Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cities, Zoning, and Industry

American cities have been on the rebound for about two decades now, with once moribund residential and commercial neighborhoods springing back to life. But despite this urban revival, industrial sites are as dead as ever. U.S. industrial output has been steadily rising for the last few decades, but it has come about entirely through increased productivity as opposed to increased employment. Manufacturers have been decamping to more suburban and rural areas for a century now, leaving holes in the urban fabric along waterfronts and railroad lines.
Deindustrialization is common throughout the developed world, and the traditional way of dealing with it has been to rezone industrial sites to allow residential and commercial development. But recently, especially in the wake of the recession and increased calls for “green jobs,” planners have been reconsidering urban deindustrialization. Vancouver, ever at the forefront of North American urbanism, seems to have soured on industrial rezonings, and other cities are following suit. Emily Badger at The Atlantic Cities describes some efforts in U.S. cities to preserve their industrial land, arguing that “when we raze and remediate old 19th and 20th century industrial sites, maybe we should consider keeping a lot of them zoned that way.”

similar posts:

SHRINKING CITIES—Growing Domain for Urban Planning?

Urban Sprawl beyond Growth: from a Growth to a Decline Perspective on the Cost of Sprawl

How do we create places where people want to work, live and play?

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