Thursday February 18, 2010 | Urban Repair and Retrofitting

February 16, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 9 Comments

Now that cities across the country are beginning to adopt the “new urbanism” movement, which focuses on cutting down on suburban sprawl, urban planners are working on ways to ‘fix’ the sprawl problem already existing in communities around the country. We’ll be joined by one of those planners, who has developed a process for urban sprawl ‘repair.’ We’ll learn about how and why these repairs are made and even talk about a few local examples of repair, or “retrofitting.”
Guest
Tom Low
– Director, Charlotte office of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company

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Listen to Show

Watch DPZ’s animation plan to make Charlotte’s Queens & Queens and Providence & Providence intersections (voted the worst intersections in Charlotte) less intimidating for pedestrians.

Sprawl repair proposals in Charlotte by DPZ

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9 Comments »

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  1. Mr. Low is spot on!

    My husband and I were relocated to Charlotte from Portland, Oregon a year and half ago and we were surprised and disappointed by how “suburban” most of Charlotte felt once you left the downtown enclave.

    I think something that could help immediately is adding sidewalks to existing neighborhoods. I’ve spoken with Mecklenburg County personnel about adding sidewalks in my neighborhood (Spring Valley) and was told the process takes roughly three years, which I believe to be unacceptable.

  2. I hope that your guest is correct in saying that the model of the boring burbs will disappear in the future. Why is he so sure of this? There is a lot of it, as he said, 92% of our rapidly developing region are burbs.

  3. I currently live in the Pineville / Ballantyne Area, roughly 10 miles outside of Uptown. What exactly is considered the Suburbs? Are we talking ares futher outside the city? Or closer in?

  4. Re unique trolley uses, in Zurich they have an extensive trolley system which includes a Fondue Tram which twice an evening takes passengers on a tour of the city while featuring a fondue and wine dinner.

  5. Let me re-pose my Question. I live in Pineville / Ballantyne area. It takes me roughly 5 minutes to get to 485 and usually about 12-15 minute drive to get uptown. We have a lot of ammenitites around us, and the neighborhood is very safe and welcoming. We don’t live in a mcMansion by anymeans, our house is roughly 2500 sq feet. Is Mr.Low suggesting areas like this will soon be defunct?

  6. “Communal living” is something I discussed jokingly with closed friends nearly 20 yrs. ago. As a single (by choice) woman, I don’t necessarily want an entire home and yard to maintain when I’m older. But I don’t necessarily want to go to assisted living, either. Walkable communities where conveniences like shops, eateries and hangouts accessible by walking or golf car sound like a dream destination for older single people. Bravo, Mr. Low, for making my dream a viable option.

  7. Promoting walkable communities is a worthwhile goal to make our communities and neighborhoods more “livable”. What is really needed is a change in our behavior and attitude in addition to changes in environment and infrastructure. Mr. Low’s anecdote about trying to return a library book illustrates this the fundamental underlying problem. Mr. Low promotes walkable communities yet he himself was not willing to walk a couple of blocks (2-3) out of his way to the intersection and cross with the traffic light. I am very familiar with this area and this particular intersection and many people cross here many times a day. If he himself was not willing to walk but rather chose to drive his car then I think the question is what do we need to do to not just encourage but expect people to walk rather than drive short distances. redesigning theintersecttion won’t matter!

    • Kathryn Horne’s comment regarding my unwillingness to walk across the street may have misinterpreted my story as I REALLY tried to walk and waited through three cycles of traffic light changes – evidentially during morning rush hour the walk signal is deactivated to enable commuter traffic to most efficiently make it downtown – I think this may have changed since then with new improvements but i finally gave up after about 15 minutes of waiting (and staring at the front door of the library right across the street.) The only option I had was to drive. Crossing Queens is not so difficult, but crossing Providence is still terrifying – even with the new “island” comprised of a pole and two steel pipes surrounded by concrete, asphalt, and cars blazing by at 40 mph – not even a raised curb. Since you are an architect you and I both know Charlotte can do much better if we prioritize humans over our auto-centric culture with civic design.

  8. How do I get this into podcast format so that I can add this Feb. 18 show on Urban Repair and Retrofitting to my website? Lindsay


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