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, March 21, 2024

This Philadelphia Inquirer article on the issues around Market Street East is a tour de force

-- "Philadelphia’s Market Street East searches for growth and renewal — with or without a new Sixers arena" The way it covers the issues is stupendous.

I touched on these kinds of issues yesterday, "Downtown St. Paul needs 20,000 more people to thrive | implications for urban revitalization in the post covid city," and by the way, I don't think that the Downtown DC Public Realm Plan will move the needle very much at all.

Proposed Las Vegas baseball stadium.

Philadelphia is one of the many cities right now that's dealing with sports arena or stadium proposals (DC, Kansas City ["What the Royals and Chiefs say they’ll give Kansas City in exchange for stadiums tax," Kansas City Star], Las Vegas-Oakland, Nashville, Oklahoma City ["Oklahoma City voters approve sales tax for new Thunder arena," NBC5 DFW], another Philadelphia project ["Phillies say they’re joining Comcast Spectacor in a $2.5 billion transformation of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex," PI] Salt Lake City, San Antonio are the others).  And the Inquirer has published many good articles on the issues around the 76ers proposal.

I just came across this book, The City Authentic: How the Attention Economy Builds Urban America.  Hopefully I can get a review copy ("Cities are branding themselves into predictably unique products," Dezeen).

The point in the St. Paul article is that cities now have to maximize their acceptance of "entertainment" as a driving force for visitorship and commerce, even though from an economic standpoint, sports facilities aren't always that great--that's true at the metropolitan scale, but at the zero sum game of competition between cities it can be positive, providing that the jurisdiction aims to maximize the value they get in return ("Framework of characteristics that support successful community development in association with the development of professional sports facilities").

And the issue of activating the ground plane ("The Sixers want to model their arena on Boston’s TD Garden. I went there to see how it works," PI) when the reality is that big hulking arenas don't do this so well.

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