An Urban Fix for Suburbia? Tackling Growing Problems Through Retrofits

Michelle Marcus
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Summary Sentence:

Suburban Retrofitting discussed in Atlanta.

Full Summary:

Suburban retrofitting, a modern planning concept, has been recently embraced by the "Lifelong Communities" Charrette in Atlanta.

By Ben Brown

Suburban retrofitting, a modern planning concept, has been recently embraced by the "Lifelong Communities" Charrette in Atlanta. The Charrette, which concluded on February 17th, 2009, was organized by the Atlanta Regional Commission to discuss potential opportunities for the future growth of Atlanta. Suburban retrofitting essentially converts conventional sites on metropolitan fringes into high-density mix-use developments. It is explicated in the book, "Retrofitting Suburbia", by Georgia Tech School of Architecture director Ellen Dunham-Jones and City College of New York/CUNY professor June Williamson.
A case study in Gwinnett County in Atlanta, lead by Andres Duany and Galina Tahchieva of DPZ, adopted suburban retrofitting for redeveloping a 900-acre site. The redevelopment is expected to accommodate a third of the projected population in the county. Three alternatives were proposed for the design, two of which utilized the existing mall and strip mall structures. The third option recommended a decentralized design that is surrounded by farmland and encircled by a canal for stormwater management. The DPZ team presented malls as viable sites for suburban retrofitting, as they are served by the necessary infrastructure needed to facilitate the idea. Additionally, the mall core can be revamped into public space. Since natural resources in the area have already been replaced by the existing structures, suburban retrofitting would not further harm the environment. Another advantage to redeveloping a mall for suburban retrofit is that most malls are managed by one party, which facilitates planning, coordination and implementation.

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CQGRD - Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development

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  • Created By: Joanie Chembars
  • Workflow Status: Archived
  • Created On: Mar 25, 2009 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:10pm