Friday, October 30, 2009

Design Standards list

This is a brief list of some of the more important design standards that I think would make a positive change to the downtown area of Fargo.

Any new building must have enough structure so that it can accommodate a minimum 3 stories. This provides for any future expansion that could possibly happen vertically, also helping the density issue.

Use at least 30% of like materials as adjacent buildings to promote a consistency though the neighborhood.

Zone in an area where walking or bicycles are the only form of movement possible. I propose Broadway to be this area, and copy Denver's 16Th street mall and only have frees buses that traverse the street. This will develop a area like a mall but is outdoors and will grow the downtown street front businesses.

Bike paths.

Using materials that have a suitable lifespan. Quality materials will last into the future and are ultimately the most green material we can invest in, so lets use them here.

To promote Green Roofs, grant any person/s who installs a green roof access rights to all runoff water from all adjacent buildings. (i dunno if this is legal) Basically, if we can give the people some reason to build a green roof and even more possibility that it would work then we win environmentally.

Any building that is to be torn down must go through a neighborhood comity that votes on it, then it must be vacant or unusable for it be destructed.

Any existing building must keep 50% of its existing materials when renovation takes place, unless not possible.

This is the basic rules/ regulations that I have discussed and thought about. In my mind I have many more rules, but they are mostly objective opinion. Yes, I may say that one building is ugly, but someone most likely built that building and think that it looks fine. So, when coming up with these standards I think it is helpful to think of Fargo as a whole and what we want this city to say to people. What is the image or layout of this area?? Should it reflect all the old masonry buildings that have been here for 100 years or should it be more modern and streamline to give this area a new identity.
My opinion is that cities like Santa Fe where everything is pueblo style are negative towards expression and true experience. Lets tell people from other places that Fargo is a great city and give them some character that they will want to come back. Lets use the old buildings as a mold and then break off and build diverse dwellings that will accommodate everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Wanted to mention this, in terms of building demolition requiring a vote on the community: in Downtown Fargo, many of the demolished-buildings-turned-parking-lots were fire damage, not conscious "tear it down, make it worse" movement. The building next to a.k.a. was 3 story New Palace Hotel, low-income apartments above 4 retail spots. It burned in the early 90s, and the city pushed the building's owner to do something with it, or they'd condemn it and do something with it. The result was a parking lot instead of rebuilding it (not sure if the owner or the city made that decision), so the loss of dozens of housing units and several retail spots. See also the juice-bar-club by the Radio on Broadway offices (vacant lot), the hotel that was the northern end of US Bank plaza (parking), etc - and one might note that arson was suspected or proven in all three. The way things have been, the incentive is to replace condemned buildings with something less valuable that what it had been if cared for; if there's a community vote on tearing down, there should be incentive to make it something other than parking or less community-valuable. There's more profit to property owners to replace a condemned classic brick mixed-use retail building with a parking lot or a steel-and-cement single-use Walgreen's than to replace it with something comparable to the existing building.

    Lastly: Who gets to vote? In Fargo's current 'renaissance', nearly all businesses that have been around for more than 5 years own their own buildings; renters, both in retail and residence, have rarely survived the downtown improvement, but they're what are held up as examples of why our downtown is vibrant and engaging. That gap puts most influence on downtown property owners, which has been a rapidly shrinking group of late.