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Thread: Building an entire town from scratch

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    NY Times article - Welcome to Start From Scratch, U.S.A.

    Article link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/we...=1&oref=slogin

    HIGHLIGHTS:
    When a thriving community cataclysmically finds itself reduced to rubble, how can it put itself back together ?

    Many towns — floodstruck or tumbled by tornadoes or hurricanes — have wrestled with that question, and there is no single solution. But people who have been through it, as well as experts in town planning and disaster recovery, say there are pitfalls and priorities, and many things a place like Greensburg should keep in mind: How historically or culturally significant were the buildings? What is the town’s economic engine? Where do people work? How young or old is the population? Is there a visionary leader?

    “In some communities people may be much more comfortable just putting things back together the way they were, and in some cases they may want to embark on a totally new direction,” said James Schwab, a senior research associate for the American Planning Association, who is considered a guru of disaster recovery.
    Communities discussed in the article -
    Stockton, MO
    Princeville, NC
    Utica, IL
    Arkadelphia, AR

    It will be interesting to see how Greeensburg, KS will approach this big question.
    Is this question still being played out in New Orleans, LA ?
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    I read how there are plans by the governor to make Greensburg into the "greenest" rural town in America. I'm so excited to hear that. So neat that the town is already named Greensburg, and I'm sure that if it is done right it could really boost tourism and economic development. I can't wait to see how this turns out.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Building an entire town from scratch

    (Note to MODS if you would like to have this somewhere else feel free to move it.)

    If you had the opportunity to build a town from scratch would you do it???
    The town of Greensburg KS was totally flattened by a tornado in May. They have just announced that they are seeking planners and code enforcement personnel. They are stating that they will be looking at people from the local colleges.

    As a body of planners is there no one out there that would feel a tug to get the opportunity to take the plunge and get the chance to help create a whole new town!

    So my question is... would this opportunity be the greatest opportunity that a planner could have to OR would anybody that took this kind of position be just plain nuts!! Tell me what you think.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    I think that this would be a neat opportunity for someone trying to make a mark in the field. With commentary that followed my posting last week about their highway bypass proposal, with the place loaded with non-conforming lots and so forth, it looks like they will have a lot of work in the next year just straightening things out and getting everything back up to speed. Also, the town willing, it could be a real, practical 'real world' showpiece of a literally newly created 'working' small town.

    If I lived a bit closer (I am a full day one-way drive from there), I'd go for it. Or maybe I should anyway.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus
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    I tried starting a thread about this with this -

    NY Times article - Welcome to Start From Scratch, U.S.A.
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=29598

    Article Link:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/we...rssnyt&emc=rss
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    I tried starting a thread about this with this -

    NY Times article - Welcome to Start From Scratch, U.S.A.
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=29598

    Article Link:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/we...rssnyt&emc=rss

    Sorry, JNA...

    They can merge them if they want.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I am confused on something. The town was flattened but it was there before the storm. The structures may have been leveled but how is the property ownership going to be addressed?

    Regardless, I would be all for it…. But I live in Michigan so it is a no go for me. I would also encourage the new plan to use form-based codes.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B View post
    (Note to MODS if you would like to have this somewhere else feel free to move it.) So my question is... would this opportunity be the greatest opportunity that a planner could have to OR would anybody that took this kind of position be just plain nuts!! Tell me what you think.

    While the opportunity sounds good, the better half would kill me. I've learned the hard way not to trigger the explosions.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    In school for both planning and architecture, there is a lot of talk about "if we could start all over again..." but its true that the opportunity rarely presents itself in the US (now China on the other hand...). It sounds exciting and, yes, one would be nuts to take it on. Which is to say, I would probably do it if given the opportunity.

    One of the tricky things I feel about making new towns is how to create that sense of texture and detail that people value while building it all at once (which is, historically, not the norm). A great deal of what people value about interesting places is the product of many layers of successive development, changes, redevelopments, etc. I think this is why some of the New Urbanist communities feel so odd to me - its like living in a movie set or something (which, if one were to believe the Truman Show, I guess it is...)

    Check out this place that is under construction now on the south side of Albuquerque. Its a whole new development on 13000 acres that is intended to be "town" (though officially a part of Albuquerque). It will have a town center, local commerce and employment - some film studios are building facilities there as well as a number of alternative energy plants (solar panels mainly, but I think some others are eying the possibility as well) - schools, post office, etc.. It is intended to be environmentally light on the land, be walkable, blah blah blah. We will see what actually happens. The website, last I checked, had lots of pages with not very concrete information. It may have filled in a bit now, though, since there is actually construction taking place. Personally, I think this effort would be better spent infilling our existing city boundaries that could really use the help instead of starting afresh on the outskirts, but no one asked me...

    Check it out: http://www.mesadelsolnm.com/
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B View post
    (Note to MODS if you would like to have this somewhere else feel free to move it.)

    Moderator note:
    Merged with JNA's original thread.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  11. #11
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    With new urbanism/TND stuff, doesn't this actually happen a lot? We're a rural community and we have two TND/mixed use Planned Developments (one 800 acres, one 200 acres) in the works and they are both basically a new village in the middle of a rural corridor. And since they end up combined all the individual parcels under one master plan to start with, it's much more "from scratch" than starting with a flattened town which would still have all of it's existing property lines and existing development rights issues.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian dominimami305's avatar
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    cool

    its really cool that i found this thread. im still an undergrad and i have 3 "studio" classes untill i get a degree. ive been telling some of my classmates that i wanted to created a community/town from scratch. they were telling me how crazy i was for even thinking of such a thing, but im happy ( well not really given the situation as to why Greensburg has to take such a step) that is being done. at least attempted. i was really thinking of the same concepts but for a different demographic ( u got it LATINOS!! ). i wish i was somewhere near so i can get involved.

    OT: Is there any way to get involved in this??

  13. #13
    Cyburbian dominimami305's avatar
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    nothing is new

    This thread also reminded me of James Rouse. He developed the "planned city" of Columbia, MD. He is one of the few people im researching for my project. I wonder where would be a good location for my project ("planned" latino community).... Anyone.... Suggestions???

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I would have had the opportunity to design a whole town. My former employer bought the Chrysler test track, in AZ. couple square miles of nothing but desert, starting from scratch.

    It is something that makes (or breaks) your career.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Update from the "PLANNER" that has been working with town officials.
    He is making them take a breath and slow down and do it right. They had a steering committee meeting last night. The "PLANNER" said that they have the "Plan" under control, it is building inspector they need despiretly and that the media screwed up the plea for help.

    Here is a link to a really good article about mapping efforts right after.
    http://www.kam.to/Greensburg_Article.pdf
    Give it a read.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B View post
    Here is a link to a really good article about mapping efforts right after.
    http://www.kam.to/Greensburg_Article.pdf
    Give it a read.
    Thanks for the article, I forwarded the link to our EMA, GIS & County Surveyor dept.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  17. #17
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    New Pedestrianism

    Instead of rebuilding the same old sprawling eyesore that was destroyed, new towns or neighborhoods on the Pedestrian Village / New Pedestrianism model should be built from scratch. Existing streets can even be saved and easements for pedestrian lanes can be added where the rear of the lots meet. (Where alleys sometimes are). At the same time, all the utilities can be buried under or beside the pedestrian lane and street trees added. Houses that are still standing can then have a garden gate entry on the pedestrian lane, and new ones can have front porches and nice facades that face the pedestrian lanes. Anyway, this is the New Pedestrianism model, and it has been proposed in various places (including in Austin, TX where I live). See the New Pedestrianism article for more details.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Building or RE-building from scratch

    I imagiine there's a huge difference between re-building a destroyed town from scratch, and REALLY building a NEW town from scratch. I have been involved on the fringes of three such new towns, only one of them remotely close to another settlement. The biggest diffeence I think is that in re-building you can work WITH the residents, many of whom can describe how the "community" worked before it was physically (but perhaps not socially) destroyed. In a totally new town you don't know who the residents are going to be so if you believe in participatory planning it gets a little frustrating.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Plus
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    BUMP - continuing the issue -
    This was a front page article headline in USATODAY -

    Should beach towns be rebuilt again and again?
    Katrina renews calls to change policies that prop up coastal areas
    http://www.usatoday.com/printedition...over22.art.htm

    HIGHLIGHTS:
    In risky areas, many homeowners enjoy artificially low flood insurance rates — a legacy of the government's effort to prod communities to join the federal flood insurance program, which began in 1968. Properties initially developed before their community joined the program are eligible for discounted flood insurance.

    But as more time passes after Katrina, the momentum for revising the flood insurance program and ending federal aid to risky coastal areas is fading, says J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America.

    Subsidized flood insurance isn't the only reason people are rebuilding in vulnerable places. Inconsistent building rules are also a factor.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

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