Redesigning Cities

2983747527_93766c2115I've been reading great stuff lately on the politics of redesigning urban areas, but mostly these have been case studies of New Orleans. I have a huge weakness for New Urbanism and their plans to redesign the city. Check out the recent article in the Atlantic about the homes going up in New Orleans. Good for Brad Pitt.

Detroit has a whole different set of problems. They are dealing with a large geographic area that is losing population. They are knocking down crumbling building and not building anything in its place.

This phenomenon prompted someone to coin the term “urban prairie” to
capture the idea of vast tracts of formerly urbanized land returning to

(Via Loren on Facebook)

And check out these designs for green buildings in NYC. (Via Ann P on Facebook)

4 thoughts on “Redesigning Cities

  1. New Urbanism looks nice, but I’m skeptical. On my way home, I’ll drive through East Liberty, which is being ‘redesigned’ by people spouting trendy phrases and promising to fix the bad stuff from when it was ‘redesigned’ by whatever came before New Urbanism.
    I wish them luck and the neighborhood is trending up, but, aside from some obvious steps (blowing-up high-rise public housing) I don’t see much evidence of design being responsible for improvement. East Liberty is now getting big retail developments because the last ‘revivial’ was bad enough to kill enough businesses and drive-off enough residents that you can find multi-acre plots in a place that was densely settled 100 years ago. These new stores primarily draw their customers from nearby neighborhoods that aren’t being ‘redesigned’ because they were rich enough to tell the urban designers to pound sand back in the 60s.


  2. I enjoy your blog, but could you add more captions to the pictures? For example, the post on Redesigning Cities has an interesting-looking aerial view of some houses (I think). Is this New Orleans? Or Detroit? (both of which are mentioned in the accompanying post). Is it meant to demonstrate the bleakness of some urban landscapes, or to show how much green space actually exists in such spaces? I could interpret it either way.
    I clicked on the image, but only got a slightly larger version.


  3. Okay, SC. Thanks for the input. It’s Detroit and it’s meant to show that urban prairie affect that I discuss in the post. I always assume that people will click on the links to learn more, but I shouldn’t assume that.


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