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Fogelson's Downtown

Messages
101
Points
6
I've plugged and cited Fogelson's _Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950_
often, since I view it as essential to understanding the decline of the cores
in U.S. cities (and it may have some lessons for those in other nations as
well).

I've written a somewhat fawning review of the book at

http://larryfeltonjohnson.typepad.com/atlantalarry/2004/07/fogelsons_downt.html

If we are going to put forward policies which have the effect of
ensuring the vitality of our cores in the long run, we have to have a
good grasp of what made them decline to begin with, and have some clear
ideas on the role of the core in the future of our cities.

Larry
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
713
Points
20
Get rid of the parking lots. That's the silver bullet.

Do that, and downtowns will spontaneously regenerate.

I didn't say get rid of parking. I said get rid of parking lots. Parking in cities can be nicely handled in multi-story garages with street level shops, and on the street at meters.

Just don't let anyone store a car at grade level anywhere except on the street at a meter.

European cities don't allow parking lots, and they are not dead.

The rest is academic, like talking about how to improve someone with plastic surgery, while the subject has a knife in his chest.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
ablarc said:
Get rid of the parking lots. That's the silver bullet.

Do that, and downtowns will spontaneously regenerate.

I didn't say get rid of parking. I said get rid of parking lots. Parking in cities can be nicely handled in multi-story garages with street level shops, and on the street at meters.

Just don't let anyone store a car at grade level anywhere except on the street at a meter.

European cities don't allow parking lots, and they are not dead.

The rest is academic, like talking about how to improve someone with plastic surgery, while the subject has a knife in his chest.

As a "one size fits all" answer, you are bound to be wrong. The economics of parking garages may make sense in New York or Chicago, but not at all in most cities. Planners - especially the academic ones - need to remember that "downtown" is not just the central core of large cities. Small places have downtowns, and so do many of the maligned suburbs. Their issues are sometimes the same, and often different from a central city, and often from each other as well.
 

japrovo

Member
Messages
103
Points
6
Cardinal said:
As a "one size fits all" answer, you are bound to be wrong. The economics of parking garages may make sense in New York or Chicago, but not at all in most cities. Planners - especially the academic ones - need to remember that "downtown" is not just the central core of large cities. Small places have downtowns, and so do many of the maligned suburbs. Their issues are sometimes the same, and often different from a central city, and often from each other as well.

I agree no silver bullets...and if I can drag us back to Fogelson's book, one nuggett I recall was that parking lots were termed "taxpayers" during the depresion as they were the only properties on which the owner's were still able to pay taxes.

That said, NY and Chicago is a pretty high cut off. Portland subsidized a couple of major garages through TIF to support downtown retail a couple of decades ago. That along with light rail, along with a UGB etc etc are all pieces of a much bigger picture---a plan. Again no silver bulletts and of course it won't be the same set of puzzle pieces everywhere, but if you're doing this as part of a plan, I think it can make sense over the long run at different scales.

At the same time if you go to Portland's suburbs most of the multilevel parking you'll see is underwritten to suport some sort of TOD. And sometimes those are supposed to be supporting weak downtown or in some instances creating downtowns where none really existed bfore. Will those pay off? Check back in a decade or two.

Anyway Fogelson's book is a great read.
 
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