Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cities Can Take A Stand on Good Urban Design Without Killing Economic Development!

If You Don't Stand for Something You'll Fall For Anything.  Or something like that.  That quasi-quote reminds me of our conversation about the collision course between Economic Development and New Urbanist Ideals.  Remember?  We discussed whether cities and neighborhoods should take more of a stand to ensure that the development of scarce land in emerging neighborhoods followed important urban design and economic development principles.
Local governments and neighborhoods need to draw a line in the sand and demand good urban design, sustainable, long-term site planning and positive economic development outcomes.  Taking all three of these things into account is not only good for the city but it can be good for business.   The key is that cities and neighborhoods have to be proactive in knowing what they want and signaling to the business community what they want, so that they can actively fight for it when things occur.
If cities and neighborhoods don't take stands, the neighborhoods with the least resources will be limited to developments (and retailers) that don't innovate on their business models, and doom those neighborhoods to less than ideal outcomes.  For example, you'll never see a new, front-of-store, surface-parked grocery store in a tony part of the District, for example, Georgetown.  The neighbors would have a fit and shut it down.

posts about New Urbanism:

New Urbanism: A Salve or Bane to Urban Wounds?

The Roots and Origins of New Urbanism

Survey: New Urbanist Community Results in More Walking, Interaction

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