Op-Ed: Don't Ditch Those Industrial Land Uses

An op-ed describes the choice by many cities to prioritize residential projects in old industrial spaces as short-sighted and potentially unjust.

2 minute read

June 6, 2016, 2:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Producing Exalted IPA at Mancave Brewing in Eugene, Oregon. | Joshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock

Andy Cook writes an op-ed for Next City that makes an impassioned plea in support of the industrial land uses that are giving way to luxury residential developments in cities like Baltimore and many others around the United States. "If Baltimore and cities like it want to build a future that offers opportunities for everyone," writes Cook, "we need to hold the line on light industrial zoning, and think hard about ways we can rebuild our base of working class jobs, and ultimately, the pathways they offer back into the middle class."

Cook offers the example of Union Craft Brewing—a home-grown Baltimore success story looking for a new location for expansion. The problem: the city of Baltimore has been prioritizing residential housing over industrial space during the current urban boom. Cook provides context:

Between 2005 and 2015, Baltimore down-zoned over 400 acres of industrial land to residential or commercial categories. During that same time, it added only 67 acres of new industrial zoning, all at the former site of the Hollander Ridge public housing project, demolished in 2000. 

Noting that "once a city gives up an industrial area, it never comes back," Cook builds the case that Baltimore's focus on residential adaptive reuse projects only benefits an "upwardly mobile generation of suburbanites seeking a more urban lifestyle." Meanwhile much of Baltimore's population is mired in unemployment and underemployment.

Thursday, June 2, 2016 in Next City

Aeriel view of white sheep grazing on green grass between rows of solar panels.

Coming Soon to Ohio: The Largest Agrivoltaic Farm in the US

The ambitious 6,000-acre project will combine an 800-watt solar farm with crop and livestock production.

April 24, 2024 - Columbus Dispatch

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times


Dallas Surburb Bans New Airbnbs

Plano’s city council banned all new permits for short-term rentals as concerns about their impacts on housing costs grow.

1 hour ago - FOX 4 News

Divvy Chicago

Divvy Introduces E-Bike Charging Docks

New, circular docks let e-bikes charge at stations, eliminating the need for frequent battery swaps.

2 hours ago - Streetsblog Chicago

Freeway sign with "severe weather - use caution" over multilane freeway in rainy weather.

How Freeway Projects Impact Climate Resilience

In addition to displacement and public health impacts, highway expansions can also make communities less resilient to flooding and other climate-related disasters.

3 hours ago - Transportation for America

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.