Upping the Ante for Suburban Retrofitting
Whereas much attention has been paid (by Williamson herself) to retrofitting defunct suburban buildings such as vacant malls, strip centers, big-box stores, office parks, and garden apartment complexes along a "live, work, and play" redevelopment model, Williamson proposes going further to investigate "other uses-more ecologically, socially, and economically productive uses-that might be adapted to the emergent suburban-retrofitting paradigm."
Working with landscape architect Anne Vaterlaus, Williamson tested this approach on a 160-acre parcel in the east Los Angeles "ethnoburb" of Pico Rivera. In developing design schemes for a failing "towne center", Williamson and her partner, "considered how this site might be retrofitted once again, with more resiliency, by introducing a retooled model based on production, designed around training, employing, housing, and feeding a local labor force in need of skills and opportunities."
The resulting design concepts, focused around jobs, affordable housing, and food production, are intriguing.