Norfolk Takes Back Its Heart

A success story in an old Navy town.
June 8, 2004, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Even five years ago, long after the pedestrian mall had been reopened as a street and the city had invested millions in downtown, 'you could shoot a cannon down Granby Street after dark and not hit a car,' notes longtime Mayor Paul Fraim. Today, the main complaint about Granby Street is that you can't find on-street parking at night. The street has once again become the center of a developing theater and restaurant district, filled with people every night of the week. It's an example of how thoroughly Norfolk, a once decaying Navy town, has transformed itself into the vibrant, cosmopolitan heart of a metropolitan area (pop. 1.7 million) that includes Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk. And it's made the leap without help from high tech or high growth by emphasizing planning — and by gambling on a huge urban mall to catalyze downtown development."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Monday, June 7, 2004 in Planning Magazine
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