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SynergiCity: Reinventing the Postindustrial City

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    SynergiCity: Reinventing the Postindustrial City proposes a new and invigorating vision of urbanism, architectural design, and urban revitalization in twenty-first-century America. Culling transformative ideas from the realms of historic preservation, sustainability, ecological urbanism, and the innovation economy, Paul Hardin Kapp and Paul J. Armstrong present a holistic vision for restoring industrial cities suffering from population decline back into stimulating and productive places to live and work._x000B__x000B_With a particular emphasis on the Rust Belt of the American Midwest, SynergiCity argues that cities such as Detroit, St. Louis, and Peoria must redefine themselves to be globally competitive. This revitalization is possible through environmentally and economically sustainable restoration of industrial areas and warehouse districts for commercial, research, light industrial, and residential uses. The volume's expert researchers, urban planners, and architects draw on the redevelopment successes of other major cities--such as the American Tobacco District in Durham, North Carolina, and the Milwaukee River Greenway--to set guidelines and goals for reinventing and revitalizing the postindustrial landscape. _x000B__x000B_Contributors are Paul J. Armstrong, Donald K. Carter, Lynne M. Dearborn, Norman W. Garrick, Mark Gillem, Robert Greenstreet, Craig Harlan Hullinger, Paul Hardin Kapp, Ray Lees, Emil Malizia, John O. Norquist, Christine Scott Thomson, and James Wasley._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09393-7
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

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  1. FOREWORD The Death and Life of Great Industrial Cities
    (pp. vii-viii)

    I PARAPHRASE THE GREAT JANE JACOBS FOR A reason. Left for dead, abandoned by globalizing and deindustrializing corporations, and mortally wounded by some of the most destructive urban renewal strategies of modern history, great industrial cities across America and the world are now in the throes of a great, bottom-up push for revitalization and renewed life.

    This transformation is nothing short of astounding, really.

    Great industrial cities in the United States and around the world had been declining for the better part of half a century, well before they took the brunt of the great economic crisis of 2008. As...

  2. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xiv)

    EDMUND BACON, THE FORMER URBAN PLANNER for the city of Philadelphia, once described urban synergy as a process that successfully synthesizes disparate and often competing economic, social, and political forces in which the result is greater than the sum of the constituent parts (Warfield 1995). SynergiCity, therefore, is more than merely a master plan proposal: It is a visionary concept for the wholesale redevelopment of the postindustrial city. It is an evolution of a process we initiated, first as a graduate architecture design studio and, later, as a research project that proposed to transform the postindustrial city from a forgotten...

  3. PART I Designing SynergiCity

    • CHAPTER ONE Hope for the Future of the Postindustrial City
      (pp. 3-15)

      THE TERM “POSTINDUSTRIAL” WAS FIRST POPUlarized by Daniel Bell in his 1973 book The Coming of Post-industrial Society, in which he forecast that mature national economies were moving and would continue to move from being manufacturing based to service based. The United States indeed went in that direction and prospered overall. What Bell did not predict were the severe regional disparities that would result between the so-called Rust Belt cities of the Northeast and Midwest and the Sun Belt cities of the South and Southwest. Over the next 40 years, Rust Belt cities were characterized by depopulation, disinvestment, and decline...

    • CHAPTER TWO Why SynergiCity?
      (pp. 17-27)

      FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS, MANUFACTURING CITIES throughout the United States have experienced a significant decline. Manufacturing’s share of employment in the United States has been falling for at least 50 years (Bernard et al. 2002). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Establishment Survey, the share of manufacturing employment in 1950 was about 35% and in 2004 was about 13% (Fisher and Rupert 2005). The 2008–2009 recession, which accelerated with the financial collapse on September 15, 2008, has exacerbated this decline, forcing mass closings of manufacturing facilities and layoffs. Leading economists agree that the effects of this recession...

      (pp. 28-39)

      WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP IN MAKING SYNERGICITY? Historic preservation. It is the foundation and initial step to redeveloping the postindustrial district in the American city. Rehabilitating the existing buildings, streets, and open space is not only practical; it is sustainable both from an economic and environmental point of view. It creates an aesthetically pleasing environment that utilizes the best attributes of the district — its sense of place. Within the context of the postindustrial district, historic preservation is best defined as the adaptive use and rehabilitation of existing historic (and even not-so-historic buildings) and structures, transforming them for new and...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Creating Urban Metabolism
      (pp. 40-53)

      URBAN METABOLISM, ORIGINALLY PROPOSED IN 1965, is a model to facilitate the description and analysis of the flows of the materials and energy within cities (Wolman 1965). It offers benefits in the study of the sustainability of cities by providing a unified or holistic viewpoint to encompass all of the activities of a city in a single model.

      Urban Metabolism can be classified into the following three types:

      1. On a national or regional scale: In this type of study the material exchanges between an economy and the natural environment are analyzed. Indicators are calculated in order to assess the...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Socioeconomic Opportunities of SynergiCity
      (pp. 55-68)

      Cities support a large number of interlinked human institutions and provide the physical context within which much of the world’s population lives and works. To support city habitation, the quality of life offered to all urban residents, regardless of their socioeconomic standing, should be a critical consideration in rethinking urban redevelopment models for the “creative age” (Florida 2002). Quality of life depends not only on opportunities to build wealth and maintain employment but also on the attributes of the built environment, measures of physical and mental health, and opportunities for education, recreation, leisure time, and a sense of social belonging...

    • CHAPTER SIX Restoring Urbanism in U.S. Cities
      (pp. 69-76)

      Peoria, Illinois, is the very symbol of the midwestern American city. “But will it play in Peoria?” was the question vaudeville show producers asked themselves before launching a nationwide show tour. Now the phrase is used as inside-the-Beltway shorthand for whether an issue with appeal to Washington, D.C., elites can also appeal to the average middle-class American. However they’ve played politically, federal programs and policies have significantly impacted Peoria and other U.S. cities.

      This book’s lead authors, Paul Hardin Kapp and Paul J. Armstrong, researched Peoria, Illinois. In chapter 2 they describe Peoria as a potential “Synergy City”: a city...

  4. PART II Sustainability in SynergiCity

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Making Postindustrial Cities Livable
      (pp. 79-91)

      THE AMERICAN CITY IS IN THE FINAL STAGES OF a major transformation. The services sector has largely replaced manufacturing. This shift has left vacant industrial facilities, brownfield sites, and nearly empty rail yards. Jobs have migrated to homogenized edge cities without the perceived environmental and sociocultural baggage of the industrial city. In this chapter, we will analyze two primary strategies that are being used to make postindustrial cities livable. First, environmental damage that has pushed capital to the suburbs must be mitigated. To address the contamination left over from the industrial era, postindustrial cities have embarked on aggressive restoration programs....

      (pp. 92-102)

      In the fall of 2004, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) partnered with the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) to undertake two projects; “UWM as a Zero-Discharge Zone,” a speculative storm water masterplan for the campus, and “the Pavilion Gateway,” an ecological “best management practice” (BMP) demonstration project managing the runoff from a 4-acre portion of the campus (Wasley 2006a, 2006b). The first was the result of an unsolicited proposal by me. The second was in response to a call for proposals that came out before the masterplanning had begun but could not be executed within the time frame of...

    • CHAPTER NINE Ecological Urbanism in the Postindustrial City
      (pp. 103-114)

      GLOBAL ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING HAS SPARKED urban crisis and long-term economic decline in many industrial and manufacturing centers since the 1950s, but today Ecological Urbanism is an important urban design theory, providing communities with tools to renew local economies by restoring ecologically and urbanistically compromised landscapes. This chapter explores how an understanding of urban dynamics grounded in the framework of Ecological Urbanism can be used to address the negative effects of the physical and social transformations brought about by globalization and chronicles how a major midwestern city is creating a world-class park and exceptional ecological corridor to secure its future.


    • CHAPTER TEN The Sustainable Transportation Agenda for Postindustrial Cities
      (pp. 115-130)

      AT THE VERY MOMENT THAT THE INDUSTRIAL CITies of America were beginning to lose their industrial base, they were also faced with the issue of how to cope with the unprecedented increase in motorization sweeping post–World War II America. Most cities chose to meet the challenges of the new era by adopting measures designed to facilitate car travel and to accommodate car storage — highways were built through the center of cities, on-street parking was eliminated for efficient traffic flow, and large numbers of historic buildings were cleared for surface lots and parking garages.

      Fortunately, a handful of cities in...

  5. PART III Making SynergiCity a Reality

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Creating a Town-Gown Partnership: THE MILWAUKEE MODEL
      (pp. 133-140)

      MANY FACTORS MUST CONVERGE TO SUCCESSFULLY stimulate the growth and reinvention of cities, and as many agents of creative change as possible need to be harnessed toward the positive regeneration of the urban environment. One such agent, which can often be overlooked in the municipal decision-making process, is that of education, specifically higher education, for universities and colleges can provide a continuous stream of fresh, new ideas and alternatives that can enrich the debate on future development. Faculty and students, particularly in design-related disciplines, can focus their intellectual exploration on city issues and help to inform and influence physical change....

      (pp. 141-151)

      MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT AWARE THAT PEORIA WAS a bustling, prosperous regional center for territorial trade, transportation, and commerce long before Chicago (Fort Dearborn) was much of a settlement on the banks of Lake Michigan. Peoria’s location on the Illinois River and within the fertile central Illinois prairie has been a positive factor in its development and growth throughout its history (fig. 12.1). Its natural resources of freshwater for drinking and transportation and rich, productive soils for agriculture have attracted resident entrepreneurs and many others who have capitalized on these and other resources offered by the region.

      Like Peoria, many...

      (pp. 152-170)

      MANY INDUSTRIAL CITIES IN AMERICA’S HEARTland and others elsewhere in the United States have endured long-term economic decline. Their manufacturing base has been undermined, and their central areas have lost many traditional economic functions, as well as population and employment, to peripheral locations. In an era of limited financial assistance from state or federal government, many cities are struggling to shore up their economic base and to strengthen central areas. Local civic and political leaders, economic developers, and downtown advocates have worked hard to attract private investment against long odds. In recent years, many can point to increases in private...

  6. Conclusion
    (pp. 171-182)

    THE CREATORS AND CONTRIBUTORS OF SynergiCity share the following points of general consensus:

    We are pro-development.

    We are pro-density.

    We are pro-community.

    We are pro-environment.

    We are pro-sustainability.

    We believe in the heritage of the built place.

    We believe in large-scale visioning.

    We believe in small-area revitalization.

    We are against development centered on the automobile.

    SynergiCity is, in fact, the product of synergy. More than just an area of architecturally rehabilitated buildings, it is the transformation of dormant factories and warehouses into inviting attractors of small businesses, incubators, offices, retail shops, green public places, and residences. It is the result...