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City Re-Making Approaches in Contemporary Urbanism: “Re-Urbanism” as a Strategy for the Revitalization of Detroit and Declining Cities
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies. (Urban Form and Human Behaviour)
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many cities today are experiencing extreme widespread urban decline, at a time when urban growth and revitalization are prioritized on the agenda. This dissertation examines a number of prominent urban revitalization strategies for declining cities, specifically highlighting the emblematic case of Detroit as a research subject. That city offers many lessons as the epitome of both urban decline and urban revitalization, as evidenced through the media narratives surrounding the “rebirth of Detroit” and its positive improvements over recent years. Through this and other case studies, the dissertation investigates different approaches in the leading contemporary paradigms of urbanism, including the role of place-based and heritage-based strategies for the declining city, and their different structural approaches. These include differences sought in both city structure, and in the collaborative structure of revitalizing institutions. From there, the dissertation draws key lessons together into a synthesis approach called “Re-Urbanism” – an advancement of a model originally developed by Robert Fishman. The model describes strategic partnerships between local government entities, private business leaders, private charitable foundations, small scale grass roots activism, and local entrepreneurship, all aimed at making place-based, heritage-based structural reconnections within the city itself. The dissertation concludes with specific policy and practice recommendations, as well as ideas for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2019. , p. 96
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 1913
Keywords [en]
Re-Urbanism, urban decline, urban revitalization, Placemaking, Detroit, urbanism, public space, Landscape Urbanism
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249732ISBN: 978-91-7873-185-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-249732DiVA, id: diva2:1305900
Public defence
2019-05-10, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8 SE-100 44, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20190423

Available from: 2019-04-23 Created: 2019-04-19 Last updated: 2019-04-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Evaluating Landscape Urbanism: evidence from Lafayette Park, Detroit
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluating Landscape Urbanism: evidence from Lafayette Park, Detroit
2019 (English)In: Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, ISSN 1754-9175, E-ISSN 1754-9183, ISSN 1754-9175, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 34-59Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The claims made for Landscape Urbanism have been difficult to evaluate, since they rely heavily on theoretical and aspirational arguments, and new projects to date have offered little post-occupancy evidence. However, more specific claims have also been made about historic projects as proposed precedents for Landscape Urbanism, and these offer a more substantial evidence base for the evaluation of claims. Here we take the claimed precedent of Detroit’s Lafayette Park, and evaluate the stated claims for its performance on social, economic and ecological criteria, in light of the available evidence. We conclude with an assessment of broader claims for Landscape Urbanism in light of the evidence we find in Lafayette Park.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
UK: Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Landscape Urbanism, Lafayette Park, Detroit, Modernism, urban renewal
National Category
Social Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Architecture
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249727 (URN)10.1080/17549175.2018.1531906 (DOI)
Note

QC 20190423

Available from: 2019-04-19 Created: 2019-04-19 Last updated: 2019-05-21Bibliographically approved
2. Sustainable Urbanism Solutions for Breaking the Bonds of Concentrated Poverty in Public Housing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainable Urbanism Solutions for Breaking the Bonds of Concentrated Poverty in Public Housing
2016 (English)In: Urban Design Tsingua University Press, ISSN 2096-1235, Vol. 2, no 004, p. 40-63Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Historically, a large number of public housing estates in the United States and Europe have had concentrated poverty and isolated residents, either socially, economically, ethnically or all of the above. This paper investigates the demolition of public housing in the US through HOPE VI grants, and the rebuilding of mixed-use neighborhoods. Based on site visits, visual documentation, interviews, and analysis of documents and other reports, as well as scientific articles, this paper uses a qualitative mixed-methods approach to the analysis. It examines project sites in three US cities to see if the Sustainable Urbanist paradigm offers an alternative to the failed suburban-alienated type of living in major European cities. Applying Sustainable Urbanism concepts to European housing areas could be a way forward, where the papers expressing some ideas towards the complex issue of analyzing and coming up with solutions for re-urban renewal of isolated and distressed European cities housing areas. The paper then proposes a meaningful set of strategies based on the Futurescape method. The paper concludes with a concentrated and constructive critique of HOPE VI efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
China: Tsinghua University Press, 2016
Keywords
Sustainable Urbanism, Revitalization, Urban form, Hope VI, social housing
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249728 (URN)
Note

QC 20190423

Available from: 2019-04-19 Created: 2019-04-19 Last updated: 2019-05-22Bibliographically approved
3. Taking the High Line: elevated parks, transforming neighbourhoods, and the ever-changing relationship between the urban and nature
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Taking the High Line: elevated parks, transforming neighbourhoods, and the ever-changing relationship between the urban and nature
2016 (English)In: Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, ISSN 1754-9175, E-ISSN 1754-9183, ISSN 1754-9175, Vol. 9, no 4, p. 353-371Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The popularity and impact of the High Line in New York mirrors the complex reality of contemporary provision of public space. The development of the project, its relationship to its surroundings and the evolving trend of elevated parks are analyzed in relation to the role of urban green space and impacts of Landscape Urbanism. The High Line shows the way to a new role for urban green space by utilizing abandoned infrastructure. In analysing the narrative of the High Line, this article stresses the importance of understanding localities and connectivity. Based on observations as well as a review of the literature and media, the article concludes that great landscaping does not create great places without careful consideration of the surrounding community and residents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
UK: Routledge, 2016
Keywords
High Line; elevated parks; Landscape Urbanism; environmental gentrification; urban parks
National Category
Architecture Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249729 (URN)10.1080/17549175.2015.1063532 (DOI)
Note

QC 20190425

Available from: 2019-04-19 Created: 2019-04-19 Last updated: 2019-04-25Bibliographically approved
4. Urban Heritage as a Generator of Landscapes: Building New Geographies from Post-Urban Decline in Detroit
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urban Heritage as a Generator of Landscapes: Building New Geographies from Post-Urban Decline in Detroit
2018 (English)In: Urban Science, Vol. 2, no 3, p. 1-16, article id 92Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

At this historical moment, the urban planning and design professions are confronted with the twin challenges of unprecedented rapid urbanization on the one hand, and declining post-industrial regions on the other. In this environment, there are many different and often conflicting ideas about urban heritage and its relevance for contemporary urban planning and design. In this paper, we look for commonalities and a way forward from among a range of competing urban design models. We examine the illustrative case study of the geography and landscape of Detroit, USA. We consider seven contemporary urban planning and design ideals that dominate the contemporary planning and design discourse and their different views of the past and urban heritage in relation to the approaches in Detroit. From these, we draw a synthesis approach, making several recommendations and observations with a focus on the capacities of so-called “placemaking” approaches. In this paper, urban heritage is understood and examined as contributing a pattern of infrastructure that provides a helpful supportive framework, and (importantly) a set of structural limitations (e.g., historic plot boundaries), that can serve as a generative resource for new urban planning and design. We conclude that the necessary framework for democratic participation and opportunity within urban space can be provided most directly by leveraging the assets of urban heritage.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2018
Keywords
urban heritage; urban design; urban decline; placemaking; Detroit
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249730 (URN)10.3390/urbansci2030092 (DOI)
Note

QC 20190423

Available from: 2019-04-19 Created: 2019-04-19 Last updated: 2019-05-22Bibliographically approved
5. Reflections on the Re-Urbanism Paradigm: Re-Weaving The Urban Fabric for Urban Regeneration and Renewal
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reflections on the Re-Urbanism Paradigm: Re-Weaving The Urban Fabric for Urban Regeneration and Renewal
2018 (English)In: Questiones Geographicae, ISSN 0137-477X, Vol. 37, no 4, p. 5-21Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Within the realm of contemporary urban design theory and practice, a number of authors have conceptualised the trends and processes of city development and planning into a series of urbanisms. This discussion essay examines the overall tenets of the 'ReUrbanism paradigm', a paradigm that has long been present in city planning and development but has received limited analysis and criticism and has not gained a more integrated position within the professional and academic worlds. This paper continues a paradigm development outline, leaning on the characteristics of other urbanisms in order to develop and provide a frame of reference and to contribute to the ongoing build-up of taxonomies about the trajectory of contemporary urban design thought. Focusing on the American representative case of Detroit, the authors of this paper argue for a better understanding of this urban regeneration paradigm, which they characterise as a rational urban planning & design approach in the contemporary age of inner city renewal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Poland: De Gruyter Open, 2018
Keywords
urbanism, urban design, urban paradigms, urban decline, urban regeneration
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-249731 (URN)10.2478/quageo-2018-0037 (DOI)000455440900001 ()2-s2.0-85059977147 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190423

Available from: 2019-04-19 Created: 2019-04-19 Last updated: 2019-08-30Bibliographically approved

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