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:
The future of suburban retrofit
– City University of New York
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..
What’s the greatest risk cities face?
image: Sean Davis via Flickr/CC
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.
Here’s what could happen to America’s hundreds of dead malls
Where a shopping mall used to be an opportunity arises
The decline of malls in America can mean lost jobs and lower tax revenues for states and municipalities — but not always
image: Travis Estell via Flickr/CC
Three items to help us gather some thoughts around the growth in the number of elderly persons occurring now in North America. How will the built environment affect the cognition and emotional life of seniors?
The isolation of aging in an auto-oriented place
No place to grow old. How Canadian suburbs can become age-friendly
irrp.org (26-page .pdf)
What helps Minnesota seniors age in place?
U researcher has some clues. It’s the little things
like benches and safe crosswalks
Who will buy Baby Boomers’ homes?
Want to stop your brain from getting old?
Live in a walkable neighbourhood
image: Tasha Lutek via Flickr/CC
We like optimism, yes we do. Infrastructure gets us going pretty good as well. To wit: an item that counsels us to look out to the sprawl for innovative approaches to badly needed infrastructure.
Why suburban tensions and inequality will drive infrastructure innovation
image: Garrett via Flickr/CC