Retrofitting Suburban Downtowns for Walkability
Jared Green relays the proceedings of a session at the 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting in Denver, by Ian Law, ASLA, of Place Alliance, who "explained how even the best laid plans for retrofitting suburbia can go haywire."
Green describes one of the pitfalls Law cited during the session: "it’s particularly challenging to create a comprehensive plan that can sustain a dense, walkable downtown if there are many small landowners in a community. Ideally, 'one developer will be in control of the entire development.' Also important is that 'the goals of the developer are in synch with the goals of the community.'"
As a cautionary tale, Law detailed the experience of Malta, New York. Green describes the case study: "The community realized it needed to update itself to accommodate a new silicon chip plant that will bring in 2,000 jobs. However, they ended up creating an overly ambitious downtown revitalization plan. Instead of one downtown to replace what wasn’t working, they ended up creating three, said Law. These isolated, disconnected developments had 'too much retail for the scale of Malta.'"