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From the category archives: Brick Industry Association Blog

Community Planning

BIA Creates First Online Course for Community Planners

The Brick Industry Association has created its first online education course for community planners, “Making or Faking Great Places, Design Guidelines for Smarter Growth.” American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) members who complete the free course can earn one free Certification Maintenance (CM) credit.

With changing demographics, a new interest in public health, environmental concerns, and a desire for energy efficiency, more and more communities are looking to adopt principles that promote smart growth and can guide infill and redevelopment. This presentation was created for planners who are interested in developing design guidelines or updating existing guidelines that will ensure smart growth reflects the distinctive and unique character of their community.

“The cookie-cutter approach to smart growth falls short in building upon the visual character that makes a community unique,” said planner Ann Stanley, AICP, a BIA consultant. “This new course offers planners information about creating guidelines that can help retain the character of their communities,” she said.

The course provides an overview of:

  • the legal framework that gives communities the authority to regulate aesthetics, character and materials;
  • the policy and regulatory tools available at the community level for implementing character; and
  • the process for engaging the public to define the character that will make their community a great place.

BIA’s community planners also provide a variety of free services to local government agencies. These complimentary services include assisting with drafting design guidelines for new development, on-site presentations, consultations and information on best practices for including clay brick in zoning and design standards.

Join Us in Booth 508 at the 2014 APA Conference

This week the American Planning Association is hosting their annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  If you're attending the show, be sure to stop by BIA at Booth 508 to learn about how using clay brick can benefit communities across the country.

We'll also have a brick sculptor on hand, where you can try your hand at sculpting your own green brick.  Be sure to enter to win an iPad mini before the drawing on Tuesday, April 29.

We hope to see you there!

APA Invitation 2014

200th Masonry Planning Policy Adopted in Texas

BIA-SW Region and TMC Logos

The Southwest Region, working with the Texas Masonry Council, continues to see success in the masonry planning arena.

The adoption of masonry planning as a strategy for sustainable growth continues to gain favor among Texas cities, with 200 cities statewide now embracing the concept by adopting minimum requirements for masonry in new construction, according to the Texas Masonry Council.

The number of cities is about double the total of from five years ago, said Rudy Garza, TMC executive vice president. Although the number of cities is only about 16 percent of the 1,215 incorporated cities in Texas, the 200 that have embraced masonry planning are strategically located in the fastest growing regions of the state, Garza noted.

“This is where the growth is occurring,” he said. “These 200 forward-thinking cities in the major metropolitan areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, recognize that they have the power to determine whether the dramatic growth they are experiencing or potentially facing, will result in a safer environment and better quality of life for their residents.”

On Jan. 13, 2014, the city of Troy, in Central Texas just north of Temple, became the 200th city in Texas to adopt masonry requirements and masonry planning as a strategy for sustainable growth. Troy anticipates a surge in growth with the widening of IH-35 between Temple and Waco.

In its resolution justifying adoption of the masonry requirements, the Troy City Council, like the other masonry-friendly cities, cited multiple reasons:

  • Masonry helps protect property values, provides for durable long-lasting structures, and helps ensure aesthetically pleasing structures and a stable tax-base;
  • Masonry is the preferred residential and non-residential building material for improved fire safety, lower insurance rates, increased property value appreciation, increased energy efficiency, and lower home maintenance costs;
  • Building standards for non-residential construction will help attract high-quality commercial development and preserve property values.

An interactive map at shows where masonry planning has been adopted in Texas.