final new urbanism final

final new urbanism final - Low Population Density and Lack...

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Low Population Density and Lack of Socioeconomic Diversity: The Flaws of Detroit New Urbanism and its Impact on Detroit By Rob Linn
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Contrary to popular opinion, New Urbanist developments in Detroit have had a negative impact on the current population of the city. Because Detroit is, in many regards, unready for New Urbanism, recently completed developments stray from the ideals of New Urbanism, and, as a result, have had a severe negative financial and social effect on the city. The failures of recent developments such as Campus Martius Park and Woodbridge Estates highlight these difficulties. “From 1970 to 2000, more than 160,000 dwellings left the Detroit housing stock.” 1 Yet, today, the downtown and midtown areas are seeing a rebirth. Midtown alone saw a total of $1,576,450,000 in new construction investments between 2001 and 2004. 2 Detroit, for the first time in decades, has outpaced its suburbs in new housing projects. While in 2005 the metro-Detroit region saw a twenty percent decline in housing permits, the City of Detroit saw an eleven percent rise in the number of housing permits it issued. 3 This dramatic shift in popularity, according to the Detroit Free Press, has been sparked by the combination of the declining number of suburban automotive industry jobs and the rising popularity of the New Urbanist residential developments that have begun to proliferate along Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Yet these New Urbanist developments, because they stray from the ideals of the New Urbanism idea, and the resulting economic, social, and political shifts, have had a negative impact on the residents of Detroit. The Congress for the New Urbanism’s Charter proudly proclaims that: “We [New Urbanists] stand for the restoration of existing urban centers… …real 2
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neighborhoods and diverse districts, the conservation of natural environments, and the preservation of our built legacy.” 4 The ideals of New Urbanism, as according to the Congress for the New Urbanism, the leading national body of New Urbanist developers, politicians, planners and architects, are neighborhood centers, residential proximity to these centers, a variety of dwelling types, integrated retail and commercial space, pedestrianism, a variety of infrastructure for children - including parks and schools, ample green space, and a traditional street grid. 5 These criteria form a progressive development strategy, one that incorporates many other modern strategies of development such as Sustainable Development, Transit-Orientated Design and Smart Growth. This amalgamation of development styles also combines a general desire to return to older urban development strategies. Many common characteristics of New Urbanism such as pedestrianism, parks, population density, neighborhood retail, porches and a traditional street grid are merely re-applying characteristics that were already pervasive in many urban areas. (???) Mark Rosentraub, of Cleveland State University, a scholar of Detroit
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course HIST 364 taught by Professor Lassiter during the Winter '06 term at University of Michigan.

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final new urbanism final - Low Population Density and Lack...

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