InBusiness talks with Brian Vandewalle on Urban Expertise

Posted by on Feb 12, 2020 in News | 0 comments

InBusiness talks with Brian Vandewalle on Urban Expertise

MADISON, WISC. (Excerpts from InBusiness Magazine, Madison) – Jan Wilson from InBusiness Magazine interviewed Brian Vandewalle to gain some “Urban Exerptise” and insight into current projects in the works around the city. Brian Vandewalle is CEO/president/owner/founder of Vandewalle and Associates Inc.; an urban planner and architect who’s played a large role in the city’s trajectory since launching his business in 1979. 

Brian has consulted on many of the area’s largest developments, from Monona’s Waterfront and River Place to the Capitol East District along East Washington Avenue, and further north to the 800-acre American Center Campus. The company works throughout the Midwest, but “studies Dane County constantly,” Vandewalle says, and is currently consulting with city planners on the Oscar Mayer Special Area Plan and the future 164-acre Alliant Energy Center Campus.

In addition to the list of projects outlined in the full InBusiness article, Brian offered two key takeaways for Urban Planning: 

Smarter transportation or bust

Transportation will be key in the future, he adds, to move people from one side of town to the other, because the ongoing challenge will always be what people here cherish most — the lakes and the isthmus. “We have to work around it,” notes Vandewalle.

While BRT, electric vehicles, community cars, and rideshare services may help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and carbon emissions in the air, Vandewalle hopes for more reliable, longer-term solutions, as well, suggesting a future transportation system that also includes rail (commuter or otherwise).

The technology is there but none of it comes cheaply or quickly, which may explain Vandewalle’s sense of urgency. “We really need to plan for this over the next 10 to 20 years,” he cautions, “and we can’t wait because politics takes a long time and not everyone is thinking about the future and how to deal with it.”

Building for workforce must be affordable, walkable

As for building in the central city, Vandewalle says we have two choices: build up or build out. The challenge, he acknowledges, is making them affordable at the same time. “There should be a conscious effort to live near work, which also avoids sprawl.”

It’s all about “smart, city thinking,” he says, where planning has become very future-oriented and sophisticated. “Now we’re planning with intent in terms of what should go where.”

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