Rethinking Vegas

The Las Vegas Weekly pulls together a panel of the city's leading urban thinkers to discuss the future of development in Las Vegas, now that the downturn has brought many projects to a standstill.

Las Vegas Weekly: Will the flagging economy offer any long-term opportunities to rethink how we develop the city, or do you think it's merely just a pause in the usual kind of approach to development that has allowed Vegas to grow so spectacularly over the last 10, 20 or more years?

Eric Strain: There are some hidden opportunities in this. To be perfectly blunt, I think that over the past couple of decades we've been fat, dumb and lazy, and we've put out some real shit, architecturally, in this community. And I think this is an opportunity to look at what we really value and what we really should be building and how we should be building. We've continued for so many years putting up white stucco and red tile, and is that really the appropriate response for this environment? So I think this is an opportunity that, if we take it seriously, we can really start to decide what this valley was and use that as clues to where we can go. I think Phoenix has done it much better than we have. They have a rich history, and we have themes.

Robert Dorgan: One of the discussions that's going to happen, if there is a pause, and if there is a chance to stop and reflect, is going to be about density, because we've sprawled out to the edge of the federal lands. And we're not going east into Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon, we're not going west in Mount Charleston. We're not going north into the bombing range and the Nellis properties, and south is conservation areas and BLM lands. And it's happened over the last eight to 10 years that I've been coming to Vegas, is that we've started to build inside the city, and we've started to redensify. And I think that's going to be a discussion that's gonna have to happen. Because we all prize our yard, we all prize our own little castle, our own little McMansion. Party wall's a four-letter word to a lot of people. But I think we're going to go more vertical, and I think we're going to get closer together. And I think that's going to be a good thing, or an opportunity to take advantage of.

Full Story: Making designs on Vegas

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