Saving the Suburbs

Grist talks with Galina Tachieva, author of Sprawl Repair Manual.
December 16, 2010, 12pm PST | Lynn Vande Stouwe
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The way we build suburbs isn't working, writes Sarah Goodyear, as evidenced by swaths of office buildings sitting vacant and rapidly disappearing green space. However, according to Tachieva, the current foreclosure crisis presents an opportunity to rethink our suburbs and exurbs.

Sprawl Repair Manual is intended as a toolkit to help city officials, planners, developers, with specific examples of how to reuse suburbia's least desirable assets, such as abandoned malls, mega-parking lots and McMansions, to create more livable communities. Finding solutions that can be implemented in today's economic climate is an important aspect of sprawl repair, says Tachieva:

"Right now it's very difficult to even think about any large project. However, there is a whole range of tools which are prepared for very different economic conditions and for very different scales...It might be a government, regional organization, or municipality thinking about their future development as a larger place, as a region. Or it might be a developer who can maybe intervene in one block, who can actually take advantage of some of the foreclosures -- maybe acquire a block of some of these foreclosed properties, and do something on a much smaller scale. And all the way down to the single building."

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Published on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 in Grist
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