Best Apps for Project Management

apps blog

In this age of modern technology there is an app for almost everything. I stumbled upon a few apps in recent weeks that will make life easier for any project manager. Whether your goal is to boost your client submissions to a new heights, obtain more information regarding construction, or simply assist you with the management of your projects, these inexpensive apps will help your day run a little smoother.

Apps for impending projects

iTopoMaps

Price: $7.99
This apps enables developers to use topographic mapping capabilities to evaluate possible properties while choosing a new development

Geo Elevation
Price: $1.99
In conjunction with the topographic perspective of property, Geo Elevation will help you to to see an over area height diagram to truly figure out the adjustment in rise on a homesite. This app produces your present elevation readings, or gives you a chance to enter indicated figures, so you can print cross-segment diagrams utilizing either focuses from the field or particular shape lines from a topographic guide. With this device you can assess whether you can simply do secondary sitework, or possibly have to take a gander at the walkout storm cellar alternatives.

Planimeter
Price: 4.99
This App measures space and land regions on maps in light of satellite representation, so you can design plot lot lines on your phone or Tablet. You additionally can utilize this device to evaluate the measure of material that is required for work.

Easy Measure
Free
Presently homebuilders can utilize their Smartphone camera to take a wide range of estimations in the field. With Easy Measure you can decide estimated plot lines by measuring from your area to a tree or other point of interest. You can use this App to quantify measurements of rooms or assembling foot shaped impressions for existing homes.

Top Cities Developing Micro Apartments

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In a previous blog, the considerations and reasons behind the popularity of micro apartments were discussed. Now let’s take a look at some of the cities across North America that are developing these unique and  cutting-edgeproperties. Keep in mind the following properties are either still being considered, in the process of being built, or have already been built:

  • Columbus, OH. A company named Connect Realty is constructing a building consisting of nearly 58 micro apartment units starting at 450 sq ft.
  • Chicago, IL. A company named, FLATS Chicago has been rebuilding  single resident occupancy buildings and transforming them into inexpensive micro apartments.
  • Orlando, FL. A German architect is planning to build a micro apartment building with units that will allow a number of transforming elements and will range from 260 to 447 sq ft.
  • Portland, OR. Portland is already well-known for its abundance of tiny houses. In recent months, many companies such as Footprint Investments have developed a number of micro styled living options including but not limited to the popular Freedom Center.
  • Denver, CO. Plans for an old hotel located in close proximity to Mile High Stadium include the Nichols Partnership and Developers Realty Capital Group transforming the property into residential building called Turntable Studios. This rental property will consist  of 170 micro apartments, some as modest as 330 sq ft.
  • Spokane, WA. The Ridpath Club Apartments in Spokane is also micro apartment building formerly known as a hotel.
  • Nashville, TN. A 500 sq ft, 146 micro apartment building unit is being constructed by Giarratana Nashville LLC.
  • Edmonton, AB. Beljan Development is requesting to build a 40 unit residential building with micro apartments no bigger than 350 sq ft.
  • Providence, RI. Providence is an inexpensive location with an abundance of properties to accommodate those who wish to partake in micro apartment style living. One of the most popular micro apartment buildings, The Arcade is unique in the sense that it provides micro loft apartments on the second and third level but still operates as a mall on the lower level.
  • Des Moines, IA. The popularity of Des Moines inexpensive micro apartment building, The Flemming, is clear to see. The building is currently no longer accepting applications for units due to being full to capacity.

North Carolina’s Airport Development Study

North Carolina’s Airport Development Study

 CharlotteDouglasParkingDeck_4_300

 

Charlotte Douglas International Airport received its present name in 1982 and is the second biggest center point for American Airlines after Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with administration to 175 residential and universal destinations. This airport is continuing to develop and needs to make another all-inclusive strategy to guide future advancement on the area encompassing the air terminal.

Charlotte Douglas is encompassed by extensive tracts of undeveloped area, particularly toward the west and north, and the city would like to support more improvement in those tracts. In an effort to assist with development, Charlotte City Council voted in favor of spending $900,000 worth of air terminal assets for an expert to concentrate on the range and suggest best uses for the area.

The airports lead development director, Stuart Hair, will lead the study along with MXD Development. The MXD Firm has previously made ground-breaking strategies for other air terminals and its experts will concentrate on recognizing perfect utilizations for the 20 square miles of area surrounding the freely subsidized Charlotte Douglas.The area between the airport and Catawba River has been surveyed by engineers and although it is for the most part lush and undeveloped, it offers a percentage of the biggest tracts of empty area in Mecklenburg County.

The hefty price tag came as a shock to many. Questions of whether or not nearly a million dollars was absolutely necessary to investigate how to develop the airport have been raised. Those in opposition of the study believe engineers only need proper market conditions instead of creating a master approach. However, those in favor of the development plan argue that because of the extent of the study range, broad effort and gatherings that are arranged by the specialists make the study a worthy investment.

 

The Micro Apartment Phenomena

The Micro Apartment Phenomena

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A micro-apartment, otherwise called a microflat, is a one-room, independent living space and is intended to suit a sitting space, washroom, resting space, and kitchenette with a size of 4-10 square meters. Now and again, inhabitants might likewise have admittance to a public restroom/shower, shared kitchen, porches and rooftop gardens.

The micro-apartments are frequently intended for draw down beds or futons, collapsing tables and work areas, and additional small apparatuses. An expansive 344-square-foot micro-apartment with sliding dividers joined to the tracks by the roof has been outlined by an engineer in Hong Kong, Gary Chang. By moving the dividers around, utilizing assembled as a part of collapsing furniture and workshops, he can change the space into 24 distinct rooms, including a pantry, kitchen, library, bar, computer game room, and lounge area. 

These apartments are popping up everywhere. Micro-housing is sensible in areas with high property values, supportive infrastructure for development, accessible public transportation, stable economies, walkable neighborhoods, and cities that are have fair to high density. The ever growing community of micro-housing is a new phenomenon in development. Below are few of the reasons why:  

 

The American Dream Deferred

Owning a home with a white picket fence is slowly falling off the list of goals for many people. There is no longer a desire to have a big space in the suburbs. Instead, many are holding off on getting married and having kids to remain in a smaller residence with easy access to city life.

Less Driving, More Walking

Living near city life means driving is not a necessity. Unlike many suburban areas, city life does not require a vehicle, which ultimately eliminate the task of looking for a parking spot after a long day of work.

Same City, Cheaper Apartment
Micro-apartments offer residence in cities that would almost be unaffordable for most. Many one-bedroom city apartments can be very expensive and for budget conscious renters, this makes living in the location of their dreams nearly impossible. Nearly. Micro-apartments cost hundreds of dollars less than average sized apartments to rent monthly.

Oakland : The Rise of America’s Most Underrated City

Carter Boehm discusses Oakland's resurging development

 

 

When people think of the Bay Area, the automatically think San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and Oakland. Things are rapidly changing in this regard. With increasing job growth leading up to 25 percent from 1990 to 2014, according to the California Center for Jobs and the Economy, due to boom in the technology sector, and a rising number of startup ecosystems in the area, Oakland is benefiting from San Francisco’s prosperity. And with 50 percent lower rates, the city has become a hotbed for San Francisco workers who can no longer afford to live in the city. Oakland, has become an alternative location for small business and startups in the area.

This development does not come without its challenges. With a soaring crime rate, and a listing as one of America’s most dangerous cities, there is still a reluctance in the development of housing. Critics believe that the growing demand for housing can trump this. Oakland’s building costs are 30 percent lower than San Francisco, and with a tremendous amount of construction in the area, more than 1,000 residences with affordable housing will increase in the area. One company named Lane Partners is an example of the development parties looking to develop housing properties in Oakland. The project – “ A great hope for Oakland” , offers edgy architecture that is attractive to technology and solar energy companies. This developer hopes to attract high rent in the area could boost overall office space sale. Lane partners has been on the forefront of developing tech space throughout the bay area and Silicon Valley for many years, so it is no surprise that Oakland was in the direction of its expansion.

Oakland’s beauty lies in its positioning as the city as a great regional hub, reachable by air, BART or train, and with less expensive accommodation than San Francisco people can explore the joys of the Bay Area without the security of affordable housing.

As more conversions take place other development companies based in the area also look to Oakland and East Oakland’s waterfront on both sides of the Jack London Square, as a new development prospect. Oakland based Signature Development recently completed an infrastructure known as “The Hive”. The Hive is a mixed use project that transformed a city block of historic structures near the 19th Street Bart Station and retail uses, plus 105 residential units.

Another renaissance it seems, is coming to Oakland. As resident weigh in on the boom in Oakland, it seems that tensions are rising with Oakland natives hoping that the city would not be be exploited commercially like her neighbor next door.

To learn more about the development boom in Oakland, visit this article by the Urban Land Institute

A World Reimagined- Building A City With Autonomous Cars

Carter Boehm discusses how autonomous cars could rule our highways

 

 

Something strange is happening in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The shadow of an emerging city creeps over the landscape, and by passers remain mystified by this unknown change, whose presence they can now feel. This shadow, this growing city over the landscape has been called -Mcity. Mcty is a place where transportation consists solely of robotic vehicles that steer themselves without a human at the wheel. This new innovation- driverless cars, must navigate several miles of the urban grid using a complex reliance on software, wireless communications, and sensor technology to get to and from their point of destination. Sounds impressive right? Well Mcity is just a simulation.

The buildings, as Urban Land Institute reports, “ are just facades, and the inhabitants unexpectedly step off curbs are just mechanized mannequins. Jonathan Levine, a University of Michigan professor of architecture and Urban Planning told the magazine “ You wouldn’t mistake it for a movie set, let alone a real city.” A new study introduced this year, relayed that the Boston Consulting Group, major automakers such as General motors are already rushing to add gadgetry that would give these cars an ability to pilot themselves on a low speed, stop and start traffic- jam conditions or in single lanes on highways, or even to find parking spaces and pull into them without human help.

This technology could really change the way we see our landscapes, in the same way that the urban street car or interstate highway was instrumental in developing the suburban and urban landscape in the US. “I think it’s going to be the most important transformational change in 100 years,” says Randall K. Rowe, chairman of Green Courte Partners, an Illinois-based private equity real estate investment firm. “It’s going to change the way we get around, the way we transport goods, and how we look at land use.”

Many experts in varying fields believe that driverless cars could start a revolution in the way we live. In a previous post, I mentioned some of the propositions for a walkable city. Well, not everyone is in full agreement with the Mcity model. Many worry about safety first, even though autonomous vehicle advocates point to Google’s experience, in which its experimental vehicles have travelled for 1.7 million miles on regular road, and a total of 11 minor accidents to its name. There are other debates on the table which present the argument that autonomous cars can free our roads of distracted drivers, and this in turn could make our cities even much more walkable.

Whether a city is walkable or driverless, it is important to remember that technological advancements in society have the ability to impact our landscape in a way that could potentially benefit or drive us out of our living spaces.

To learn more about MCity and the reimagination of a city without drivers, visit this article by Urban Land Institute

How European Cities Can Densify

ULI Europe has undertaken a broad effort to investigate the issue of densification and how European cities can densify in ways that keep the focus on people and create livable, vibrant, and thriving places. While discussions of density in the popular media often focus on the rapidly urbanizing megacities of Asia and Africa, the question of how to develop land most efficiently without sacrificing quality of life or opportunity is as urgent in Europe as it is elsewhere, a new report argues.

The Density Dividend: Solutions for Growing and Shrinking Cities says that density is a tool applicable to all cities no matter where they are in their growth cycles. In Europe, cities vary widely in terms of population growth: a few are attracting newcomers at a steady clip, whereas many others are steadily losing population through out-migration or low birth rates, or both. Several cities—particularly those in the former Eastern Bloc—built isolating residential towers, sprawling single-use suburbs, and gated communities that are now proving to be liabilities.

“Density is an essential component of how cities manage and accommodate the ebb and flow of urban change,” write coauthors Greg Clark, senior fellow at ULI Europe, and Tim Moonen, director of intelligence at the Business of Cities Ltd. “Today, the drivers of population growth, economic change, new lifestyle demands, and sustainability mean Europe’s cities have little choice but to optimize their land use and reimagine density for people,”

The Density Dividend was recently discussed at a panel on density and sprawl held during the 2015 ULI Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Alice Breheny, global cohead of research at TH Real Estate, a key sponsor of the report, remarked that the rural-to-urban migration occurring elsewhere in the world “finished a long time ago” in Europe. Nonetheless, European cities still need to densify in order to attract consumers who are moving to cities not out of economic necessity, but simply because they want to.

“The population isn’t growing organically anymore, apart from in a handful of locations,” Breheny said during the panel. “The move of people, urbanization, and densification is more about choice or the global nature of the workforce now and how mobile that is.” (Watch a video of this session.)

Published in October, The Density Dividend is a follow-up to an earlier publication,Density: Drivers, Dividends, and Debates, which set out to define what good density looks like, address myths and misperceptions around density, and differentiate the well-intentioned but misguided attempts at densification of the past from current efforts.

To illustrate how density can help cities regardless of whether they are growing, shrinking, or slowly rebounding, the report offers case studies of six cities that are at different points in their evolutionary paths. It identifies challenges each city faces in terms of maximizing density’s potential to suit its needs as well as strategies that are working to meet demand in scalable and sustainable ways, accentuate assets to attract new investment, or consolidate in cases where land is vacant and underused. The report’s findings were informed by forums held in each of the cities where feedback from stakeholders was incorporated into the final report.

Here are some case studies

Strongly Growing Cities: London, Istanbul, Stockholm

London, Istanbul, and Stockholm are identified as cities that continue to attract new businesses and residents in search of opportunity. Their central dilemma is how to ramp up development in ways that are human in scale.

London and Stockholm are two growing cities that are densifying thoughtfully, according to the report. Long-range planning has been key to their efforts.

In London, the London Housing Strategy has created a clear blueprint for delivering 42,000 new homes within a year. The strategy divides the city into 18 housing zones, which will allow local authorities to assemble and package brownfield land for development and obtain planning permission in advance. A “housing bank” that provides loans and other banking services to developers and housing associations to fund new home construction and renovation has been created as part of the strategy.

To learn more about other densifying cities in Europe , view this article Urban Land Institute

Urban Design: The Importance of Vibrancy in Downtown Centers

Downtown centers of your favorite cities are not arbitrary placements on the map.   Aside from the obvious tangible aspects of your favorite downtown locations which offer: places to live, shopping, dining and other forms of entertainment, downtowns are created for one very important reason- vibrancy.

Before we explore vibrancy, these questions may come to mind- what is involved in the makings of a downtown center? What makes a downtown area more livable? These are the questions urban planners and designers attempt to answer. Some of the best downtown locations in the United States are vibrant not only because of their strategic planning, but also the mingling and engagement this planning introduces into a city.

What is vibrancy and why does it matter?

A Vibrant downtown center is one that offers social interaction and engagement to its residents. Most city planners describe a vibrant center as an environment which is walkable, liveable and offers the residents an opportunity to play.

View of downtown Denver, Colorado

To put this in further perspective, a well designed downtown center offers what Emily Talen in her 2012 book City Rules: How regulations Affect Urban Form describes as: “Good urbanism that covers generic features of vibrant places quite well”.  Talen further explains a well designed downtown center as a, “compact urban form that encourages pedestrian activity and minimizes environmental degradation; encourages social, economic, and land use diversity; . . . connects uses and functions; has a quality public realm that provides opportunities for interaction and exchange; offers equitable access to goods, services, and facilities; and protects environmental and human health.

One important feature of a vibrant downtown center is walkability.  Another important feature of a vibrant center is the installation and development of parks, waterfronts and places for play. These places have an impact on the vibrancy of a downtown area because they increase the opportunities for interaction between residents. Planners and designers also see an increase in vibrancy when an area features historical or cultural landmarks.

If vibrancy is so important to the growth and sustainability of our downtown regions, how can the state and planning bodies promote vibrancy to add to make the lives of residents sustainable?

Here are some examples of the ways we can promote vibrancy:

Encouraging the development of higher-density housing in urban and suburban neighborhoods.

Most people adhere to the increase in higher-density option due to the consequential increase in property value, higher rent, and an increase in tax base.

Gentrification of lower income neighborhoods is also common fear when considering this option. To create a positive living environment for residents, it is also important to provide sustainable housing for low income residents who work in customer service or labor jobs, because their proximity to the city job market is important in driving revenue and developing the workforce. This can be enforced through inclusionary zoning laws and density bonuses .

Staying away from suburban development prototypes.

Suburban prototypes imposed on urban centers have been linked to a decrease in urban density, which as mentioned above is a possible key to vibrancy. Placing more importance on walkability, planners need to veer away from designing adjacent surface parking, drive-through lanes, lack of sidewalks in downtown areas,  if they aim to build a city which is walkable and subsequently vibrant.

To learn more about Vibrancy in downtown areas, visit the this article on Urban land Magzine

Utah Residents Vote On State Land Preservation

The use of public land and how it can be preserved is often up for debate in the public in states like Utah and Montana where much of the land is still relatively en masse and unused by the public or private ventures.

Recently, in Utah, many Utahans are seeking a different approach to how land in the state is being used. In a survey taken by 53,000,  Utahans were prompted on what they envisioned for Utah’s future on topics ranging from education, agriculture to housing and the use of public lands.

The survey aimed to understand Utahans needs and hopes for the future. As a state housing 3 million residents, Utah’s numbers are set to increase to a 5.4 million residents by the year 2050. The state is now taking measures to ensure that Utah is a place people will envision for possible residency in the future. The question remains, how will land be used in the future? And will this land be developed sustainably?

Aerial of Salt Lake City, Utah

In describing the aptly named survey “Your Utah, Your Future”, Director Kathleen Clarke, director of Utah’s Public Land’s policy Coordinating Office, commented on the results, saying “Utahans recognize a need for energy. But I think they are saying we need to be thoughtful about development and about uses. We need to pay particular attention to watersheds.”

As Utahans voice their concerns on land development and preservation, the state government is following up with results on the survey, which indicated that 54 percent of Utahans want public lands managed to maintain and improve ecosystems and watersheds. Utahans also want their state government to focus on providing recreational access and foster jobs and economic development.

Landscape view of Moab, Utah

The preservation of public land for conservation reasons is also a primary finding in the survey. 29 percent of survey takers would like more Utah land to be set aside for preservation, with envisioned focus on energy development and the grazing of livestock.

Differing opinions also persist in the use of Utah’s land. 11 percent of the survey takers insisted on the use of more land for energy development and livestock grazing.

Land preservation continues to play an important role in public discourse as water shortages and inefficient conservation methods plague land development initiatives in the United States. It is important to note that preserving contiguous natural lands is important to sustain the environment.

To learn more about the Utahn Survey on land preservation, click here

3 Important Questions To Ask Before You Purchase Land

Becoming a first time home owner can be a daunting and sometimes cumbersome process, and purchasing your first plot of land can be just the same whether it’s a lot in a development or acres of land. Let’s go over some of the basics to help ease your mind purchasing a spot for your dream home and allow you to sign that contract with confidence.

Getting started, it’s essential to identify exactly what it is you’re looking for and rank what qualities are most important to you in case you (and it’s quite possible you will) have to compromise on what you want. There is no “perfect” lot out there. This will help eliminate properties that don’t match your requirements and aren’t worth looking at. Create a checklist to help stay organized and rank the listings you look at.

Here are 3 questions you will definitely need to know the answers to:

Can you build the floor plan you desire for the lot?

You need to determine if the land can be used how you envision it. Laws from state to state vary so it’s important to research this before you look up  anything. Keep in mind that selling a buyer an unbuildable (or not suited for what you want) lot is not illegal.

For example, say you would like to build a four-bedroom, two story house but the lot is restricted to only one story ranchers. This would be a problem.

Where is your water coming from?

The land you’re looking at could already have a well drilled or already shares a well with neighbors or you might have to drill your own. These are all potential options. If a well is in place, make sure to obtain the depth, flow rate, and quality of water from the well.

What is the Zoning?

For every lot there are zoning ordinances set up by the localized planning board. This is designed to regulate how the land is used and that is in accordance with their goals for the area. For example, say you wanted to start a cattle farm. You can view as many acres of land as you like, but if it is not zoned properly, you will not be having cattle.

Ask these Questions too:

What’s the soil type?

Are there high water tables?

Are there any issues with sewer drainage?

Purchasing land is an exciting venture and getting as much knowledge as possible will help make the process easier for you and hopefully, make it a pleasurable one.

Info courtesy of buildingadvisor