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.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Doesn't look good for College Park, Maryland

Carytown uncropped (Richmond)
Carytown in Richmond is a walkable, comfortable place. Photo by Steve Pinkus.

See "University of Maryland selects developer for commercial project," from the Washington Business Journal.

Foulger-Pratt is a development company known for its work in Silver Spring. It would be a rare urban designer that would argue that this work was about creating walkable places vibrant at the street level.

Compare Silver Spring to say Bethesda Row, constructed by Federal Realty, and you'll see a big difference.
Bethesda Row. CNU photo.

When urban designers use the term "mixed-use" in many respects they are also referring to people and active spaces and places, not just having office and retail, or office, retail, and housing, in the same building.

The Silver Spring experience is superblocks and superbuildings for the most part. Colesville Road is not a hospitable place for bicyclists or pedestrians.

(See these past blog entries:
-- Silver Spring: Revitalization vs. Redevelopment
-- Why are people so damn good at asking the wrong questions?)

It would be a shame if this becomes the model for development on a big chunk of land in College Park, Maryland, on land that could be used to create a true center at the heart of the city.
Silver Spring Metro Center
Silver Spring Metro Center image from Foulger-Pratt website.

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