Precincts Urban Renewal

The Barbican was built on a site bombed out during World War II. In a sense it was an urban renewal project. Urban renewal projects, as understood here, however, involve the planned demolition of obsolete and/or decayed segments of cities, in whole or in part, and their rebuilding. The new development may be publicly or privately financed, or some mixture of the two. Often governments use their power of eminent domain to acquire land and to accumulate small sites into single-parcels ripe for redevelopment. Private companies without that power have also succeeded in painstakingly agglomerating individual sites into a large parcel. Much depends on land ownership patterns. In cities such as London, large segments of land are in single ownership and leased out for 99 years. When the leases come to an end, the land is available for redevelopment. In the case of Rockefeller Center in New York a wealthy family purchased a lease from a single landowner and redeveloped the site but had to capture a number of sub-leases.

Whether built on freehold or leasehold sites a wide variety of urban renewal schemes have been completed around the world. The conflicts between different stakeholders can be intense and questions of what really is in the public interest arise. Traditionally strong financial and political forces usually win the arguments but sometimes alliances of weaker forces prevail. In either case the urban design scheme goes through many twists and turns before it is finally built.

Major references

Bentley, Ian (1999). Urban Transformations: Power, People and Urban Design. London: Routledge.

Freiden, Bernard J. and Lynne B. Sagalyn (1991). Downtown, Inc.: How America Rebuilds Cities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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