Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

An example of why you can't expect developers to do your parks planning for you...

From "Public hearing focuses spotlight on Takoma/Langley Crossroads" in the Gazette:

Bob Wulff, senior vice president at B.F. Saul, which owns the Hampshire-Langley Shopping Center, said the developer was largely in favor of the plan but took issue with a proposal for a 1-acre green space in the plaza. Wulff said a grassy space would simply turn into a "mudhole," and the 1-acre allotment was too large and would be better used for more commercial space.

Wulff said the developer would prefer a smaller urban plaza with more hardscape?and less grass.

"We would argue that is not the right use," Wulff said. "Form follows function. This is an urban plaza next to a transit station. It's not where you play Frisbee. It's not where you sit on the lawn and have a picnic."

I can't say whether or not 1 acre is too much. It is the size of a 2/3 of a typical block in the L'Enfant City in DC. That can be big. OTOH, this is a big area and will have a transit system and a fair number of taller buildings and needs some open space.

But this illustrates my general point that the profit imperative is what drives developer agendas for the most part, and only to the point where marginal contribution to revenue is positive do developers "contribute" to community objectives.

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