Is Downtown Renewal A 'Fool's Errand'?

The Economist reports on how San Jose, CA and Las Vegas, NV, have tried -- and failed -- to revive their downtowns.

"Downtowns are an American invention, says Joel Kotkin, an expert on cities. London, Paris and Tokyo all lack a single centre where commerce, entertainment, shopping and political power are concentrated. Such cores did emerge in early 20th-century American cities thanks to steel-frame architecture, which made it possible to build high, and because they had central railway stations. Fifty years later, almost all were gutted by the internal-combustion engine, which enabled people and jobs to move to the suburbs. They have been trying to revive themselves ever since."

Peter Gordon remarks on the article in his blog:

"Left alone, private developers create 'lifestyle centers' by the thousands that fulfill the functions of centers -- and have eclipsed the downtown. If there is going to be a main urban center, it will not be as dominant as downtown interests dream about. Markets are signalling the nature of the best forms of development for the auto-oriented world."

Thanks to Peter Godon

Full Story: Where the lights aren't bright

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
$24.00

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00