Urban Redevelopment : A North American Reader book cover
1st Edition

Urban Redevelopment
A North American Reader

Edited By

Barry Hersh

ISBN 9781138786417
Published September 5, 2017 by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

Urban redevelopment plays a major part in the growth strategy of the modern city, and the goal of this book is to examine the various aspects of redevelopment, its principles and practices in the North American context.

Urban Redevelopment: A North American Reader seeks to shed light on the practice by looking at both its failures and successes, ideas that seemed to work in specific circumstances but not in others.

The book aims to provide guidance to academics, practitioners and professionals on how, when, where and why, specific approaches worked and when they didn’t. While one has to deal with each case specifically, it is the interactions that are key. The contributors offer insight into how urban design affects behavior, how finance drives architectural choices, how social equity interacts with economic development, how demographical diversity drives cities’ growth, how politics determine land use decisions, how management deals with market choices, and how there are multiple influences and impacts of every decision.

The book moves from the history of urban redevelopment, The City Beautiful movement, grand concourses and plazas, through urban renewal, superblocks and downtown pedestrian malls to today’s place-making: transit-oriented design, street quieting, new urbanism, publicly accessible, softer, waterfront design, funky small urban spaces and public-private megaprojects. This history also moves from grand masters such as Baron Haussmann and Robert Moses through community participation, to stakeholder involvement to creative local leadership. The increased importance of sustainability, high-energy performance, resilience and both pre- and post-catastrophe planning are also discussed in detail.

Cities are acts of man, not nature; every street and building represents decisions made by people. Many of today’s best recognized urban theorists look for great forces; economic trends, technological shifts, political movements and try to analyze how they impact cities. One does not have to be a subscriber to the "great man" theory of history to see that in urban redevelopment, successful project champions use or sometimes overcome overall trends, using the tools and resources available to rebuild their community. This book is about how these projects are brought together, each somewhat differently, by the people who make them happen.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Urban redevelopment is a growing and challenging field of city planning, design and real estate. In North America, the recycling of underutilized land within communities is both extraordinarily complex and significant. This collection of articles and case studies examines the key aspects of urban redevelopment and how each contributes to modern cities.

Notes on contributors

Forward: Charlie Bartsch


1. History and trends: Barry Hersh

History of urban development and renewal

Baltimore as a model

Case Study: Eastwick, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Measuring Urban Redevelopment Trends 2017

Urbanophile case study by Rod Stevens

2. Historic preservation: Barry Hersh

The historic preservation of landmark structures, and especially districts, has become a controversial but critical element of urban redevelopment. What is preservation? Crucial for a community versus the rights of property owners to develop larger, more modern buildings is a key debate in many cities.

Examples of adaptive reuse in Toronto: Evergreen Brickworks

Toy Factory Lofts

North Toronto Station

Bethlehem Steel

3. Urban design and city form in redevelopment: William Schacht


Urban design process


Technology and tools for urban design

The first mandate: safe, secure and resilient

The urban design plan

Urban design of redevelopments can be, at best, examples of beautification and creativity. Design can help mold the social and psychological as well as physical and real estate impact of redevelopment. The use of density, land uses, height, waterfront, public spaces and skyline all interact.

Urban design form

Design elements

Case study: Kohn Pedersen Fox – contemporary global urban design


Case study: design for community crime prevention – defensible space


Case study: Rocket Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

Case study: Vancouver, British Columbia

The urban design plan

4. Transportation: G.B. Arrington

Urban redevelopment is often transit oriented, exemplifying the generational move away from the auto-dependent suburban lifestyle. Projects frequently emphasize use of not only rail, but also of bicycles and walking. Redevelopment can sometimes utilize, but often upgrades, existing sewer, water and other infrastructure and may offer new services ranging from big data analytics to local internet.

People moving to city shaping

Modern streetcars

Two different paths to a twenty-first century metamorphosis

BART’s journey into the twenty-first century

Tysons Corner: from Edge City to twenty-first century city


Transportation case study: the Pearl District – Portland’s largest TOD

Development oriented transit

Public and private initiatives shaping the Pearl District

Other urban infrastructure and sustainability

Case study: Denver TOD – the next big thing?

Incrementally, then boldly building a regional rail system

TOD evolution: from city with transit to transit city

Early TOD planning in the Denver Region

New tools, new partners and new goal posts

Central city riches, suburban focus

Prospects for the future

5. Parks, open space, arts and culture: Barry Hersh

Urban redevelopment often thrives near public open space. Rediscovering urban parks, improving access to waterfronts or creating new amenities are often key elements of urban redevelopment. Arts and artists are often early harbingers of revitalization and can play a key role in long-term redevelopment.

Arts and culture


Mini-case studies

Gas Works Park, Seattle

Dry Gulf Stream restoration at Lamar Station Crossing, Lakewood,


Greenway, Ranson, West Virginia

Myriad Botanical Garden, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham, North Carolina

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Discovery Green, Houston, Texas

6. Environmental issues – brownfields: Barry Hersh

The intensity and infrastructure of cities make them inherently more energy efficient and less polluting than leafy suburbs. Compact and well located cities can also be made more resilient. Remediation of contamination is often an important and beneficial requirement of redevelopment; all of which makes urban redevelopment the smartest form of growth.

Other environmental concerns: noise and air quality

Waterfront redevelopment

A Leadership and building a team

B Approval strategies

C Innovative financing

D Strategies: site acquisition

E Synergy between remediation and redevelopment

F Maximizing the benefits of waterfronts and creating true mixed-use for


Case study: Harbor Point, Stamford, Conneticut

Two case studies, Toledo, Ohio

Case study: gas stations

7. Revitalizing neighborhoods, housing and social equity: Genevieve Lee Cabanella

Urban redevelopment inevitably changes a neighborhood, differences in housing type and quality, economic opportunities, amenities and crime prevention often also result in gentrification. How are affordable housing, inclusionary zoning, design standards and other tools used to support residents but still encourage redevelopment?

History of urban renewal and public housing

Financing affordable housing

Regulations and incentives in urban development

Mixed-use affordable housing

Land trusts, urban agriculture and redevelopment

Innovation in urban revitalization, gentrification

Community engagement

Case study: Camden, New Jersey

8. Real estate and capital markets: Rick Mandell

How real estate development, especially urban redevelopment, has changed and become more challenging as the economy has emerged from the 2007–2010 financial crisis and recessions. While investor goals remain constant, techniques, measures and perceptions change dramatically.

Funding the gap

Real estate marketing

Developers’ perspective

Economic development

Business improvement districts

Redevelopment real estate taxes and liens

9. Megaprojects: Barry Hersh

Megaprojects, often urban redevelopments, are an increasing share of development. Most are major public-private partnerships, involving government approval and support, often of infrastructure and cleanup.

Megaprojects often include major facilities such as stadiums, parks and

transit hubs. Often these projects include stadiums, arenas, convention

centers and other major public features.

Case study: Atlantic Station, Atlanta, Georgia

Case study: Manhattan West Side, the High Line and Hudson Yards

Rebuilding Detroit

10. The urban redevelopment process: putting it all together: Barry Hersh

Key factors in success or failure

What can be learned by failure of projects and from declining cities? Defining successful urban redevelopment, identifying successful and innovative strategies for communities, and the role of urban redevelopment in creating sustainable cities.



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Barry Hersh is a Clinical Associate Professor of Real Estate, teaching graduate courses in property development and coordinating the development program for the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate, in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.