2. Enable outdoor dining.
ZONING AND POLICY: Code amendment and application and/or council action
Many communities prohibit the use of the public rights-of-way and parks. Others allow it through permitting and fees. And some communities have established processes that even permit the use of parking lanes, travel lanes, and public parks for dining.
Develop a COVID-19 Temporary Patio Registration Form that covers: general safety requirements; ROW requirements for expansion into sidewalk, parking lane, travel lane and/or park; insurance; indemnity; deductibles; reduced parking regs; winter requirements for heaters, shelter, and snow clearing OR draft a council proclamation to allow this without application or fees, clearly stating rules and indemnification.
3. Develop outdoor café design guidelines.
POLICY via design guidelines and application
Further expedite the permitting process to enable outdoor dining for restaurants with design regulations. This is particularly important for winter cities, towns, and suburbs where restaurateurs need assistance with environmental controls.
4. Enable outdoor shopping, learning, and places of worship.
ZONING via permitting update and/or council action
Shop, Learn, Rest
Considerations for the use of the public right-of-way include liability issues for local government and business and a clear path for pedestrians. These barriers to the use of the sidewalk, parking lanes, travel lanes, and parkland often inhibit its use for anything other than walking and dining.
Develop a COVID-19 Temporary Public Space Registration Form that covers: general safety requirements; ROW permits; insurance; indemnity; deductibles; reduced parking regs; winter regs (shelter; heaters; snow removal) OR draft a council proclamation to allow this without application or fees, clearly stating rules and indemnification.
6. Allow Accessory Dwelling Units.
ZONING via code amendment
Many communities have permitted accessory dwellings associated with primary dwellings, but the restrictions are frequently made unusable through setbacks, parking, and ownership restrictions. The pandemic economy requires every means possible to increase household income, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are an opportunity to leverage the average household's greatest asset. ADUs provide access to additional income for homeowners and allows renters to access affordable housing during constrained economic conditions due to the pandemic.
Readdress ADU parking requirements; size restrictions; setback restrictions; and ownership occupation requirements.
7. Allow Accessory Commercial Units.
ZONING via code amendment
Accessory commercial units (ACUs) allow homeowners to access additional income and allows renters to access affordable commercial space within neighborhoods, which are increasingly becoming job centers during pandemic conditions. These must be carefully located based upon multi-modal traffic patterns and street types.
Revise regulations to permit mixed-use; reduce front setbacks if on-street parking exists; require sidewalk minimum widths where possible; reduce parking requirements for small commercial spaces.
9. Expedite temporary uses.
ZONING via code amendment and application
Many local governments have laborious, time-consuming processes for temporary use permits. To assist with economic recovery, these permitting processes should be simplified.
Simplify application process for temporary uses, including pop-up retail, pop-up services, community gardens and greenhouses on undeveloped or underused lots OR allow these temporary uses by right as long as the user has a written agreement on file from the landowner.
11. Create open streets.
POLICY via policy statement and administration
Open a network of streets prioritizing bicycles, scooters, wheelchairs, runners, walkers, with car access limited to one block from 8am-8pm. Many communities around the world have converted streets to prioritize active transportation modes during the pandemic. This is proving to be very effective and some cities are considering a permanent conversion. Mike Lydon of Street Plans tracks over 343 initiatives globally of communities that have developed open streets.
13. Reconsider legacy rules on the number of unrelated persons who can live in a home or apartment.
ZONING via government action
Possibly the most prevalent barrier to shared housing, these limits were originally passed when this criterion was taken as evidence of criminal behavior. This regulation contributes to systemic prejudice and does not acknowledge the gig economy and sharing trends that are prevalent in younger generations.
Assess restrictions on unrelated persons in current ordinances and by-laws.
14. Contract with community based organizations to provide early warnings of health threatening activities.
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP via community organization
Similar to community policing, this partnership democratizes a necessary public function and distributes it to the community level.
18. Enable mixed use and update the zoning map.
ZONING via rezoning and code amendment
Many small businesses may not make it through the pandemic lockdowns and slowdowns. To prepare for change while mitigating losses to the tax base, diversify uses particularly on commercial corridors and in neighborhood centers.
20. Develop and steward a Business Innovation Grant (BIG) to support businesses transitioning to pandemic-resilient models.
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP via all levels of government
Grants and funding could support businesses in their purchasing of PPE, to adhere to health guidelines, to develop temporary/permanent patios, or to transition to a virtual workforce or e-commerce platforms.
21. Provide a lifeline package of broadband services.
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP via council direction and budget amendment + negotiated services from franchised utilities
Necessary for home-based work; in some areas new or expanded service not available at any price
22. Develop a data dashboard to track and monitor pandemic data.
MEASURE via local governments
Understanding where pandemic transmission has happened can help cities in identify areas requiring intervention. Maintain site functionality for long-term pandemic preparedness.
With special thanks to everyone who has contributed to the PlaceMakers Pandemic Response Compendium.
Grateful to these photographers who kindly donated their viewpoints to illustrate the ideas in this toolkit:
Cover: New York, New York, Adobe Stock, 2020
1. Prioritize equity and justice. Venice, Italy; ©Hazel Borys, 2014
2. Enable outdoor dining. Portland, Oregon; ©Hazel Borys, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba; © RAW:Almond, 2013, 2015, 2016
3. Develop outdoor café design guidelines. Berlin, Germany ©Hazel Borys, 2014
4. Enable outdoor shopping, learning, and places of worship. Beuvron-en-Auge, Normandy, ©Hazel Borys, 2016
5. Allow in-home occupation. Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, Albuquerque, New Mexico; ©Hazel Borys, 2014
6. Allow Accessory Dwelling Units. Habersham, South Carolina; ©Andrew von Maur, 2004
7. Allow Accessory Commercial Units. Portland, Oregon; ©Steve Mouzon, 2020
8. Enable pop-up bicycle lanes. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; ©Miguel de Guzman, PhilStar, 2020
9. Expedite temporary uses. Layfayette Greens, Detroit, Michigan; copyright Hazel Borys, 2018
10. Increase availability and access to community nature. Winnipeg, Manitoba; ©Hazel Borys, 2017
11. Create open streets. Winnipeg, Manitoba; ©Hazel Borys, 2015, 2019, 2020
12. Implement the U.S. National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery. NACTO Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery, Pages 22, 26, 28, 2020
13. Reconsider legacy rules on the number of unrelated persons who can live in a home or apartment. Mesquite, Las Cruces, New Mexico; ©Andrew von Maur and PlaceMakers, 2013
14. Contract with community based organizations to provide early warnings of health threatening activities. image: 5D Media via Adobe Stock, 2020
15. Develop a community engagement strategy. Various cities; ©PlaceMakers, LLC, 2016, 2017, 2018
16. Develop a tiny home code. Portland, Oregon; ©Steve Mouzon, 2020
17. Implement a marketing campaign about how "gentle density" looks and how it can support a range of people during times of crisis. ©DPZ, LLC and PlaceMakers, LLC, 2017
18. Enable mixed use and update the zoning map. Mesilla, Las Cruces, New Mexico; ©Andrew von Maur and PlaceMakers, LLC, 2013; illustration: ©Howard Blackson and PlaceMakers, LLC, 2013
19. Develop a pandemic preparedness plan. Paris, France; ©Hazel Borys, 2016
20. Develop and steward a Business Innovation Grant (BIG) to support businesses transitioning to pandemic-resilient models. Wilmington, North Carolina; ©Andrew von Maur and PlaceMakers, LLC, 2012
21. Provide a lifeline package of broadband services. Broadband internet solutions; CC BY-SA 4.0 credit: Wikimedia Commons user: Tmthetom
22. Develop a data dashboard to track and monitor pandemic data. Berlin, Germany; ©Hazel Borys 2013
Authors and Photo Credits image: Lilac Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba; image: ©Hazel Borys, 2020