When we talk about housing demand, skyrocketing home costs, and how to create walkable neighborhoods, a few examples pop up over and over again-- San Fransisco, Portland, and other larger cities are struggling with the same questions Eugene is-- how to meet the demand for new, walkable neighborhoods and preventing out-of-control housing prices while preserving what is great about their city. But it isn't just larger cities that are struggling with this.
Charleston, South Carolina is a slightly smaller than Eugene-- a population of about 130,000 to Eugene's 160,000. Like Eugene, it is the second largest city in it's state, and it has been growing at a steady clip, just like Eugene. (Charleston's population has increased by about 20,000 people over the past 20 years, compared to Eugene's 35,000 person increase.) As a historic city founded in 1670, Charleston also has a large number of historic homes and neighborhoods that deserve preservation.
And Charleston is struggling with the same questions as Eugene is. They are concerned about growth affecting affordability. They are looking at ways to add smaller, more affordable housing. Mount Pleasant, a more suburban area just outside of Charleston, is looking at how to create more active, walkable neighborhoods as it grows, but has run into roadblocks and how to grow has become a topic of much debate. It even has an prime example of density done wrong, much the way that the flaws of Capstone lead to a shift to form based code and better setbacks in the South Willamette Special Area Zone, to prevent a repetition of past mistakes.
Every city is different, and is going to have different challenges, but there are a lot of shared elements. We can learn from how other cities, large and small, are handling the same questions we are-- build on successes, and learn from mistakes.