Some bits of this item on future suburbia are intriguing. Others are less convincing extrapolations. With their monstrous student debt alone it is unlikely the Millennials will carry the burbs Atlas-style into the overheated decades to come.
Congress for the New Urbanism has produced a report on the spatial hardship of living in sprawl. Lower income people often find themselves pushed outward to places where transportation drains their resources when it comes to community participation, shopping, access to employment or public services. CNU should be commended for adding greater depth to their general critique of placemaking with this document. Seattle/Tacoma is the focus of the report but it’s general assumptions are applicable beyond there.
Nearly a week was required just to get a basic description together of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005. Assessing Hurricane Harvey won’t be any easier. If Katrina is the template we know that lower income and racialized groups will be bearing the brunt of this, big time.
An item from Thursday’s Washington Post is a good starting point regarding this multi-layered event and its consequences.
A presentation on the challenging, refitted future of North American sprawl as good as this one deserves way more hits. June Williamson, co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia, at a conference this summer:
US president 45’s inaugural address entered America’s uneven popular culture almost before he finished it, full, as it was, with references to urban social disaster. The Donald’s portent-laden words seemed to reinforce and reflect still widely held beliefs about US communities, ones that deny urban success stories and suburban difficulty. With that in mind, we read with tons of interest a recent survey of US city-watchers, and what they feel their issues are..
An artificial Intelligence application that processes US Census data and digital satellite photos is in existence. Penny can crunch the physical and numerical life of your community and describe its status. Yes, it is amazing. Yes, it is a tad creepy. Powerful stuff but what to do with this to better communities is the question to ask.
Figuring out what to do with overbuilt retail could become part of creating a better suburban economy, no? One suited to present reality better than dreams of endless, mindless growth?
We recently went along on an organized walk to see a mall here in Mississauga, Ontario that has replaced much of its retail space with services. One of its former anchor stores has been insurance company office space for years now. Many U.S. malls are in places where the surrounding economy is not as strong as it is here. That’s a problem. But if the dead malls are up and built on land already hooked up to municipal services then they are candidates for some creative thinking. We’d rather see a dead mall redeveloped than farmland destroyed.