Friday, June 12, 2009

The High Line

The much-anticipated High Line public park opened a few days ago in New York.  I look forward to having the chance to stroll along this elevated park the next time I'm in NYC.  Nicolai Duroussoff gives a very good architectural review in the NY Times.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A (Radical) Way to Fix Suburban Sprawl

Time Magazine reports on the "radical" plan of Tysons Corner, Virginia to improve its mass sprawl by allowing the private sector to essentially redevelop the place itself.  The carrot to entice the private sector is significantly increased density in certain areas, especially surrounding a planned new Metro line extension which will link Tysons Corner with DC and Dulles.  This method allows the market to increase density and reduce sprawl without significant government oversight or intervention.  Landowners may apply to increase the density of their properties, thereby increasing the property values and, ultimately, redeveloping those properties into their highest and best use according to the new density standards.

While this type of "redevelopment" will take time, it allows the market to best determine when various parcels are redeveloped and the look and use of each such parcel.  The result, ideally, is a mosaic of properties, all oriented to pedestrian use and mass-transit, yet without the cookie-cutter feel of many planned transit-oriented developments.  Although the author points to potential problems down the road created by the significant increase in residents, the private sector, combined with the local goverment, should be able to at least ease some of those problems with the creation of new schools, incentives for land donations for parks, etc.  If this "experiment" is only partially successful, Tysons Corner will be a much better place than it is today.