urban Planning. In addition, he has developed the Postdoctoral Program in Social Sciences and Humanities. He has been Professor and Researcher in Urban Planning since 1989. Moreover, since 2005 he carries out academic activities in the Institute of the Conurbation in the University of General Sarmiento (Argentina). In his professional experience, he takes part and coordinates the development of strategic plans and of urban ordinance and local development for public as well as for socio-urban and environmental consulting firms. As a result of this theoretical production and professional practice, he has published numerous sciences and outreach works on the processes and effects of the metropolitan trans-formation.

From this point of view, the Park project is installed as a tool capable of making a real possibility of social articulation and urban reconfiguration. Since this is an open and inclusive system, it represents as horizontal as possible the relations between different social actors outside the hierarchical structures and that explains its confidence in civil society.


Go Big by Jenny and Scott Ranville

As a new staff writer for Urban Planning and Economic Development, I would like to introduce myself and provide a framework for what I hope will become a series of articles for the magazine.

but most of the time we can come up with a solution that never crossed our minds in the beginning and end up liking more than our original proposals. This type of brainstorming can lead to “Go Big” ideas.

My wife and I run a consulting/think tank company. One of our primary goals is to promote sustainable patterns from a Triple Bottom Line perspective: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and human sustainability. The thrust of human sustainability is to design for the youngest to the oldest resident. Historically, if you look at sustainability, the majority of attention is directed to nature and the built environment. However, concentrating on the human aspect is a missed opportunity. For all of our efforts, we consider how it will impact people and ways to improve the quality of life for people.

Another of our priorities is to consider as many stakeholders as possible. For urban planning topics, our standard list of stakeholders to consider includes the city (from a government perspective), developers, and users.

Our objective is to “Go Big” in finding urban planning solutions that improve the quality of life for all people. For the greatest chance for success, we like our “Go Big” ideas to be data driven as personal opinion too often does not produce great results. Smaller, incremental solutions are also beneficial. However, we favor those solutions that have the potential to significantly improve the quality of life. Impressive results oftentimes come from additional brainstorming and planning and working in a cross-disciplinary manner.

Our observation is that cities tend to design for the “easy” demographic of healthy younger adults, single or married but with no kids. Our additional observation is that 65 percent of the needs of all demographics overlap. About 15 percent of effort is needed to address the specific needs of families with kids and 15 percent for the specific needs of older adults with the last 5 percent of effort for singles and couples with no kids.

Our objective is to create win-win solutions for all stakeholders. In doing so, this means that it is highly probable no one stakeholder will have an optimum solution. For example a developer’s primary goal is often to maximize their profits. Oftentimes, the optimum developer solution may be detrimental to the city and surrounding residents. In this example, the As a country, the United States has a history of "going goal would be to find a good solution that benefits evbig". Millions of people visit places each year that in- eryone while still allowing a profit, potentially a “nice” spire the imagination. Consider the following profit for the developer. examples: Within the spectrum of all users, the two most un- Mount Rushmore, one of the largest derrepresented demographics are often families with monuments carved into a mountain young children and older adults. Because of this, these - Empire State Building, engineering marvel two demographics receive special consideration in as the tallest skyscraper in the world for f our analysis and proposed solutions. In general, fami ifty years lies with young children and older adults have many - St. Louis Gateway Arch, nation’s tallest overlapping needs, and therefore, designing for one built monument group accomplishes many of the needs of the other - New York Central Park, one of the group. In addition, all demographics will benefit from world’s largest urban public parks the solutions for these groups.

From AARP2: We have found during the brainstorm step to look at “Older citizens, families with young children, and the the underlying goals and start proposing new solu- young adult population share many common needs, tions. It may be the fourth or tenth brainstorm idea, interests, and concerns … safe, walkable neighbor


Go Big by Jenny and Scott Ranville

hoods, a complete range of services nearby (child care, senior centers, parks, food stores, health care, etc.), an opportunity for civic engagement, affordable and mixed use housing, and adequate transportation options.”

rate charged by the electrical company and the time of day the vehicle is recharged. By comparison, the fuel costs associated with operating a gas-powered personal automobile (as of 2010) range from nine to thirteen cents per mile, depending on factors such as vehicle size and fuel efficiency." 2 To help provide a quick introduction to some “Go Big” topics, we hope to write about in upcoming ar- Housing: ticles, consider the following. “Unfortunately, most programs for the elderly have been built on the notion of age segregation — in serEconomic and Transportation: vices, housing, and even transportation. Yet recent For economic related ideas, some topics that we have research by AARP has shown that most aging Amerbeen researching include using roof top space and icans do not want to live in communities separate LSVs (low speed vehicles). Currently, many of the from younger people.” 3 flat commercial roofs in the city are an expense to the building owner and often a detriment to the city as a This edition of Urban Planning and Economic Deheat island. Both of these issues can be addressed by velopment Magazine contains another of our articles turning the roof into a business opportunity that ben- presenting some ideas for retrofitting existing neighefits both the building owner and the city with such borhoods to increase the senior friendly housing opuses as a roof top garden or solar panels. New York tions. In addition, some options are presented for City appears to be one of the leaders in turning roof new or infill development to help provide a variety top gardens into commercial farms providing local of housing options for all demographics. Hopefully, food and economic opportunities. future articles will present more housing ideas. LSVs are lightweight vehicles with a maximum speed of 25 MPH and can run on green electricity. The vehicles are smaller than traditional cars and can allow cities to reclaim parking space for alternative uses such as an outdoor seating area for a restaurant. Multi-passenger LSVs would allow cities to set up a “LSV district” with minimum to no car traffic. LSVs could be used as shuttles within the LSV district. With the reduced car traffic, the LSV district could become a pedestrian friendly shopping and eating area and even a city gathering place. Personal LSVs would provide additional mobility options for seniors and new teen drivers. Because of the lower speed of LSVs, the senior should be able to continue to drive a LSV after turning in their car keys. The lower cost of LSVs can help the family budget while still providing mobility options for new teen drivers. The LSVs have a limited range of operation, which can provide some level of comfort for parents that their teens cannot get into as much trouble.

A second "Go Big" idea is to bring families back to the urban core. This topic will address such things as finding innovative solutions to provide family friendly amenities (housing with 3+ bedrooms, quality schools, and access to grocery stores) within the urban core. Some may ask, “Why try to bring families into the urban core? Aren’t families better served living in the suburbs?” Here at HLP, our research has found that cities too relaxed towards investing in families are losing their child population and economic opportunities to neighboring cities. Unfortunately, some of the cities most motivated to invest in families include cities in a state of decline with school enrollment falling, businesses closing, and tax base shrinking. At this point, a large amount of effort is needed to reverse the trend and get to a more sustainable situation. Thus, we promote cities to proactively work on identifying and reversing negative trends before they become big problems. A city can build a lasting legacy by investing in families, designing for youngest to oldest resident.

“Operating costs for LSVs range from one to three cents per mile, depending on the rate charged by the


Go Big by Jenny and Scott Ranville

We have identified 11 truths about cities. 1.

Cities thrive by designing for all ages.


Growth occurs where young families are moving in.


Cities with a small percent of 3+ bedroom homes will struggle to attract families.


Cities with few children must rely on new people moving to fill vacant housing.


School quality will either attract or cause families to move out of city.

6. 7.

Good jobs are vital to support families.

Future articles will present "Go Big" ideas with a lens towards how these ideas impact all stakeholders within the city. By: Jenny and Scott Ranville HLP - Consulting/Think Tank/Architecture firm specializing in Creating Enlivened, Strong, Sustainable Communities for All Ages. Facebook: 1 2 3

Cities in a metropolitan region are typically strong in jobs or family housing, but not both.

About the Writers

8. Affordable living is more than affordable housing. 9.

Retail and services locate closest to their strongest consumer base: families.


Older adults enjoy better services and community engagement living in neighbor hoods with all ages.


The family support structure is linked to the human sustainability of the city.

Scott and Jenny Ranville run a consulting/think tank/ architecture/software development company, Human Life Project速. Our mission is to promote sustainable patterns, helping cities design for all ages. Our interpretation of the triple bottom line for urban planning encompasses: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and human sustainability. Human sustainability is the most important component for HLP. Jenny has a Masters in Architecture from the University of Michigan. She is an architect, LEED AP, and planning commissioner. Jenny presents at conferences to help encourage cities to become more sustainable and family friendly. Scott has a Masters from the University in Michigan in Electrical Engineering. Today, Scott combines the analytical thinking, research, and software skills to find innovative, data driven, cross-disciplinary solutions to help make cities better places to live. Web Page: Facebook:


Parks: Tools for Planning and Economic Development by Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP

An old saying in both economic development and real estate is that the value of a piece of property depends upon three major factors: location, location, location. Realtors have long acknowledged that people are willing to pay more for a home close to amenities such as schools, libraries, police stations, transit stops and parks, as these amenities have a positive impact on property values. Economists call this the “hedonic value” of the property. Parks have recently been re-examined for their value beyond the ‘hedonic value” as their role continues to expand as part of a city’s green infrastructure.

living close to parks and other recreational facilities is directly related to higher physical activity levels. Higher levels of physical activity can reduce obesity, diabetes, heart disease in both adults and children and consequently impact the rising costs of healthcare providing economic savings to both individuals and their communities.

Second, ever since urban parks were first included in city plans, developers have used the proximity of residential development to parks as a means of extracting a premium price for those properties. This in turn has allowed government to charge higher land taxes for Urban planners and economic developers are emthose properties. bracing green infrastructure as an integral part of sustainable development. Green infrastructure in turn has sparked a renew interest in planning for parks and open spaces as part of a sustainable integrated urban design. Sustainable urbanism proponent Doug Farr, in his book Sustainable Urbanism, Urban Design in Nature (2008), promotes parks, open space, urban forestry, stormwater treatments, rain gardens and green buildings as green infrastructure which reduces energy usage and related costs as well as creating clean, temperate air and carbon sequestration. Green infrastructure provides real ecological, economic, and social benefits; parks and open spaces (POS) are essential linkages to the green infrastructure. Photo by Pamela Shinn

It follows that parks and open spaces represent sustainable urban planning and wise economic development for communities, but how? Since 1999, The Trust for Public Lands has commissioned over 10 studies on this question, examining issues ranging from trails and conservation easements to land conservation and greenhouse gas benefits of urban parks. Noteworthy is the nexus of urban planning and economic development regarding the economic benefits of parks as a component of green infrastructure. Parks can help the economic development and “greening” efforts of communities in four key ways:

Cienfuegos Square, Cienfuegos, Cuba

The third way that parks can benefit communities is that a well maintained public parks system can attract business investment as well as tourism dollars. A well designed and maintained parks system is an indicator of a high quality of life which is attractive to corporate First and most obvious, parks perform their stated planners. purposes of promoting leisure, recreation, healthy lifestyles and public health. Ready access to parks sys- Finally, as part of the green infrastructure, parks can reduce spending on expensive grey infrastructure. tems is a key tool in the fight against obesity, as


Parks: Tools for Planning and Economic Development by Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP activity and 29 percent engage in no leisure-time physical activity. Proximity to public parks systems is crucial in the fight against obesity. Studies such as Lets Go To The Park Today, The Role of Parks in Obesity Prevention And Improving the Public Health (H. Blanck et al, 2012), examine the vital role to be played by parks in urban planning and the impacts of public health and parks have on the economy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called for the creation of more parks and playgrounds to help fight this obesity epidemic.

Proximity to parks encourages and promotes healthy lifestyles and public health

Photo by Pamela Shinn

In his book New Urban Landscapes (1988), Schuyler recounts Fredrick Law Olmstead’s work as U.S. Sanitary Commissioner and how he and his contemporaries considered parks vital to public health. As a landscape architect, Olmstead created plans for many major parks including the 1859 plan for Central Park in New York. Many of New York’s residents were living in overcrowded tenement buildings that provided minimum sunlight or fresh air, which, in the medical terminology of the day produced a condition known as miasma. Miasma was a theory of “bad air”, a toxic atmosphere which was thought to cause a variety of respiratory diseases. Olmstead described parks as the “green lungs of the city”, places where city residents could escape conditions of miasma and breathe therapeutic quantities of fresh air. Although the theory of miasma was debunked, the value of parks for leisure and recreation for healthy communities has never been questioned. Olmstead’s socially conscious and egalitarian idealism led him to devise a strategy that became one of the first to recognize the need to create public parks and preserve open space for community health.

Balboa Park, San Diego, California

Proximity to parks improves property values

According to a HBO documentary series The Weight of the Nation (2012), one-third of Americans are obese; another one-third is overweight. Some 26 million Americans have Type II diabetes. An additional 79 million more are pre-diabetic. The series looks at the public health challenges posed by an increasingly overweight population, as well as the public policy debates around trying to solve the epidemic.

The demand decay effect of a park on the value of real property (also known as the “proximate principal”) has been recognized by economists and used as an economic development tool as far back as the first half of 19th century. In 1847, London’s Birkenhead Park - the world’s first park paid for with public tax money - was financed using the proximate principal. This is according to Rybcznski in A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century (1999). About the same time, London’s Regents Park and Liverpool’s Princes Park were built by private developers for the express purpose of creating a premium price for lots abutting those parks. This proximate principle was based upon

A 2009 article in Health Affairs, Annual Medical Spending Attributed to Obesity states that people who are obese spend an average of 42% more on health care costs than healthy weight people. Yet, despite the importance of exercise, only 25 percent of American adults engage in the recommended levels of physical


Parks: Tools for Planning and Economic Development by Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP

simple calculations of increased tax receipts accruing from properties in proximity to parks. This calculation revealed that people frequently paid a higher price for a home proximate to a park than comparable properties located elsewhere, away from the park. The higher value of these properties meant that their owners paid higher property taxes. The increment of taxes attributable to the parks could then be used to retire bonds issued to acquire, develop or renovate the park. If a community accessed government grants to pay for part of their parks system development, it would benefit faster from incremental increases in taxes. The evidence of the positive impact of parks on adjacent land values became conventional wisdom and was used to fuel the early park movement in the USA. As urban parks were developed in the United States from the 1850s through the 1930s, many elected officials authorized investment of public resources in the belief that such investments paid for themselves. The economic justification was that a local park of suitable size, location and character, and which received consistent adequate public maintenance, added more to the value of the remaining land than the value of the land withdrawn to create it. This straightforward methodology ignored an array of other factors in addition to parks that could have influenced property values but reflected the simple statistical tools and research designs available at that point in time. (Crompton, 2005)

cal impacts of different types of land-use to examine the cost of community services. Such research weights anticipated economic benefits from various forms of development against the cost of delivering infrastructure and services such as roads and schools to the development. (Crompton, 2011). Research explains that the proximate effect is significant, up to 500-600 feet (typically three blocks). In the case of community-sized parks over 30 acres, the effect may be measurable out to 1500 feet, but 75% of the premium value generally occurs within the 500600 foot zone. Research studies suggest that a positive impact of 20% on property values abutting or fronting a passive park area is a reasonable point of departure for estimating the magnitude of the impact of parks on property values. A series of studies conducted in New York City reported similar positive impacts emerged when substantial capital investment was made in renovating existing parks which had deteriorated (Ernst & Young, 2003).

With regard to the proximate principle, not all parks are created equally. The type of park is a significant factor in the value that it adds to adjacent properties. Passive parks generate the greatest premium while properties adjacent to an active park may actually decline in value. The value of a park can be compromised by problems regarding noise, nighttime lighting, congestion and parking. Unattractive or poorly maintained parks, a lack of visibility from nearby streets (which According to John Crompton, between the 1930s and Jane Jacobs called “eyes on the street�), and properties 1970s in America, the proximate principle virtually backing onto linear parks whose privacy was comprodisappeared from mainstream discussions of parks in mised are only marginally valuable in this principle. the context of urban planning and economic development, in part because of cynicism stemming from the Can an investment in parks produce a higher return lack of sophistication of the studies that professed to than using all the available land for development? verify the principle. The resurrection of the proximate Generating value in the built environment that is principle since the 1970s has been coincident with the greater than its cost is a cornerstone of leveraging use of Geographic Information Systems and sophisti- public space to create real estate value. This is also cated economic models which make complex analyses among the best ways to ensure the attractiveness of feasible and enabled quantitative identification of the real estate as an investment. Like all other goods, the economic contributions of parks/open space to prop- premium that people are prepared to pay to be proxierty values separately from the contributions of other mate to a park is influenced by the available supply. If attributes. (Compton, 2005). Urban planners working parks (or open spaces) are relatively abundant, then with economic developers can now evaluate fis the premiums would be likely to be relatively small or


Parks: Tools for Planning and Economic Development by Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP

Given this, the incentive to pay a premium to be close to a park is likely to be lower in rural areas or along the rural/urban interface than in densely populated urban areas. As density and intensity increase, so does the value of parks and, in this respect, the private market place offers further validation of the legitimacy of the proximate principle. This becomes an interesting issue for sustainable re-development, wherein efforts are made to increase density and intensity with mixed use development.

Competing in the Age of Talent (2000) and Lisa Love and John Crompton in The Role of Quality of Life in Business (Re) location Decisions (1999) describe how good business leaders recognize that quality of life issues are key factors in where their companies decide to locate; and no matter how you define quality of life in a community, parks and recreation opportunities are a part of it. Active city park systems such as San Antonio’s Riverwalk Park or New York’s Central Park often become important destination tourism attractions. Other parks become attractions by adding value through programming such as festivals or special events which contributing to “heads in beds” for the hospitality sector of the local economy. Some local Chambers of Commerce or Tourism and Convention Centers track the influx of tourism dollars to the economy by calculating this park tourism spending.

Although new residential development can help communities in a number of positive ways, studies show that as an economic development strategy, a more balanced residential development with deliberate development of parks and other open space helps reduce a community’s overall tax burden. On average, communities with more green infrastructure have lower taxes then communities with more residential development and less open space. This is found in John Crompton’s paper, The Economic Benefits of Open Space, Rec- Reduced spending on infrastructure reation Facilities and Walkable Community Design (2010). Park planners of the mid 19th Century recognized that parks provided both social function and economParks, trails and open space attract ic advantage while contributing to a healthy commuMore than a hundred years later, urban planners business investment and tourism nity. have recognized parks as providing environmental functions and economic advantages as green infradollars structure which realize significant savings to the comHigh tech and professional service businesses trade munity knowledge and intellectual expertise. Unlike the manufacturing businesses that drove the economy before To determine in a comprehensive manner the fiscal the turn of the last century, businesses in the knowl- impact of land use, urban planners must consider edge economy are not tied to traditional geographic both property tax revenues and the expenditures for constraints such as specialized transportation facili- necessary government services. Urban planners and ties or raw materials. With more freedom to choose economic developers understand that converting a site, knowledge-based businesses tend to locate in open space to residential development almost always communities that boast a high quality of life, includ- costs more in funding the new required services, than ing quality parks and recreation facilities. By increas- the community can expect to realize in property taxes ing the community’s attractiveness to high tech indus- and other benefits from the new development. tries, the parks system helps to increase the local tax base and reduce the relative tax burden on residents Throughout the historical development of cities, the in communities. The importance of quality of life and role of nature has been defined within the context of business location decisions has been repeatedly veri- social utility or function. It is often more cost effective fied in the literature. Richard Florida in Competing for a community to maintain parks and open space to


Parks: Tools for Planning and Economic Development by Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP

control flooding, filter water runoff or help to mitigate air pollution than to invest tax dollars in expensive grey engineered infrastructure projects to achieve the same function.

through an expensive system of concrete sewers and drainage ditches. Unfiltered stormwater flowing directly into waterways causes significant and costly ecological problems such as algae blooms; however, stormwater parks reduce stormwater management costs by capturing precipitation and slowing runoff. Large pervious areas in parks allow this captured water to be filtered of pollutants and percolate into the ground and recharge groundwater aquifers. Using GIS technology and stormwater modeling techniques, urban planners can determine the economic value of stormwater retention by parks against the costs to manage stormwater using grey infrastructure, concrete pipes, and sewers and holding tanks.

Patrick Condon, author of Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities (2010), advocates the concept of greener, lighter, cheaper, smarter infrastructure, as opposed to the current practices of grey, heavy, expensive and dumb infrastructure. As urban development increases in density, communities can simultaneously reduce the effects of imperviousness on urban waterways, integrating green infrastructure - including parks - with the built environment. The benefits of parks as part of green infrastructure include air quality enhancement, flood protection, urban heat island abatement, and Urban communities generate and retain heat, creating water quality protection. areas that are consistently hotter than the surrounding landscape. This phenomenon is known as the urAir pollution has been proven to be injurious to hu- ban heat island. In the summer, the higher temperaman health. Cardiovascular and respiratory systems tures in the urban heat island boost demand for air are affected with broad consequences for community conditioning, resulting in increased energy consumphealth care costs and acid rain deposition, smog and tion that further exacerbates the heat problem. Urban ozone increase the need to clean and repair buildings. heat islands often experience power brownouts and/ Trees and shrubs have the ability to remove air pollu- or blackouts, localized weather patterns (fog, torrention such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone tial rainfall, etc.), and heat-related illness and death. and some particulate matter. The U.S. Forest service has produced an Urban Forest Effects (UFORE) model to estimate the pollution removal and subsequent value of parkland trees, which can be used to calculate the worth of additional tree plantings in the parks system as a mitigation effect.

Photo by Pamela Shinn

In coastal states and along major rivers, the natural vegetation of the flood zones served as the first line of defense against a hurricane storm surges and other flood waters. Recent named natural disasters such as Katrina and Sandy have shown that in many cases, natural vegetative barriers can be more effective in reducing storm damage than the engineered grey infrastructure which replaces these barriers. Stormwater runoff is a significant problem in urban areas. When stormwater flows off roads, sidewalks and other impervious surfaces it carries pollutants with it. Until recently, stormwater runoff was removed

Bear Creek River Trail, Lakewood, Colorado


Parks: Tools for Planning and Economic Development by Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP

By simply increasing the urban tree canopy in parks, parkways and open spaces the resulting shade and evapotranspiration can help moderate daytime and nighttime temperature variations and mitigate the urban heat island problem.

About the Writer Tracy Mullins, MS, AICP attended Lakehead University where he completed simultaneous degrees in Outdoor Recreation, Geography and Tourism Management. After a short time with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Mullins started his career in consulting. Working from Ontario, he provided economic development capacity building services to entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations in both Canada and the United States. Notable projects included the fields of tourism, recreation, telecommunications, historic preservation and small business start-up.

The generally accepted real estate assumption that developing land for residential homes offers more revenue to the community then the development of parks and open spaces is an urban myth. Increasingly, parks and public spaces are the centerpieces of urban revitalization strategies and are growing in importance and exposure as a great urban migration continues. Urban planners and economic developers need to make use of new modeling tools and geographic information science for deeper analysis, reexamining parks and open space as a tool in their economic development toolbox. John Crompton’s report, Measuring the Economic Impact of Parks and Recreation Services, gives valuable direction to the best practices for economic impact analysis in the parks and recreation discipline.

After being awarded a full scholarship from Eastern Michigan University, Tracy graduated with a Master of Science in Geography, major in Urban Planning. While writing his Master’s thesis, he was retained as a Professor of Geography at the University of Michigan. Mullins subsequently received professional certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners and moved to Florida where he consults in Urban Planning/Design and Sustainable Economic Development. Expertise includes community redevelopment, urban design, tribal planning, tourism development, and professional services business planning.

In sum, parks and open spaces as part of green infrastructure provide economic benefits to communities. Communities that maintain a system of parks and open space promotes community health, increases property values and reduces tax burdens, increases potential for economic development and controls infrastructure spending. References: Blanck, H., Allen, D., Bashir, Z., Gordon, N., Goodman, H., Meirion, D., Rutt, C. Lets Go To The Park Today, The Role of Parks in Obesity Prevention And Improving the Public Health Childhood. Childhood Obesity October 2012, 8 (5): 423-428 Condon, P. (2010) Seven rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World Washington D.C.: Island Press

Photo by Pamela Shinn

Crompton J.L. (2005) The Impact of Parks on Property Values: Empirical evidence from the past two decades in the United States Managing Leisure October 10: 203-218 Crompton, J.L. (2011) Measuring the Economic Impact of Parks and

Recreation Services National Recreation and Parks Association Urbana: Sagamore publishing.


Pedestrian Safety in China: “New drivers” and Old Principles by Yekaterina Dobritskaya, PhD

Photo by Yekaterina Dobritskaya

China has headed the world’s list in traffic accidents since late 1980s, when it recorded 50,000 deaths in fatalities for the first time. The quantity of death has been increasing as the number of vehicles on the roads. In a 1996 China had third-highest level of traffic death behind South Africa and Slovenia. The number of fatal accidents per car is one of the worlds highest. China owns only three per cent of the world’s vehicles, but counts for near 25 per cent of word’s accidents. Most serious causes of road fatalities in China: • • • •

bad driving habits; overloaded passenger vehicles; low-quality road pavement; uncomfortable road infrastructure.

Pedestrian is the weakest traffic participant, who could be easily involved in traffic accidents with terrible results. Statistically, pedestrian fatalities in China are about 20 times higher than those in the U.S. and in It is not usual for Chinese to keep within the traffic Germany under the same motorization level [2]. low or observe safety rules, including using winter Most common causes of accidents are: tyres in the North of China. Low rates of drivers' and pedestrians' culture Owners are looking to maximize profits usually over- • load passenger vehicles speeding along the streets on the roads. Neglect of traffic law makes crossing signalized intersections extremely complicated and even breaking the traffic law. dangerous. Most of traffic fatalities occur on rural road because "Vehicle-oriented" traffic planning. Road of its extremely bad conditions. Officials usually pro- • claim necessity of pavement’s improvement, but there junctions, barriers and signal organization follow traffic requirements and totally ignore pedestrian some. are no any visible results in fact. • Deficiencies in traffic law. In addition, enforcement measures are usually inefficient because of law rates of traffic culture.

Other causes of traffic death and injuries are: • • •

inexperienced, tired and drunk driving; low-quality of motor vehicles; hit-and-run accidents.

High rates of drivers and pedestrians non-compliance on the road follow the lack of traffic education in China. As a great example, the legal "right-of-way" is realized by Chinese drivers as a right for the person who's first in the way. According to this "right" cyclists turn into the roads believing they have the right-of-way. When the right-of-way is unclear, it's not common to use eye contact or body language to defer the right of way. The situation is usually being solved by force demonstration.

Flash-like increasing of number of cars from 10 million in 2000 to 70 million in 2010 in the last decade brought about horrible results. Most part of nowadays drivers had not driven until that time. And now a lot of them are fewer than 5 years’ experience. One particular grim two-day period in May 2010 saw 70 people killed in traffic accidents throughout the country [1].


Pedestrian Safety in China: “New drivers” and Old Principles by Yekaterina Dobritskaya, PhD As a result, there are lots of deficiencies in China traffic legal system. I was very surprised to find one statement in a actually functioned Chinese law: Photo by Yekaterina Dobritskaya

"When accident occur between motor vehicle and non-motorized vehicle or pedestrian, without cyclist's or pedestrian's fault, the motorist bears responsibility pay for all damages. In the case when non-motorized vehicle or pedestrian partly causes the accidents, there are remiting of motorist's responsibility in accordance with a grade of non-motorized vehicle's or pedestrian's fault. In the case when motor vehicle (absolutely) doesn't cause the accident, its driver pay no higher than 10% of damages.

It is common to organize occasional police traffic control at signalized intersections in tourists' area of big-cities (Shanghai, for example). Chinese officials are always worry about safety of foreigners with relevant status. This organization follow observance of traffic low, but only according to time and place. Other times drivers, motorists and cyclist are speeding through red lights without pause even at "selfservice" intersections in Beijing, unless the crossroads are equipped by cameras.

Motorist mustn't bear responsibility for damages in the case when cyclist or pedestrian deliberately causes the accident" [3; bold typed by Y. D.]. Eventually on this law statement a general unwritten rule for all accidents (without death or serious injuries) is a fault of bigger vehicle involved in an accident, regardless of whose fault it actually is. “Car hits a motorbike: car’s fault. Motorbike hits a pedestrian: motorbike’s fault” [4].

China traffic system is vehicle-, not human-oriented. Road junctions took the places of cycling and foot paths, and cyclist were forced to battle for space with pedestrians at board intersections. Bicycles, motorbikes and electric bikes are forced to share sidewalks with pedestrians or, that's more dangerous, driving along highways.

It’s not surprising that China policemen apply this principal, because a driver of “bigger vehicle” is always able to pay for all damages. As Bo Brennan wrote about his involvement in an accident. “It involved me riding a bicycle and an old lady getting off a bus. After the accident occurred... the police officer said that I had to pay the full amount of damages to the ayi (old lady. - Y.D.) because I was on a bike and she was a pedestrian—despite the fact that he expressly stated that the fault of the accident was 50-50...

Officials of some Chinese city as Fushun and Jinan constructed metal barriers along sidewalks to protect pedestrians and cyclists from transport. But pedestrians often jumping this barriers. Otherwise they should walk along half a mile (!) long barrier for crossing the street and, that’s also often, walk back across the road. The first traffic regulations in People’s Republic of China was City Traffic Regulations of August 6 1955.

In the case of my traffic accident, I was driving the “bigger vehicle”, so I had to pay out-of-pocket to cover the injuries the old lady sustained. In addition—and a bit of surprise—I had to pay for her to hire another ayi to cover her housework gig for two months (she wasn’t nearly two-monthsinjured, but that’s a completely dif

It included 59 articles with relatively light punishments for violators. Interim regulations for Expressways took effect in the 1990 banning “new drivers” from expressway. The first traffic law refers to October, 2003.


Pedestrian Safety in China: “New drivers” and Old Principles by Yekaterina Dobritskaya, PhD

ferent issue). I was later informed that if she’d had had an official job, I would’ve had to pay her monthly salA high level of road culture comes from nation civiliary for the time it took her to recover” [4]. zation, good law base and improvement of the quality of life. As a result, there is really chaos situation on Chinese roads. Pedestrians take lots of liberties impending Resources: traffic progress safe in the knowledge cyclists and drivers will give way. This notwithstanding, it doesn’t 1. Traffic Accidents, Drunk driving and Car, Bus and Track crashes in China. Hays J. // Facts and Details, 2012. - URL: http://factmake drivers stop or even slow down for pedestrian crossing the street. 2. Ying Ni. Pedestrian Safety at Urban Signalized Intersections. -

Darmstadt, 2010. - URL: 3. (Road Traffic Safety Law of People's Republic of China). - URL: 4. A Crash Course in Handling Traffic Accidents in China. Brennan B. //, 2012 - URL: detail/8607-A-Crash-Course-in-Handling-Traffic-Accidents-in-China 5. A tale of Two Cities–and an Island Resort–in Asia: Hazards Grow for Pedestrians and Bicyclists. Montgomery B., Thomas A., and Tao W. // Traffic Safety Center, Vol. 4 № 3 Winter 2007-08. - URL: http://

Road rage is confusing because of low road and legal culture of Chinese motorists and cyclists and their expectation that car drivers will give them way. Serious accidents with death or serious injury following such a bad behave result in legal action with formal investigation. If there is a probable cause (e.g. drunk driving), a criminal investigation comes. Fear of the last one is the reason of driver’s intention to “hit-and-run” after serious fatalities.

Photo by Yekaterina Dobritskaya

Next data comes from such situation on the road. According to People’s Daily On-line citied Public Security Bureau Data, “67,759 people died in road accidents in China in 2009, according to official statistics — more than twice the number in the U.S. the same year” [1]. More than 65 200 people died in 2010. In 2011 there were 210 812 fatalities involving injury or death. Most important measurers for improving China road situation should be:

About the Writer

• Acculturation of car owners, drivers and pedestrians including school and high-school education;

Dr. Yekaterina Dobritskaya (Moscow, Russia) is a • Improvement of traffic law; Doctor (PhD) of Chinese Philosophy and interpreter from Chinese of the Tomsk Polytechnic University • Upgrading of penalties of car owners and driv- in 2005-2009. During 2003-2005 lived and studied ers for “unserious” accidents; improving of road con- in China (study at Jilin University, Changchun). Is an dition and making road junction “human-oriented”. author of the dissertation and number of articles in Chinese philosophy and culture area.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Here are some elements of a plan in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy and other similar mass murders committed with guns in the US. Each of these has some value, and together would have great value. Some elements are derived from others. There are pros and cons to many of these suggestions and initiatives; those aspects are generally not discussed here. “How many more shootings must there be in America before we come to the realization that guns and grievances do not belong together?” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Effective enforcement of gun control laws can deter illegal gun trafficking, but loopholes, high standards of evidence, and weak penalties make it difficult to enforce laws designed to keep guns from prohibited persons. Stronger gun laws will lead to better enforcement of those laws.

Keep the Situation in Perspective Schools are still among the safest places for our young people to be. Students are 99 times more likely to be victimized in the community - on the streets, at the mall, at movie theaters, in fast food restaurants and other public places - rather than at school.

Reframe the Discussion

Photo byPamela Shinn

Guns are a force multiplier, and make any inclination to violence much more destructive, whatever the cause. Gun use intensifies violence, increasing the case-fatality rate in assaults and “accidents”. Gun violence substantially reduces the standard of living in a community in which it is common, and not just for the immediate victims. “For many social policy applications we either must give up on the goal of evidence-based policy, or develop a broader conception of what counts as evidence.” (U. of Chicago) “Compared with other common weapons, guns have a peculiar ability to create fear, resulting in a loss of peace of mind together with selfprotective distortions in routine activities of work and play. There is no counterpart with other weapons to drive-by shootings and stray bullets.” (U. of Chicago)


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Public Education Some mistakenly believe that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would prohibit the kinds of legal reforms we believe are warranted. In 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to own guns, striking down Washington, D.C.’s law banning handgun possession in the home. However, the Heller decision also mentioned numerous types of presumptively valid gun laws, including laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms Since Heller, lower courts have overwhelmingly upheld the constitutionality of a wide range of gun laws other than handgun bans. Establish a long-term public-education media campaign to change the public's perception of gun violence. It must be understood that crime is merely the most recognized aspect of the public-health problem posed by firearms. The campaign should also be designed to educate citizens about the risks associated with firearms ownership.

Engage Stakeholders There are differences in the problem defining process. If the problem is not defined well, finding solutions becomes much more difficult. However, there will not necessarily be consensus in defining the problem. It would be useful to have the discussion among different parties. Recruit individuals and organizations not traditionally involved in the debate. Gun-control organizations must reach out to build active, long-term coalitions with organizations whose constituencies are affected by firearms violence, including women's groups, youth organizations, civil-rights organizations, hospitals, consumer organizations and public-health associations. Support should also be sought from those with economic interests in reducing firearms violence, such as the insurance industry, hospital associations and criminal-justice associations. “Since all crime is local, the response to emergencies caused by crime should start with a local plan that is linked to the wider community. Universities and colleges should work with their local government partners to improve plans for mutual aid in all areas of crisis response, including that of victim services.” (Report of the Virginia Tech Review Panel; Office of the Governor of Virginia;

Move Quickly “[C]riminal misuse usually follows rather quickly after gun acquisition. In other words, the millions of current gun possessors will account for little of the violent crime five years from now. A reasonable goal, then, is to increase the effective price of guns to the high-risk segment of the market. (U. of Chicago)


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Improve School Safety Every campus should have a series of threat assessment protocols so that school officials can effectively work with mental health and law enforcement professionals in handling circumstances that could result in potential violence or harm. “Identify whom to call in a crisis. Maintain an updated list of who to call in case of various kinds of crisis. Develop a close working partnership with these emergency responders…Create a close working partnership with mental health professionals who can assist school officials in evaluating and assessing potentially dangerous students who may threaten or intimidate others.” (National School Safety Center) Provide ways for students to report rumors or concerns and ensuring that students trust and feel connected to adults at their school. Recent studies by the Secret Service show that in the vast majority of student shootings, other students on the campus were aware of the event before it occurred. Use tiplines. Tiplines acknowledge the key role that students and community members play in keeping schools safe. They also provide a deterrent effect that may preclude acts of crime and violence from occurring. Advice from educators and law enforcers around the country underscores several key recommendations for successful tipline management: make the tipline a collaborative, communitywide effort; involve students in planning and managing the tipline; regularly publicize and promote the tipline; protect privacy and caller anonymity; keep callers informed of progress; and provide incentives or rewards. Training every staff member to look for signs of “off behavior,” even subtle ones, from people who come into school buildings, is critical. Ensure that classroom doors can be locked. Control access to school buildings and grounds during school hours. “Minimize the number of campus entrance and exit points used daily. Access points to school grounds should be limited and supervised on a regular basis by individuals who are familiar with the student body. Campus traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, should flow through areas that can be easily and naturally supervised. Delivery entrances used by vendors also should be checked regularly. Parking lots often have multiple entrances and exits, which contribute to the vandalism and defacement of vehicles and school property. Vehicular and pedestrian access should be carefully controlled. Perimeter fencing should be considered. Bus lots should be secured and monitored. Infrequently used rooms and closets should be locked. Access to utilities, roofs, cleaning closets should be secured.” (National School Safety Center; Require faculty to wear badges or photo identification. “All school employees should be advised to greet visitors or any unidentified person and direct them to the main office to ensure that these persons have legitimate business at the school. Teachers and staff should be trained to courteously challenge all visitors.” (National School Safety Center) Use security cameras.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Equip individual classrooms with telephones. “Establish an Emergency Operation Communication System. In addition to campus intercoms and two-way radios, it is important for school officials to be able to communicate with law enforcement and outside telephone providers. This includes the use of cell phones.” (National School Safety Center) Have lockdown and Code Blue procedures, practices, and drills. Use Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). These theories hold that law enforcement officers, architects, city planners, landscape and interior designers, and volunteers can create a climate of safety in a community. CPTED’s goal is to prevent crime by designing a physical environment that positively influences human behavior. The theory is based on four principles: natural access control, natural surveillance, territoriality, and maintenance.

Reduce Youth Gun Violence “[O]ne way to prevent youth gun violence is to make the incentives that youth face to engage in prosocial activities (particularly schooling) and avoid risky behaviors (such as gun involvement) more swift, certain, and salient. (Gun Violence Among School-Age Youth in Chicago; Crime Lab; University of Chicago; http:// Address root issues, such as poverty, social inequality, and school failure. Gun availability has multiplier effects when combined with such risk factors for youth violence involvement as mental health problems, alcohol or drug abuse, and school failure or disengagement. “The lethality of guns means it is important to try to keep guns away from youth who are engaged in violence as an independent goal, above and beyond trying to reduce youth involvement with violent events.” (U. of Chicago) “[Y]oung people, criminally involved young adults, and even drug-selling street gangs respond to police pressure against illegal gun carrying and use.’ “[D]eliver a credible threat to…gangs that using guns was not going to be tolerated, and that the entire gang would suffer when any one member of the gang used a gun. The hope was to provide gang leaders with an incentive to limit gun use by the members, for fear of a police crackdown.” (U. of Chicago)

Address factors that foster violence o “Modify societal acceptance or permissiveness toward violence o Expand law enforcement and surveillance of high-risk neighborhoods o Improve community – criminal justice partnerships o Address factors that reduce or undermine trust in local government o Address community exposures that affect levels of aggression and healthy development, including: nutrition; household and environmental toxins (lead, pesticides), advertising and establishments contributing to public alcohol intoxication, and violent video, music and movie entertainment


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

o Reduce community acceptance of inappropriately angry and uncivil adults o Seek to comprehensively reduce unnecessary daily stressors o Assess and increase feeling of safety for youth, o Assure that stressed youth have access to safe, outdoor play and physical activity to release feelings of stress o Improve greenspace and walkablity of community environments” (Firearm Injury in the US; Firearm and Injury Center at Penn;

Pay Attention to Elderly Issues Among population groups especially at risk for gun violence, the elderly are usually ignored. However, while firearm injury is often considered primarily a problem of urban youth, firearm suicide rates are highest among the elderly. (FICAP) A strong association has been found between suicide and handgun access in the elderly later in life. (Conwell et al, Am J Geriatric Psychiatry 2002) Spousal homicide-suicide in older persons, while rare, is an emerging public health concern, with unique characteristics. (Maplhurs and Cohen, Am J Geriatric Psychiatry, 2005) In a VA survey of patients of cognitive status, firearms and driving, 40% of dementia patients had a gun in the home. Therefore, physicians who diagnose dementia should also perform screening and ask questions about guns in the homes of the elderly.

Prevent Suicide Many people commit suicide using a gun. “[I]t is reasonable to suppose that a policy that made it more difficult for those who consider it to use their preferred means of ending their lives (often, a gunshot) would cause some to desist.” (U. of Chicago) Gun suicides are more common among whites than blacks, and more common among the old than among young or middle-aged adults (Cook & Ludwig, 2000). Men are vastly overrepresented in all categories. The issue of guns should be linked to the issue of suicide prevention. Access to firearms is a risk factor for suicide. Firearms used in youth suicide usually belong to a parent. Reducing access to lethal means saves lives. The best generally available proxy for gun prevalence is the fraction of suicides that involve a firearm (FSS), which is highly correlated with survey-based measures of gun ownership rates in cross-section data (at both the state and county level), and also tracks movements over time at the regional and state levels (Azrael, Cook, & Miller, 2004; Kleck, 2004; Cook & Ludwig, 2006). “[S]tates with relatively high gun ownership rates also have a higher ratio of male-to-female suicides compared with states with fewer guns. These findings are consistent with the idea that guns increase the lethality of suicide attempts. (U. of Chicago)

Check Backgrounds and Keep Records Ensure state compliance with requirements to post appropriate mental health records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Require federal agencies to share records with NICS. An examination of 60 federal agencies in October 2011 showed that only eight had shared mental-health records with NICS, while only three had submitted drugabuse records. (Mayors Against Illegal Guns) Establish clear reporting guidelines for when and how mental health records are required to be posted in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System so that states can be held accountable for compliance Close the gun show loophole. Require a full background check in all gun transactions, including private sales at gun shows and online purchases. Presently, only seventeen states regulate private firearm sales at gun shows. An advocate for closing the private sale loophole once likened current federal gun policy to an airline security system which offers passengers a choice between submitting oneself to our current screening system, or side-stepping it, and boarding with whatever you would like to bring on board. Approximately 40% of the guns acquired in the U.S. annually come from unlicensed sellers, who are not required by federal law to run background checks on potential gun purchasers. If an individual privately sells guns to anyone, he or she must first report it to local authorities. Fully fund state technology efforts to comply with the federal background check system requirements. Require states to comply fully with the protocols of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or threatening to take away their federal funding. Require states to rerun background checks more often (a minimum of every other year) to prevent otherwise ineligible individuals from continuing to possess weapons. Mandate federal compliance with a presidential executive order directing all agencies to submit records to this instant background check system. Mandate that gun dealers take yearly inventories and report any lost or stolen guns and/or ammunition. Change the Tiahrt Amendments to make it easier to trace weapons and prosecute violators. These amendments have weakened the federal gun laws by amending the Gun Control Act. One provision of the Tiahrt Amendments requires the FBI to destroy all approved gun purchaser records within twenty-four hours of approval, making it extremely difficult for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to quickly trace crime guns or to retrieve firearms from prohibited individuals. In other words, there is no searchable paper trail. The Tiahrt Amendments also prohibit the ATF from requiring gun dealers to submit inventories so that the 50,000 gun dealers currently operating in the United States are not mandated to report the loss or theft of guns. State and local law enforcement are still prohibited from using trace data in civil proceedings to suspend or revoke the license of a gun dealer who has sold weapons illegally.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Incorporate tamper proof serial numbers encoded with weapon-specific information. Implement micro-stamping for ammunition. Implement ammunition trace protocols in trauma centers and emergency departments. Support ATF efforts for tracing and ballistic fingerprinting ATF should be empowered to operate as a health and safety agency with the ability to: Set safety standards for firearms, monitor compliance with such standards and issue recalls of defective firearms. The U.S. General Accounting Office has estimated that 31% of unintentional deaths caused by firearms might be prevented by the addition of two devices: a child-proof safety lock (8%) and a loading indicator (23%). (U.S. General Accounting Office, Accidental Shootings: Many Deaths and Injuries Caused by Firearms Could Be Prevented 17 (Mar. 1991), at Restrict the availability of specific firearms, classes of firearms and firearm products when appropriate, i.e., where the products present an unreasonable risk of death or injury and no feasible safety standard would adequately reduce the risk. Take immediate action to stop the sale and distribution of firearms or firearms products found to be "imminent hazards." Close loopholes. Criminals who have been convicted of misdemeanors other than domestic violence are not usually banned from gun possession under the current laws. This loophole must be closed because research has shown that one previous misdemeanor (violent or not) may be a future indicator for further violence involving a firearm. Another study revealed that individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors were eight times more likely to be charged with subsequent violent crimes, including crimes involving firearms, and that one out of every three violent misdemeanants seeking to purchase a handgun was arrested for newly committed crimes within three years of acquiring that handgun. The best solution to the limitations of running a background check is to perform both federal and state checks before allowing a gun to be sold.

Report Sales in a more Targeted Way In the summer of 2011, the US Department of Justice developed a new policy requiring licensed gun dealers in the states bordering Mexico to report sales of two or more assault weapons to the same buyer within five business days. The move came in response to a spike in border gun violence and evidence that thousands of firearms used by Mexico’s drug cartels were purchased in the United States. This policy should be expanded.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Control Manufacture and Sale Prohibit the manufacture, sale and purchase of assault weapons and outlawing high-capacity bullet magazines, very large amounts of ammunition, bullets that have the sole purpose of causing great bodily injury, and aftermarket kits to convert certain firearms from semi-automatic to fully-automatic. Define “assault weapons” better and more specifically. Include fully automatic rifles and semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic handguns. One in five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty was killed with an assault weapon. Gun shooting victims were more likely to die in larger-caliber shootings, again suggesting that the intrinsic lethality of the weapon affected the outcome (Cook, 1991). The obvious partial solution is to restrict very large caliber gun manufacture, sales, possession, and large ammunitions purchases. There is a growing Internet ammunition market that has operated with little government oversight. Under federal law, firearms dealers must obtain a federal license and keep records of their transactions, but there's virtually no federal regulation of ammunition suppliers or sales, though there was prior to 1986. Adults who want to purchase large amounts of ammunition, such as 1,000 rounds of or more, like the Aurora, Colorado, shooter, can buy it from dozens of web sites that specialize in bulk sales, often at low prices. Retail interstate shipments of ammunition were made legal by the 1986 Firearm Owners’ Protection Act. The law allowed ammunition to be shipped to individuals through the mail and eliminated existing record-keeping requirements. The price for .223 bullets, the size fired by the semiautomatic rifle used in the Newtown shootings, can be bought for as little as $400 for 1,000-rounds. High-capacity magazines start at about $28, though they can cost much more depending on the manufacturer and the number of rounds they hold. (Center for Public Integrity)

Restrict Ownership Minimally Firearms Prohibitions for High-Risk Persons Should be Broadened. Our current laws permit many people who have been convicted of crimes—most misdemeanor crimes adjudicated in adult court and felony crimes handled in juvenile court—to possess firearms. Data from two studies of individuals who have committed the most serious crimes indicate that prior to committing these crimes, the perpetrators were not prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law. Many suspects charged with felony crimes are convicted of lesser charges as a result of a plea agreement. Research has shown that misdemeanants who were legally able to purchase handguns committed crimes involving violence following those purchases at a rate two to ten times higher than that of handgun purchasers with no prior convictions. Handgun purchasers with a history of arrest but no convictions have an equally high or higher risk of committing violent crimes following handgun purchases as do misdemeanants who legally purchased a handgun. The number of drug abusers prohibited from possessing firearms might be increased significantly by revamping these regulations to, for example, expand the period following a drug conviction for which a person is prohibited from possessing firearms. More restrictions on youth purchases. Restrictions on youths’ ability to purchase and possess firearms should be broadened. Although federal law and most state law allows youth 18 to 20 years of age to legally possess a handgun, youth of these ages have some of the highest rates of homicide offending. Age-specific homicide offending rates rise sharply in the late teens and peak at age 20. An analogy is to graduated driver’s licensing.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

There should be more federal control over gun policy, particularly because the federal government is going to better internalize cross-state spillovers in gun trafficking.

Trafficking flows respond to gun regulations, with guns flowing from states with weak gun laws into nearby states with strict laws.

Proximity matters: Trafficking flows are more significant between two nearby states than between two distant states. Thus, a weakening of gun laws has a more significant effect in nearby states.

The fraction of crimes involving a gun tends to be higher in states exposed to weak gun laws.

(Brown University (2011, October 24). Gun traffickers exploit differences in state laws, economist says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 4, 2013, from /releases/2011/10/111024123006.htm)

Raise the Price and Increase the Cost of Illegal Gun Acquisition “Transaction costs in underground gun markets are substantial: prices are high relative to the legal gun market; wait times are considerable; mistrust is common between buyers and sellers; and many transaction attempts go unfulfilled, even by people who are well-connected in the underground economy (Cook, Ludwig, Venkatesh, and Braga, 2007). The underground market seems to work far less smoothly for guns than for drugs, perhaps in part because guns, unlike drugs, are durable goods, so the number of market transactions is lower and exchange becomes more difficult to manage. These patterns suggest opportunities for enforcement efforts that disrupt the illicit gun market. Measures such as buy-and-bust operations or efforts to incentivize arrestees to provide information about buyers and sellers in the gun market may prove more effective than those directed at illegal drugs.” (U. of Chicago) “Diverting high-risk buyers from the primary to the secondary market (by, for example, improving background checks or cracking down on rogue dealers) would further increase prices in the latter by increasing demand (Cook & Leitzel, 1996).” (U. of Chicago)

Train for Safety Mandatory training on gun safety for gun owners and users. Tie this requirement to federal funding of states. If there is no such training, then a withdrawal or deferral of federal funding occurs. Life, health and homeowner insurance companies deny any injury or liability claims caused by unregistered weapons/ammo owned by the claimant, or if the gun owner failed to take the requisite training. Require any person seeking to own, possess, purchase or otherwise acquire a firearm to obtain a firearm safety certificate, which obligates the applicant to successfully complete a safety training course that includes live firing, a safe-handling demonstration and a written test of firearm laws. Require training for concealed carry. There is a critical lack of accountability required for gun ownership, especially for carrying a gun in public. For example, one does not have to be a trained marksman to own a gun or carry a concealed weapon in many states; a course is required for concealed carry in most, but not all, states, most notably in the states that do not require permits for CCW. Require periodic recertification.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Report loss and theft of firearms Require any firearm owner or possessor to report the loss or theft of his or her firearm to law enforcement within 48 hours of the time he or she knew or reasonably should have known of the loss or theft.

Detect Incidents Install gunfire and gunshot detection systems. Such systems help law enforcement detect the physical location of the gunfire, review video of the location, and dispatch an appropriate response. Gunfire detection systems have been shown to produce safer communities, produce 80% more arrests, and provide evidence for court. Rapid and consistent response to all gunshots by police.

Store and Keep Arms Safely Mandatory trigger locks and gun safes for gun owners. Installation of gun cabinets may improve gun and ammunition storage practices. Financial assistance to gun owners, such as tax incentives, can be provided to gun owners for this purpose. Child access prevention (CAP) laws require gun owners to store their firearms so that children and teens cannot easily access firearms unsupervised. Studies have found CAP laws to be effective in reducing accidental shootings of children by as much as 23%, and suicides of adolescents by 8%. Keeping firearms locked, unloaded, and storing ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms may assist in reducing youth suicide and unintentional injury in homes with children and teenagers where guns are stored. (David C. Grossman et al., Gun Storage Practices and Risk of Youth Suicide and Unintentional Firearm Injuries, 293 JAMA 707, 71113 (Feb. 2005) Require trigger locks.

Retrieve weapons from ineligible individuals Policies regulating the retrieval of weapons from ineligible individuals are also seriously inadequate. For example, if a crime is committed after the purchase of a gun, it remains unclear in several states which law enforcement agencies must be notified, if any, and which procedure law enforcement must follow to retrieve weapons from the person accused or convicted of a crime. Moreover, laws often do not mandate that stolen guns be reported to law enforcement officials, so a stolen gun could easily be used to commit violent crimes.

Notice the Link Between Gun and Alcohol Abuse Expanding firearm prohibitions to include persons who are alcoholics or problem drinkers could potentially reduce alcohol-related violence. Substance abuse is associated with a significant increase in violent behavior. It's a much more significant risk factor than mental illness. Therefore, create and make more severe the penalties for using a gun while drinking alcohol, as well as for using a gun while on certain medications known by


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

medical experts to cause agitated or aggressive behavior. Federal firearm laws do not prohibit alcoholics from possessing firearms, and only 16 states have statutes prohibiting alcohol abusers from possessing firearms. Furthermore, some states with gun prohibitions for alcohol abusers lack regulations to allow authorities to enforce the prohibition.

End Trafficking Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with stiff penalties for those who arm criminals.

Provide Mental Health Services and Screen

Fully fund mental health services. Fund these services through a special tax on guns, ammunition, and permits dedicated to mental health screening, counseling, and services. Instituting and expanding programs that work through schools to identify and help students with issues, helping families with at risk children, and adults with crisis counseling might help create a safer environment. Ensure access to mental health care, including treatment and medication. Establish 24/7 walk-in crisis centers. Provide annual mental health screenings in schools, as is often done for vision, hearing, and dental issues. Maintain confidentiality as necessary, but don’t let confidentiality requirements interfere with provision of necessary services. Conduct screenings in pediatricians’ and doctor’s offices for boys and young men with a history of a traumatic event of many types. Screening can also be done by school counselors and school nurses. Include in the screening probing for a history of acting on threats or of having violent or destructive behavior. Other screening factors include self-loathing, rage, social marginalization, family problems, work or school problems, and precipitating crisis events. Substantial evidence indicates that perpetrators of murder–suicide share many of the following characteristics: (1) they had troubled childhoods, (2) they lived in oppressive social environments, (3) they suffered from low self-esteem, (4) they were triggered by a personal crisis, (5) they were seeking revenge, and (6) they were seeking fame and glory. Many suffered grotesque physical and /or psychological abuse during childhood, including injury in the company of their caregivers.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

The National School Safety Center has developed the following checklist from tracking school-associated violent deaths in the US from July 1992 to 2011. After studying common characteristics of youngsters who have caused such deaths, NSSC has identified the following behaviors, which could indicate a youth's potential for harming him/herself or others. _______Has a history of tantrums and uncontrollable angry outbursts. _______ Characteristically resorts to name calling, cursing or abusive language. _______ Habitually makes violent threats when angry. _______ Has previously brought a weapon to school. _______ Has a background of serious disciplinary problems at school and in the community. _______ Has a background of drug, alcohol or other substance abuse or dependency. _______ Is on the fringe of his/her peer group with few or no close friends. _______ Is preoccupied with weapons, explosives or other incendiary devices. _______ Has previously been truant, suspended or expelled from school. _______ Displays cruelty to animals. _______ Has little or no supervision and support from parents or a caring adult. _______ Has witnessed or been a victim of abuse or neglect in the home. _______ Has been bullied and/or bullies or intimidates peers or younger children. _______ Tends to blame others for difficulties and problems s/he causes her/himself. _______ Consistently prefers TV shows, movies or music expressing violent themes and acts. _______ Prefers reading materials dealing with violent themes, rituals and abuse. _______ Reflects anger, frustration and the dark side of life in school essays or writing projects. _______ Is involved with a gang or an antisocial group on the fringe of peer acceptance. _______ Is often depressed and/or has significant mood swings. _______ Has threatened or attempted suicide. ( The MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study found some examples of specific risk factors related to violence that could be screened. They included the following: Gender. Men were somewhat more likely than women to be violent, but the difference was not large. Violence by women was more likely than violence by men to be directed against family members and to occur at home, and less likely to result in medical treatment or arrest. Prior violence. All measures of prior violence – self-report, arrest records, and hospital records – were strongly related to future violence. Childhood experiences. The seriousness and frequency of having been physically abused as a child predicted subsequent violent behavior, as did having a parent – particularly a father – who was a substance abuser or a criminal.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Neighborhood and race. While there was an overall association between race and violence, African Americans and whites who lived in comparably disadvantaged neighborhoods had the same rates of violence. Diagnosis. A diagnosis of a major mental disorder -- especially a diagnosis of schizophrenia -- was associated with a lower rate of violence than a diagnosis of a personality or adjustment disorder. A co-occurring diagnosis of substance abuse was strongly predictive of violence. Psychopathy. Psychopathy, as measured by a screening version of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, was more strongly associated with violence than any other risk factor we studied. The “antisocial behavior” component of psychopathy, rather than the “emotional detachment” component, accounted for most of this relationship. Delusions. The presence of delusions – or the type of delusions or the content of delusions – was not associated with violence. A generally “suspicious” attitude toward others was related to later violence. Hallucinations. Neither hallucinations in general, nor “command” hallucinations per se, elevated the risk of violence. If voices specifically commanded a violent act, however, the likelihood of violence was increased. Violent thoughts. Thinking or daydreaming about harming others was associated with violence, particularly if the thoughts or daydreams were persistent. Anger. The higher a patient scored on the Novaco Anger Scale in the hospital, the more likely he or she was to be violent later in the community. ( Under the IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with emotional disorders are supposed to receive free and appropriate services in K-12 schools so that they can remain in school and succeed in life. However due to the high cost of these services, school budgetary cuts, resistance by some school districts, and the lack of knowledge by parents that these programs are mandated, but not fully implemented, many young people drop out or do not receive the services they need. These Acts should be fully funded and enforced. Finalize the regulatory rules for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Millions of Americans who are entitled to access to a full range of mental health and substance use disorder services are not getting those needed treatments because the law has not been fully implemented. Expand the Australian concept of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training. The idea behind MHFA is no different than that of traditional first aid: to create an environment where people know how to help someone in an emergency situation. Not only does the course increase mental health literacy, according to studies of the Australian model, but it’s also shown to improve the mental health of those taking the training, making them more confident in dealing with people who have a mental health illness. Participants learn how to detect a number of mental illnesses -- including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, substance use disorders, depression, anxiety and eating disorders -- and how to respond to people who have them.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Their response is guided by a five-step action plan, termed “ALGEE,” which stands for: 1. Assess for risk of suicide or harm. 2. Listen nonjudgmentally. 3. Give reassurance and information. 4. Encourage appropriate professional help. 5. Encourage self-help and other support strategies. One of the program’s main goals is to erase the stigma associated with mental health illnesses. Remove the requirement that youth under age 18 must consent to mental health treatment. Instead, make provisions in case this is not possible: require that a parent/ guardian must consent to the treatment and a mental health professional who has knowledge of the case and an unrelated professional such as a teacher, pediatrician, etc. For example, a 13 year old mentally ill person may or may not consent to treatment. However, they are still likely living with a parent/ guardian. Provide other options for mentally ill youth and adults who are returning to the community (often a parent or relative's home) after in-treatment or institutionalized care. Provide more opportunities for respite for parents of children with mental illness. Include insurance coverage for this type of care. Help provide infrastructure, care and support to maintain the mental health of the parent/ guardian caring for the child.

Use Medical Services to Enquire about Safety End medical gag laws. Some states, such as Florida, have passed laws that prohibit doctors from asking their patients about gun ownership, even though studies clearly show that gun ownership is a health risk factor for the owner and his family. A group of Florida doctors and physician groups soon filed a lawsuit, arguing that the outrageous law interfered with their free speech rights under the First Amendment, as well as their ability to care for their patients by warning them about the dangers of firearm ownership. The district court agreed, finding that “[t]he law chills practitioners’ speech in a way that impairs the provision of medical care and may ultimately harm the patient.” The court’s order prohibited the state from enforcing the law. The American Bar Association has also spoken out against “medical gag laws.” At its annual meeting the ABA adopted a resolution expressing strong opposition to such laws. The accompanying report stated, For medical practitioners to meet their preventive care and safety counseling responsibilities, they must age of the patient, but for adults often include alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, smoking, diet, and exercise; pediatricians often discuss wearing seat belts and bicycle helmets, the potential dangers of backyard swimming pools, and the need to securely store household cleaners and toxins. Firearms in the home are another known risk factor that doctors may choose to discuss with their patients or the parents of young patients be able to discuss a broad range of topics with their patients related to known risk factors. This unfettered access allows doctors to adequately assess and address these factors with their patients. Risk factors that may be discussed vary depending on the age of the patient, but for adults often include alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, smoking, diet, and exercise; pediatricians often discuss wearing seat belts and bicycle helmets, the potential dangers of backyard swimming pools, and the need to securely store household cleaners and toxins. Firearms in the home are another known risk factor that doctors may choose to discuss with their patients or the parents of young patients.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Assess Threats Use a threat assessment approach. Look at the person’s personal risk factors and ask, Do they have a history of mental illness? If students, what kinds of behavioral problems have they had? What are their relationships like? We also look at protective factors: Do they have someone they can talk to? Are there guns in the home? Are they locked up? Are there signs such as social withdrawal, irritability, and a change in habits? The best predictor of future behavior is past behaviors. A history of violence towards family members, toward others, towards animals is a warning sign. A common pattern for school shooters is being male, having a history of loss or a perceived failure or rejection, and having access to firearms. For example, despite being rejected by the military because of a history of illicit drug use and being kicked out of a community college for repeated incidents of threatening and bizarre behavior, Jared Loughner, the Tucson, Arizona, mass gun murderer, legally purchased a semi-automatic pistol with a magazine capable of holding 30 rounds of ammunition. “Some warning signs carry more weight than others. For instance, a fascination with, and possession of, firearms are more significant than being a loner, because possession of firearms gives one the capacity to carry out an attack.” “Following are some warning signs (indicators and red flags) associated with school shootings in the United States. Schools, places of employment, and other entities that are creating a threat assessment capability may want to be aware of these red flags: Violent fantasy content – Writings (Stories, essays, compositions), Drawings (Artwork depicting violence), Reading and viewing materials (Preference for books, magazines, television, video tapes and discs, movies, music, websites, and chat rooms with violent themes and degrading subject matter), and role playing acts of violence and degradation. Anger problems – Difficulty controlling anger, loss of temper, impulsivity, Making threats Fascination with weapons and accoutrements – Especially those designed and most often used to kill people (such as machine guns, semiautomatic pistols, snub nose revolvers, stilettos, bayonets, daggers, brass knuckles, special ammunition and explosives) Boasting and practicing of fighting and combat proficiency – Military and sharpshooter training, martial arts, use of garrotes, and knife fighting Loner – Isolated and socially withdrawn, misfit, prefers own company to the company of others


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Suicidal ideation – Depressed and expresses hopelessness and despair Reveals suicidal preparatory behavior Homicidal ideation – Expresses contempt for other(s) Makes comments and/or gestures indicating violent aggression Stalking – Follows, harasses, surveils, attempts to contact regardless of the victim’s expressed annoyance and demands to cease and desist Non-compliance and disciplinary problems – Refusal to abide by written and/or verbal rules Imitation of other murderers – Appearance, dress, grooming, possessions like those of violent shooters in past episodes (e.g. long black trench coats) Interest in previous shooting situations – Drawn toward media, books, entertainment, conversations dealing with past murders Victim/martyr self-concept – Fantasy that some day he will represent the oppressed and wreak vengeance on the oppressors Strangeness and aberrant behavior – Actions and words that cause people around him to become fearful and suspicious Paranoia – Belief that he is being singled out for unfair treatment and/or abuse; feeling persecuted. Violence and cruelty – A history of using violence to solve problems (fighting, hitting, etc.), abusing animals or weaker individuals Inappropriate affect – Enjoying cruel behavior and/or being able to view cruelty without being disturbed Acting out – Expressing disproportionate anger or humor in situations not warranting it, attacking surrogate targets


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Police contact – A history of contact with police for anger, stalking, disorderly conduct; Past temporary restraining orders (or similar court orders), A jail/prison record for aggressive crimes Mental health history related to dangerousness – A history of referral or commitments to mental health facilities for aggressive/destructive behavior Expressionless face/anhedonia – An inability to express and/or experience joy and pleasure Unusual interest in police, military, terrorist activities and materials Vehicles resembling police cars, military vehicles, surveillance equipment, handcuffs, weapons, clothing (camouflage, ski masks, etc.) Use of alcohol/drugs – Alcohol/drugs are used to reduce inhibitions so that aggressive behaviors are more easily expressed” (Roger Depue, Ph.D; Appendix M. Red Flags, Warning Signs And Indicators; Report of the Virginia Tech Review Panel; Office of the Governor of Virginia; Car safety analogy. National success in reducing injuries from car crashes can serve as a model for reducing firearm injury. “A comprehensive, multidisciplinary research initiative has been credited with dramatic reductions in motor vehicle deaths, despite significant increases in automobile travel.” (FICAP) Justas speeding or distracted driving escalates risks on an unsafe road, misuse of firearms in the wrong places and at inappropriate times can intensify risks for violent injury and death. A patient’s firearm risks should be examined in the context of his or her environment, their household, and their history of risk‐taking behaviors. Provide for Patient Safety The military, VHA, and wider medical community should create a trusted mechanism for safely removing and temporarily storing firearms on a patient's behalf with his/her consent. Counsel about Lethal Means Nurses and other emergency department personnel in hospital emergency rooms should provide "Lethal means counseling." This means: Assessing whether a person at risk for suicide has access to a firearm or other lethal means, and Working with them and their family and support system to limit their access until they are no longer feeling suicidal. Psychiatrists should also provide such counseling in their practices. Among families of high risk youth, those who received the counseling were significantly more likely than those who had not to remove or secure the dangerous items. Others who come into contact with suicidal people should also provide such counseling.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Emergency departments and trauma centers offer the opportunity to reduce repeat or retaliatory violence in injured youth. Addressing distress and mood disorders, providing relationship therapy, brief interventions for at‐risk drinkers, nutritional supplements, and encouraging help‐seeking can lower risks for future violence.

Repair the Social Safety Net Improve the social safety net generally, so that fewer people fall through the cracks.

Tighten Rules for Mandatory Reporters Tighten rules for mandatory reporters, so that more people with violent potential come to the attention of law enforcement.

Restore Community Oriented Policing Restore funding for the Community Oriented Policing (COPS) program, to put more police back in communities. Directed police patrol against illicit carrying has promise for reducing gun violence. Targeted harm reduction strategies.

Demonstrate Gun Owner and Retailer Responsibility Gun enthusiasts police other gun enthusiasts, and learn to notice and act on signs of potential violence. For example, firearm retailers and range owners, can help prevent suicide by Using guidelines with gun store/firing range owners about how to avoid selling or renting a firearm to a suicidal customer Encouraging gun stores and firing ranges to display and distribute suicide, anger, and violence prevention materials tailored to their customers, including materials, resources, and hotline telephone numbers and websites. Experience has shown that higher-yield interventions include third-party reporting of concerns or leaked intent. James Knoll: “An open and fearless heart seeks to take responsibility for its own anger. It does so by learning how not to externalize blame, being willing to examine itself, and cultivating responsibility.”

Get Media Coverage Cooperation The media, in covering a mass murder shooting, should ensure that the perpetrator is neither glorified nor demonized. Avoiding much emphasis on the perpetrator is a good general rule. Rather, media should emphasize victim and community recovery efforts.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Improve Product Liability Laws Firearms are the only consumer product not regulated by a federal agency for health and safety. This unique exemption has been exploited by the gun industry as it has moved to embrace increased lethality as the foundation of its design, manufacturing, and marketing efforts in the wake of the long-term decline in household gun ownership. Apply the decades-long lessons of consumer product safety regulation and injury prevention to the gun industry and its products. Strengthen product liability laws, so that gun manufacturers have at least some liability for the damage that their guns do. Congress enacted a law in 2005 that gives gun manufacturers and dealers broad immunity from being sued. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) shields the gun industry. This law should be rescinded. Before the PLCAA, lawsuits were starting to prod the gun industry to act more responsibly. In 2000, Smith & Wesson, the nation’s largest handgun manufacturer, agreed to a variety of safety conditions to end lawsuits that threatened to put it in bankruptcy. Among other things, Smith & Wesson agreed to put a second, hidden set of serial numbers on all of its new guns to make it harder for criminals to scratch away the identifying markings. But the PLCAA took away the pressure to work on safety. Introduce Consumer Product Regulation and Safety Devices The nation has decided to regulate the design of numerous consumer products, such as cribs and small, highpowered magnets, in order to prevent far fewer deaths than could be prevented with a ban of large capacity magazines for example. We need a holistic approach to protecting children. Permit the Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate guns like any other consumer product. “The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is forbidden from regulating the sale and manufacture of guns. A 1976 amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Act specifically states that the Commission “shall make no ruling or order that restricts the manufacture or sale of guns, guns ammunition, or components of guns ammunition, including black powder or gun powder for guns.” As a result, the CPSC can regulate teddy bears and toy guns but not real guns, despite the fact that they are one of the most lethal consumer products.” (Children’s Defense Fund; Protect Children, Not Guns: The Truth About Guns; January 11, 2013) Although unintentional or accidental shootings account for a small share of firearm- related mortality and morbidity, these deaths and injuries are highly preventable through proper design of firearms. Some of these incidents occur because inexperienced gun handlers, often children, do not realize that a gun is loaded, or that a pistol can have a round loaded in the chamber to fire even after the ammunition clip is removed. Unintentional shootings of this type can be prevented by magazine safety disconnect devices and loaded chamber indicators, relatively inexpensive safety features already available on some handguns. In addition, include increased pressure required for trigger pulls.

Use Biometrics to Control Who Can Shoot the Gun Technological fixes so that only the registered owner can shoot the gun. Guns can be designed so that they cannot be fired by unauthorized users, and thus, prevent unintentional and self-inflicted shootings by underage youth, as well as some crimes committed with stolen guns. (Teret SP, Webster DW. Reducing gun deaths in the United States: personalized guns would help – and would be achievable. British Medical Journal 1999:318:1160-1161) Safer gun technology exists, but most manufacturers, not required by law to incorporate safety into their designs, have been reluctant to make use of it. The technology to manufacture child-resistant handguns has existed since the late 1800s when Smith & Wesson produced a handgun with a


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

safety grip, and claimed that “no ordinary child under eight years of age [could] possibly discharge it.” Also, technology exists to “personalize” a gun so that only the authorized user can operate it. Methods for personalization include low-technology devices such as combination locks and high-technology electric, radio frequency, or magnetic sensory devices. Colt’s Manufacturing Company, Inc. (Colt) has developed working prototypes of a personalized gun which use radio frequency technology. In 1996, Sandia National Laboratories released a report of its work on personalized gun technologies.

Require Liability Insurance Gun holders should be required to purchase additional liability insurance to cover gun incidents that cause harm to themselves and other. Proof of insurance should be provided as a condition to purchase a gun. The analogy is to car insurance.

Divest from Uncooperative Manufacturers Institutional and other investors should divest from gun manufacturers. For example, the father of Stephen Feinberg, founder of Cerberus, the private-equity firm that owns gunmaker Freedom Group Inc., lives in the town where a Freedom Group-made rifle was used to kill 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut’s elementary school. Martin Feinberg is a resident of Liberty at Newtown, a community for people 55 and older that’s about 6 miles from Sandy Hook elementary school. Cerberus today announced it will sell Freedom Group. (Source: Bloomberg; 12/18/2012)

Advertise for Public Health/Use Social Marketing In the absence of rules governing the design of firearms, regulating the way guns are advertised may be a useful public health intervention. Some gun advertisements include messages suggesting that bringing a handgun into the home is generally protective for the occupants of the home. The best available scientific information contradicts this message. Given this disjunction, regulating those advertisements may be an appropriate response. Under federal law, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has authority to prohibit advertisements that are "deceptive" or "unfair." Under the FTC's deception analysis, the focus is on whether consumers are misled by an advertisement. For a finding of unfairness, the FTC looks for advertisements that may cause substantial injury to consumers. Under either analysis, a strong argument can be made that firearm advertisements promising home protection are unlawful. Regulate handgun advertising.

Recognize the Prevalence of Evil Broaden the discussion beyond mental health to include evil people, and learn to recognize the signs of evil. James Scully, MD, CEO of the American Psychiatric Association has stated, “The idea that mental illness and evil are one and the same thing is simply a relic of the past and has no place in our public dialogue. People who are clearly not mentally ill commit violent crimes every day.” Most mass shooters have not had a mental illness but instead were very angry and/or seeking vengeance. According to the psychiatrist James Knoll, “The majority of research indicates that there are factors common to mass murderers, such as extreme feelings of anger and revenge, the lack of an accomplice (in adult mass murder), feelings of social alienation, and


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

planning/organizing the offense. In a detailed case study of 5 mass murderers who were caught before they were killed, a number of common traits and historical factors were found. The subjects had all been bullied or isolated as children, turning into loners who felt despair over being socially excluded. They were described as suspicious, resentful, grudge-holders who demonstrated obsessive and inflexible thinking. Not surprisingly, they were also narcissistic and coped with personal problems by blaming others. Their worldview was characterized by seeing most others as rejecting and uncaring. As a result, they spent a great deal of time nurturing their resentment and ruminating on past humiliations. The ruminations evolved into fantasies of violent revenge. They did not see their own violent death as a deterrent, particularly because they perceived it as bringing them fame with an aura of power.” Besides access to a gun, other factors often found in killing of family members (familicide) include the presence of a stepchild, substance abuse by the perpetrator, domestic violence, jealousy, and economic stress. In familicide cases, studies have found that 91–95% of the time the perpetrator is a man. “Rampage shooters are generally assumed to be mentally unbalanced, while suicide bombers are seen as extreme, but rational, political actors. However, this review explores the possibility that the primary differences between the two types of killers are cultural, not individual, and that in terms of their underlying psychology and motivation, they are actually quite similar.” (Adam Lankford and Nayab Hakim; From Columbine to Palestine: A comparative analysis of rampage shooters in the United States and volunteer suicide bombers in the Middle East; Aggression and Violent Behavior; Volume 16, Issue 2, March–April 2011, Pages 98–107) It can be argued that the evil does not lie within the shooter, but within the society that permits the shooter. Barrister John Mortimore clearly stated this realization: ‘If this man was allowed to have handguns under license it is not demonic evil but a failure of resistance’ (Mortimore, cited by Squires, 131). (Squires, Peter. Gun Culture or Gun Control? Firearms, Violence and Society. Routledge: New York, 2000)

Tighten Rules on Concealed Carry Tighten the rules on concealed carry of a gun. Concealed weapons are defined as “weapons, especially handguns, which are kept hidden on one’s person, or under one’s control.” Under one’s control can also mean a gun that is easily accessed in places such as a glove compartment or under the seat of one’s car while driving.

Reduce Violence Against Women According to the Violence Policy Center’s report, When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2007 Homicide Data, 91% of murdered women were killed by someone they knew. Because guns increase the probability of death in incidents of domestic violence, the carrying of concealed weapons (CCW) is especially problematic. Federal law does not prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons by private citizens, nor does it provide rules for concealed weapons permits or licenses by private citizens. From the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (“WISQARS”) Leading Causes of Death Reports database for women’s violence-related deaths in the United States, for females aged fifteen to thirty-four, homicide-by-firearm was the leading cause of death from 1999 to 2007. For women aged thirty-five to sixty-four, homicide-by-firearm was the third leading cause of violence-related death from 1999 to 2007. Moreover, suicide-by-firearm also ranked in the top five causes of violence-related deaths for women of all ages from 1999 to 2007 with the rate increasing with age after age thirty-five. For women aged fifteen to thirty-four, the rank was third, and for women aged thirty-five to sixty-four, it rose to the second leading cause of violence-related death.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

A study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers analyzed gun use at home and concluded that “hostile gun displays against family members may be more common than gun use in self-defense, and that hostile gun displays are often acts of domestic violence directed against women.” Thanks to the high level of state reciprocity, concealed weapons permits are often valid across state lines. These policies should be ended. The correlation between carrying concealed weapons and violence against women deserves heightened research. Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. VAWA authorizes the government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for violent crime against women, increases the duration of pre-trial detention of accused batterers, imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allows civil redress in cases that prosecutors chose not to pursue. Fully fund these acts: The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) as extended by the Department of Health and Human Services Appropriations Act in 2010 provides dedicated federal funding for domestic violence shelters, emergency shelters, crisis hotlines, counseling services, and victim assistance programs for the underserved. FVPSA also funds initiatives for teen dating violence and children who witness violence. Additionally, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) intervenes in child abuse, neglect, and sexual violence and improves services for both victims of child abuse and families that are experiencing domestic violence and child maltreatment. Strengthen the Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Gun Ban, prohibiting anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or of child abuse from purchasing or possessing a gun. While well-intentioned, the Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Gun Ban has some serious limitations. First, the law does not apply to people who are dating unless the couple has at some point cohabitated and/or have a child together. However, there is a documented risk of domestic violence being committed by a dating partner. California has addressed this gap in federal law by enacting more stringent state laws encompassing a more comprehensive list of persons subject to firearm prohibitions due to domestic violence, including persons convicted of Intimate Partner Violence against someone they are or were dating, regardless of sexual orientation. State laws should require removal of firearms from abusers to help ensure that the abusers will not have continued access to firearms to threaten or harm their victims. Twenty-three states do not have a court-ordered removal law or a police gun removal law in place. The following elements should be included in state gun removal legislation: a. Mandatory “shall-remove” laws are preferable to discretionary “may-remove” laws. “Shall-remove” laws limit discretion and facilitate consistent implementation in removal of guns from the abuser. b. Requirements that guns have been used as an instrument of abuse prior to removal should be eliminated as such conditions limit the preventive potential of these laws to reduce the risk of severe and lethal abuse. c. Laws that condition gun removal on arrest of the alleged batterer impose a link between two interpersonal violence response options that need not be connected, and they may needlessly complicate law enforcement officers’ decisions about how and when to use arrest and gun removal to achieve maximum benefit.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

d. Laws that require the presence or potential risk of danger associated with the gun as a condition of police removal may be too subjective for consistent, effective implementation, and therefore this requirement is not recommended. e. Court authority to remove guns from protective order respondents during both the temporary and permanent stages of the order are more comprehensive than laws that restrict court removal authority to the permanent order stage. Offering this protection when respondents first learn of the order is advisable, given the heightened danger for the protected party at this time. f. Responsibility for removing surrendered guns should rest with law enforcement. g. Relying on respondents to comply with the court’s order may result in decreased compliance with the law. h. In general, laws that specify clear procedures for the mechanism, immediacy, and duration of gun removal and provide funding to train law enforcement and the courts in implementing these laws will increase the likelihood that these laws will positively impact victim safety. Good laws require effective implementation and enforcement. Advocates and policy makers in states where these laws exist can assess how law enforcement and the courts are using these laws to increase available protections for interpersonal violence victims. i. Working with state and local officials to support efforts to ensure that these laws are effectively used is important. j. There is a need for research that informs how these laws are being implemented, and how their implementation impacts victim, law enforcement, and community safety.

Recognize Limits on Privacy Rights Increase the understanding of school and college officials, so that they don’t hide behind the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in mistakenly thinking they can’t do anything about potentially violent students. Similarly, increase the understanding of HIPAA (the health care privacy act), so that practitioners understand that it doesn’t mean that potentially violent patients can be ignored or hidden. Currently, f the threat does not seem imminent, current confidentiality rules and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) prohibit clinicians from acting on these measures, lest they set themselves up to be sued. Therefore, a legal safe harbor should be created to protect clinicians who warn a potential victim and law enforcement authorities.

Conduct Research Establish a National Institute of Violence Prevention at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research root causes and community solutions. We should fund the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to develop its infrastructure so it can track, assess and develop strategies to prevent gun violence, just as we do with tainted spinach and influenza. Currently NIH is prohibited by statute from covering gun violence as a public health problem. The agency should be asking four basic questions, said Mark Rosenberg, who headed the agency’s


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

division that studied gun violence in the 1990s: Who gets shot? What are the causes? What are the risk factors? What works to prevent gun deaths and injuries? The most critical piece, he said, is determining whether programs such as gun registration and waiting periods reduce risk. Revise the charter of the US Institute on Peace to allow it to work on domestic US conflict issues, such as gun violence.

Reduce Political Contributions Overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, so that the influence of big donors will be decreased in politics. This will reduce the pernicious influence of the NRA and arms manufacturers, which are distorting the possibility of good legislation.

Use a Public Health Emphasis and Approach Shift to more of a public health emphasis, and encourage passive safety elements, similarly to the way car safety has been approached. People still have lots and lots of cars, but each car is much safer. Public health provides a useful framework to address firearm injury because it seeks to prevent harm to both individuals and the community. This approach is informed by epidemiology, “the study of the distribution and determinants of healthrelated states or events in specified populations and the application of this study to control of health problems.” Specifically, this approach looks for practical prevention and intervention points that occur prior to, during, or after an injury event, and can operate by addressing the agent, the host, and environment. The prevention of firearm suicides, which outnumber firearm homicides and are not crimes, is often viewed as the responsibility the healthcare system and providers. Healthcare providers have a vital role in preventing intentional and unintentional firearm injuries and their impact on patients, families and communities.

Consider Buy-Back Programs Use buy-back programs for guns. “Gun “buyback” programs may seem to offer another opportunity to learn more about the effects of gun prevalence on crime. In practice, American buyback programs have had little effect on prevalence because they are brief and voluntary, and leave open the possibility of owners buying new guns to replace those they turn in. Further, the sellers in these buyback programs have been shown to be people at low risk for criminal offending, and the guns that are turned in are often broken or quite different from those that are used in crime.” (U. of Chicago) This argues for evidence-based programs.

Use Police Enforcement, Security Guards, and Surveillance of Potentially Dangerous People and Groups Treat mass gun murderers as domestic terrorists. There are burgeoning sales of 50 caliber sniper rifles—military bred weapons that can down helicopters and penetrate armor plating, yet are easier to purchase than a standard handgun. A study by the Violence Policy Center revealed that the Al Qaeda network had purchased at least 25 of the weapons in the United States.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

FBI documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) under the Freedom of Information Act show that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did "not condone the use of violence" at occupy protests. Using similar criteria, extreme gun enthusiasts could be similarly surveilled, monitored, and reported on. In fact, extreme gun enthusiasts, because they possess guns, espouse a willingness to use them, and give as a reason protection from an allegedly oppressive government, provide even greater reasons for FBI scrutiny of them. This would help provide early warning of potential mass murders using guns. Undercover stings of suspect gun dealers, coupled with prosecutions and publicity about the effort, can lead to substantial reductions in the number of new guns diverted to criminals. Using this strategy, Chicago and Detroit saw reductions in the diversion of recently purchased guns from in-state dealers to criminals of 62% and 36%, respectively. States that have and enforce (through regular compliance inspections) comprehensive regulations on gun dealers have fewer guns sold by in-state gun stores that are diverted to criminals soon after retail sale. Currently, the FBI conducts such stings of suspected terrorists. Reframing the idea of gun violence as a form of domestic terrorist would enable similar tactics to be used against gun violence enablers. Gun Carrying Suppression Units. Many shootings result from spontaneous conflicts involving an individual who is illegally carrying a gun. Some cities deploy special police units to detect and deter illegal gun carrying at times and places where shootings are common. This strategy has reduced shootings in several cities by 30% to 70% without causing the violence to spill over to nearby areas. Call-In Meetings. Offenders in target areas with the most violent criminal histories are instructed to attend a “call in” meeting. Law enforcement officials tell offenders at these meetings that they will be under surveillance, and will face federal prosecution if they are involved in any violence or firearm offenses. Offenders are also offered assistance, including substance abuse treatment and job training to help them change their lifestyles. Community leaders and family members sometimes attend to encourage positive change. This strategy is associated with substantial reductions in gun violence in Boston and Indianapolis. CeaseFire Programs. Chicago’s CeaseFire program is a public health initiative involving outreach to high-risk youth in neighborhoods with high levels of guns violence, mediation of disputes, and efforts to promote social norms that stay away from violence. Street outreach workers—who are typically former gang members—develop relationships with high-risk youth, steer those youth to resources to reduce their risk (e.g., job training), and serve as positive role models. Outreach workers also place themselves in settings where shootings tend to occur, and seek out information about conflicts that could escalate to gunfire. When disputes arise, outreach workers (sometimes with the assistance of “violence interrupters”) help the individuals involved to appreciate the negative consequences of using violence, and offer nonviolent resolutions to the conflict. An evaluation of CeaseFire found shootings declined in 6 of 7 intervention eighborhoods, and that the program was associated with significant reductions in shootings and retaliatory homicides in 4 of 7 neighborhoods studied. When program implementation was interrupted as a result of funding cuts, shootings increased in the affected areas. Baltimore’s replication of the program has demonstrated significant reductions in homicides in two intervention communities.


A Plan for Reducing Gun Violence in the US by Marc Brenman

Armed security guards in schools. There are about 132,400 elementary and secondary schools in the US. If each had one guard, at a loaded cost of about $100,000 per year (loaded cost means salary and benefits and overhead, etc) then the cost for the nation would be about $13,230,000,000 per year. Where is this $13 billion going to come from? A special tax or surcharge on guns, perhaps? On ammunition? Both? (With thanks to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Gun Policy and Research) Get Ready for New Challenges 3-D printing of guns. We can easily envision a future in which 3-D printers are affordable and patterns abound for products both benign and malicious, and that cut out the manufacturing sector completely.

About the Writer Marc Brenman is the co-author with Tom Sanchez of "Planning as if People Matter: Governing for Social Equity," from Island Press, and former Executive Director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission. Version of 1/17/2013


Urban Planning and Economic Development January 2013  

Urban Planning and Economic Development News Magazine provides educational information and services in urban planning and environmental cons...

Urban Planning and Economic Development January 2013  

Urban Planning and Economic Development News Magazine provides educational information and services in urban planning and environmental cons...