Reno Gazette Journal
I write in response to John Solari’s column about Reno (“Reno’s road map to an all-inclusive economy,” Apr. 18).
I agree on all fronts with regard to his points. However, attracting higher-paying jobs, developing a vital city and a making Reno a desirable place to live includes many additional issues I don’t see being addressed by public officials.
As young adults, people tend to move based upon quality of life, then seek suitable employment. Older individuals with families often will relocate for a job, but they will look at the quality of life to include schools, parks for their children to play in and the length of their commute. Both of these segments of our population need to find additional reasons to settle down here.
I moved to the West Coast for a lifestyle change and have remained for 30 years. I have my own business which, is to some extent portable. I have lived in San Francisco; San Diego; Portland; Vancouver, B.C.; and now Lake Tahoe.
What I observe with Reno is a lack of public policy regarding where our civilization is going and how to adopt policies to shape the process of place-making. People do not want to have to drive everywhere anymore. Strip malls and cheaply built subdivisions do not attract educated individuals. We want cultural attractions at our doorstep. And increasingly, universities are being woven into the fabric of a city. For the most part, the housing stock I observe going up is unimaginative, out-of-date and very cheaply built. It will look ratty in 20 years.
Studying the kind of urban environments that have been cultivated in other cities would be a good starting point for Reno. Creation of a desirable place to live involves a lot of visioning, which then shapes development guidelines. This is what is desperately needed to move forward with an imaginative agenda about Reno as a place.
It is distressing to see all of the cheaply built subdivisions going up. These are not true communities. One has to get into a car and drive to go shopping. Where is streetscaping? What about parks and walkable neighborhoods? I observe only one developer in Reno doing the kinds of developments that are people-magnets in other places — that would be Reno Land Inc.
There is untapped talent within the Reno architectural community. The Reno chapter of Urban Land Institute could form a committee to study these issues. Oregon developed its land-use planning laws by sending Lawrence Halprin around the state to hold town-hall-style meetings and inquire what people wanted for their towns looking forward. San Francisco has a much broader spectrum of housing than 20 years ago to include micro units, market-rate and affordable housing, condominiums, live/work units and co-housing in addition to single-family homes which are now out of reach for most of the population.
Most businesses have a list of things they look for when considering relocation. No taxes and outdoor attractions are only a start. Our communities need to be desirable places to live with amenities people value. A lot of the raw material exists but it needs tending to, and quickly.
Lisa Marechal is president of Neo Design Studio.
Source: Reno Gazette Journal
Read Full Article – https://www.rgj.com/story/opinion/voices/2018/04/25/renos-future-must-include-walkable-innovative-living-spaces-marechal/552281002/