With a renewed focus on cities coming from the Obama administration, an emerging generation of urban designers is looking at improving the existing fabric of our urban areas, such as public infrastructure, public spaces, and the existing built environment.
But with few new initiatives -- and relatively little in infrastructure spending in the federal economic stimulus package -- is all of this talk about reinvigorating our cities merely lip service?
Recent trends in designing compact, sustainable development, such as New Urbanism's
neotraditionalist approach, are now facing a backlash in some design circles because they seem to work better on greenfield sites, not atop existing infrastructure.
Instead of these "master plans" that dictate development from the top down, planners such as Dana Cuff and Roger Sherman of Los Angeles-based think tank cityLAB
advocate getting back to projects coordinated on a smaller scale, led by community organizers, planning staff, municipal officials, and developers.
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