Progress Through Undevelopment

Today Streetsblog Network member blog Hub and Spokes picks up on an interesting story from the LA Times about how falling real estate values could mean an opportunity to develop more public spaces:

46320039.jpgAn abandoned apartment complex in Tampa, Florida, might become a park instead of luxury condos. Photo by Martha Rial/St. Petersburg Times.

With all the foreclosure and false starts on major housing development projects a new trend is developing: un-development. Land
that had been acquired for future development is now being targeted as land that can be returned to its original use or some type of green space.… I know we are in discussion in St. Paul exactly about this idea. A 3-acre site that was going to be developed into housing might now instead be turned into a community green space.

Anyone out there have other local examples?

Other news from around the network: California High Speed Rail Blog asks what the state should do next to get HSR rolling; the National Journal wonders what effect cap-and-trade legislation would have on transportation; and CTA Tattler passes along an amusing story of how a sweaty bus ride might convince Illinois legislators that transit needs a source of capital funding.

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  • John

    Here in Pawnee, Indiana, we’re turning a vacant lot into a park. The lot is currently a pit that was dug for condos that were never constructed because the developer ran out of money.

  • JSD

    Speaking of the park John…I just attended the public hearing the other day. Absolute disaster.

    I like the new speed bumped slides though. Very nice touch.

  • “Instead of slating every inch of real estate for development (smart growth), doesn’t this new growth, a return to natural state, make more sense for everyone?”

    Hub And Spokes doesn’t seem to understand what smart growth means: the idea is to build higher density development instead of sprawl, so less land is developed and more is preserved in its natural state.

    Unfortunately, so many real estate developers have been using the term “smart growth” as greenwashing to promote there projects that many people who don’t know the history of the term have accepted the developers’ definition of it – which is basically just: “build whatever we propose.”

  • Bruce Ratner has developed several acres of unintentional open space in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, but unfortunately, it’s all behind chain-link fencing, watched by security cameras and a private security force.

    When the Atlantic Yards project finally goes belly-up, maybe some of his newly created vacant lots can be turned into actual greenspace.


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