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the of

Impact Investment 10 London Crossrail Case 34 The Boom of Istanbul 72 Neighborhood Parks in Philadelphia: Reaching Underserved Areas

78 Socio-Economic Impacts of South Africa’s Gautrain

Volume XXIII Spring 2015

Payoffs: The Impact of Investment

Good planning is not free. Plans can be visionary, can offer a roadmap to a more prosperous future, and can provide actionable steps to achieve goals. However, even the most well-crafted plans have a price tag. Public investment is at the core of community transformation. Whether through general fund expenditures, value capture initiatives, user fees, or other creative mechanisms, communities are tasked with raising funds and spending them strategically to effect positive change. In decades past, federal and local governments funded major public works and infrastructure projects to spur economic growth. “Mega-projects” were, at one time, imperative for growing the national economy. Lodestar projects such as the Panama Canal in 1914, the Hoover Dam in 1935, and the Interstate Highway System (beginning in 1956) all required tremendous investment of public resources. Yet many saw them as necessary costs of building a nation. Today, however, cash-strapped public agencies have difficulty justifying major investments. Ballooning costs and the lack of political will make mega-projects much more difficult to advance. Boston’s “Big Dig,” for example, famously overran its budget by 190% and was completed nearly a decade behind schedule. However the need for public investment, particularly in urban transportation systems, has recently reentered the forefront of political discourse both in the United States and abroad. The continued growth of major cities has placed mounting strain on highways, roads, and, most notably, public transit systems. Without significant investment in this vital infrastructure, our systems will continue to deteriorate, threatening the viability of our economic engines. The title of this issue, Payoffs: The Impact of Investment, refers to the necessity of measuring the value of public spending. In this issue, authors investigate major public projects that have aimed at solving environmental, mobility, equity, and other urban challenges. Often times implemented at great cost, these initiatives have resulted in a wide range of outcomes from the underpinning of future growth to the displacement of communities. We are proud of the articles published in this issue of Panorama and thank our writers for their work. Additionally, we thank the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania for enabling the production of this journal and the inspiration and tools to advance our own transformational projects

Brett Peanasky Associate Editor, MCP + JD ‘16 Zach Billet Editor, MCP ‘15 Anna Ishii Design Editor, MCP + MARCH ‘15 Samuel Sklar Associate Editor, MCP ‘16 Aric Skurdal Associate Design Editor, MCP ‘16

for a more vibrant future.


authors Mazen Chaanine is a second-year city planning student, concentrating in sustainable transportation and infrastructure planning. His interests include transportation mega-projects planning, finance, and delivery, as well as intelligent transportation systems (ITS) applications for smarter cities. He comes from Beirut, Lebanon, where he previously earned his bachelor’s in Economics.

Lauren Deutsch is a second year Master of City and Regional Planning Student focusing on Land Use and Environmental Planning. She is interested in how waste, natural resource consumption, and perceptions of nature intersect with urbanization. Lauren is also fascinated by New Jersey and has had the privilege to work on projects in both Trenton and Atlantic City while at PennPlanning.

Eduardo Diaz-Etchevehere studies urban design and land preservation at PennDesign, and is always looking for links between them in open space and the public realm. He believes strongly that everyone should be able to experience a touch of nature in their lives.

Matt DiScenna is a second year concentrating in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. Prior to attending Penn, he received a B.A. from Miami University in Environmental Policy and Italian. He enjoys cooking, traveling and playing basketball with anyone who knows how to run a proper pick-and-roll.

Joe Huennekens is a second-year MCP student in the Community and Economic Development concentration. His planning interests include neighborhood change, post-industrial cities, and affordable housing policy.

D. Lex Powers is a second year graduate Transportation Planning student at Penn Design. He is a native of Philadelphia, and enjoys working on both local and international projects. Lex has been to Korea and number of times, and was on one of the first commercial flights to fly through Incheon in 2001. Lex hopes to apply lessons learned internationally to help plan and build successful megaprojects in the US.

Ben Schmidt is concentrating in Community and Economic Development. He holds a dual-major degree in Political Science and Film & Media Arts from Temple University. He is interested in equitable development, urban narratives, and all things drum-related.

Alma Siulagi is a proud native of Portland, Oregon who likes what all normal people do: cats, pizza and sleeping. If she won the lottery, she would turn the heat up, buy an enamel set of cast irons and try and meet Hayao Miyazaki and Margaret Atwood.

Sam Sklar is a first year City Planning student concentrating in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. Since graduating from Boston University’s School of Management in 2011 with a degree in Finance, his work has focused on creative placemaking and its financial implications. He hopes to travel extensively after graduation to continue to learn about what gives home meaning.

Jacqueline Slaby is a submatriculate from Bryn Mawr College concentrating in Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning. She will graduate from Bryn Mawr this May with a Bachelor of Arts in Growth and Structure of Cities. Her interests include architectural history, social justice, and urban infrastructure.

Sarai L. Williams has a background in architecture and is currently studying City & Regional Planning at PennDesign. She hails from Northern California and hopes to one day work in the urban design capacity, primarily within underrepresented communities both nationally and internationally.

Cover Image: Quintano, Anthony. “Fulton Center Station NYC”. Photograph. Self-Published, 2014. From Flickr. (Accessed March 2015). Alterations made by Aric Skurdal. Editor’s Picture: Teng, Teng. Photograph. Self-Published, 2015. Alterations made by Aric Skurdal. 2


table of contents 4

Masters in Megaprojects: The Korean Experience with Incheon International Airport and Songdo International Business District D. Lex Powers

10 London Crossrail Case Matt DiScenna 18 Top-Down Progressivism in Planning: Rewriting the Popular Narrative & Implications of Progressivism in Portland, Oregon Alma Siulagi 26 Las Vegas Valley, Nevada: Water Planning Case Study Lauren Deutsch 34 The Boom of Istanbul Ben Schmidt 40 Missing [ ] From the Narrative: Displacement of a People, Their Memories and Legacy in Battle Creek, Michigan Jacqueline Slaby 46 Tehran, Iran: Unceasing Growth Amidst Uncertainty Sarai Williams 54 The Municipal Moment: The Third Stage of Housing Affordability Policies Joe Huennekens 62 Jakarta: Measurements of Success Post-Millenium Sam Sklar 72 Neighborhood Parks in Philadelphia: Reaching Underserved Areas Eddie Diaz-Etchevehere 78 Socio-Economic Impacts of South Africa’s Gautrain Mazen Chaanine


Masters in



The Korean Experience with Incheon International Airport by D. Lex Powers South Korea has responded to its proximity to hostility with unabashed, worldclass urban development since the end of the Korean War in the mid-1950s. Its latest foray onto the world stage – Incheon International Airport – proves again that though divided from its Northern counterpart, its connection to the world at large couldn’t be more unified. D. Lex Powers unpacks South Korea’s newest airport as a function of nation-wide pride in placemaking and of the level of investment it takes for a nation, once ravaged by war, to truly have global impact.



Over the last 50 years, South Korea has experienced profound social, economic, and political changes. For centuries, Korea as a whole was known as the “Hermit Kingdom” for its unwillingness to engage with the world around it. Tense and complicated relationships with neighboring China and Japan furthered the civilization’s desire to keep to itself. However, after the end of Japanese occupation after World War II, the country was partitioned into two zones - a north zone under the influence of the Soviet Union, and a south zone under the influence of the United States. While initially intended to be temporary, the Korean War between calcified the division between the North and South, which left much of the Korean peninsula in ruin. While the Soviet Union helped to establish a communist dictatorship in the North, the South embraced the free market, and eventually democracy as well. Over the next few decades, South Korea cultivated an aggressive export-oriented economic policy, requiring diminishing American aid as its economy soared. The country’s transformation is commonly referred to as the “Miracle on the Han,” an allusion to the Han River that runs through the capital, Seoul. Indeed, since the 1960s, South

Korea has risen from poverty on par with the poorest countries of Africa and Asia, to one of the world’s wealthiest and most technologically advanced economies. By 2004, South Korea’s economy became one of the few worldwide to surpass $1 trillion dollars in value, and today the moderatelysized country is the world’s 12th largest economy overall with a nominal GDP of $1.5 trillion, and a GDP per capita that continues to rapidly rise (Buiter 2011). The economy is today famous for its innovative tech giants, such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, KIA, and the STX shipyard, as well as for having one of the best educated and highest skilled workforces (D.T. 2011) and increasingly popular cultural exports. The Miracle on the Han did not occur spontaneously. The meteoric rise of South Korean industry is a story of government intervention as much as it is about the free market. The Korean government has slowly made steps to privatize many of its powers in recent years, but still plays a major role in the creation of infrastructure. A strong role was needed, as dirt roads quickly gave way to highways, mega-ports, high-speed rail, and world-renowned airports. As a national priority, the Korean public sector

Figure 1 : GDP per capita (2010 dollars) of selected economies. 50,000

United States


South Korea 30,000

China North Korea








has embarked on numerous mega-projects with gusto, under the philosophy that such investment was necessary for the country’s continued growth and development. South Korea has recently been referred to as a “quiet engineering powerhouse” (Own 2009), and evidently, the modern Korean mindset to never say “never” when it comes to infrastructure has paid off by the trillions for the country’s economy. It was this same philosophy that led to the country’s first world-famous mega-project, Incheon International Airport. After successfully hosting the 1988 Olympics, the governmental embarked on a plan to relieve congestion at Seoul’s outdated and congested Gimpo International Airport. Because of the country’s high population density and mountainous terrain, the government made the bold decision to create a world-class airport on an artificial island in the Yellow Sea – a full 40 miles from the capital. Breaking ground in 1992, such a project would be finished in phases over a matter of decades, with the first commercial flights operating in 2001. The Airport would give way to countless other megaprojects, all focused on connectivity. The Airport Express Train, Incheon Bridge, and expanded high-speed rail (KTX) network would allow quick access to the airport not just for residents of Seoul, but the virtually all of Korea’s 50 million residents within a matter of hours. Finally, the construction of Songdo International Business District, a publicprivate partnership amounting to the largest single real estate project in world history, would offer thousands of domestic and foreign workers unparalleled connectivity to both the Korean market, and booming East Asia. It is difficult to imagine a faster and starker change in values and direction from once one of the world’s most intentionally isolated countries.



Planning a Megaproject Incheon’s primary purpose was to add capacity and take pressure off of existing Gimpo International Airport, but the megaproject was also meant to showcase South Korea’s newfound wealth and economic success, as well as to bolster its international standing. Similar to the British model of mega-project development used both for Canary Wharf and the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, the government created a new entity, Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) to oversee both the construction and operation of the airport. American Fentress Bradburn Architects worked on the design with Korean Architects Collaborative International. Parsons Brinckerhoff, headquartered in New York, managed the project and construction along with Samsung Engineering & Construction (Airport Technology 2014). Additional players in construction included Yooshin Engineering Corporation, POSCO International, Daewoo Engineering Company, Hanjin Information Systems, Deutsche AeroConsult (Germany), Thales ATM (France), and more. IIAC broke ground in 1992 with massive land reclamation to prepare for development..

The process focused on eroding the peaks of two islands – Yeongjong and Yongyu – in order the fill the channel between them, creating a large, completely flat template upon which to build the airport. Phase 1’s budget amounted to 5 billion USD, with 40% supported by government equity, and 60% from debt (Yeo 2004). By the completion of the first phase in 2001, 11,920 square kilometers had been prepared, and 2 runways, one passenger terminal, and one cargo facility constructed. Concurrently, a new Incheon International Expressway opened to connect the airport to Incheon and Seoul. With the airport’s initial opening in May 2001, it had the capacity to handle 30 million passengers and 2.7 million tons of cargo per year (Yeo 2004). The plan for Incheon is ultimately strategic and long-term, and although the Airport opened under capacity and functioning smoothly, Phase 2 started almost immediately after the completion of Phase 1. Initially with an expected completion date of December 2008, the project was delivered 6 months early in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Focusing primarily on expanding capacity, it involved the preparation of 8,250 additional square kilometers of land, a third runway, expanded passenger facilities, and new “hinterland facilities” for cargo and

Figure 2 : Passenger Volume (in thousands) at Seoul’s Airports. incheon gimpo











technical support. The phase included more connectivity to the mainland: a high-speed “Airport Railroad” to Seoul, and the striking 13-mile long Incheon Bridge connecting to Incheon city and the future site of Songdo International Business District. Phase two enabled the accommodation of 14 million additional passengers and 1.8 million tons of cargo per year (Airport Technology 2014), meaning that Incheon’s total capacity was 44 million passengers and 4.5 million tons of cargo annually (Incheon Airport 2013). Phase 3 of Incheon Airport is currently underway in order to add the capacity needed to accommodate 62 million annual passengers. Incheon’s “Final Phase” will then follow, enabling a capacity of 100 million annual passengers – twice the current population of South Korea. The ultimate goal of these further expansions is for Incheon to become “Northeast Asia’s Undisputed Hub Airport” (Incheon Airport 2013). Renderings of a futuristic “Terminal 2” have been released, and there are also plans for a control tower, hotel, conference center, additional rail transit, and more expansions to existing facilities. For this phase, a consortium of Korean and American companies created specially for this project, Heerim-Mooyoung-GenslerYungdo (HMGY), is leading design and construction. Notably, long-term and complex megaprojects like Incheon Airport and Songdo, involving scores of organizations from around the world, were lead by no single “champion”, which is uncommon with projects of this size and scope. Usually, the influence of a dedicated public official, or other high profile person, is needed to keep momentum and see a project to its completion. It’s possible that such detailed information is not readily available, for reasons of differing cultural norms or language barrier. But what is more probable is that for Korea’s megaprojects, no champion is needed, simply because there is rarely sizeable opposition to projects that meet a need and demonstrate benefit.

Figure 3 : Terminal Two at Incheon International Airport

Anecdotally, Koreans who speak out against Incheon International Airport or similarly large infrastructure projects is seldom because there is a national consensus on their necessity. The fact that these projects are almost all well planned and smoothly executed must not hurt their case, either. Ultimately, to speak out against Korea’s development is to speak out against Korea.

Megaproject Outcomes and Results Incheon International Airport is (so far) a clear success story for South Korea. The Airport’s first two phases have been unequivocally a financial, political, and logistical success for nearly all parties involved – and there is no sign that future expansions should be any different. Phase 1 was completed on time, and near budget without any major setbacks, while Phase 2 was completed early and seamlessly served Beijing Olympic traffic soon after. With so many organizations involved, South Korea has exhibited exceptional abilities at executing massive feats of engineering – including dauntingly high levels of international cooperation – without a

hitch. Incheon’s operations since 2001 have been just as successful as its planning and development. The Airport is today one of the top five busiest airports in the world in terms of Cargo Traffic. Consistent with the country’s intentions, it has become a center of East Asian operation for global logistics companies like DHL, AMB, and Shenker (Airport Technologty 2010).

million passengers (Anna Aero 2014). Its largest international markets are China, Japan, and the United States – the world’s three largest economies. Besides serving South Korea, Incheon acts as a major airport for connecting flights throughout East Asia as it is the hub of both Asiana and Korean Airlines. Notably, 1/3 of the world’s population is within 3.5 hours’ flying time (Global Business Hub, 2014).

The airport handles 21.6% of South Korea’s imports and exports by value, an even more impressive number considering the country is home to some of the world’s busiest ports, including Busan and Incheon city.

Perhaps most telling are the high marks that Incheon receives from various agencies publications. In 2010, Incheon was ranked the world’s leading airport by Airport Council International’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey for the fifth consecutive year. Numerous others have named it a world leader for everything from on-time performance, service quality, shopping, and destinations offered. Since Incheon’s opening in 2001 – it has failed to land in Sytrax’s top 3 airports worldwide only five times. IIAC today has strategic partnerships with prestigious airport operators Aéroports de Paris SA of France, and Schiphol Group of the Netherlands.

Incheon has become South Korea’s leading passenger airport, as well. By 2004, Incheon was the world’s 10th busiest airport by passenger volumes with 19 million passengers recorded. By 2010, it had captured 72.3% of the international traffic in and out of South Korea. Passenger traffic has continued to rise nationally, and so has the airport’s share. In 2013, it recorded 41

Incheon International Airport has also directly contributed to a number of other Korean megaprojects meant to 7

Figure 4: Desitnations from Incheon International Airport. 83 airlines connect 180 cities in 60 countries worldwide

Figure 5: Passenger Volume (in thousands) at Seoul’s Airports.


1st & 2nd phase

3rd phase


final phase

Site Area










Passenger Terminal










Aprons Handling Capacity (Annual)


















44 million

18 million

62 million

100 million


4.5 mil.tons

1.3 mil. tons

5.8 mil. tons

10 mil. tons


complement and leverage the new global connectivity. Songdo International Busines District is now under construction on the mainland, just 15 minutes to the Airport via the new Incheon Bridge. Songdo is a billed as a “smart city” lead by POSCO E&C of South Korea and Gale International of the United State (Nam, 2014). The plan is for a new center of international business, and the world-class facilities are primarily aimed at attracting foreign companies. When finished, Songdo will have 40 million square feet of commercial office space, 35 million square feet of residential space, and 10 million square feet for retail. It will boast a convention center, “Central Park,” arts center, golf club, an international school, and its own hospital (Lobo, 2014; Arbes, 2014). Like Incheon Airport, Songdo will showcase South Korea’s status as a leader in technology, with various high-tech systems in partnership with Cisco (Songdo 2014). Incheon Airport has also spurred a number of additional major transportation projects, and The Seoul-Incheon region now 8





offers more than enough transportation infrastructure to handle the country’s booming international travel numbers (Anna aero 2012). Besides the Incheon Bridge now connecting the Airport with Songdo, the Airport Express Train now offers fast and affordable service to downtown Seoul. In 2014, the country’s high-speed rail network, KTX, connected directly to the airport, bringing nearly all of South Korea’s 50 million residents within a few hours of one of the world’s bestconnected airports.

Great Implications Similar to other transformative megaprojects, such as London’s Docklands, Japan’s Shinkansen, Singapore’s Changi Airport, and more, the full range of positive benefits are vast and difficult to measure. Incheon Airport has not only enabled easy travel to and from Korea, but most likely plays a role in the country’s rising international profile. The numbers

of Koreans travelling abroad is rising – especially international students in countries like the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. Korean corporations are quickly gaining prominence, like Samsung, for example, which is now a major smartphone and technology manufacturer worldwide. Korea is growing as a major destination for tourists in Asia, and its culture – ranging from cuisine to popular music and TV dramas – are increasingly popular in countries from China to the United States. The Airport notes its own growing soft power, having become known for their expertise in airport construction and operations. Over 6,000 foreign representatives for foreign airports or related agencies have visited the Airport, and Incheon has become a “Center of International Airport Education.” They have been contracted by airports in Russia, Indonesia, Iraq, and many others to provide operations support (Incheon Airport 2013). Overall, the country’s GDP and GDP per capita are expected to continue to soar, even as population drops, with a diversifying economy based on the seamless movement of goods, people, and ideas. By 2040, Citigroup predicts South Korea’s GDP will reach 100,000 USD, and by 2050, it will surpass the per capita GDP of the United States to become one of the wealthiest major economies in the world (Buiter 2011). Incheon Airport offers a glimpse into a thriving economy and culture, not just for foreigners entering the country, but for the millions more who are only passing through the travel hub. Korea has been low on many travelers’ radar historically – often passed over for larger Japan or China – but Incheon has helped to raise its international profile. The country’s reputation is also enviable – and no longer just because of its economic transformation. Incheon Airport reports that it has hosted thousands of foreign political figures and consultants looking to learn from the country’s ability to build and run massive, efficient, and awardwinning projects and infrastructure (Airport Technology 2010).

Conclusion The Korean experience with massive infrastructure investment has important lessons to teach the world about costs and benefits. Where in the United States, the sticker shock of a large project is enough to make it politically untouchable, South Korea has pushed forward. Their projects are often successful, on time, and on budget, because they are rarely marred by bureaucracy and politics, even when government led. The establishment of special organizations to oversee construction and operations is not unique in the world, but is not often utilized in the United States. Americans can easily point to Boston’s Big

Dig as a reason to distrust large projects, which finished years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. In addition, the Interstate Highway System, once the US’s engineering showcase, is today congested and falling into disrepair with few plans to address the problems. In addition, a period of austerity and decreased spending has led to a general aversion to spending public money, with infrastructure project being common targets for cost savings. Americans tend to see such projects as an expensive purchase, rather than an investment, and the link between well functioning infrastructure and economic

Image Citations

REFERENCES “Incheon Airport’s Winning Formula.” - Airport Technology. 3 Aug. 2010. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. “South Korea: Record 91.8 Million Passengers in 2012; International Traffic Drives Growth.” Annaaero. 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. Bethea, Ross. “Songdo, South Korea: City of the Future?” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 27 Sept. 2014. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. Lobo, Rita. “Could Songdo Be the World’s Smartest City?” World Finance. 21 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. “[Korea] KTX Trains Now Directly Connect to Incheon Int’l Airpor.” KTX Trains Now Directly Connect to Incheon Int’l Airport. 1 July 2014. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. “Incheon International Airport (ICA/RKSI), South Korea.” Incheon International Airport (ICA/RKSI). Web. 20 Dec. 2014. “Korea to Sell Stake in Incheon Airport.” New York Times. New York Times Company. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. Own, Ed. “Korean Colossus: Incheon Bridge.” Korean Colossus: Incheon Bridge. 14 May 2009. Web. 20 Dec. 2014.

development has not been accepted in American politics and public discourse as it has in other countries. Koreans in contrast see their world-class infrastructure as a source of national pride that has paid off with unprecedented economic growth. South Korea’s willingness for action and advancement in general has surely been the key to the country’s phenomenal success. The Korean model shows that large projects do not need to be disastrously run and embarrassingly expensive – it simply requires streamlined organization and a common desire for results.

“Korean American Village to Be Built in Songdo.” Korean American Village to Be Built in Songdo. Nam, In-soo. “South Korea’s $35 Billion ‘Labor of Love’” Wall Street Journal. 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. Holliday, Katie. “Next Wave of Korea Craze about to Start.” CNBC. 27 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. Buiter, William; Rahbari, Ebrahim. “Global Economics View: Global Growth Generators: Moving beyond ‘Emerging Markets’ and ‘BRIC’.” 21 Feb. 2011. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. Yeo, Hyung-Koo. “Public-Private Partnership in IIA Project.” Ministry of Construction and Transportation, Korea. December 14, 2004. “Incheon International Airport | Projects | Gensler.” Gensler. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. “Incheon International Aiport 2013 Brochure.” Incheon Airport. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. 2013. D.T. “Glutted with Graduates.” The Economist. November 3, 2011. Accessed December 20, 2014. banyan/2011/11/education-south-korea

Figure 1: D.T., “Glutted with Graduates.” The Economist. November 3, 2011, accessed December 20, 2014, http://www.economist. com/blogs/banyan/2011/11/educationsouth-korea. Figure 2: D.T., “Glutted with Graduates.” The Economist. November 3, 2011, accessed December 20, 2014, http://www.economist. com/blogs/banyan/2011/11/educationsouth-korea. Figure 3: “Incheon International Airport | Projects | Gensler.” Gensler, accessed 20 Dec. 2014, incheon-international-airport Figure 4: “Incheon International Aiport 2013 Brochure.” Incheon Airport, 2013, accessed December 2014, , brochure/brochureList.iia?langGubun=E Figure 5: “Incheon International Aiport 2013 Brochure.” Incheon Airport, 2013, accessed December 2014, , brochure/brochureList.iia?langGubun=E

“Why Songdo.” Global Business Hub. Songdo. Web. 20 Dec. 2014. <http://www.songdo. com/songdo-international-business-district/ why-songdo/global-business-hub.aspx>.



Crossrail Case by Matt DiScenna London’s Crossrail is Europe’s largest current mega-project. Its challenges are many, but it holds the promise of strengthening London’s transport system and positioning the city for further economic growth into the mid-century. Matt DiScenna breaks down Crossrail’s long history and its potential impact as he looks to draw inspiration from this £15 billion ($24 billion) project in his own work.



Figure 1 : Crossrail Route Map

The London Crossrail project is currently the largest megaproject underway in Europe. Upon completion in late 2018 or early 2019, Crossrail will be a new high frequency and high capacity heavy rail line running east-west across Greater London. It will add 10% capacity to London’s rail system and is expected to substantially reduce congestion on other rail lines. In addition to adding significant and muchneeded rail capacity, Crossrail is also anticipated to both catalyze redevelopment and support current development in several areas of London. The route, shown in Figure 1, will run from Reading at its western terminus to an eastern terminus at Sheffield. The line will be 118 km long in total, including 42 km of new tunnels. One spur extends Crossrail’s reach to London Heathrow Airport and another to Southeast London through the rapidly growing Canary Wharf. Crossrail will serve a total of 40 stations, including 30 existing stations and 10 new stations. In addition to adding rail capacity, Crossrail will also reduce commute times for many Londoners. The line is projected to bring

an additional 1.5 million people within a 45 commute of central London. Two fundamental features of Crossrail are its planned frequency of 24 trains per hour through the central section during peak travel periods and its 1,500 passengers per train capacity. Such high capacity, high frequency service connecting London’s primary business districts is anticipated to serve approximately 200 million passengers annually. The entire cost of the project is expected to be £14.8 billion (about $24 billion) by the time it is completed in late 2018 or early 2019. The combination of significant challenges and innovative solutions makes Crossrail stand out as an example of world-class infrastructure delivery in the 21st century. Planning, funding and constructing Crossrail is a considerable undertaking; its scale alone makes the project worthy of study. Yet Crossrail is worth studying for a variety of other reasons. Lessons from Crossrail can provide insight into how 21st century rail megaprojects can be compellingly conceived, creatively funded and efficiently delivered. Megaprojects are notorious for

being over budget and behind schedule. More than halfway through its construction, Crossrail is on-time and on-budget. Rail projects in the U.S. rarely seek to maximize urban development opportunities let alone capture the value of increased property assessments as a funding component. Crossrail effectively does both. The Crossrail experience provides valuable lessons for infrastructure delivery in the U.S. As the U.S. gears up for high speed rail in California, assesses alternatives for the Northeast Corridor and its Trans-Hudson tunnels and seeks to promote creative infrastructure funding and financing mechanisms, Crossrail provides a model for efficient and accountable infrastructure delivery. Crossrail’s use of value capture financing deserves particular attention for its potential use in the U.S. There is an estimated $1 trillion gap between infrastructure needs and funding through 2020 in the U.S. (Halsey III, 2013) Creative financing schemes can help to close that gap. Crossrail sets a high bar for megaprojects going forward and provides key takeaways for those responsible for delivering them. 11

Figure 2 : Crossrail Stations and Transfers

Context Plans for an east-west cross London rail line date back to the 1943 County of London Plan, but poor economic conditions consistently prevented the line from becoming a reality. The United Kingdom’s sluggish post-World War II economy, in particular, thwarted construction of the line. The London Railway Study Report of 1974 examined the concept of building an underground tunnel through the central London area with several new stations, but the project was deemed too expensive at £300 million. In 1980, the (now defunct) British Rail published a report titled, A Cross-London Rail Link, exploring options for creating new rail connections, reducing congestion on subways and enhancing connections to Heathrow. Though the final iteration of Crossrail is significantly different from the options proposed in the 1980 document, it served as a key catalyst for spurring discussion and deliberation about a future cross-London rail line. The 1989 Central London Rail Study analyzed more detailed Crossrail schemes. Figure 3 shows increasing ridership demand projected by the study. National and local transport organizations supported the idea for a 9 km twin tunnel through central London from Paddington to Liverpool Street, which included 5 new stations. The scheme attracted significant support, but economic downturn decreased the number 12


of rail passengers and discouraged the undertaking of a large public investment. The bill was rejected in 1994, and the U.K government withdrew its support leading up to the 1996 elections. (Gil and Lundrigan, 2013) The creation of London’s mayoral post in 2000 was critical to the development of Crossrail. The mayor was granted powers over the newly established Greater London Authority (GLA), tasked with overseeing infrastructure development. Transport for London (TfL) was created to manage London’s transport network under the auspices of the GLA, and London suddenly had much more local control of its transportation infrastructure planning. Shortly after its inception, TfL partnered with the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) in a joint venture called Cross London Rail Links Ltd. (CLRL) to further develop and promote Crossrail concepts. The first CLRL concept of a central London rail tunnel resembled previous iterations and failed to draw widespread support among business leaders due to its exclusion of the rapidly developing Canary Wharf area and Heathrow Airport. CLRL’s initial version of Crossrail was not sufficiently compelling to draw the necessary support. In 2002, Steve Norris, the former U.K. Transport Minister, who had supported Crossrail in the 1990s said,

“We cannot simply submit the same application that failed last time; it’s got to be a lot more than a central London tunnel.” (Gil and Lundrigan, 2013, pg. 6)

CLRL then began exploring a 165 km, high capacity, high frequency version of Crossrail, turning the project into much more than a central London tunnel. Bringing the business community on board came at a price, however. As the scope of Crossrail expanded its costs began to grow. By late 2002, the project was expected to cost £10.3 billion. Despite the high cost, the project seemed to be gaining momentum. (Gil and Lundrigan, 2013) Growth projections, overcrowding on London’s subways, development at Canary Wharf and the redevelopment potential for other areas of London were all working to build support for the expanded vision for Crossrail. Figures 4 and 5, respectively, show population and job growth projections for Greater London in relation to the Crossrail route. The figures show significant anticipated job and population growth in central London, already a dense population

and job center, and Canary Wharf, London’s rapidly growing financial center. Moreover, Figure 8 demonstrates that these areas were already dealing with the worst levels of overcrowding in London’s entire subway system. Crossrail’s route also runs through areas of Southeast and East London that are expected to experience heavy population growth over the next two decades.

Process The widespread benefits of the expanded version of Crossrail helped spur involvement from a variety of partners. Public sector partners include the British Airports Authority (BAA), the City of London, TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT, which contains the former Strategic Rail Authority). Network Rail, which owns and operates significant portions of track that will be utilized by Crossrail, was privately held at the time of its original involvement with Crossrail, but as of September 1,

2014 it is under the auspices of the British government. (Network Rail) Two primary private sector partners, Berkeley Homes and Canary Wharf Group, are both large London developers. Crossrail is expected to increase rail capacity to Canary Wharf by 50%, providing the necessary transportation capacity for London’s emerging financial district to continue to grow. Furthermore, Crossrail will create a faster connection between Canary Wharf and Heathrow Airport. At present, it takes more than an hour and two, or sometimes three, transfers from Canary Wharf to Heathrow. Crossrail will provide a 39 minute ride with no transfers. These benefits drew strong support from the Canary Wharf business community. With support building, a Crossrail bill was introduced to Parliament in February of 2005. Securing funding and addressing community mitigation demands were the largest remaining hurdles. The UK Treasury was skeptical of the accuracy of cost estimates and was weary of

leaving taxpayers on the hook for any cost overruns. With many partners involved in the project, it was challenging figuring out the contributions of each organization. Moreover, many local communities in the Crossrail construction area demanded extensive noise mitigation efforts. Over three years, hundreds of issues were raised by opponents of Crossrail and many of these objections were incorporated into the Crossrail Act as legal conditions imposed on the design, construction and operation of Crossrail. In addition to mitigation and funding issues, Crossrail faced pressure to alter the scope of the project as the bill passed through Parliament. Throughout the process, CLRL Chairman, Doug Oakervee, promoted the Crossrail Act among members of Parliament. He played a critical role in preventing cost increases by focusing the attention on the need to deliver a successful project. In late 2006 during fierce debates over funding for the Woolwich Crossrail station, Oakervee said:

underground arrivals br arrivals underground arrivals; excluding

Figure 3 : London Rail Ridership Forecasts, 1989 Central London Rail Study

passengers using br as main mode forecast growth to 2001


number of passengers (thousands)








300 0 1962







Figure 4 : Projected Population Growth and Crossrail, Greater London

Figure 5 : Projected Employment Growth and Crossrail Route, Greater London

‘We’re in a unique position to do one of two things: either confirm that we are unable to undertake megaprojects, on time and on budget, or dispel the myth once and for all. I’m certainly in the last camp.... If you entertain scope creep, program and cost go out the window, and that’s why you never finish a job on time or in budget ...This has to be a world-class railway, but an affordable railway.’ (Gil and Lundrigan, 2013, pg. 10)



As politicians vied for stations and extensions to serve their constituents, total cost estimates approached £16 billion. Oakervee’s insistence on pursuing a realistic project prevented costs from escalating any further, and in 2007 a final cost projection of £15.9 billion was set. The total accounted for contingencies and expected inflation over the course of construction. The funding package hinged upon four primary sources: 1) government grants, 2) TfL debt backed by fare-box revenues, 3) direct contributions from businesses and developers along the Crossrail route and 4) a supplementary commercial property tax

Figure 6 : Crossrail Funding Package: Aligning Benefits with Costs

throughout Greater London. In addition, private funding was secured for two of the new Crossrail stations, Canary Wharf and Woolwich, and projected costs have since been reduced to £14.8 billion. The Canary Wharf station is being developed by the Canary Wharf Group and four of its six stories will include 115,000 square feet of retail and leisure development with shops, restaurants, bars and even a cinema. The final breakdown of funding sources for Crossrail is shown in Figure 6. Several value capture mechanisms provided more than one-third of the total funding package. Approximately 30%, or £4.1 billion, of Crossrail’s funding comes from debt back by a special tax on commercial property throughout London. The terms of the tax are 2p per £1 of ratable value over £55,000 (analogous to an increment of $0.02 per $1 of ratable value over $85,000 in the U.S.) on all commercial properties in London, and it is anticipated to be in place for 25-30 years. This represents a substantial portion of Crossrail’s funding and demonstrates the strong level of private sector buy-in achieved by Crossrail supporters. The tax was sold as a value capture mechanism. Crossrail proponents were able to demonstrate that the new rail line would position London’s economy for future success by alleviating congestion on the Tube, supporting development already occurring and opening up new areas for regeneration. Crossrail became a central element of London’s long-term economic development vision, and the private sector agreed to return a portion of the value created by Crossrail to help fund the project.

the massive project. Insulated from further political interference as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TfL, Crossrail Ltd. has a mandate to act independently and is governed by its own Board of Directors. Distancing Crossrail Ltd. from direct political influence was thought to promote efficient management and project delivery.

Figure 7 : T  ottenham Court Road Over-Site Development

A common criticism of value capture tax mechanisms are that revenues are unpredictable, risking insufficient funding in some years. The dedicated commercial property tax collected £228 million ($350 million USD) in its first year, 2010-11, exceeding target of £219 million ($338 million) and demonstrated its viability as a revenue stream. Another significant portion of Crossrail funding consisted of station-area value capture. £1.05 billion ($1.62 billion USD) or 7% of total funding, comes from value capture sources in the direct areas around Crossrail stations. Of this, £445 million ($690 million USD) is from direct contributions from developers at 14 main sites above or around Crossrail stations, such as the Tottenham Court Road development shown in Figure 7. £300 million ($465 million USD) of station-area value capture comes from a tax on all new development in areas within 1 km of Crossrail stations, and the remaining £300 million ($465 million USD) is provided through a Community Infrastructure Levy, a small borough-level tax on new development in boroughs within the Crossrail network. Though localized value-capture only represents 7% of the total funding package, its role in moving Crossrail forward cannot be understated. Its inclusion was critical to closing the project’s funding gap.

Progress Crossrail has produced remarkable results thus far for a project of its size and complexity. It is on-time and on-budget, with 60% of work completed. Over 10,000 people are employed at more than 40 construction sites. Tunneling is nearing completion and is expected to be done in 2015, and construction of the Canary Wharf station (Figure 9) is nearing completion far in advance of schedule. Crossrail has already begun to spur development and properties near stations have risen in value. Of over 300 development applications analyzed between 2008 and 2013, 41% cited the improved transportation capacity or the place-making and regenerative impact of Crossrail as a key factor within the supporting case for the development proposal. (GVA, 2014) Figure 10 shows how properties within the vicinity of the Crossrail network have consistently tracked above properties in prime areas of central

London. Crossrail Ltd. has issued contracts for new train cars (about £1 billion, won by Bombardier) and operation of Crossrail (£1.4 billion over 8 years, won by MTR). Crossrail Ltd. has also engaged in innovative delivery and marketing programs. With the need for 8 tunnel boring machines to cut through 26 miles of Central London, there was significant need for worker training. Crossrail Ltd. founded the Tunnel and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) to train workers and actively promoted the sharing of innovative ideas among various contractors. While construction is moving full steam ahead, Crossrail Ltd. has engaged in an unprecedented outreach campaign. Through a sleek and user-friendly website and engaging twitter account, Crossrail Ltd. actively communicates the benefits, construction progress and mitigation efforts of Crossrail to the general public. One can easily stay up-to-date on Crossrail through the website’s interactive maps, pictures, videos and comprehensive information on the project and future service. Crossrail Ltd. also engages the public through competitions such as the “Tunnel Selfie Competition.” Londoners can submit selfies taken in front of Crossrail tunnel posters at construction sites for a chance to win a tour of the actual tunnels (see Figure 11 for a sample of Crossrail tweets).

Figure 8 : London Tube Overcrowding, 2006

After passing through Parliament, the Crossrail Act gained Royal Assent in July of 2008. CLRL morphed into Crossrail Ltd. and was given the task of delivering 15

Figure 10 : Crossrail Property Value Index vs. Prime Central London Index, 2008-2012 crossrail index


PCL index

130 120 110 100 90 80 2008

Figure 9 : Construction at Canary Wharf Station, June 2014

Though Crossrail is currently both ontime and on-budget, project managers have stated that building the rail system in the tunnels is the riskiest part of the project. The first tracks were laid down in November of 2014. The efficient buildout of the rail system will ultimately go a long way in determining whether the entire Crossrail project is delivered on-time and on-budget.

to the project itself. The current federal and state transportation funding climate in the U.S. is bleak. Developing more localized funding mechanisms that align capital costs with the value produced by transportation investments can help close funding gaps and allow projects to move forward. Crossrail demonstrated the capability of value capture funding to align costs with benefits and provide a critical portion of project funding.

Take Home Lessons

3. Risks are distributed

Crossrail Ltd. has effectively demonstrated superb project delivery, innovation and public outreach. Insulated from direct political influence, Crossrail Ltd. has managed to deliver the project in a more efficient and accountable manner than typically seen in large-scale infrastructure delivery. Special-purpose authorities remove projects from direct political interference and can be set up specifically for the delivery of a single project.

Cost risks for large megaprojects often fall entirely on the public sector. Crossrail distributes the risks both through value capture funding, by facilitating private sector development of two new stations and tying a portion of debt to future farebox revenues. This diverse and distributed funding stream makes Crossrail more resilient to both future cost increases and funding deficiencies and decreases reliance on public sector bailout. Politicians are often hesitant to commit to megaprojects because they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want their constituents to be left on the hook for cost overruns, so distributing risk can help megaprojects become more politically viable.

2. Aligning costs with benefits

4. Transparent, collaborative

Capital funding for transportation often comes from general funds, tax revenues or user fees that have little or no relationship

planning process

1. Special purpose authority creates strong management structure



Crossrailâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extensive marketing and public outreach campaign is unlike anything seen




Figure 11 : Sample of Crossrail Tweets


before for megaproject in the U.S. These efforts are enabled in part by Crossrai Ltd.’s status as a special purpose authority. Megaproject website’s are typically buried within a large government agency website and are not user-friendly. Crossrail’s site is both easy to use, engaging and full of information. The website helps to communicate the widespread benefits of Crossrail and maintain ongoing public support. It also enables Crossrail to be transparent, as comprehensive and upto-date information is readily available to any interested parties. Throughout the planning process, politicians and Crossrail proponents held an open conversation with the public and the London business community, which contributed to the development of a compelling and politically viable Crossrail concept.

Conclusion Crossrail utilizes many practices that deserve close attention from transportation agencies and politicians engaged in megaproject planning efforts. Large infrastructure projects are notorious for being delivered over-budget and experiencing significant delays. Federal and state transportation funding levels are decreasing. Megaprojects (regardless of their validity) are all often made into easy political targets, and many struggle to gain traction. Crossrail is among the most ambitious of megaprojects currently underway. It proves that massive projects can successfully pursued. Though its construction is not yet complete, this case has demonstrated numerous lessons to be gleaned from the Crossrail experience. The success of future megaprojects relies on the adoption and adaptation of the techniques used to plan and deliver Crossrail.

Image Citations

References Berry, Jim. “London’s Crossrail: A Case Study in Transit Investment.” 2013. Cocconcelli, Luca and Francesca Medda. “To Tax or not to Tax: The case of London Crossrail.” 2013. Crossrail Limited. Strategy.” 2012. Crossrail Limited.

“Crossrail Crossrail.

Transport for London. “Crossrail: The Economic Benefits and Financing of London’s newest railway.” 2013. United Kingdom Statute. Crossrail Act 2008. UK Statute Law Database. 2008.

Figure 1: Crossrail Limited. Crossrail. http:// Figure 2: Crossrail Limited. Crossrail. http://


Figure 3: Department for Transport. “Central London Rail Study.” 1989.


Figure 4: Berry, Jim. “London’s Crossrail: A Case Study in Transit Investment.” 2013.

Department for Transport. “Central London Rail Study.” 1989. Gil, Nuno and Colm Lundrigan. “Crossrail: The Perfect Storm.” Megaproject Leadership and Governance Case Study Series. 2013. GVA. “Crossrail Development Pipeline Study.” 2014. GVA. “Crossrail Property Impact Study.”2012. Halsey III, Ashley. “Trillion-dollar gap seen in infrastructure spending.” Washington Post, January 2013. Roukouni, Anastasia and Francesca Medda. “Evaluation of value capture mechanisms as a funding source for urban transport: the case of London’s Crossrail.” 2012.

Figure 5: Berry, Jim. “London’s Crossrail: A Case Study in Transit Investment.” 2013. Figure 6: Crossrail Limited. Crossrail. http:// Figure 7: Crossrail Limited. Crossrail. http:// Figure 8: Berry, Jim. “London’s Crossrail: A Case Study in Transit Investment.” 2013. Figure 9: Crossrail Limited. Crossrail. http:// Figure 10: Knight Frank Residential Research. Figure 11: Twitter.


Top-Down Progressivism in Planning:

rewriting the Popular Narrative and Implications of Progressivism in

Portland, Oregon by Alma Siulagi Urbanists and planners have praised Portland, Oregonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s progressive planning since it adopted its Downtown Plan in 1972. While Portlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s policies have pushed the city towards a denser and more transit-oriented form than other west coast cities, there are less discussed complicating consequences for the entirety of the metropolitan region. Native Portlander Alma Siulagi tells the story of how Portland found its way to progressive planning and the implications for the region as a whole beyond the downtown.



“I have seen nothing so tempting as a home for man as this Oregon country … I am going to ask you a question which you may not like. Are you good enough to have this country in your possession? Have you got enough intelligence, imagination, and cooperation among you to make best use of these opportunities? … You have an opportunity here to do a job of city planning like nowhere else in the world.” – Lewis Mumford, address to City Club in 1938 (Abbott, 2011)

The story of Portland’s rise to planning prominence is much choppier and more compromised than you will hear it told. As a Portland native, I grew up proud of my city’s parks, plazas and light rail, features of a mythic landscape for a unique, progressive people brave enough to commit their futures to the environment and each other. Part of me will always feel that way. I am not the first to throw stones – it is a lifestyle for the outlying suburbs, from Gresham to the east, Milwaukie and Tualatin to the South, Beaverton and Hillsboro to the West, and Vancouver, Washington across the Columbia River to the North. Historically, Portland’s suburbs have felt the brunt of the growth management and transportation policies that make the city famous. Rancor has deepened in the intervening years since the 1970s, when Portland began to enact the intensive planning that has made it famous. I remember participating in the early stages of building a planning document for the downtown district of the eastern suburb of Milwaukie, the citizen’s advisory committee’s first request was that they did not want their downtown to be anything like Portland. However, the suburbs are no more correct than Portland and its neatly packaged Figure 1, left: Construction of the Tilikum Crossing, the newest bridge in Portland that will be the nation’s first multimodal bridge without automobile access. Light rail, bicycle, and pedestrians will able to use Tilikum Crossing to get from the west side to the east side of the city.

identity. It is the ongoing relationship between them that reveals a more truthful story than the win-win of Portland or the lose-lose of the suburbs. Considering the region as a whole holds important implications for progressivism, or rather, top-down progressivism in planning. The consequences of this kind of planning are much, much more important for planning today than Portland’s well-marketed style. Many of the policies that created the Portland that is praised today were questionably undemocratic and exclusively singularly focused upon centralization of the metropolitan area with disregard to the impacts upon and the wishes of the suburban communities. Portland was, however, very successful on many levels – on the whole, these policies have restricted sprawl, encouraged dense, mixed use development, and seen an unprecedented jump in non-automobile trips (Layzer, 2012). Here, I will retell the history of progressivism in Portland in a way it usually is not – without the heroes of the progressive movement, removed from the environmentalist and urbanist rhetoric, and with an eye towards democratic processes, voicing the desires of Portland’s fringe communities, and the implicit cultural subjugation of suburban living. While many of the key events that launched the movement are not included here, I have chosen the first two major planning policies – the urban growth boundary, or Senate

Bill 100, and the 1972 Downtown Plan – to showcase the complexity of narratives and viewpoints in a traditionally simple story.

aT A CROSSROADS: POSTWAR PORTLAND After WWII, Portland found itself at a crossroads. Weakened by a legacy of conservative voting and a historical lack of planning, automobile-inspired decentralization hit the city hard. Most problematic were the increasing number of special districts that lay outside the city’s boundaries. Even though the city was required to provide basic services, Portland could not levy taxes or regulate these districts. The tri-county area, of which the city of Portland is only a fraction, added 280,000 residents between 1920 and 1950. Meanwhile, annexation had remained static (Metropolitan Planning Commission, 1986). The unmoving boundary was problematic because Portland’s new residents were settling en masse outside of the city proper. Key communities such as Beaverton, Gresham, and Hillsboro attracted growing populations but fought ferociously to resist incorporation into the City of Portland (Metropolitan Planning Commission, 1986). As the scales tipped between the city proper and its suburbs, a conservative constituency further crippled Portland. Voters turned down numerous quality-of-life spending


viable answer for peripheral communities’ desire for independence, service provision was confused and inadequate (Metro Home Rule Charter Committee, 1991). The state had previously made several legislative attempts to address these growing urban externalities by authorizing county planning commissions and county-level zoning to complement existing planning powers (Metro, 2007). However, metropolitan-scale planning remained disjointed (Metro Home Rule Charter Committee, 1991). The next legislative committee, established in 1956, recommended “urban area councils,” resulting in the 4-member Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) (Joint Interim Committee on Local Government and Urban Area Problems, 1956). The MPC was made up of one representative from the City of Portland and one from each county, and was structured as an advisory and research-based organization.

Figure 2: A view of the east side of Portland, with the Convention Centers in the background and the pedestrian and bicycle floating esplanade in the foreground

measures in the decade after the war, from tax increases and bond measures for a new civic center, a war memorial, sewer improvements, urban redevelopment, a forty-hour work week and pay increase for city employees, a proposed low-income housing project, bond issues for the zoo and symphony, and funding for public transit and capital improvement programs (Abbott, 2011). Altogether, as the City of Portland entered the 1950s, it felt its control and pocketbook slipping away.



cREATING A NEW COORDINATED REGIONAL PLANNING INFRASTRUCTURE Portland’s lopsided growth and conservative voting left an already weak government unprepared for the postwar period, creating a planning vacuum at the regional level when the city began to expand past the urban fringe. While special districts seemed like a

On a basic level, the MPC could not adequately address worsening conditions. With a governmental crisis seemingly on the metropolitan region’s doorstep, a civic movement consolidated to meet the metropolitan region’s challenge. “We are back where we were prior to 1789,” the Beaverton League of Women Voters report, A Tale of Three Counties: One Metropolitan Community declared in 1960, “[we are] faced with the necessity of creating a new form of government organized to meet the needs of a new time.” In response, both civic and governmental institutions emerged to address the issues. The civic group Metropolitan Area Perspectives (MAP) formed in 1961 to advocate for a regional solution for the Portland area. In the same year, the state formed the Interim Committee on Local Government that recommended a metropolitan study commission for the Portland area. From this, the Portland Metropolitan Study Commission (PMSC) was established. Operating between 1964 and 1971, the PMSC was responsible for restructuring much of the greater

Portland area’s planning and governmental institutions (Metro, 2007). The ultimate end product of a decade of recommendations and legislation was the Columbia Regional Association of Governments (CRAG), a council-of-government style regional planning entity. Suburban districts were compelled to join by their need of regional coordination and by the offer of federal funding from HUD and USDOT, which mandated some form of regional governance (Metro Home Rule Charter Committee, 1991). Later on, a more democratically structured and voter-approved version of CRAG would coalesce in 1978 to manage the urban growth boundary among other responsibilities. The institutional history of these planning institutions is the other half of the progressive policy revolution that immediately followed this period. The birth of these institutions out of a common, postwar need for regional coordination predated the visible progressive reform movement that would govern with institutions that had been created out of need and with few checks and balances. That none of these institutions went to vote was also indicative of an ongoing trend in Portland’s regional politics, which preferred to pass legislation at the state level rather than generate common interests between many traditionally conservative and hostile publics.

as the “neighborhood movement,” rose to power quickly through a concurrent series of elections at the local, state and national level; an uninspiring local legacy of inadequate, failing policies and worsening quality of life; inherent weaknesses in local political structures; and a spirited and empowering grassroots political movement. Using these channels, the neighborhood movement rewrote the goals of the existing institutions while maximizing their powers, created influential long-term planning documents, and perpetuated a socially progressive rhetoric that endowed Portland with a strong sense of identity. It is this movement that gave the city its most distinctive cultural landmarks: the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Pioneer Courthouse Square and its extensive light rail system (MAX). The ideological unit of the progressive, grassroots movement – “the neighborhood” – created a hierarchy based on geographic location. The neighborhoods by which the movement defined themselves and consequently privileged were established inner-city residential areas. Key figures of the movement hailed from the southeastern

residential communities (Eastmoreland, Hosford-Abernethy, Richmond, Mt. Tabor) that joined together to protest and reject the Mt. Hood Freeway in the 1970s in favor of the city’s first light rail line. Middle and upper class economic backgrounds, inherited ethnic homogeneity, traditional social structures, and geographic proximity to the city center defined these first ring suburbs, infusing the neighborhood movement’s quality-of-life platform with an imagined vision of the neighborhoods that they defended. This glorification of the first ring suburbs necessarily excluded the various fringe communities, widening the rift between the neighborhood movement and the urban fringe. The institutionalization of the neighborhood movement’s politics included a cultural geography that differentiated between the urban fringe and the city center and its surrounding first ring suburbs. That geography sought to re-centralize the city around the historic city center at the cost of the fringe’s independence. However, the price of this vision and its accompanying physical and institutional infrastructure

Figure 3: Complex signage in downtown Portland, which has been designed to discourage motorists and favor other modes, such as bicycling, pedestrians, and transit.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD MOVEMENT While institutions emerged to cope with the regional scope of Portland’s development, the City of Portland underwent a radical political and social metamorphosis. Urbanists, environmentalists and neighborhood activists formed a broad and powerful coalition that still holds ideological sway in the City. Together, they radically overhauled both regional and internal power structures to create a more “livable” Portland. This group, which I will refer to 21

invariably meant that the neighborhood movement had to dominate regional politics and institutions to commit the entirety of the metropolitan and its taxpayers. This cultural, geographic, and institutional overhaul alienated and embittered the residents of the outlying areas against regional governmental processes and stimulated the rise of an identity opposing the city center and its associated rhetoric. Modern Portland’s political and cultural geographies have grown in large part out of power structures developed in the greater metropolitan area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Projects such as the urban growth boundary, the 1972 Downtown Plan, the Mt. Hood Freeway, and the Banfield Light Rail were crucial tools for the movement, which employed its geographic power to assert a congruent cultural geography. The implementation of this cultural geography re-located power and resources within the inner city, creating a hierarchy that subjugated, de-prioritized, and caricatured the culture of peripheral communities. In short, the new progressive regime used various planning tools to perpetuate a new

set of ways the metropolitan area parsed its residents and communities. Consequently, the way communities understood each other and made meaning out of these new geographically based hierarchies changed how Portlanders thought of themselves and others (Siulagi, 2014). The immense changes the neighborhood movements wrought are vastly important in reference to top-down progressive planning. No matter who is planning at the top – progressive or not – the use of nonincremental and unchecked change carries high risks. While Portland’s neighborhood movement managed to rework the physical and political landscape of the city within the space of a decade, the alienation of its fringe communities has left marks that are just as long lasting.

tHE URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARY The urban growth boundary is the one of earliest and most important metropolitan changes enacted by the neighborhood movement. Like the MPC, PMSC, and

Figure 4: Long exposure shot of the streetcar in the Pearl District, a revitalized luxury mixed use district in Downtown Portland.

CRAG, the urban growth boundary was created at the state level. While its passage as a Senate Bill was more democratic than a legislative committee’s recommendations, the suburban representatives had a much smaller population, and therefore less representation, than the City of Portland and the strong statewide agricultural base. The Willamette Valley was a traditional agricultural stronghold, and its lobby strongly backed strong urban growth management to regulate sprawling development. Figure 5: LAND CONSERVATION & DEVELOPMENT STATEWIDE PLANNING GOALS Goal 1

Citizen Involvement

Goal 2

Land Use Planning

Goal 3

Agricultural Lands

Goal 4

Forest Lands

Goal 5 Natural Resources, Scenic and Historic Area, and Open Spaces Goal 6 Air, Water and Land Resources Quality Goal 7

Areas Subject to Natural Hazards

Goal 8

Recreational Needs

Goal 9

Economic Development

Goal 10 Housing Goal 11

Public Facilities and Services

Goal 12 Transportation Goal 13 Energy Conservation Goal 14 Urbanization Goal 15 Willamette River Greenway Goal 16 Estuarine Resources Goal 17 Coastal Shorelands Goal 18 Beaches and Dunes Goal 19 Ocean Resources

Specifically, the urban growth boundary grew out of Senate Bill 10, passed in 1969, and Senate Bill 100. SB 10 was a statewide land use bill that required all urban areas in Oregon to enact zoning. Deemed too administratively weak to advance the movement’s goals of regulating urban growth, Governor Tom McCall passed SB 100 four years later. SB 100 is a regulatory land use bill that requires each city and 22


county to produce an urban growth boundary and a comprehensive plan that revolves around fourteen planning goals, listed in Figure 5. This particular legislation remains unique in America for its clear political valuation and top-down regulation of urban growth. The passage of SB 100 also spelled a definitive and absolute victory for the City of Portland in the region. In bypassing regional structures and garnering state support, they had effectively gained powers of taxation and growth management over their neighbors. The City of Portland had found a way to institutionalize growth management planning at the metropolitan level, and even more importantly, had ingrained an ongoing requisite commitment to urbanist and environmental goals. This, however, was at the expense of the growing fringe communities’ futures. With a regionally regulated boundary bordering their communities, they were unable to offer future low-density expansion that often characterized these communities. Further, the neighborhood movement had condemned the outer developments as sprawling, and therefore hazardous and morally wrong. In Governor Tom McCall’s famous 1973 rallying speech for the urban growth boundary, he had declared “sagebrush subdivisions” and the “ravenous rampage of suburbia in the Willamette Valley” as “a shameless threat to our environment … and to the whole quality of life – [that threat] is the unfettered despoiling of the landscape … the interests of Oregon for today and in the future must be protected from the grasping wastrels of the land.” By 1973, the neighborhood movement had succeeded in passing a hallmark in regulatory urban land use planning in the nation that would be praised for decades to come. However, less discussed is the exclusivity of the rhetoric and its consequences for fringe communities’ futures and their relationship to the City of Portland.

1972 DOWNTOWN PLAN During the early 1970s, the City of Portland Office of Planning and Development had generated plans and policies of its own. Chief among them is the 1972 Downtown Plan, which is still seen as a landmark in Portland planning. Plans such as the 1972 Downtown Plan were at the heart of the neighborhood movement’s effort to control the metropolitan area’s geography. Transportation in particular was at the forefront in the 1972 Downtown Plan. Blame for the weakening of the historic city center fell upon the proliferating residents of the urban fringe, whose decentralized living patterns made the automobile an essential part of every day life. The neighborhood movement sought to rejuvenate the city abd re-center the entire region around downtown. They reasoned that dominant modes of transportation must shift away from the automobile, the culprit deemed responsible for accelerating urban blight. This anti-automobile sentiment, fully articulated in the 1972 Downtown Plan, favored the development of every mode of transportation, except the automobile: bicycle, rail, bus and pedestrian (City of Portland, 1972). This was a new idea, previously unfamiliar to Portland planning and politics, whose primary transportation planning agency, Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (PVMTS), had focused solely on road and highway building. Almost ten years previous to the 1972 Plan, the City Staff had urged that, “automobile commuting should not be discouraged – the automobile will continue to be the primary mode of transport to downtown in the next two decades” (City of Portland, 1964). Transit, on the other hand, “should be encouraged, but only if smokeless, quiet, comfortable, and uncrowded busses can be provided” (City of Portland, 1964). Less than ten years later, however, the adopted 1972 Downtown Plan contained vehement

anti-car rhetoric. “Automobile traffic is noisy, smelly, and dangerous,” the Plan said, “vehicles should be quiet, non-polluting and of a scale compatible with the pedestrian orientation” (City of Portland, 1972). The neighborhood movement’s geographic agenda redirected transportation planning away from automobiles and automobile infrastructure – and thus, away from the urban fringe. And as the movement advocated for their centralized geography, they negatively characterized the impact of drivers’ noise, smell, and danger. The neighborhood movement’s argument against cars emphasized air pollution. “You used to be able to drive out to the Sellwood Bridge, literally, you could stop on the Sellwood Bridge and look back toward downtown and there was a yellow cloud hanging above the city,” Mayor Goldschmidt described years later (Bragdon, 1994). The federal Clean Air Act of 1970 set national air quality standards and statutory deadlines to force compliance (Rogers, 1990). Portland violated the standards egregiously in 1972 (The Governor’s Task Force on Transportation, 1975). With published research emerging about the detrimental impacts of air pollution and the culpability of increased car usage, air pollution became a rallying point for both concerned citizens and environmentalists across the country (Hays, 1987). The answer for the neighborhood movement lay in the rejuvenation of a particular form of integrated mass transit. They promoted a new conceptualization of urban transportation, as articulated in the 1972 Downtown Plan: “a transportation system … this means reducing reliance on the automobile, increasing the number of persons per car and increasing the number of persons moving through concentrated areas on multiple-passenger facilities” (City of Portland, 1972). As the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of Mass Transit sternly reminded TriMet (the regional transit provider) in 1972, mass transit solutions should reach beyond buses. “Dealing with


Figure 6: The Morrison Bridge over the Willamette River that connects the east and west sides of the city.

only buses, it [the 1990 Mass Transit Plan, released in 1973] fails to consider the entire ‘system’ of transportation, including rail, water, automobile, pedestrian, bicycles, etc.” To the neighborhood movement, the absence of new modes of mass transit in Portland planning was irresponsible, misrepresentative, and did not “include present human needs – social, physical, psychological, and emotional … certain basic needs – such as the need to have a livable environment; to have transportation alternatives; to have a viable city core, free of auto domination and pedestrian vehicular conflict.” Their particular vision of transit was absolutely central to the neighborhood movement’s quality-of-life platform, killing two birds with one stone: reducing air pollution and rejuvenating the historic city center. Spatially, the city’s choice of downtown was both logical and overtly political; in step with its regional maneuvering, the city’s declaration extended past the spatial bounds of the plan. It addressed much more than land use, zoning and circulation: it built a vision of a dominant, economic and cultural center fed by mass transit, centralized job growth, distinctive landmarks of progressive urbanism and the resurgence of centralized housing. Simultaneously, it condemned the perceived values of the fringe communities and dedicated massive municipal and



regional resources to creating a place that was the antithesis of and hostile to suburban lifestyles.

lESSONS & CONCLUSIONS Since the 1970s, Portland has constructed a place infused with progressive values. Postwar urban trends of decentralization and deconcentration produced lower density, single-family developments on the border between urban spaces and agricultural land. As these places blossomed, the City of Portland struggled to provide adequate services on the fringes as their tax base trickled away. Institutionalization of regional planning agencies and services predated, but later were key to the success of the progressive reform movement that rewrote the physical and urban landscape of the metropolitan region. The progressive movement, founded upon the unit of the neighborhood, emerged to address quality of life issues – mainly environmental and urban – that they believed stemmed from continued suburbanization and could be answered with heavy-handed, top-down progressivism. Despite their self-identification as a grassroots civic group, their power was derived from extra-democratic relationships between the local government and the strong governorship. This was further supported by the capitalization of majorities

and local planning tools that had regional implications. Together, this self-declared grassroots movement wielded their power through planning to recentralize the region at whatever cost. The cost, more often than not, fell upon the residents living on the fringe of the city who were also criticized for their car-centric lifestyles. This negative identity functioned as a foil for the restoration work that the city center publically undertook to restore the city’s quality of life. The damage of this exclusive, monolithic stereotype of the outlying communities extended beyond cultural alienation: it disadvantaged the fringe in long-term policy priorities and regional power structures while creating entrenched animosity. While the progressive movement unified the inner city, the creation and maintenance of this system came with high costs. It alienated a majority of the metropolitan residents based on a cultural geography, casting their needs and voice as second-class. Legitimizing these tensions is essential to moving forward as a unified and functional region. Creating a more inclusive narrative is a good starting point. Using familiar planning landmarks in Portland’s history, I have proposed a new way to view Portland’s history and designated new winners and losers. These conclusions do not roundly denigrate Portland. Rather, they seek to pull back the veil of a local axiomatic narrative. As Matthew Klingle writes in his environmental history of Seattle in 2007, “The historian’s challenge is to peel back the layers of time that envelop any place and ask which groups or individuals had the power to impose certain ideas and values before weighing the consequences. Ethics, like places, are not transcendent; they are immanent.” Behind this veil, the actuality of our values has manifested, and often without the critique it needs to grow in more equitable, environmental, and progressive way. We need to ask if the consequences of our aggressive place-making are working or worthwhile. Trade offs in sustainability are inevitable, but are we choosing the right ones?

rEFERENCES Abbott, Carl. “Planning a Sustainable City: The Promise and Performance of Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary.” In Urban Sprawl: Causes, Consequences & Policy Responses. Edited by Gregory D. Squires. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press, 2002.

Image Citations Joint Interim Committee on Local Government and Urban Area Problems. Findings and recommendations of the Joint Legislative Interim Committee on Local Government. Salem, Oregon: 1956.

––. Portland in three centuries: the place and the people. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2011.

Klingle, Matthew W. Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle. Lamar Series in Western History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.

––. Portland: Planning, Politics, and Growth in a Twentieth-Century City. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1983.

Layzer, Judith A. The Environmental Case: Translating Values into Policy. 3rd ed. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2012).

Bragdon, David. “Insurgents and Convergence: A Gathering at the Clinton Street Theatre June 14, 1994 to Celebrate 25 Years Since June 14, 1969, and the Early Years of the Goldschmidt Era in Portland, Oregon.” Presentation Portland, Oregon: June 14, 1994. PSU Special Collections. Elsa Coleman Collection, Box 1.

McCall, Tom. “Legislative Message, 1973”, Oregon Secretary of State, Oregon State Archives, 1973 IMS/currentprojects/TAHv3/Content/ PDFs/McCall_Speech_1973.pdf

Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Metropolitan Mass Transit, Final Report from Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Metropolitan Mass Transit Concerning 1990 Mass Transit Plan Proposed for Portland Metropolitan Area (September 1972), i. PSU Special Collections. Elsa Coleman Collection, Box 1.

Metro Home Rule Charter. “Historical Development of the Metropolitan Service District.” By Carl Abbott and Margery Post Abbott. May 1991.

City of Portland. 1972 Downtown Plan. City Planning Commission Staff. Portland, OR: 1972. Oregon Sustainable Community Digital Library. Downtown Portland Planning Concepts: Staff Report. Portland, OR: September 1964. Oregon Sustainable Community Digital Library. The Governor’s Task Force on Transportation, Cooperative Transportation Planning Process in the Portland Metropolitan Area: Final Report of the Governor’s Task Force on Transportation. Systems Design Inc. January 1975. Hays, Samuel. Beauty, Health and Permanence: Environmental Politics in the United States, 19551985. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Metro. “Columbia Region Association of Governments (CRAG) Record Collection Finding Aid.” 2007.

Metropolitan Planning Commission. Annexation, Incorporation, and Consolidation in the Portland Metropolitan Area, a Study Prepared for the Portland Metropolitan Study Commission. Portland, Oregon, 1968. Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development. “Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goals & Guidelines.” 2010. compilation_of_statewide_planning_goals. pdf

Figure 1: McCollough, Don. “My Portland Story.” Self-Published, 2013. From Flickr. photos/69214385@N04/11882075434. (Accessed February 2015). Alterations made by Alma Siulagi. Figure 2: Sane, Ian. “East Portland.” Photograph. Self-Published, 2011. From Flickr. photos/31246066@N04/7848255574. (Accessed February 2015). Alterations made by Alma Siulagi. Figure 3: Sane, Ian. “I’m So Confused!” Photograph. Self-Published, 2011. From Flickr. photos/31246066@N04/5415215092. (Accessed February 2015). Alterations made by Alma Siulagi. Figure 4: Sane, Ian. “Go By Streetcar.” Photograph. Self-Published, 2011. From Flickr. photos/31246066@N04/6456117565. (Accessed February 2015). Alterations made by Alma Siulagi. Figure 5: Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, 2010. Figure 6: Sane, Ian. “Still Blue.” Photograph. Self-Published, 2010. From Flickr. https:// www.f N04/4506543739. (Accessed February 2015). Alterations made by Alma Siulagi.

Rogers, Paul G. “The Clean Air Act of 1970.” EPA Journal 16, no. 1 (January/February 1990): 21-23. aboutepa/epa-history-clean-air-act-1970 Siulagi, Alma. “Imperial Portland: The Creation of a Progressive Transit Regime in the 1970s.” B.A. thesis, Reed College, 2014. Young, Bob. “Highway to Hell.” Willamette Week. March 9, 2005. article-4212-highway_to_hell.html


las vegas

valley, nevada Water planning

case study

by Lauren Deutsch Major cities most commonly grow as a result of their proximity to a natural resource such as water. Las Vegas, however, began as a railroad junction in the desert and later flourished thanks to favorable state gaming laws. Accordingly, water became scarcer as the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s size exceeded the availability of local water resources. Lauren Deutsch highlights some recent investments and proposals to underpin Las Vegasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; water needs and evaluates the success of historic water policies.



Figure 1 : The Bellagio’s fountain is an eight-acre, man-made lake filled with 22 million gallons of water. Each show uses about 250,000 gallons, which are provided by the Bellagio’s private water source so as to not interfere with the county’s water supply.

A trip to Las Vegas the summer after my

supply. Even though the water is recycled

sources to ensure a reliable supply for

junior year of college introduced me new

on site after each show, an estimate put the


levels of depravity I had never considered

fountain’s water consumption at 12 million

possible. In the middle of the desert I

gallons per year, largely due to evaporation

saw extreme examples of water waste,

(Valley, 2012). The Bellagio is just one of

the excessive use of a scarce and non-

many resorts in Las Vegas that uses water as

substitutable resource in a place that has

a way to entice and impress the 40 million

very little of its own. Upon arriving in Las

visitors who come to the city each year.

Vegas, I noticed that water, unexpectedly,

These visitors bring in cash, and in 2013

was everywhere: in massive swimming

tourism generated more than $41 billion,

pools, cascading fountains, appearing as

and accounted for 46% of the area’s jobs

mist off of palm trees, and ascending 460

(LVCA, 2013). While these lavish displays

feet into the air outside of the Bellagio

of water are visible instances of waste that

Hotel. Watching the water show outside

are easy to critique, the main cause of water

of the Bellagio, other spectators oohed and

waste in the Las Vegas Valley is residential

ahhed at the aquatic choreography, in my

lawn maintenance (Lovett, 2013)

confusion I wondered how could waste of

This paper aims to explore some of the region’s history and many of the main tensions surrounding water planning in Southern Nevada today. The chronology of infrastructure interventions and acquisitions of water rights for southern Nevada have been chronicled extensively and some efforts of the authorities tasked with water resource management in the Valley have been omitted. From the Las Vegas Valley’s origin as a railroad outpost to a massively profitable tourist destination, the region’s ability to provide for its growing population has rested on securing and managing a

In this paper I will explore the historical,

reliable water supply. As much scholarship



suggests (Reisner, 1987), the tradition of

The Bellagio’s fountain is an eight-acre,

responsible for the current state of the Las

willing water to appear has shaped land

manmade lake filled with 22 million

Vegas Valley’s water supply and the issues

use patterns in the modern American West.

gallons of water. Each show uses about

that surround it. Future water planning in

This tradition has supported the illusion

250,000 gallons, which are provided by

southern Nevada must taken into account

that water scarcity in the region is a passing

the Bellagio’s private water source so as

a growing population, extreme regional

fad and can be solved by human will and

to not interfere with the county’s water

drought, and a lack of diversity of water


this magnitude exist in the desert?




Figure 2 : A  map of the Las Vegas Valley, which, spread over 600 square miles, contains all of Clark County and the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and North Las Vegas.

Context and History The Las Vegas Valley, the most populous part

needs (SNWA 2009). In 1905 the railroad

water to satisfy present and future needs.

of Nevada, is located in the Mojave Basin

companies established the Land and

Groundwater from local wells was still the

and Plains region where desert conditions

Water Co. to provide water to trains and

primary source of area water use (SNWA

result in high evapotranspiration (Gulliver

households in the area, representing one


et al. 2010). The area averages 4.5 inches

of the first organized efforts of water

of rainfall per year, and in the summer

distribution in the Valley (LVVWD 2014).

temperatures can reach 103 degrees (EPA

By 1913, Las Vegas was home to 2,000

2002). The valley, spread over 600 square

residents and by the mid-1920s, the area’s

miles, contains all of Clark County and the

population had reached 5,000 (SNWA

cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder


City, and North Las Vegas. As of 2013,

In 1931 a wave of immigration reached the Las Vegas Valley. People were enticed by the promise of employment in the newly legalized gambling halls and on the construction of the Hoover Dam, which broke ground that year. The Bureau of

In 1922 an agreement among seven western

Reclamation built Boulder City, located

states called the Colorado River Compact

approximately 20 miles southeast of Las

divided the water in the Colorado River

Vegas, as a camp for workers constructing

among the upper river basin states of

the Hoover Dam. The Bureau built a water

Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado

line drawing water from the dam for the

Las Vegas’ modern history is often traced

and the lower river basin states of Nevada,

new town and its residents, making it the

back to the linking of the Los Angeles,

California, and Arizona. Nevada was

first settlement in Nevada to rely on the

San Pedro, and Salt Lake Railroads in

allotted 300,000 acre-feet per year (Daniels

Colorado River for water.

1905, which established Las Vegas as a

2014), one of the smallest allotments. At

weigh station that attracted businesses and

the time, no one in Nevada was using water

residents. Residents relied on a number

from the Colorado so residents and area

of artesian wells—which they believed

water management professionals believed

to be inexhaustible—to meet their water

the allotment provided more than enough

Clark County had an estimated population of

approximately 2,062,254, and Las

Vegas, the most populous city in the state, was home to over 606,000 residents.



The population in Clark County grew to 16,000 by the mid-1940s, and groundwater consumption reached 20,000 acre-feet per year. Experts began to worry that the groundwater supply had limits. Initial

attempts to manage and conserve water

with a majority of new residents moving to

EPA anticipates that this growth will

supplies, such as repealing a ban on water

the city from beyond Clark County (LVCVA

increase Nevada’s water demand by 39%

meters, were unsuccessful (SNWA 2009).


by 2020 (EPA 2010).

In 1947, the state legislature authorized the establishment of the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD), which, through the purchase of the Land and Water Co., became the municipal water purveyor for Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County, bringing water to the region via pipeline from Lake Mead. The new and free-flowing supply of water from the Colorado ushered in a new era of water consumption that shaped the development of present-day Las Vegas.






industries that offered employment to prospective residents and attracted visitors to the spectacle of the strip each year drove the large increase in the valley’s population. For many decades in the late 20th century, the Las Vegas Valley was one of the fastest growing regions in the country, but population growth began to slow by 2007. The recession beginning in 2008 hit the region particularly hard and resulted in one of the highest foreclosure rates and vacant

In the decades after World War II, the

housing inventories in the county (Koebler

Las Vegas Valley experienced tremendous

2011). Despite this, the region expects

population growth accompanied by a large

continued population growth, which poses a

increase in land consumption. By 1960

major challenge for regional water planning

population growth far outpaced projections:

efforts. According to the Southern Nevada

120,000 people lived in Las Vegas, the

Water Authority (SNWA), the population

population that had been predicted for 2000

of Clark County could reach 3,450,000

(SNWA 2009). This precipitous growth

residents by 2030 (SNWA, 2009), which

continued and by 1970, the population had

means that an additional 1,450,000 million

more than doubled to 263,000. This rapid

people will need to be served by existing

growth trend continued into the mid-2000s,

water resources in the next 15 years. The

Water Management in the Modern Las Vegas Valley Ninety percent of the Valley’s water comes from the Colorado River, located within the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado River Basin. Lake Mead, created along with the Hoover Dam in 1935, is the primary water storage reservoir for Colorado River water. Lake Mead’s health as a reservoir is fully dependent on annual snow melt from the Rocky Mountains, which has been declining in recent years due to extreme drought. Desert



drought, and a history of

regional explosive

population growth make for challenging water management conditions. Southern Nevada’s water resource management today involves a number of key agencies, the most prominent being the Southern

Figure 3: Lake Mead Water Supply Levels 1983 and 2007: Fourteen years of extreme drought has dropped Lake Mead’s water levels by 100 feet since 2000.




Nevada Water Authority. Founded in

2014) which includes water conservation,

there is a 50% chance that Lake Mead will

1991, the SNWA is a cooperative, not-

reclaimed water, Colorado River water, in-

be dry as soon as 2021 (Salvaggio 2014).

for-profit agency created to manage the

state water resources, and groundwater.

region’s water needs and to provide water and wastewater services to the Las Vegas Valley. It is composed of seven member agencies: the Big Bend Water District, the City of Boulder City, the City of Henderson, the City of Las Vegas, the City of North Las Vegas, the Clark County Water Reclamation District, and the Las Vegas Valley Water District (SNWA 2014). The SNWA does not have the authority to regulate water use by end users or establish rates for water consumption; these efforts are implemented by the seven member agencies. The SNWA facilitates the sharing of regulatory best practices among agencies and leads public outreach and educational efforts around water conservation and management (SNWA 2014). In addition the SNWA creates plans addressing all elements of water resource management. In 2009, the SNWA released their updated Water Resources Plan, their eighth in thirteen years. The plan details many of the major issues facing the region and lists a number of conservation goals. The SNWA manages a “flexible portfolio of diverse water resource options,” (SNWA

In addition to these climatological concerns,

The SNWA, as the Valley’s primary water

per capita water usage in the Valley is

authority, faces a number of significant

already very high when compared to other

challenges, most importantly the continuous

U.S. cities. As of 2012, consumption for

decline in the water levels of Lake Mead.

Las Vegas Valley residents hovered around

This has two consequences: the reduction

219 gallons of water per person per day

in available water from the sole water source

(LVVWD 2013). In comparison, Santa

for the area, the Colorado, and the difficulty

Fe, New Mexico’s daily per capita water

in maintaining water intake facilities in Lake

use is around 107 gallons, Los Angeles’ is

Mead, which will impact water distribution.

roughly 145 gallons, and Denver’s is about

The Valley, and the West in general, has been experiencing extreme drought for fourteen years, which has caused Lake Mead’s water levels to drop 100 feet since 2000. As of May 2014, the reservoir had fallen to half of its capacity. The effects of persistent drought will be amplified if climate change predictions come to fruition. The best estimates predict that climate change will decrease the Colorado River’s flow by five to twenty percent in the next forty years, caused in part by a continued decrease in precipitation in the Rocky Mountains, the location of the river’s headwaters (Zielinski 2010). If current consumption practices remain constant and climate change predictions come to fruition,

165 gallons, indicating that other western cities have a much smaller water footprint compared to the Valley (City of Santa Fe 2014).

Interventions TThe SNWA’s 2009 Water Resources Plan contained many interventions aimed at addressing water scarcity and wasteful consumption from a number of angles including




sources, reducing water consumption, and increasing water reclamation. The SNWA aims to diversify the valley’s water sources by obtaining 134,000 acre-feet per year from in-state resources. As of 2009, the SNWA was still working on the necessary permitting to move forward with this effort, and this water, when obtained, will not be

Figure 4 : If current consumption practices remain constant and climate change predictions come to fruition, then there is a 50% chance that Lake Mead will be dry as soon as 2021.

used until 2020 unless drought conditions persist (SNWA 2009). Efforts to diversify the water sources for the Valley come with many difficulties, including expensive infrastructure regulatory




numerous negotiations,

environmental permitting, and agreements across multiple shareholders (SNWA 2009). The SNWA has proposed to continue the diversification of its water portfolio with the construction of a 250-mile, $3 billion buried pipeline that would carry water from aquifers in rural, eastern Nevada to the Las Vegas Valley. This project requires the coordination and acquisition of water rights and rights of way across the state 30


in addition to the construction of costly infrastructure




storage tanks, pumping stations, and the pipelines themselves (SNWA 2014). The project was first proposed 30 years ago and is currently mired in lawsuits. Construction is not predicted to begin for at least another decade (Thompson 2014). To combat the declining water levels interfering with existing intakes on Lake Mead, the construction of a third drinking water intake was approved in 2005 and began in 2008. This intake, often referred to as the third straw, anticipates continued declining water levels and will be able to draw water from as low as 1,000 feet. The project, which has cost around $816 million so far, is akin to building a subway tunnel, and is employing a custom-built tunnelboring machine the size of two football fields to drill into the rock at the bottom of the lake at a pace of 35 feet per day. So far construction has been stalled a number

Figure 5 : A  n example of xeriscaping, or drought friendly landscaping, one of Las Vegas’ solutions to curb household water use.

The Water Resource Plan also uses both education and incentive programs aimed

Successes & Failures

at reducing water consumption. Targeted

Evidence has shown that the Las Vegas



Valley’s efforts to conserve and reuse

development codes, assigned watering

water are comprehensive and have been

schedules, and golf course water budgets


that are ready to be implemented by the

the Valley’s annual water consumption



decreased by 32 billion gallons despite

landscaping designed to minimize water use,

the addition of 480,000 residents (SNWA

has been extremely successful in decreasing

2014). Additionally, almost half of all water

Outside of these mega-projects, the SNWA’s

the incidences of planted turf grass lawns

used in the Valley gets reclaimed, cleaned,

Water Resources Plan included a number

in the Valley. The SNWA has facilitated the

and returned to Lake Mead for future use.

of conservation and water reclamation

conversion of turf grass to native desert

Despite this, and the many efforts aimed

goals. Primary among them is the goal to

plants by paying residents $1.50 per square

at reducing consumption, the SNWA’s

limit water consumption to 199 gallons

foot to make the switch. Participants agree

optimism about its ability to provide safe

per capita per day (GPCD) by 2035. If

to cover at least 50% of their property

and stable water resources for a growing

this goal is achieved, overall consumption

with drought-tolerant vegetation, install

population is dangerous. Can massive

will decrease by 50 GPCD per resident,

water smart irrigation, and not return the

infrastructure interventions contend with

saving the region 276,000 acre-feet per

landscaping to turf for five years (or they

the possibility of extended extreme drought?

of water per year by 2035 (SNWA 2009).

must pay back the rebate with interest). This

Scientific examinations of tree rings in the

These savings represent a new source of

initiative has led to annual water savings of

area have revealed that the 20th century

water for the Valley. However, 199 GCPD

62 gallons per square foot and the program,

was one of the two wettest 100-year periods

is still a high figure for water consumption.

which began in 2003, has transformed

in the past 1,200 years (Thompson 2014).

Perhaps a new set of goals for future further

168 million square feet of lawn to native

This discovery indicates that recent drought

reductions in residential consumption could

vegetation, saving the city 9.2 billion gallons

may not be a temporary inconvenience, but

result in additional savings.

of water (Lovett 2013).

rather a return to historic weather patterns.

of times. The team hit a fault zone, which caused flooding and forced an expensive repositioning of the tunnel, and in 2012 a construction worker was killed and another injured on site. If the project finishes in 2015, it will be three years behind schedule (Thompson 2014).










fountains, swimming pools, and residential turf grass lawns, prohibiting behavior alone is often not impactful and does not foster public trust in political bodies. Since residential consumption, especially outdoor water use, is extremely high in the Valley, I would take aim at individual, residential behavior. Behavioral economists have found that peer comparisons are extremely effective at inducing particular behaviors. A water bill that indicates how residents’ water consumption compares to their neighbors’ could compel people to modify their water use. Peer monitoring and reinforcement is already occurring, as people will often give residential water monitors (water cops) tips about their neighbors’ wasteful practices. Robert Kern, a water cop, told Popular Science Magazine that “People are self-conscious about water use … and they know the regulations. It’s everywhere: on their bill, online, on TV. The neighborhoods are policing themselves” (Thompson 2014).

Figure 6 : A residential development in the desert of southwestern Las Vegas.

The SNWA’s dangerous optimism, however,

and casino resorts with private water

is part of a historic tradition in the West,

sources will intensify, calling into question

where imaginative thinking about the

which interest group has a more legitimate

quantity of natural resources has triumphed

claim to water security.

over the threat of scarcity. In 1922, the million acre feet per year, despite the fact


that the river was producing only 11.5

To have the greatest impact on securing

million acre feet per year. The Colorado,

water for future residents, efforts to manage

now extensively rerouted and overdrawn,

water in the Las Vegas Valley should

was thus over-allotted from the start (Daniels

be aimed at reducing consumption by

2014). Should patterns of consumption

combining market-based and regulatory

remain constant, the predicted impacts

strategies across residential and commercial

of climate change come to fruition, and

sectors. While it is tempting to suggest

appropriations of new water sources fall

sweeping regulations prohibiting certain

short, the tension between municipalities

luxury items, like golf courses, giant water

Colorado River Compact allocated 17.5



To build on the existing, successful xeriscaping program, municipalities in the Valley could continue to incentivize lawn conversion with cash and also make the sale or purchase of a home contingent on maintaining existing xeriscaping. But there are still a number of loopholes that allow excessive uses of water. Public and private pools are exempt from regulation, fountains with areas of 25 square feet or less are permitted, and golf courses are allotted 6.3 acre feet per irrigated acre per year. While quality of life for Las Vegas Valley Residents has orbited around the concept of a dessert oasis, significant shifts in the recreational habits and expectations could lead to major future water savings (LVVWD 2014). The price of water at present does not reflect its scarcity or the great cost of making it available. While raising the price of a commodity is often publicly loathed, the price of water in the Valley must increase in order to reflect its scarcity. This could also generate revenue that can be directed into infrastructure expansions.

REFERENCES Bryce, S.A., Woods, A.J., Morefield, J.D., Omernik, J.M., McKay, T.R., Brackley, G.K., Hall, R.K., Higgins, D.K., McMorran, D.C., Vargas, K.E., Petersen, E.B., Zamudio, D.C., and Comstock, J.A., 2003, “Ecoregions of Nevada” (color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs): Reston, Virginia, U.S. Geological Survey (map scale 1:1,350,000). Daniels, Tom, The Environmental Planning Handbook, Chicago: American Planning Association, 2014 Gulliver, J.S., A.J. Erickson, and P.T. Weiss (editors). 2010.”Stormwater Treatment: Assessment and Maintenance.” University of Minnesota, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. Minneapolis, MN. Koebler, Jason “10 Metro Areas with the Largest Population Growth,” U.S. News and World Report, April 6, 2011 articles/2011/04/06/10-metro-areas-withthe-largest-population-growth Lovett, Ian, “Arid Southwest Cities’ Plea: Lose the Lawn,” The New York Times, August 11, 2013, u s / t o - s ave - w at e r- p a rch e d - s o u t h we s t cities-ask-homeowners-to-lose-their-lawns. html?pagewanted=all “Las Vegas Valley Water District, History,” Las Vegas Valley Water District, Accessed February 26, 2015, press_history.html “Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority: Stats & Facts: Population,” Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Accessed February 26, 2015, population/ “Las Vegas Valley Water District, Drought Conservation Measures,” Las Vegas Valley Water District, Accessed February 26, 2015, http:// measures.html “Nevada Water Fact Sheet, EPA Watersense,” EPA, Accessed February 26, 2015, http:// fact_sheet.pdf

image citations Salvaggio, Marko et al, Water Scarcity in the Desert Metropolis: How environmental values, knowledge, and concerns affect Las Vegas’ residents support for water conservation policy; Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2014, Volume 57, No. 4, 588611 “Santa Fe Water Conservation,” Santa Fe, New Mexico, Accessed February 26, 2015, http:// “Southern Nevada Water Authority: About Us, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Accessed February 26, 2015, about/about_us.html Southern Nevada Water Authority, “Water Conservation Plan, 2014,” Accessed February 26, 2015 about_snwa_conservation_plan_2014.pdf Southern Nevada Water Authority, “Water Resources Plan, 2009,” Accessed February 26, 2015 wr_plan.pdf “Southern Nevada Water Authority: Groundwater Development Project, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Accessed February 26, 2015, http:// “Southern Nevada Water Authority: Conservation: Goals and Facts, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Accessed February 26, 2015, Thompson, Kalee, “Last Straw: How The Fortunes Of Las Vegas Will Rise Or Fall With Lake Mead,” Popular Science, June 6, 2014, Valley, Jackie, “Bellagio fountains help whet appetite for learning during science festival,” Las Vegas Sun, April 30, 2012, http://www. giofountains-help-whet-appetite-learning-dur/

Figure 1: Tomdz, “Ballagio fountains,” photograph, Self Published, 15 February 2009, From Flickr Creative Commons, https://www. (Accessed February 23, 2015) Figure 2: United States Federal Government, “Map of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area,” Map, Wikimedia Creative Commons, C a t e g o r y : M a p s _ o f _ C l a r k _ C o u n t y, _ Nevada#mediaviewer/File:Lasvegasmetro. png, Accessed February 26, 2015 Figure 3: Mulroy, Pat, Southern Nevada Water Authority, “Lake Mead Intake No. 3, 22 April 2010,” Photograph, From Google Images, water-supply-shortage-water-scarcity-climate. php Figure 4: Becker, David. “A pontoon boat cruises in the shadow of the bathtub ring on Lake Mead in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on Friday, May 18, 2012,” Photograph, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4 November 2012, From Google Images, sections/news/more-users-and-less-water-arestressing-colorado-river-%E2%80%94-seriousconsequences-vegas (Accessed February 23, 2015) Figure 5: Downtowngal, Photograph, “Xeriscape 2, Hidden Meadows,” Wikimedia Creative Commons, wiki/File:Xeriscape_2,_Hidden_Meadows.jpg, Accessed February 26, 2015 Figure 6: Stan Shebs, Photograph, “Las Vegas South Fort Apache Road 1,” Wikimedia Creative Commons, http://commons. Fort_Apache_Road_1.jpg, Accessed February 26, 2015

Zielinski, Sarah, “The Colorado River Runs Dry,” Smithsonian Magazine, October 2010, http:// the-colorado-river-runs-dry-61427169/?no-ist

Reisner, Marc, Cadillac Desert, New York: Penguin, 1987



boom of istanbul by Ben Schmidt From the Silk Road through the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, infrastructure investments have powered Istanbulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growth. Now, rising concerns about social and environmental costs have led to questions about the wisdom of major public investments. Author Ben Schmidt examines the historical development of, and the challenges that confront, the city that connects East and West.



Throughout its history, Turkey has been at a series of crossroads: between past and present, Europe and Asia, modernity and antiquity. Its largest city, Istanbul, has long been the focal point and symbol of change and progress in Turkey. Called by different names, occupied and controlled by various empires and power structures, Istanbul’s history is storied with fluctuations of identity and character. The current chapter of this story is one of massive growth, exorbitant new development, and an expansion of city limits and usable space. Istanbul’s advantageous geographic position has made it a center for international trade and commerce. Recent decisions attempt to capitalize on this position and sustain economic growth into the future. However, mass demonstrations and public resentment of expansion have flowed from a lack of trust in government and a tailoring of priorities away from the realities and experiences of most Istanbul residents. To explore the recent history of Istanbul’s growth is to watch a city grapple with its identity at the largest scale as it attempts to copy successes (and failures) of 20th century city-building.

Istanbul’s Identity The geographic positioning of Istanbul is integral to its growth, as it resides on an essential land bridge between Europe and Asia. Istanbul lies near the western edge of Turkey, roughly 100 miles from the borders of both Greece and Bulgaria. To its north and south are, respectively, the Black Sea and the Sea of Mamara. Connecting these two seas is the Bosphorous Strait, a narrow body of water that splits the geography of Istanbul on its east-west axis. Settlement in the area of Istanbul has occurred for millennia, and over that time, its position of advantage has been desired and claimed by numerous entities. Istanbul was first known as Byzantion, a Greek colony founded in 657 B.C. (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality 2010). After the Romans captured it in 196 A.D., the city became known as Byzantium and was ultimately

renamed Constantinople as it secured its place as the capital of the empire (Ibid.). The city’s modern era begins in 1453 when Mehmed II captured it under the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul became “the artistic and intellectual center of the Ottoman world, a commercial magnet for merchants from across the globe and the political piston of the empire” (Boyar 2010, 1). The Ottoman city was one of religious tolerance, so much so that when Muslims did not flock to the city in expected numbers, an official decree “was issued to counties to exile some of their residents to Istanbul according to a quota that reflected a diverse population” (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality 2010). Istanbul was then divided into four administrative units to govern equally along religious lines. Under the various imperial occupations, development and organization of roadways supported the fundamental beliefs of each occupier. As a Roman city, Istanbul was focused around the forum, where political and commercial activity took place. Leaders of the time thusly built “roads leading to the forum…in a straight line to provide a strong visual connection” (Kubat 1999, 344) and to focus commuters towards these designated corridors. Street widths lacked uniformity. When the Turkish controlled Istanbul according to a Muslim orthodoxy, the great open space of the public forum was gradually replaced by the interiors of grand mosques and a new focus on privacy. In this new frame of spatial networking, the mahalle became the dominating structural unit. Mahalles represented an early idea of neighborhoods, focused on a series of cul-de-sacs around neighborhood mosques and businesses. Istanbul at this time was characterized as “a ‘molecular city’, composed of functional elements, linked to each other by a web or irregular veins” (Ibid., 35).

Tanzimat Era Beginning in 1837, The Tanzimat Era brought Istanbul’s first adaptations of

Western traditions and modes of living through the creation of institutions such as universities and post offices. Turkish markets began to intermingle with European markets as new processes of monetization and commercialization took hold; from 1840 to 1913, exports and imports multiplied by nine and ten times, respectively (Toprak 1992, 66). As markets brought new wealth and created new classes, the country’s focus shifted “from traditional society to modern society based on achievement and high mobility” (Ibid., 58). Istanbul was starting to borrow both economic and social, models from the West. The Tanzimat era also brought modern planning techniques into Istanbul. A geometrical grid structure created a new, rigid form of street-making that contrasted with the organic flow of past streets (Kubat 1999, 35). Wider streets and taller buildings increased density. Much like cities in the West, the prevalence of fires led to new planning and architectural prevention techniques. Modern technological reforms of “[p]ublic transport, street lights, piped water, and refuse disposal became basic concerns of the newly established municipal authorities” (Toprak 1992, 63). Planning took on a new role in Istanbul as it organized and maximized the city’s resources with a bird’s-eye approach.

Henri Prost & European Urbanism Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the Turkish Nationalist Movement and a war of independence led to the formation of the modern Republic of Turkey. The country shifted its political structure from a sultanate to a parliamentary republic (Bilsel 2011, 100). Though the new republic moved its capital to Ankara, Istanbul remained a vitally important city in spite of the population’s decline from about one million residents before WWI to 700,000 people in 1927 (Ibid. 103).


Henri Prost, widely considered a pioneer of French urbanism as a leading planner of post-World War I Paris, visited Istanbul prior to and after the Republic’s formation (Ibid., 103). Turkish authorities invited Prost and two other planners to plan Istanbul in a competition-like selection process. Though their plans were separately conceived, all three envisioned Istanbul “as an international port and an industrial city” (Ibid., 101). From 1936 to 1951, Prost acted as the overseer of planning in Istanbul as a consultant to the Municipality’s Directory of Urban Development (Ibid. 103). Prost’s plans for modern Istanbul focused on connecting the city’s waterways through massive transportation networks. Though the population and economy were recessing at the time, the city was extending geographically, taxing the transportation system (Bilsel n.d., 3). To connect these separated areas, Prost designed large boulevards for the automobile that he envisioned as direct connections to Europe: he conceived the Istanbul-Edirne-London road of his 1937 Master Plan “as the

Figure 1: An example of the sprawling informal settlements on the outskirts of Istanbul.

gateway to the city from [the] west…the start of the international motorway that reached London via Belgium’s Port of Ostend” (Bilsel 2011, 106). Prost designated areas along the Golden Horn, one of Istanbul’s major waterways, as industrial areas. Known as the Mese in the time of Byzantium and as the Divan Yolu in the Ottoman era, Prost’s plan preserved and built around this ancient thoroughfare and associated monuments in an attempt to reconstruct the city’s collective memory (Bilsel n.d., 8). As industry and transportation developed under Prost’s vision, the population nearly returned to its earlier size of one million by 1950, spread over 24 square miles. Prost’s planning actions, reflective of the European traditions of the time, merged Istanbul’s identity into a hybrid of Eastern traditions and Western modernity.

Sprawl Following Prost’s plans, the expansion of Istanbul from the mid-20th century to the present has followed a trajectory of sprawl and an increasing amount of industrial sub-centers. The rapid urbanization of Instanbul started in the early 1940s. Large investments flowed into Turkey after World War II via the Marshall Plan, the American program of economic support and reconstruction (U.S. Department of State n.d.). Much of the aid given to Turkey went towards modernizing agricultural and manufacturing technologies, replacing peasant workers while also creating new possibilities of employment (Saracgil 19971999, 104). Because of this perceived notion of opportunity, rural migration into the urban center spurred rapid growth in the 1950s. However when migrants were unable to find work, new “informal residential areas[,] which were low density[,]….were [created] at the periphery” (Terzi and Kaya 2008, 6), and the informal borders of Istanbul began to expand. These informal gecekondus, have



communities, or played a role in

Istanbul’s class structure to the present day. Turkish dictionaries define the word as “a habitat of one or two rooms built at night on a periphery of a large city without permission” (Saracgil 1997-1999, 104). Gecekondus are infamous for their high levels of density and construction without legal building permits or documentation. Though not technically legal, the early incarnations of these communities were largely sanctioned because they “allowed the government to pass the costs and political hurdles of urbanization on the migrants themselves” (Esan 2009). Residents lived self-sufficiently, growing their own food and constructing their own homes. Gecekondus were officially recognized in the 1966 Squatter Housing Law, and by 2005, “65% of housing in Istanbul was classified as gecekondu” (Curley and Jain et al. 2011, 7). The University College London Centre for Advanced Spatial Analytics conducted a study on sprawl in Istanbul during the period of 1975 to 2005, when the population of the city more than trebled from nearly 4 million to over 12.5 million. The central business district (CBD) declined in the 1970s, and while it began to rebound in the next decade, suburbanization had gained enough momentum to create new subcenters (Terzi and Kaya 2008, 7). In 1995, the CBD accounted for 75% of leasable retail space, with subcenters in the districts of Bakirkoy and Kadikoy along the Marmara Sea accounting for the remaining 25% (Ibid., 10). Just ten years later, four new subcenters extending further east and west emerged. In 1975, development reached 20 kilometers to the north and 25 kilometers to the east and west; by 2005, development extended 25 km to the border at the Black Sea, and over 40 km to the east and west. These new centers were initially marked by a high degree of fragmentation and noncontiguous development, but over time, densities in the areas further from the center increased and the gaps between them filled in (Ibid., 10).

Figure 2: Exponential development in Istanbul has resulted in an increase in sprawled areas.

The Bridges As development has sprawled over the last several decades, transportation has become an important and contentious issue. In 1973, the city constructed the first Bosphorous Bridge, connecting Europe and Asia (Azem 2011). While the bridge propelled development, it brought unforeseen consequences. Traffic increased six-fold over the next fifteen years, and gecekondu communities flourished along the new E-5 highway (Ibid.). Increasing demand led to the construction of a second Bosphorous Bridge (also known as the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge), which opened in 1988 (Ibid.). However, traffic and congestion have continued to be growing concerns. Travel times over either bridge at a rush hour can be measured in hours. The number of cars travelling by bridge has grown from 200,000 in 1980 to over 2 million today (Ibid.). Car-based transportation planning is the norm in Istanbul: “93% of all trips [are] road-dependent, rail transit usage remains an unpopular option while over 600 cars [are] added [to the road] daily” (Curley and Jain et al. 2011, 28). The share of public transport has struggled to keep pace with private car ownership, dropping from 60% of yearly trips in 1996 to 47% in 2006. The city has only 51 kilometers in its public transportation network, compared to 313 km in the similarly sized city of Sao Paulo, Brazil (Biderman 2008). Moreover, the city’s roads are often dangerous; in 2010 alone there were over 1.1 million traffic accidents, six times the European Union average (“Number of Traffic Accidents Rises” 2011).

Construction of a third bridge over the Bosphorous, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, started in 2013 amid serious concern from traffic experts and environmentalists alike. The bridge is located to the north of the traditional downtown, cutting through large swaths of forest and green areas that have so far remained untouched by the expansion of the city. Activists fear that the completion of this bridge will accelerate development northward as far as the Black Sea (Letsch 2012). While backers say the project will ease traffic flow and resolve congestion, environmentalists and planners argue “that it will create more traffic, increase the number of vehicles in Istanbul and spell an end to the few remaining green areas and urgently needed drinking water reservoirs that have so far resisted the urban sprawl” (Ibid.). The combination of rising incomes and car ownership has made distance from the city center less of a concern for Istanbul’s residents and has created a market for continued development as the city’s boundaries expand.

Leadership Under Erdoğan The presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been a major catalyst of Istanbul’s recent development boom. Prior to his presidency, Erdoğan served as the mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998 and as the prime minister of Turkey from 2003 to 2014. As Turkey was facing potential bankruptcy and dealing with a corrupt government in 2001, Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) emerged as the dominant party by

promising “bold economic reform and a liberal market economy approach that would turn Turkey’s economic performance around” (Curley and Jain et al. 2011, 13). The AKP delivered on that promise, as the Turkish GDP grew by 76% over the next seven years (Ibid. 15). Housing and construction have played a large part in Istanbul’s economic growth, with Istanbul’s Housing Development Administration (commonly known as TOKI) leading the way. Though TOKI traditionally constructed affordable homes, under the AKP, the body “emerged as a housing power center when its bylaws were changed in January 2004 to bring it under direct control of Mr. Erdoğan,… [amassing] choice properties at little or no cost” (Thomas 2014). The government then auctioned off the properties and took a share of the profits. Straying from its original intention of affordable housing, TOKI has become the backer of wildly expensive projects, best exemplified by Maslak 1453, a complex of housing towers and shopping malls that, when completed, will be the largest real estate development in all of Europe (Ibid.). Many TOKI projects have come about in the wake of mass clearance of gecekondus and other small communities that have no representation in the planning process (Azem 2011). The first three months of 2014 alone saw an 89% increase in governmentbacked building permits from the previous year, while planning regulations and architectural oversight of development has been restricted to ease the overproduction of building (Christie-Miller 2014). 37

Erdoğan’s decade of power and development has generated claims of corruption and governmental entanglement with the construction industry. Critics allege that Erdoğan and the AKP have used the construction industry as an engine for political gain, taking bribes and manipulating construction bids for government contracts in a cyclical fashion in order to “prop up the economy and bolster an Islamic business class loyal” to the party (Srivastava and Harvey 2014). Media companies owned by family and friends of Erdoğan support the large-scale projects and fail to report on any hints of cronyism or nepotism (Christie-Miller 2014). The AKP has initiated many restrictions of free speech, such as restrictions on media use and the right to free assembly (Bilefsky and Arsu 2012). Such actions have perhaps contributed to Turkey’s current Human Development Index score of 0.759 (69th in the world) only slightly higher than that of nearby Iran and Kazakhstan (United Nations Development Programme). Turkey’s fluctuating periods of growth and decline have also led to varying degrees of economic inequality. From 1984 to 1994 the city’s Gini coefficient rose from 0.43 to 0.58 (Keyder 2005) before dropping to 0.41 in 2011 (Curly and Jain et al. 2011, 13), still relatively high as compared to the European Union (.031) (Ibid., 16). Erdoğan’s large and expensive projects have come under fire as providing little benefit for the middle and lower classes. For example, experts project that the construction of an airport (with an estimated cost of $14 billion) on 7,600 hectares in the northern forests (six times larger than London’s Heathrow Airport) will negatively affect air and water quality for Istanbul’s residents (Christie-Miller 2014). A recent episode of the Turkish government’s clash with its citizens resulted in a series of protests. The government proposed to demolish Taksim Gezi Park to clear the way for an Ottoman-style shopping center—without any public input or debate. Hundreds of thousands of 38


protestors assembled in the square to protect one of downtown Istanbul’s last public green spaces and were met by heavy police resistance. Eight people died and over 8,000 sustained injuries (Letsch 2014). As violence increased and the police crackdown grew stronger, the protests spread throughout the country and the “initial environmental movement [turned] into a revolt against the increased authoritarianism of the country’s leader” (Ibid.). One of the AKP’s primary goals since assuming leadership has been inclusion in the European Union so that Turkey could receive EU Regional and Transport Funds. However, recent public unrest has been coupled with a subjugation of Kurdish residents, who make up nearly 20% of the national population (Curley and Jain et al. 2011, 16). If Turkey wants to join the EU, it must improve its human rights record and take the public into account on matters of development and infrastructure.

A Planning Agenda While Istanbul enjoys an industrious economy, the city has many problems to address to maintain its prosperity. Traffic caused by reliance on the automobile poses a serious threat to the quality of life in Istanbul. If residents are to spend less time commuting and enjoy cleaner air, the government must focus on public transportation. The underwater Marmaray Rail Tunnel has been touted as a project with major promise in boosting public transit use. The tunnel, which connects the two sides of the Bosphorus, opened its first phase in 2013 with an operating goal of 1.5 million daily riders upon full completion (“Marmaray tunnel opens to link Europe with Asia” 2013). Though cumulative ridership was 21.4 million in its first six months of operation, the tunnel’s daily ridership has dropped to 120,000, or 1% of total mass transit rides (“Ridership in Marmaray”). While the tunnel is a start, more above-ground rail service must be made available.

Reliance on the construction and real estate industries has proven beneficial in the short-term, but such reliance is not a long-term strategy. The construction industry has been estimated to be 9% of Turkey’s economy, a level which has led to serious market problems in other countries (Thomas 2014). Indicative of a slowdown is the inventory of unsold housing units, now totaling 1.5 million, presenting “a clear sign that the slowing economy and higher interest rates are cutting into demand” (Ibid.). Istanbul must slow the pace of construction to match demand and prevent a potential market collapse. Moreover, while the already constructed subcenters will not disappear, new subcenters should be planned as separate, self-sufficient centers of agglomeration, enjoying the benefits of proximity to the city center while not necessarily dependent on it. Transparency and democratic values must also become a priority in the planning process. Engaging with the public’s concerns will create a more peaceful atmosphere and lead to desired uses. On top of violence and decreasing trust, public opposition to projects delays completion time and adds costs. More local planning authority should be given to districts within Istanbul and overseen by the city to promote neighborhood identity and self-ownership of the planning process.

Conclusion Heading forward into the 21st century, Istanbul has a long road ahead in attaining a unified vision. As new development is either rejected by the public, insisted by the government, or embraced on both sides, Istanbul’s identity will continue to be nebulous and fractured as urbanization reaches its maximum capacity. Erdoğan’s policies will continue to test where the boundaries of Istanbul can ultimately extend. As processes of urban renewal and rejection of public input continue to widen the divide between government and citizens, the city of Istanbul must ensure that it does not focus on the built environment over the welfare of its residents.

references Azem, Imre. Ecumenopolis: City Without Limits. Kibrit Film, 2011. Online. Biderman, Ciro. “São Paulo’s Urban Transport Infrastructure.” LSE Cities. Deutsche Bank, Dec. 2008. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. <http://>. Bilefsky, Dan and Sebnem Arsu. The New York Times. 4 Jan 2012. Web. 17 February 2014. < world/europe/turkeys-glow-dims-asgovernment-limits-free-speech.html>. Bilsel, Cana. “’Les Transformations D’Istanbul’: Henri Prost’s Planning of Istanbul (1936-1951).” Itu AZ 8.1 (2011): 100-16. Web. Bilsel, Cana. “Shaping A Modern City out of an Ancient Capital: Henri Prost’s Plan For the Historic Peninsula of Istanbul.” Thesis. Escola Tecnica Superior D’Arquitectura Del Valles, n.d. Print. Boyar, Ebru. A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print. Christie-Miller, Alexander. “Erdogan’s Grand Construction Projects Are Tearing Istanbul Apart.” Newsweek. 31 July 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. <http://www.newsweek. com/ 2 0 1 4 / 0 8 / 0 8 / erd o g a n s-g r a n d construction-projects-are-tearing-istanbulapart-262102.html>. Curley, Michael, and Priyanka Jain, et al. Istanbul - ‘Planning For Transparency and Inclusion.’ Thesis. Columbia University, 2011. Print. Esen, Orhan. “Istanbul’s Gecekondus.” LSE Cities. Deutsche Bank, Nov. 2009. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. < objects/articles/istanbuls-gecekondus/engb/>. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. “Exploring the City.” Istanbul 2010: European Capital of Culture. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, 2008. Web. 14 February 2015. < sites/ks/en-US/0-Exploring-The-City/ History/Pages/BeforeConquest.aspx>. Keyder, Caglar. “Globalization and Social Exclusion in Istanbul.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29.1 (2005): 124-34. Web.

Kubat, Ayse S. “The Morphological History of Istanbul.” Urban Morphology 3.1 (1999): 28-41. Web. Letsch, Constanze. “A Year After the Protests, Gezi Park Nurtures the Seeds of a New Turkey.” The Guardian. 29 May 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. <http://www.theguardian. com/world/2014/may/29/gezi-park-yearafter-protests-seeds-new-turkey>. Letsch, Constanze. “Plan for New Bosphorus Bridge Sparks Row Over Future of Istanbul.” The Guardian. 8 June 2012. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <http://www.theguardian. com/world/2012/jun/08/bosphorusbridge-row-istanbul-turkey>. “Marmaray tunnel opens to link Europe with Asia.” Railway Gazette. 29 Oct 2013. 17 February 2015. <http://www. view/marmaray-tunnel-opens-to-linkeurope-with-asia.html>. “Number of Traffic Accidents Rises, Fatalities Falls since 2006.” Today’s Zaman. 11 Sept. 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. <http://>. “Ridership in Marmaray.” Rail Turkey. 17 February 2015. <http://railturkey. org/2014/05/27/ridership-marmaray/>. Saracgil, Ayse. “The Gecekondu and Turkish Modernity.” Environmental Design: Journal of the Islamic Environmental Design Research Centre 1-2. Ed. by Attilo Petruccioli, 104-107. Rome: Dell’oca Editore, 1997-1999. Srivastava, Mehul, and Benjamin Harvey. “The Edifice Complex Driving Turkey’s Scandal.” Businessweek. 9 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. <http://www.businessweek. com/articles/2014-01-09/in-turkeyerdogans-construction-projects-drawcorruption-probe>. Terzi, Fatih, and Serdar Kaya. “Analyzing Urban Sprawl Patterns Through Fractal Geometry: The Case of Istanbul Metropolitan Area.” UCL Centre For Advanced Spatial Analysis. 144 (2008): 1-24. Web.

Thomas, Landon, Jr. “Alarm Over Istanbul’s Building Boom.” The New York Times. 20 May 2014. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. <http://www. commercial/after-istanbuls-buildingboom-come-worries-of-a-bust.html>. Toprak, Zafer. “Modernization and Commercialization in the Tanzimat Period: 1838-1975.” New Perspectives on Turkey, 7 (1992): 57-70. Web. United Nations Development Programme. “Human Development Reports”. Web. 16 February 2015. < en/content/table-1-human-developmentindex-and-its-components>. United States Department of State. “A Short History of the Department of State.” Office of the Historian, n.d. 17 February 2015. <https://history.state. gov/departmenthistory/short-history/ truman>.

Image Citations Title Image: Alexxx1979. “Istanbul Bosphorus Bridge”. Photograph. Selfpublished, 21 November 2013. From Wikimedia Commons. http://commons. Bridge#mediaviewer/File:Istanbul_ Fa t i h _ S u l t a n _ M e h m e t _ B r i d g e _ IMG_7247_1725.jpg. (Accessed February 14, 2015). Figure 1: BertilVidet. “Gecekondu.” Photograph. Self-published, 28 March 2006. From Wikimedia Commons. c o m m o n s / c / c 8 / G e c e k o n d u . J P G. (Accessed February 22, 2015). Figure 2: Terzi, Fatih, and Serdar Kaya. “Analyzing Urban Sprawl Patterns Through Fractal Geometry: The Case of Istanbul Metropolitan Area.” UCL Centre For Advanced Spatial Analysis 144 (2008): 1-24. Web.

“The Ottoman Era.” Istanbul 2010. European Capital of Culture, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014. < en-US/0-Exploring-The-City/History/ Pages/TheOttomanEra.aspx>.


missing [ ]

From the Narrative: Displacement of a People,

Their Memories Legacy


in Battle Creek, Michigan

by Jacqueline Slaby While major infrastructure investments aim to solve specific problems such as mobility or weather resilience, they can also be detrimental if planned without community participation. Jacqueline Slabyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s study of Battle Creek, Michigan is a cautionary tale of how a major investment in stormwater mitigation caused the displacement of an entire community of African Americans and their subsequent erasure from the local collective memory.



Figure 1 : The Bottoms neighborhood prior to urban renewal.

During the 1950s Battle Creek, Michigan displaced an African American workingclass community with its urban renewal project. The public has long forgotten these events. This article critiques the role of cities and their leading institutions in the construction of social amnesia as embedded in local practices, one of them being the creation of a public history that often excludes voices of African Americans. An exploration of the events that took place in Battle Creek sheds light on this challenge, which many post-industrial American cities face today.

Amnesia in the City In the case of an individual, a blunt force to the head can trigger amnesia. Collective amnesia, too, requires an active force. Logically, it seems that a community would not passively forget events that have significantly impacted them. According to Olick (1999), collective memory is more complex than shared memories among individuals. Collective memory consists of publicly available symbols that are recognized and maintained by society (Ibid.). I assert that the normative histories of cities are merely the affirmation of prominent local themes that help guide the direction of cities’ political, cultural, and economic growth (or decline). Moreover, these public histories can become whitewashed. Social amnesia stifles progress and suppresses the mobilization of people. Black working-class communities are often susceptible to this force.

When people are made unaware of the past, they are left to repeat the same mistakes. The cycle continues. In the introduction of Haunting and Displacement in African American Literature and Culture, Parham (2009) analyzes the impact on displaced African Americans in history and literature. In her account, Parham expounds on the subject of haunting to say that it “conceptualizes what it means for a person to have his or her own experience of another person’s experience in the world” (2009). A traumatic experience, such as experiencing the fragmentation and decline of a neighborhood, could serve as the catalyst for a disposition of fragility and fear to be passed down to younger generations that continue to live in that community. Using Parham’s idea of haunting, the actual memory of neglect and discrimination can transcend direct contact and affect others over a long period of time. Without the ability to locate the origins of these emotions, the ‘feeling without knowing’ may even be more crippling to a community than the actual event (Parham, 2009). Even as the impact of these events continues to effect communities today, they are written out of the public history. Schools teach these modified histories and cities employ them for marketing purposes. With this in mind, this article examines the ways in which cities construct social amnesia and thus limit opportunities for the communities that this amnesia erases.

“Cereal City” Battle Creek, Michigan serves as the case study through which I explore the construction of social amnesia. In particular, this article critiques the way in which stories of African American residents’ legacies and challenges have been erased from the collective memory of the city. The impact of an urban renewal project that displaced an African American working-class community known as ‘The Bottoms’ during the 1950s can be traced

to the current spatial segregation of black and white communities. This story is buried inside an archive center housed in the basement of a psychiatric facility. As a small, Midwest city that has faced the rapid decline of heavy industry and manufacturing, Battle Creek serves as a microcosm for other small American cities that are transitioning to a post-industrial phase and adapting to an increasingly global economy. Cities with similar profiles have received federal funds for past urban renewal and slum clearance, and they can learn from this story to develop better practices. Furthermore, Battle Creek’s history reveals a challenge that many cities face: balancing corporate and community needs. The 1950s urban renewal period was the pivotal moment when the Kellogg and Post corporations rose, formalizing Battle Creek as ‘Cereal City’. Tragically, the associated fall of The Bottoms community was followed by its complete erasure from the city’s collective memory. Lastly, while social amnesia ultimately affects the entire city, there are those who disproportionately bear the psychological and financial effects of this haunting experience and pass it down through generations. These effects on African American residents, particularly of workingclass status, have been compounded by the city’s acts of physical and psychological erasure. The Bottoms was a community that, despite inadequate living conditions caused by flooding, was comprised of people who bonded over shared experiences, circumstances, religion, and culture. Well before the construction of social amnesia and before the urban renewal project there were people who lived and dreamed. And they, too, have been forgotten.

Process Comparing two stories - one public and one less well known - elucidates the selective and exclusive processes of cities’ public narratives. If the process serves the agenda 41

of leading actors, then this article also serves as a vehicle to identify these actors and the agenda that they have used to manipulate and censor what information is available to the public. In 1997, Kennet Santana, an undergraduate student of University of Michigan, wrote a historical overview of The Bottoms and the immediate impact of the urban renewal project on the neighborhood. Santana’s retelling was an opportunity for the people of Battle Creek to learn a forgotten piece of history and reconcile it with the impact of social amnesia (Santana 1997). Instead, Santana’s thesis did not prompt as much community discussion as he had anticipated. A more effective approach may be interjecting the memory of The Bottoms into the public realm both physically and discursively. Commemoration can serve as a vehicle for community empowerment. Battle Creek’s history, as I have come to understand it, is an amalgam of intersecting stories. This cultural memory also serves as the public memory in the form of Battle Creek’s official history (Boyer 2012). Other sources such as Web sites, local commemorative plaques, and city documents reinforce this history. To explore the rest of the cultural history that is not preserved in the city’s main narrative, I examined the information currently made available by the actors who had a role in this history’s construction. The absence of potential actors, such as the surviving residents of The Bottoms or local community activists, from this discourse exposes the unbalanced power dynamics of the city. I identify five main actors that have political or economic influence on decisionmaking in the city and therefore have an opportunity or responsibility to present the city’s history: the city planning department, the Kellogg Company, Kellogg Foundation, BC Unlimited, and Heritage Battle Creek. These actors have showed a significant level of influence in community matters and have engaged in activities that, directly or 42


indirectly, have played a role in creating and shaping the city’s history. They are also interconnected through attributes such as shared board members, shared funding sources, and similar missions. A mix of public, private, and non-profit companies and organizations provided insight into the different agendas that may affect the way the official history is communicated. Three main themes that are apparent in these actors’ public histories are the cereal industry boom, the legacy of Sojourner Truth and the Underground Railroad, and the influence of religious communities such as the Seventh Day Adventists and Quakers. In addition to these stories, many of these actors have preserved these histories symbolically through the built environment. Physical elements such as public and private infrastructure, buildings, and monuments attributed to icons – W.K. Kellogg, C.W. Post, and Sojourner Truth – have been funded and dedicated by these actors. Many of the actors who were directly engaged in the 1950s urban renewal project exclude it from their marketed summaries.

The Public History of Battle Creek Battle Creek, Michigan was once sought by the likes of railroad capitalists, spiritual leaders, cereal industrialists, and jazz musicians. It became the home to traveling Quakers, Seventh Day Adventists, and entrepreneurs, as well as escaped slaves and African Americans during the Great Migration in the early 1900s (Heritage 2009). Sojourner Truth, a former slave and abolitionist, periodically visited the city before choosing to live there through the end of her life and was buried in the local Oak Hill cemetery. The city has also always had a strong relationship with industry and commerce. Battle Creek is situated conveniently between Chicago and Detroit, quintessential centers for industry and culture during the early 20th century. The area was initially developed as a mill town

by pioneer McCamly Sands. McCamly promoted the idea of harnessing the energy from the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers to power businesses along the rivers’ banks (Battle Creek 2014). At the turn of the century, Battle Creek would become the ‘Cereal City’. Founded by Seventh Day Adventists 1866, the Health Reform Institute became widely known for its health practices and treatment of the ill. Colloquially, the institute was referred to as the “San” and was later renamed the Sanitarium (Battle Creek 2014). In 1876, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was asked to oversee the facility and it was reprogrammed to target lifestyle issues such as diet and fitness. Dr. Kellogg brought in his younger brother, W.K. Kellogg, as the head accountant. The San’s popularity soared with the new branding and management. As a healthy diet was increasingly becoming the facility’s focus, the Kellogg brothers developed a breakfast cereal that would later become the classic Corn Flakes (Butler 2009). Once a patient of the San himself, C.W. Post was inspired by the Kelloggs’ breakfast regimen and started a cereal company to sell a similar brand of flakes. After Post’s success, W.K. Kellogg was determined to market his own recipes. As the cereal magnates reinvested their profits into the city, Battle Creek found itself playing a role in both world wars. The local Fort Custer trained hundreds of men for combat during this period. Following World War II, use of the camp declined and it soon became a memorial for those who served in the military. Parts of the camp were eventually transformed into an industrial park in the 1980s to counteract a decline in this sector (Butler 2009). Literature and other media such as websites and tourist brochures corroborate this history (Thornton 2004). Beyond the retellings of these icons, there are physical reminders such as schools, auditoriums, parks, and foundations named after the cereal tycoons. In the late 1990s, a monument of Sojourner

Truth was erected at the southern entrance to the city’s downtown. Westward from the Truth monument near Washington Heights is the Seventh Day Adventist Village, a preserved neighborhood where the devout group once lived. Exposure to the stories of the cereal boom, Sojourner Truth, and the local religious groups over time creates a dissonance between tailored versions of these chosen legacies and the reality of Battle Creek’s development.

The Bottoms The Great Migration of the early 1900s prompted shifts in the demographics of urban centers as African Americans moved north in unprecedented numbers. As more African Americans moved to Battle Creek, they established small businesses and thrived. Black-owned businesses created a foundation of independence upon which the African American community could flourish. In 1881, father and son, John T. and William Ward, opened the first blackowned business in Battle Creek (Heritage 2009). Dr. Claude Evans, a revered member of the community, had a hand in opening the Empire Club for African American men (Ibid.). These businessmen were driven by both entrepreneurship and equal access. In spite of this business success, African Americans continued to be confronted by racial segregation and a lack of access to services and resources. New economic mobility allowed for the flight and relocation of many of the white working class families from The Bottoms to more affluent areas of the city (Heritage 2009). This allowed African American residents to create their own space inside the city. Local black bars and community centers welcomed the patronage of all. In 1924, Clifton Marshall opened Bellman & Waiter’s bar after leaving his head position at the Post Tavern, displeased by the ‘No Black Patrons Allowed’ rule (Ibid.). Places like Bellman & Waiter’s and El Grotto Lounge entertained locals in the evenings and weekends. While

the city made it challenging for these businesses to obtain liquor licenses, they managed to hold large loyal customer bases (Ibid.). Recreational facilities in Battle Creek remained segregated and their owners disliked military men, fearing that they would cause fights and riots (Ibid.). Seeing a need, leaders of the African American community formed an association to create a place for black civilians and soldiers to participate in social events and athletic programming. Recreation centers such as the Hamblin Community Center in Battle Creek were built near military camps around the country, funded by the New Deal (Ibid.). After World War II, Hamblin began operating as a membership club and actively involved residents in events and programs.

Flood of 1947 The city’s geography lends itself to an environment conducive to industry. Both the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Rivers helped power the first mills and businesses. However, the emphasis of business and industry along the rivers made the city’s infrastructure and economic base vulnerable to flooding, a recurrent issue in the city’s early history. In 1947 Battle Creek experienced its worst flood in recorded history. A severe rainstorm filled the rivers, which overflowed their embankments. Mother Nature challenged an ill-prepared town. According to the city’s flood report, the flood damaged large portions of the downtown, commercial, and residential areas near the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers (U.S. Senate 1954). Much of the extensive flood damages could have been avoided: even as a bustling industrial city with a long history of severe flooding, city hall, companies, and local institutions failed to create a city-wide mitigation system and protocol. The city documented 1,558 acres of land inundated by the natural disaster (Ibid.). Of this, 121 acres were denoted as residential (Ibid.). The

Figure 2 : Bellman and Waiter’s, local black-owned jazz lounge and bar.

city estimated that the commercial areas would require $298,400 in repairs and the residential districts in The Bottoms would need $444,200 for recovery (Ibid.).The flood interrupted the workweek, keeping many people from earning wages. Factories’ equipment and machinery were damaged. Drains and sewers overflowed and seeped into houses and commercial buildings. Infrastructure such as railroad lines, roads, and bridges were covered with debris. The total cost of the 1947 flood was almost quadruple the amount spent on recovery after the flood of 1904 (Ibid.).

Urban Renewal Sam Stellrecht was the lead city planner for Battle Creek in the 1950s and oversaw the urban renewal project that included the consolidation of several railroads that intersected the city, flood management, and slum clearance (Heritage 2009). Like other American cities during this period, Battle Creek received federal funding for many of these projects. The 1954 City Report on the river proposed six alternatives that would aid in controlling future flood disasters in the area (U.S. Senate 1954). Five of these alternatives included building protective infrastructure. The sixth alternative involved changing the course of the Kalamazoo River and building a channel that would pass through the land just south of its original location—directly


through The Bottoms. The report made no mention of the existing residential neighborhood. The investment necessary for the other five alternatives was considered to be prohibitively expensive, although the expenses for the sixth alternative did not include compensation of the homeowners (Ibid.).

during the Great Depression (Heritage 2009). These homes had been turned into multiple dwellings and abandoned over the course of the 1940s. Homeowners in The Bottoms were compensated only $200 per house, which could not have covered moving costs or renovations necessary for their new homes (Heritage 2009).

The city approved the sixth alternative. To fund the Kalamazoo River’s new channel, the city relied on federal grants as well as a large contribution from the Kellogg Foundation (U.S. Senate 1954). Congress approved the renewal project in 1954, the same year Congress revised the Housing and Slum Clearance provisions of the 1949 Housing Act (Heritage 2009). This allowed the city to avoid the cost of constructing new housing by simply relocating these families to another neighborhood.

Today Washington Heights remains predominantly African American and ranks as one of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods (U.S. Census 2010). There are vast vacant lots in and around the neighborhood. Many of the commercial and retail spaces have been long abandoned, creating spaces that welcome vandalism and blight. A large open field was once the site of John Harvey Kellogg’s mansion estate.

Displacement & Relocation: Stories told by Census Data and Land Use The urban renewal project tore the social fabric of a community that had developed over more than five decades. Many families relocated to Washington Heights, a neighborhood that had been formerly the home to many of the wealthy employees and patrons of the Sanitarium before it closed

The only commemoration of The Bottoms is a park that has been dedicated to Dr. Claude Evans, which serves as a space for community-sponsored basketball tournaments and events. The legacy of The Bottoms is otherwise absent from the Washington Heights neighborhood. Without prior knowledge of the river rerouting, one could see a trace of the old river channel today: on its site sits the Kellogg Headquarters as well as the Kellogg Arena, both built during the 1980s. The area where The Bottoms community once existed has been abandoned. Vacant land and buildings line Hamblin Avenue. The still-present Hamblin Community Center

Figure 3 : The new Kalamazoo River channel completed, circa. 1961

serves as a ghost from the past. The now empty structure blocks the sight of the new river confluence.

Broken Links It was not until the 2000s that the memory of The Bottoms made a public appearance, in Kennet Santana’s thesis. His research acted as a catalyst for the memory project conducted by Heritage Battle Creek. A team of graduate students from University of Michigan collaborated with Heritage Battle Creek through the Arts of Citizenship program and produced the web site Memories of Hamblin, a digital presentation that includes interviews and artifacts alongside a history of The Bottoms and the urban renewal project that displaced it. Upon discovering this web site during my initial research in August 2014 I noticed many technical flaws. Links had been disconnected and the audio of the interviews failed to download after multiple attempts. The lack of visibility and promotion only add to its neglect. The absence of The Bottoms from the city’s history is only part of the erasure process. Since concluding the memory project, its data and artifacts have been stored in boxes in the back of Heritage Battle Creek’s office, located in the basement of the Fieldstone Center Psychiatric Hospital. Not only is the archive center in a peculiar location, its access is quite irregular. For almost two months, while attempting to collect information for this article, I was unable to reach the center through phone calls, voicemails, and emails. Such obstacles make it difficult to access this history. The Bottoms was tragically physically removed through urban renewal. It was then psychologically removed from the city’s collective memory. Now the memory has once again been erased, digitally.



Practical Approaches Local icons like Kellogg, Post, and Truth left a mark on Battle Creek. Their stories have been passed down orally and their contributions to the city have manifested in physical markers to commemorate their lives. Why has the urban renewal project – which dramatically changed the spatial organization of the city and wrongfully displaced families – not been similarly remembered? The displacement of African Americans from The Bottoms and the subsequent amnesia of the event is only one of multiple accounts of the erasure of black lives and communities. Battle Creek, Michigan serves as a reminder that black experiences are continually diminished and dismissed. The urban renewal project in Battle Creek during the 1950s is not only a reminder of the past, but an unfortunate parallel to current events. Today black communities continue to face the challenge of rising housing costs

as more and more people ‘rediscover’ urban neighborhoods. Battle Creek has planned to redevelop the downtown area to attract more businesses and tourists (Hettinger 2014). Understanding the planning process of the 1950s urban renewal project and its effect on the community may provide insight into better planning approaches. Cities should seek genuine input from a diverse group of local voices and truly consider their input when creating plans. As cosmopolitan centers, cities should recognize the need for inclusivity in their local histories. The remembrance of a group of people or an event can also be memorialized physically. As living palimpsests, cities should take responsibility for the way in which they plan to rebuild and re-contextualize space. This is not to suggest that cities should not promote growth or new directions. However, the hierarchal process by which spaces are

References City of Battle Creek. 2014. “History.” Prepared by Heritage Battle Creek in August 1998. Web. Boyer, M. Christine. 2012. “Collective Memory Under Siege: The Case of ‘Heritage Terrorism.’” The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory. Butler, Mary G. & Elizabeth Neumeyer. 2009. “A Brief History of Battle Creek.” Heritage Battle Creek. Web. Heritage Battle Creek. 2009. “The Memories From Hamblin: The Making and Unmaking of Battle Creek’s African American Community.” Web. Hettinger, J. February 17, 2014. “Jim Hettinger Column: Contrasts in Corporate Community Relations.” Burlington Free Press. Olick, Jeffrey K. 1999. “Collective Memory: The Two Cultures.” Sociological Theory 17.3: 333– 348. Web.

condemned or gentrified should be explored and potentially restructured. The debate over what is appropriate to include in a city’s history can be an ongoing challenge. Nonetheless, cities can begin by providing proper access to its recourses. People should be able to freely learn about where they live. The inclusion of local history in school curricula would afford an opportunity for students to learn a more balanced account of the city. But demand for inclusion of diverse voices can only do so much to empower and provide equal access to opportunities. Positions of authority that possess the power to shape the city’s narrative and develop policies that impact communities must also be filled by diverse members of the community. Planners have the power and responsibility to involve all residents’ voices in addition to corporate and political agendas in citywide policies and projects.

image citations Parham, Marisa. 2009. “Haunting and Displacement in African American Literature and Culture.” Oxon;Abingdon; Routledge, Print. Santana, Kennet D., 1997. “Genesis of a Ghetto: Urban Renewal and Dislocation in Battle Creek, Michigan, 1947-1961” University of Michigan. Thesis. Thornton, Kurt. “Battle Creek, Michigan: Images of America.” Arcadia Publishing. 2004. Print. • W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 2014. Foundation Growth. History & Legacy. Website. http://www. U.S. Census (1940, 2010). United States Congress Senate Committee on Public Works.1954. Kalamazoo River, Mich., Battle Creek and Vicinity. Letter from the Secretary of the Army Transmitting a Letter from the Chief of Engineers, United St. Washington: [s.n.].

Figure 1: Heritage Battle Creek, archive center. “Cement River Project #12” Photograph. Battle Creek, MI: c1947. From Memories from Hamblin http://www.memoriesfromhamblin. org/CRP00012.jpg. (Accessed February 15, 2014). Figure 2: Heritage Battle Creek, archive center. “86 Capital Ave SW.” Photograph. Battle Creek, MI: c1930s. From Memories from Hamblin http:// jpg. (Accessed February 15, 2014). Figure 3: Heritage Battle Creek, archive center. “Cement River Project #11” Photograph. Battle Creek, MI: c1961. From Memories from Hamblin http://www.memoriesfromhamblin. org/crp0011.jpg. (Accessed February 15, 2014).


Tehran, Iran: unceasing growth amidst uncertainty

by Sarai Williams The externalities created by urban growth demand corrective action from governments. What happens when public actionsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;either formal or informalâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; fail to solve these problems, or worse, create new ones? Author Sarai Williams explores Tehran, Iran, a city where governments across millennia have attempted to respond to political and social upheavals.



Nestled at the base of the Alborz Mountain, in the North-central region of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is the capital city of Tehran. As Iran’s largest city and the most urbanized area between Istanbul and Karachi, Tehran has a population of approximately 8.3 million, with an estimated 14 million in the wider metropolitan area (Census, 2006). Throughout the city’s history, it has been subject to various informal and formal planning efforts (Urban Change in Iran). Unfortunately, the implementation of plans has been marginally successful, and at times, has completely failed. For Tehran to become a viable city in a global economy, it must first rid itself of stigmatization as being “riddled” by civil unrest. In doing so, it is imperative for governing organizations to envision a feasible comprehensive plan with a civic perspective. This task cannot be done through the replication of methods used by other growing cities—a plan for Tehran’s future must relate to its ingrained historic ideals, while affording avenues for innovation.

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT & THE FORCES BEHIND PLANNING Informal Planning Tehran’s modest origins stem from the ancient city of Rey before its invasion and eventual obliteration in the 13th century by the Mongols (Minorsky & Bosworth). Though at that time not very large, Tehran was one of the cities frequented by travelers on the Silk Road. Tehran gained importance between the 16th and 18th centuries as the then King of Iran, Shah Tehmasp, found the city to have a fascinating climate with its hot, arid summers and cool, snowy winters. For this reason, he built many caravansaries (inns with a central courtyard) for travelers throughout the city that encouraged growth as frequent visitors became permanent residents (Tehran Municipality).

Figure 1: Satellite Image of Iran

By the end of the 18th century the first of the Qajar kings, Agha Mohammed Khan, had named Tehran the capital city of Iran. The king subsequently erected many governmental buildings, squares, bazaars, and mosques, as well as gates to protect Tehran’s strategic position in the northern Iranian landscape. As a result of these fortifications, Tehran’s population increased dramatically over the next century (Bayat, 2011). The city grew concentrically, with the majority of its population housed in the urban center. Less populated villages formed in the peripheral, arable region (Bayat, 2011).

The Strive & Struggle Toward Formal Planning As the city of Tehran continued to develop through the 19th century, governing bodies began to adopt many Western ideals in governmental structure, economics, importance of social status, and consumerism. Bayat (2011) goes as far to say that Persian king Naser-al-Din Shah’s motivations for expanding Tehran into a “modern city” were similar to Baron Haussmann’s visions for Paris during the City Beautiful movement. Haussmann, initially under the direction of Napoleon III, designed audacious renovations to rid Paris of its crowded and “unhealthy” medieval neighborhoods in the mid-19th century, instead favoring wide boulevards and park

spaces at the expense of over 300,000 displaced Parisians. In similar dogmatic fashion, Naser al-Din effectively began changing the social and built structure of Tehran after visiting the United Kingdom in the late 19th century. By expanding the walls and ditches surrounding the city, he stimulated significant growth in Tehran’s population and physical urban landscape (Britannica). King Shah saw municipal development as a necessity to cope with increases in not only the “migrant poor, but also the elite Persians and foreigners” (Bayat, 2011). From this time forth, the authoritative entities responsible for shaping the development of Tehran predominantly looked to the ideals of western culture as inspiration, disregarding the context specific to the unique social and political characteristics of Tehran. Seeking more formal means of development by 1966, Iranian architect Abdolaziz Farmanfarmaia and American architect Victor Gruen provided a comprehensive plan for Tehran that aimed for further expansion. Implementation began in 1968, with the intent to extend the Tehran metropolis westward toward Karaj, merge the city with Tajrish to the north, and house 5.5 million residents within 180 km² by 1991. The plan focused on increasing the population in a less centralized pattern through intentional urban sprawl, with primary emphasis on the automobile 47

FACTORS OF GROWTH & DECLINE Population By the 1920s, the introduction of oil production solidified Tehran’s economic significance (Malek, 2014). Since 1950, the city of Tehran has experienced steady, rapid population growth from approximately 1.04 million to an estimated 6.8 million people in 1995, and over 8 million by 2011 (UN data). The growth in the city’s urban center is attributable to amended government administration and urban facilities, as well as the improvement of socioeconomic conditions (Contemporary City, 2014). Figure 2: 1857 Map of Old Tehran

and a priority given to creating a major highway network (Tehran Municipality; Vanstiphout, 2006). These plans each took on a character of recurrent modernization, as Tehran’s government structure continued to shift toward more secular ideals. The 1979 Islamic Revolution brought to light the corrupt political structure within Iran and escalated tensions among Iraq, Great Britain, and the United States over ownership of oil in the region. The replacement of the foreign-appointed Shah who imposed a semi-absolute authoritarian theocracy encouraged the Tehrani people to seek Western influences for a more liberal and democratic governmental structure. To this point, formal planning had had much foreign influence, but with the sociopolitical underpinnings of an authority seeking to silence alternative preferences of the public (Emami). Following the Revolution, individuals who could afford to, left the city to disassociate themselves from the oppressive political injustices present before and throughout the Revolution. The Islamic Revolution, however, was not a significant factor in population decline; the majority of the Iranian people initially seemed optimistic toward the potentially positive influence new leadership might have on Tehran and the country. 48


Although the comprehensive plan was abandoned in the years following the Islamic Revolution and the subsequent war between Iraq and Iran, it was placed under review in 1991 by ATEC Consultants, an Iranian company comprised of architects, urban planners, and utilities engineers. ATEC searched for solutions to new issues caused by rapid growth, specifically within the city borders, and largely ignored the surrounding suburbs (Vanstiphout). Tehran’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Development provided technical assistance to the Municipality after it rejected ATEC’s proposals. These prescribed recommendations and directives were to serve as a 25-year plan, and in 2001, for the first time a plan for the city and its provincial region was drafted (Tehran Municipality). The plan’s main agenda proposed the construction of major and costly infrastructure, to be funded by the Tehran Province government. Unfortunately since then, there has been no administrative organization to manage such projects on the larger scale of the Tehran Province (Tehran Municipality).

The presence of oil significantly shifted foreigners’ interests in the formerly nomadic trading center, and more began seeking permanent residences within or close to Tehran’s center. The UN estimates that more than 60% of the Tehrani population was born outside of the city (UN data). Those seeking employment in manufacturing of such items as textiles, cements, sugar, china and pottery, electrical equipment, and pharmaceuticals accounted for significant in-migration from other cities and surrounding rural regions. However, increases in job opportunities have made the price of urban land rise irrationally compared to other world cities (UN data; Kurzman, 2004). As a result of the influx, the government has focused on transportation into the urban center, constructing highways and removing urban monuments and traditional buildings— essentially demolishing Tehran’s urban fabric. Tehran’s urban center is not the only area that has seen substantial population growth and visible change. Suburban regions in the predominantly elite northern areas have grown further into the mountains. A driver of the rise in the suburban population in the late-20th century was the use of kerosene heaters, which afforded individuals opportunity to establish

permanent residency in higher altitudes in Tehran’s northern quarters. The development of Tehran’s provincial region was characterized by a rapid growth of its suburban areas, which contained 30% of its 12 million inhabitants by 1986 (Marzban). This period of growth was facilitated by very little regulation from the municipal entities responsible for maintaining urban versus suburban balance and steading the rates of increase.


The spatial distribution of Tehran’s population can be characterized as quite unbalanced and unregulated in nature. Recently, Tehran’s complicated urban configuration acquired two additional, less-populated, commonly vacant, and forested industrial districts between the city and Karaj. The inclusion of this area to the city’s geographical shaping may be the cause for a recent decrease in density (Marzban). In the southern area of the city, agricultural activities have become marginal and the villages at the edges are characterized by informal housing. This is in contrast with the more populous villages in the very rich and arable regions of the province (Tehran Municipality). The old quarters of the city house a large number

Figure 3:Satellite Image of Tehran

of people, while the industrial regions contain almost no residential population (Tehran Municipality). These varying regional characteristics have given Tehran a heterogeneous and unbalanced spatial image, similar to that of Los Angeles, CA (Marzban). Perhaps more telling than average density, then, are the social behaviors in the various regions. The positioning of the city within a vast physical landscape has promoted development as land acquisition essentially becomes a nonissue. Tehran’s concern lies more in resolving the increasing divide between the wealthy residents in the north and the growing informal settlements in the south. Historic spatial segregation and recent inflated housing prices have encouraged a rapid growth of what the Tehrani government characterizes as “nondurable housing” (Marzban, 2014). Prices in Tehran’s urban center, however, have dramatically decreased, making it one of the few large cities in the world where land in the center is cheaper than land at the periphery (Marzban, 2014).

Figure 4: Population Growth in Iran 9 population (Millions)

The combination of increased economic importance of the city center and the prevalence of automobile usage has allowed for the establishment of smaller districts throughout Tehran. For this reason, Alain Bertaud, urbanist and senior research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project, has classified Tehran as a “dense polycentric city with an average of 146 people per hectare in the built-up area” (2014). Bertaud offers that the province of Tehran is considered one of the most important urban agglomerations in the region, with an area of approximately 18,150 km² and 14.6 million inhabitants in 2011. Within the province, 92% of the population lives in the urban area. This makes Tehran rather dense: around 10,300 persons/km² (Marzban).

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1956


1996 2006 2011 2012

POLITICAL & SOCIAL INFLUENCES OF GROWTH While the political and economic fabric of Tehran has witnesses dynamic changes over the past several decades, shifts in the city’s social and cultural realm have occurred more gradually. Several influences may be attributed to these subtle cultural changes, one being the consequence of the aforementioned nonindigenous immigration into the city for economic reasons. However, not all influences to Tehran’s social or cultural vicissitudes have manifested negatively. 49

Presently, the Province of Tehran has 22 districts, each of which is administered by a district mayor who reports to the mayor of metropolitan Tehran (Tehran Municipality). Under the current mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the municipal administration of Tehran believes that increasing the diversity of income sources is one of the main “mechanisms for developing proper and sustainable conditions for implementation of urban projects” (Tehran Municipality). The Tehran Urban Management department has thus taken steps toward attracting foreign investors by entering into international financial markets. To support the success of these ventures, the Tehrani government is placing importance on reform in the financial sector, as well as creating more financial transparency (Tehran Municipality). The expansion of the city into a larger global market could presumably help foster diversity in production, allowing Tehran to not depend solely on its crude oil resources. Conversely, too much expansion Figure 5: A View of North Tehran



could minimize potential local and urban agglomeration economies, possibly generating a dependency on outside business resources, perpetuating Tehran’s legacy of investing too eagerly into foreign ideals (Glaeser, 1992).

2008). From a less dogmatic perspective, the increase of women in the fields of science and engineering may lead to a decrease in women staying home to raise or have children, resulting in a population decrease in the near future (Harrison, 2008).

The Rising Influence

The Community &

of Women

the Environment

Much of Iran’s governmental structure and history is comprised of men. However, after their involvement in the Islamic Revolution, women were afforded the opportunity to attend universities. In 2006, women accounted for over 50% of the university students in Iran, of which an estimated 70% were science and engineering students (Harrison, 2008). Although with regard to growth, the shift in distribution of women in the science and engineering fields does not present an immediate impact, some extreme conservative groups are afraid that a large female enrollment could cause “social disparity and economic and cultural imbalances between men and women” (The Research Center of the Majlis, Harrison,

As many large cities around the world have begun to place more emphasis on their ecological impacts, Tehran too is seeking ways to become a more environmentally conscious city through efforts in transportation, education, technology, and global partnerships. One of Tehran’s major concerns as its population rises is an increase in air pollution. The city is considered one the ten worst in the world in terms of “livability,” largely because of the 3,600 vehicle and air-pollution related deaths per month (Bayat, 2011; BBC, 2007). A vast majority of the government’s future plans, initiatives, and decisions are primarily focused on decreasing emissions and improving air quality. Yet, implementation continues to be an area of ambiguity. The increasing presence of “nondurable” housing in large suburbs or informal cities on the outskirts of Tehran is a visible gauge for the rise in population of the poorer communities. Similar growth has occurred in the city center. One description of the urban center gives a particularly discouraging scenario: “secular resilience, ongoing socioeconomic inequalities, and political exclusion have turned the city’s main squares and backstreets into political battlefields” (2011). While this may be a dramatic representation of the city’s condition, there is truth to the ongoing unfair treatment of the poor by a corrupt police force. The tensions between government entities and Tehran’s lowerclass citizens have had a large impact on the growing “village” population toward the outskirts (Bayat). Those who cannot afford to leave the city are forced to endure either paying off the police or being punished on

Figure 6: Tehran, 1985 (left) and 2009 (right)

a regular basis, making it at times almost impossible for men to work and provide for their families.

A PLANNING AGENDA FOR 2025 The next decade in Tehran may prove crucial in sustaining the city’s position as a vital national asset. The major issues facing the welfare of the city are not uncommon of other rapidly growing metropolitan areas of the world. It is important to realize that such issues must be addressed from both political and civic levels. Not completely devoid of the concerns presented in the “Tehran Municipality Strategic Plan for 1394” (Tehran Municipality, 2015-2016), efforts should be focused toward municipal government reform, air quality and pollution, traffic and mass transportation, civil service reform, and housing needs as the city’s population continues to grow.

Government Organization For Tehran to make advancements through global partnerships, the various levels of the municipal administration must become more transparent. The

government should make continued efforts toward establishing a strong presence and involvement at international events and forums. Participatory actions should be implemented through more short-term plans, with accountability present at all levels. In order for generalizations of Tehran as a tumultuous government to be dispelled, there must be fewer hard lines between the various governmental agencies of the Mayor, the Municipal Council, and the City Council. Transparency among these entities will hopefully help to create more inclusive policies and present Tehran’s municipal administration as a cohesive unit at the international level (Tehran Municipality).

dispel such adverse opinions. Planning can facilitate communication between marginalized citizens and political powers. For example, Tehran’s current tendency for the protection of public spaces as sacred places of past Tehrans elites must cease being an excuse for silencing its citizens. More openly inclusive planning practices could encourage and facilitate civic dialogue without the threat of persecution. The Tehran Municipality must continue its efforts to become a well-functioning, livable city through various projects in partnership with the United Nations on aspects such as food and agriculture, public transit, and increasing awareness on the detrimental effects of air pollution.

Equally important is how these various agencies interact with the public. History has led to Tehran and Iran being characterized as having significant political and economic difficulties stemming from the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the actions of hostile radical groups. Similarly perceived by foreigners as negative or oppressive are Tehran’s religious and cultural behaviors toward women and the disenfranchised (Bagheri). Yet it is not unfeasible to

Air Pollution Remediation The number-one problem facing the health and welfare of the people in Tehran is air pollution. Urban sprawl in conjunction with population growth and loosely regulated fuel emissions, has proliferated the city’s use of automobiles. Recent efforts to increase mass transit usage should continue and include input from the public through transportation behavior studies and spatial mapping technologies. Public awareness


and learning programs, in conjunction with inclusionary transportation policies, can promote self-regulation by the residents. It will be extremely important to convey the feasibility of taking mass transit to the urban center, as well as to the hinterlands as decentralization continues.

Civil Service Reform Not always publicly emphasized at a municipal level are the potential social issues threatening the functionality of Tehran, such as the increase of drug use and trafficking, unwarranted police enforcement in poorer communities, and the rise of prostitution (The Guardian, website). Although such problems stem from more intrinsic factors that cannot be addressed solely through planning policies, these issues must be considered as significant indicators and detriments to the overall well-being of the public. These topics could perhaps be addressed by the formation of smaller committees focused on each specific concern. These committees should aim to develop solutions that can be implemented through systematic methods over time, as well as ensure inclusion of the public’s concerns and desires.

Housing & Land Use Lastly, housing in Tehran over the next decade needs to address the differing spatial and social dynamics of the city’s various regions of the city. What should be considered more essential than establishing housing policies is the need for Tehran to designate a true Central Business District. Currently, Tehran’s weak CBD is unattractive to both business and retail investors and developers. Putting priority on the establishment of a strong and spatially viable CBD will help to more effectively direct residential, transportation, commercial, and industrial development efforts and policies (Bertaud, 2003).



summary List of Preliminary Planning Goals: Municipality • E  stablish accountability committees within the municipal administration. • E  nsure that corrupt law enforcement officers do not hinder small business development.

Air Pollution • P  rovide avenues of implementation for environmental awareness and efforts to resolve the serious issues of air pollution and seismic infrastructure. • E  ncourage public involvement in forming pilot programs.

Civil Service Reform • I ncrease youth programs, with emphasis on education and technology. • E  stablish more inclusive reform of healthcare and other civic services. • W  ithout compromising religious ideals, embrace more participation of women in the public and private sectors. • E  ncourage social reform through smart consumerism and philanthropy.

Housing & Land Use • A  djust property policies and regulations to lower inflated land values where applicable. • P  rovide varied land uses in the regions between the CBD and the suburban regions. • Focus on strategies for establishing affordable housing and curbing sprawl, while encouraging decentralization only as necessary through:  Expansion of public transit;  e-organization of public and private R development responsibilities; and  stablishment of a sector for housing E and policy that focuses on settlement housing improvement and affordable housing options.

CONCLUSION These recommendations are not intended to be inclusive of all necessary planning efforts that Tehran should realize in the next decade; they merely serves as a guide to major factors driving the growth of Tehran and its province. Reform of the municipal administration should spur more diversity and inclusionary methods for obtaining a more prominent global presence while promulgating innovative advancements in air quality remediation, mass transportation utilization, comprehensive civic services, and local housing development.


Image Citations

Peter O. Muller. (2004) Transportation and Urban Form: Stages in the Spatial Evolution of the American Metropolis. Chapter 3 in The Geography of Urban Transportation, 3rd Edition. Susan Hanson and Genevieve Giuliano, eds. New York: Guilford Press.

Title Image: Shahrestani, Naeem. Photograph. Self-published, 2014.

Glaeser, Kallal, Scheinkman, and Shleifer. (1992) “Growth in cities.” Journal of Political Economy 1992. 100: 1126–1152. Print Bayat, Asef. “Tehran: Paradox City 1 & 2.” Tehran Bureau. January 30, 2011. Print. “Silk Road” on “Microsoft PowerPoint – Day1_2_Network, Transit & Travel Demand Modelling in Iran Using EMME2” (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-12. – Iran Statistical Center of Iran – 2006 Census “Microsoft PowerPoint – Day1_2_Network, Transit & Travel Demand Modelling in Iran Using EMME2” (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-12. Kurzman, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran, (2004), p.121 Women graduates challenge Iran, Francis Harrison, BBC, September 26, 2006. Retrieved September 21, 2008.

Figure 1: Google Earth. Alterations made by Sarai Williams. Figure 2: Křziž, August. “Official map of Tehran made by Czech officer August Krziž from Austrian Empire in 1857.” Encyclopædia Iranica, c1857. From Wikimedia Commons. http://commons. jpg#mediaviewer/File:Tehran1857.jpg (Accessed November 24, 2014). Figure 3: Google Earth. Alteratioins made by Sarai Williams. Figure 4: Statistical Center of Iran. Figure 5: Ninara. “A view of North Tehran from Aab o Aatash (Water & Fire) Park.” Photograph. Self-published, 25 April 2012. From Wikimedia Commons. http:// Te h r a n _ To w e r s. j p g # m e d i av i e w e r / File:North_Tehran_Towers.jpg Figure 6: Simmon, Robert. “Tehran in 1985 and 2009.” NASA Earth Observatory, 20 November 2009. http://commons. w i k i m e d i a . o r g / w i k i / F i l e : Te h r a n _ Urbanization.gif

Vanstiphout, Wouter. “The Saddest City in the World: Tehran and the legacy of an American dream of modern town planning.” The New Town: Thursday, March 2, 2006. Print. Emami, Farshid. (2011). Civic Visions, National Politics, and International Designs: Three Proposals for New Urban Center in Tehran (1966-1976). Unpublished thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA. V. Minorsky, C.E. Bosworth, “Al-Rayy”, Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, vol 8:471–473. Nazgol, Bagheri, Ph. D. “Modernizing the public space: Gender identities, multiple modernities, and space politics in Tehran.” Abstract. University of Missouri – Kansas City, 2013. http://gradworks.umi. com/35/67/3567798.html







rdStage of Housing Affordability policies

by Joe Huennekens Direct government investment in affordable housing seems a forlorn strategyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; the mega-projects of past decades are generally remembered by planners as remarkable failures. All levels of government have thus increasingly relied on the private sector to meet the needs of urban populations. But as author Joe Huennekens highlights, a few cities are taking creative steps to provide what private developers have not.



In the past decade, housing opportunities

innovations that reject both market logic

Studies [JCHS] 2013). This number is truly

for low-income Americans have been

and community development dogma.

alarming, and the Joint Center for Housing





Studies at Harvard has noted that the


2014 severely rent burdened “levels were

2007, released a foreclosure crisis and

The Current Crisis

credit tightening which destroyed wealth

The new renters introduced into the urban

fact that the severely cost burdened share

and placed significant new barriers to

housing marketplace by demographic and

was nearly 20% was already cause for

homeownership. The second, the wave

cultural shifts, combined with the influx of

serious concern” (JCHS 2013).

of neighborhood change sparked by the

renters whose homes have been foreclosed,

return of the upper-middle class to the

has caused a dramatic increase in rental

central city, has raised rents across market

demand that supply has not matched. The

segments, reduced neighborhood choices

nation added an astounding 6.2 million

for low-income families, and significantly

renters from 2007-2013, compared to only

altered the geography of opportunity in

280,000 new homeowners (Dewan 2014).

many metropolitan areas. These two forces

This increase in demand has led to an

have combined to produce a surge in the

incredibly slim rental vacancy rate, which

demand for rental housing at the very time

has dropped from 8% in the aftermath of

that the production of new rental units has

the housing crash to only 4.1% at the end

stalled. This supply and demand mismatch

of 2013 (National Low-Income Housing

has had the hardest impact on low-income

Coalition [NLIHC] 2014). In response

families, who struggle to find affordable

to this surge in demand, rents have risen

housing options in the midst of what has

dramatically across the nation, with an

been described as a “perfect storm [of]…

average increase of 3.2% between 2013

severe housing insecurity” (Right to the

and 2014 alone (NLIHC 2014). Overall,

City Alliance [RCA] 2014).

rents increased 6% in real terms between

shifts. The first, the housing crash of

In the wake of this mounting affordability crisis, and in the midst of an era in

2000 and 2012, while real median incomes declined by 13% (RCA 2014).

unimaginable just a decade ago, when the






spectacular rise in demand for rental units over the past decade would have been met with a commensurate rise in supply. For a variety of reasons, this has not been the case, and again, low-income families have borne the brunt of the imbalance. While the nation added an average of one million new renters per year from 2007 to 2013, only 157,600 new units were constructed in 2012 and 186,200 in 2013 (National Multifamily Housing Council [NMHC] 2014). This gigantic gap is partially a result of the recession, which halted construction across the country (NMHC 2014). Some of the demand has been met by foreclosed homes which have been converted into rental units. Foreclosed homes are often bundled and sold to private equity firms;


Low-income Americans are the least able

around 200,000 have been converted

largely abdicated responsibility for urban

to cope with skyrocketing rents. Today, the

to rental housing since the start of the

problems, progressive municipalities are

national “housing wage,” or the hourly

crisis (Fields 2014). Unfortunately, such

experimenting with their own strategies

wage required to afford a two-bedroom

conversions still only represent a small

to increase affordable housing options.

apartment at fair market rent (FMR), stands

fraction of the necessary increase of supply,

These responses represent a new approach

at $18.92 an hour, more than two-and-

and this housing is often of substandard

to affordability that is noticeably more

a-half times the federal minimum wage

quality (Levitin and Wachter 2012). Luckily,

skeptical of the market-based prescriptions

(NLIHC 2014). Rising costs are not just

multifamily unit construction starts are

that have characterized housing policy

reserved for “hot” property markets on the

picking up, with almost 300,000 in 2013,

since the 1970s. In particular, certain

coasts: the National Low Income Housing

the highest number since 2005 (NMHC

municipalities have begun to embrace

Coalition has found that “in no state can

2014). In the coming years, as new units

shared-equity models as a way to increase

a full-time minimum wage worker afford a

come online, the gap between supply and

affordable homeownership options for

one-bedroom [at FMR]” (NLIHC 2014). In

demand may subside somewhat. However,

low-income families and circumvent the

light of these findings, it is unsurprising that

as it stands, the gap is so large that filling

risks associated with the foreclosure crisis.

a full 50% of renters are now considered

it would require an almost unprecedented

The embrace of shared-equity principles

“cost burdened,” spending over 30% of

rise in the number of new multifamily units.

by progressive municipalities across the

their income on housing costs. In addition,

country may represent the beginnings of

the amount of renters considered “severely

a more forceful, municipally-oriented era

rent burdened,” meaning that they spend

in American housing policy; a ‘municipal

over 50% of their incomes on housing, has


jumped to 27% (Joint Center for Housing









Beyond the low number of new units entering the market, the fact that new units are out of reach for low-income families further fuels the affordability crisis. In 2013, a yearly income of $47,000 was required 55

for a renter to not be cost burdened, almost

is changing and recent moves by urban

2010). Shared-equity alternatives are being

50% greater than the 2012 median income

(and a few suburban) municipalities signal

developed in cities that are geographically

of American renters, at $32,500 (RCA

a larger policy turn towards a far more

and demographically unique, but which are

2014). The influx of wealthier renters into

robust municipal role in the production

dealing with many of the same challenges:

the market has also led to an upgrading of

and preservation of affordable housing.

rapid neighborhood change, declining

existing rental properties to meet the tastes

If the ‘first stage’ of American housing

homeownership rates, and rising rents.

of higher paying tenants. This upgrading

policy was defined by municipalities using

Municipalities’ embrace of these strategies,

further curtails the supply of affordable

federal dollars to build and manage public

while still quite limited in terms of scale,

housing for those on the bottom. From

housing, and the ‘second stage’ was marked

signals an interest in pursuing affordable

2001 to 2011 approximately 12.8% of the

by municipalities taking a back seat to

housing policy that operates outside of

affordable rental inventory in the nation

non-profit developers, we are now seeing a

the traditional market. It also shows that

disappeared (JCHS 2013).

‘third stage’ defined by a far more forceful

municipalities are searching for hybrid

municipal approach to affordability.

options that share both the risks and

The end result of these trends is a




this ‘third stage’ are differentiated from

Nationwide, over seven million new units

previous municipal approaches on several

are “required just to meet the needs of very

dimensions, including:

San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and

low-income households, where the supply

• a mbivalence towards market-based solutions;

Burlington, Vermont, represent particularly

• s upport for direct government intervention to ensure affordability in changing neighborhoods; and

equity solutions. These cities are exploring

• openness to alternative models of affordable housing development and

policy paradigms. As such, they are



of affordable housing relative to need is greatest” (RCA 2014). This figure reflects the fact that there are only 29 affordable units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households (Urban Institute 2014). Truly then, it was not hyperbole when Shaun Donovan, former Secretary of HUD, declared this “the worst rental affordability crisis this country has known” (PD&R Edge 2014). In light of this crisis, the question is: What actors can counteract the market forces that have led to the present moment? Increasingly, the surprising answer to this question is municipal governments, which, having long taken a back seat in the development of American housing policy, have recently begun to craft progressive and innovative responses to the affordability crisis.











development that circumvent traditional representative of the beginnings of a ‘third the

promotion of shared-equity or “thirdsector” housing. Shared-equity housing is an umbrella term for a variety of forms of owner-occupied, resale-restricted housing. In this model, “the rights, responsibilities, risks, and rewards of ownership are shared between an income eligible household who buys the home for a below-market price and an organizational steward who protects the affordability, quality, and security of that

the development of affordable housing. With some exceptions, New York City chief among them, municipalities have

stage’ in housing policy, with municipalities at the forefront.

San Francisco: Beyond Inclusionary Zoning More than any other city in America, San Francisco is the face of the current affordability crisis. Spurred by growth in the technology sector, San Francisco has witnessed a rapid escalation in home prices that has left the private rental market

Figure 1 : San Francisco Housing Data


governments have taken a junior role in

preserving long-term affordability.

new approaches to affordable housing

tenure, particularly shared-equity models. Particularly

and maximize municipal investment by

interesting case studies of creative shared

home long after it is purchased” (Davis

The Municipal Role For


rewards of low-income homeownership

tremendous deficit in the number of

san francisco msa Area Median Income Fair Market Rent for 2-bedroom Monthly Rent Affordable at 30% AMI

$97,100 $1,956 $728

mostly served as conduits for federal funds,

Month Rent Affordable at Mean Renter Wage


rather than major drivers of housing

San Francisco MSA Housing Wage


policy (Hoffman 1996). Today this trend

National Housing Wage




almost entirely out of reach for even the

or more units to either pay an Affordable

opportunity is passed onto another eligible

middle class. The San Francisco MSA has

Housing Fee or “apply for an alternative to


the dubious distinction of being ranked

the fee in the form of providing 12% of their

the most expensive in the United States,

units on-site or 20% of their units off-site

with a “housing wage” of $37.62, almost

as affordable to low- to moderate-income

double the national average (NLIHC 2014).

households” (Mayor’s Office of Housing

This means that affording a two-bedroom

2014). While many municipalities provide

apartment at regional FMR would require

financial incentives to entice developers

a yearly income of $78,240. While median

into pursuing inclusionary housing, San

incomes in the region are high, at around

Francisco’s program is unique in that it

$97,000, a standard two-bedroom dwelling

does not grant significant incentives, such

in the San Francisco area is out of reach for

as zoning variances or density bonuses, in

many low- and moderate-income families.

return (Mallach 2009).


The results of San Francisco’s inclusionary zoning program demonstrate some success. According to a city-commissioned report by the Urban Institute, in 2010 the City managed a portfolio of approximately 800 resale-restricted affordable homes and an estimated 100 homes entered the program each year. Units in the program were sold for approximately 53% of their median appraised values, and buyers had a median household income (adjusted for 2008 $)


The City’s refusal to provide incentives

of $59,709, just 63% of the 2008 median

governance, and a number of sophisticated

for developers is unusual, but the true

household income for the city (Urban

affordable housing nonprofit organizations,

innovation of San Francisco’s program

Institute 2013). The 53% gap between the

San Francisco has seen moderate success

is that affordable units produced under

appraised value and the sale price serves

in the production of new units affordable

the ordinance are not rented and do not

as a stark illustration that, for the families

to those with low incomes. According to

re-enter the private market. Rather, units

involved, homeownership within the city of

the Association of Bay Area Governments

become resale-restricted affordable homes

San Francisco would have been well out of

(ABAG), between 1996 and 2006, about

which are then sold to low- and middle-

reach without the program.

70% of the demand for units for households

income families for whom homeownership

with very-low-incomes (50% of AMI and

at market rates would be next to impossible.

below) was met by new construction or net-

The units are priced by the Mayor’s Office

acquisition, and 52% of the demand was

of Housing at a rate that is determined to

met for households with low incomes (50%-

be affordable to a family making 90% of

80% of AMI). While clearly production

AMI using a mortgage interest rate that

was not enough to meet these demands,

is the ten-year rolling average of thirty-

the gap between supply and demand was

year interest rates (SF Planning 2012).

hardest felt by those with middle incomes,

Resale restrictions written into the deeds

for whom new supply only met 10% of

of the homes require that they be resold as

demand (ABAG 2008). These numbers

affordable units in perpetuity, a hallmark of

illustrate that in a market like San Francisco,

shared-equity models that maximizes the

lower-middle income families are often the

long-term benefits of policy action. When a

hardest hit by skyrocketing property prices,

resale-restricted unit is resold, the new sales

as they are underserved by both the private

price is again determined by the Mayor’s

and subsidized markets.

Office of Housing using a formula derived











San Francisco was a key factor in the establishment of the city’s inclusionary zoning ordinance in 2006. Inclusionary zoning is the process by which a government either mandates or entices developers to provide a share of affordable housing when constructing developments of a certain size. San Francisco’s inclusionary zoning ordinance is one of the strictest in the nation: it requires residential developments with ten

from changes in the median income for a family of four in the San Francisco MSA. The resale formula allows for an up to 7% credit for capital improvements undertaken by the homeowner and includes a 5% credit to cover realtor fees (Urban Institute 2010). The homeownership aspect of the program thus affords lower- and middleincome residents the stability and equity building advantages of homeownership, while the resale restriction ensures that this

In addition to the quality of life and stability benefits of being a homeowner, families who purchased resale-restricted homes in the San Francisco program also receive financial benefits. Homeowners who sold their homes before 2010 realized a median internal rate of return of 11.3% on their initial investment, even with resale restrictions in place (Urban Institute 2010). This rate of return is even more impressive considering that without the program these families would have realized negative financial returns through renting. San




program represents a shared-equity twist on a policy that is generally associated with the ‘second stage’ of American housing policy. First developed in the 1970s, primarily in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, inclusionary zoning was initially “an important tool to offset the Reagan administration’s savage cuts in federal funding for affordable housing” (Mallach 2009). However, in contrast to most municipal inclusionary zoning programs— which attempt to mitigate the costs to 57

private developers by attaching incentives

mean that middle-income families face less

Advocate [OTA] 2013). In a building of

to inclusionary housing requirements—

risk of housing insecurity in the region than

five or more units, a tenant association must

San Francisco’s strict mandate and resale

in San Francisco. However, low-income

make the offer of purchase. After this offer,

restrictions mean that the housing units

families in the District have been hit hard

the tenants and the owner have 60 to 120

produced will be perpetually occupied

by skyrocketing rents, which increased

days to negotiate the sale, and a further

by families otherwise priced out of

50% beyond inflation from 2000 to 2010.

60 to 120 days to arrange financing (OTA


This rise corresponded with a 50% decline

2013). The First Right Purchase Program

in the supply of affordable rental units

also steps in during the financing period

(Reed 2012). The result has been a sharp

by providing low-interest loans to tenant

increase in the number of cost-burdened

associations to help with acquisition and

and severely cost-burdened renters in the

rehabilitation costs.

In its rejection of the notion that unfettered private development is universally beneficial to residents, and its embrace of shared equity, San Francisco’s program reflects the ‘third stage’ of municipally-driven housing policy. Through resale restrictions, San Francisco has begun to remove housing units from the primary, private market into a secondary, municipally-controlled, market. The fact that this secondary market is almost entirely funded by private developers heightens the fact that this program is a radical departure from previous market-friendly policies. The program ensures that the share of affordable homes in the city will continue to grow, opening the benefits of homeownership

city, with almost two-thirds of low-income renters paying more than 50% of their incomes towards rent (Peterson 2014). At the same time that affordable rental housing has disappeared from the District, homeownership options have also slipped out of reach for working families. While in 2000 almost two-thirds of D.C. homes were priced under $250,000 (adjusted for 2010 $), by 2010 only 17% of homes remained in this price category, an alarming 72% decline in only ten years (Reed 2014).

to a greater pool of current renters. While

Both the loss of previously affordable

the scale of the affordability crisis in San

rental housing units and the reduction in

Francisco means that inclusionary housing

affordable homeownership options within

will be only one part of the full response

D.C. are counteracted through the First

to an unsustainable situation, this program

Right Purchase Program. This program,

represents an important example of creative

part of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase

policy responses that characterize the

Act (TOPA) of 1980, grants tenants the

current ‘municipal moment’ in affordable

legal “first right” to purchase their building

housing policy.

when the owner puts it up for sale. Under the law, the property owner must notify

Washington, DC: Providing Rights to Tenants Washington, D.C. has struggled with similar affordability challenges as its regional

tenants of its intent to sell and provide an “offer of sale” with the listing price. Tenants have 30 to 45 days, depending on the number of units in the building, to respond to this offer (Office of the Tenant

in the nation, surpassed only by notoriously

develop the building in almost any way. However, most acquisitions that receive funding from the First Right Purchase Program are developed as limited-equity cooperatives (Reed 2013). As in a regular cooperative, residents of a limited-equity cooperative own shares in the building rather than owning their individual units. Limited-equity coops differ, however, in that residents are subject to forty-year resale restrictions (Reed 2013). From 2002 to 2013, D.C.’s First Right Purchase Program preserved close to 1,400 units of affordable housing, most of which took the form of limited-equity cooperatives (Peterson 2013). These units were part of 49 different projects supported by approximately $130 million in municipal investment, $100 million of which took the form of acquisition loans (Reed 2013). The program is also cost-effective: on average, units preserved by the program required a subsidy of only $97,900, significantly below that of new construction, and with a 40year affordability guarantee (Reed 2013).

Figure 2 : Washington, DC Housing Data

economy has grown. Today, when counted as a state, D.C. is the second-least affordable

Tenants who purchase their building can

washington dc msa Area Median Income


pricey Hawaii. The housing wage stands at

Fair Market Rent for 2-bedroom

$28.25 for the D.C. region, far surpassing the

Monthly Rent Affordable at 30% AMI

minimum wage of even the most generous

Month Rent Affordable at Mean Renter Wage


jurisdictions in the area (NLIHC 2014). The

San Francisco MSA Housing Wage


National Housing Wage


region’s somewhat higher median incomes 58


$1,466 $803

The First Right Purchase Program actively

geographic isolation the city has not avoided

trust properties (Davis 2008). The active

prevents displacement and allows families

the housing affordability crisis. While

role that Burlington has played financing

the opportunity to remain in changing

Burlington’s AMI is relatively high, the

CHT is also reflected the organization’s

neighborhoods, with access to amenities

gap between the FMR for a two-bedroom

governance structure, as municipal officials

that they could otherwise not afford. In

apartment and the monthly rent affordable

occupy a third of the seats on the board.

addition, the limited-equity cooperatives

to the mean renter is larger than in both

grant tenants the financial and tax benefits

D.C. and San Francisco (NLIHC 2014).


homeownership. In this way, the

The housing wage in Burlington stands at

program works to address both the rapid

$25.17 an hour, well above the national rate

disappearance of affordable units and the

of $18.92 (NLIHC 2014). Vermont as a

lack of affordable homeownership in the

whole has the 14th highest rents of any state


in the nation, which is particularly unusual

Just as San Francisco tweaked traditional policy to reflect progressive municipal values, DC creatively reimagined a proven model. While limited-equity cooperatives have existed since the Amalgamated Clothing




the concept in New York in the 1930s

given its largely rural character (NLIHC 2014). Just as in D.C. and San Francisco, high rents in Burlington are exacerbated by a severely limited supply of rental housing, reflected by the city’s exceedingly low 1.3% rental vacancy rate (Piper Jaffray & Co. 2013).

(Schuman 1993), the D.C. program differs

The acute shortage of affordable housing

in that it inserts the municipal government

in the Burlington area spurred the creation

as an active facilitator in the production of

of the Burlington Community Land Trust,

shared-equity homes. Municipal support for

later renamed the Champlain Housing Trust

limited equity cooperatives in the District

(CHT), in 1984. A community land trust

has been two-pronged: first, through a

grants the opportunity of homeownership

legislative grant of an unprecedented right

to low-income families by providing them

to tenants, and second through funding

with a subsidy in the form of negligible

for the acquisition, rehabilitation, and

land costs (Davis 2008). In exchange for this

conversion of rental units into limited-

subsidy, the community land trust maintains

equity cooperatives. D.C. has created

a shared-equity stake in the home and equity

regulatory circuit breakers that prevent

derived through appreciation is limited.

displacement and create homeownership

In addition, homeowners must sell their



homes at a price calculated according to

addressing the affordability crisis. In this

changes in AMI, just as in the San Francisco

way, D.C.’s response is reflective of the

inclusionary housing program (Ibid.). This

progressive municipal commitment to a

ensures the permanent affordability of

new era of housing policy.

homes in the land trust.




Burlington, Vermont: The Hybrid Municipal Land Trust Unlike both San Francisco and Washington, D.C., Burlington, Vermont is a small city, with only 42,000 residents. Yet despite Burlington’s





A coalition of active citizens and municipal officials created the CHT. The organization was funded through a $200,000 grant from the city under the leadership of socialist mayor, and future Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders (Davis 2009). CHT continues to derive a large amount of its funding from the municipal government to this day. The City’s financial support also extends into the realm of taxation: CHT properties are taxed at 63% of the value of similar, non-land

CHT is one of the largest and most successful partnerships between a municipality and a community land trust in the country. Since its founding, CHT has afforded 620 lowincome families shared ownership of a portfolio of 520 homes (CHT 2014). The trust maintained permanent affordability in the face of rapidly escalating regional home sales. Indeed, while home prices in the Burlington MSA increased by 85% between 1999 and 2006, the price of resold homes in CHT’s portfolio rose by only 35% (Davis 2009). Yet the average CHT homeowner still realized a net equity gain of nearly $12,000 (Ibid.). Community land trusts do not have the problems associated with direct subsidies. By tying appreciation to AMI, the relative affordability





increases. In other programs that subsidize homeownership, subsidies are eventually lost, either because they do not roll over to the next buyer or because they are rendered meaningless by the rapid appreciation of the home. Subsidies must be continually reapplied, growing significantly in cost each time. By formulating subsidies as a sharedequity stake attached to resale restrictions, the City of Burlington’s investment in CHT ensures perpetual affordability at a significantly lower cost to the municipality. Burlington is another example of municipality





dogmas about nonprofit and private sector development.




trusts have existed since the Civil Rights Movement, the Champlain Housing Trust differs from most community land trusts in that it operates as the primary component of a municipal housing strategy (Davis and Jacobus 2008). This is reflective of the unusually “activist municipal government” 59






developers. Today the scale of the crisis requires a renewed governmental interest in the provision of affordable housing. Since the federal government has so far refused to comprehensively address the housing affordability crisis, the challenge has fallen onto state and municipal governments. Luckily, a growing number of municipal governments have accepted this challenge. As cities develop their plans, they can draw from the experiences of shared-equity policies crafted by progressive governments in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Burlington, Vermont. Their approaches reflect the growing municipal skepticism of the ability of an unfettered private market to provide adequate affordable housing options. They also represent a growing municipal interest in alternative forms of homeownership. The experiences of

Figure 3 : 32 Peru Street.

these three cities show that shared-equity

of Burlington, “whose housing policy is

led to a surge in demand for rental housing

founded on the twin pillars of encouraging

that has not been met by an adequate rise

nonprofit production of affordable housing

in supply. This has resulted in a severe

and ensuring perpetual affordability of

shortage of affordable housing for low-

any housing produced using subsidies”

income families. While this shortage is most

(Davis 2009). Land trusts have traditionally

prominent in “hot” property markets along



the coasts, the disconnect between stagnant

organizations outside of government; CHT

incomes and rising home prices has been so

represents a hybrid model whereby the

widespread as to make it impossible for a

city actively promotes shared equity as the

full time, low-wage worker to afford a two-

key component of its affordable housing

bedroom apartment at fair-market rent in

policy. Just like the city governments of

any state in the nation (NLIHC 2014).



San Francisco and Washington, the city of Burlington has used policy to promote an alternative form of shared-equity housing that simultaneously addresses increasing rents




During the twentieth century, American affordable




from direct government support to the

models can work to confront displacement, provide new units of affordable housing, and open the doors of homeownership to cost-burdened families currently struggling to find affordable options. In the face of a challenge too large for non-profits, and with the federal government providing little support, municipalities must begin to shape a series of robust responses to the affordability crisis. As more municipalities embrace shared equity, their creative approaches could represent a ‘third stage’ of American housing policy; an era defined by forceful municipal responses that embrace the benefits that come when municipalities and communities share, spread, and build equity.

Figure 4 : Burlington, VT Housing Data


burlington msa

Future Prospects

Area Median Income

Municipalities across the country must

Monthly Rent Affordable at 30% AMI


confront a housing landscape very different

Month Rent Affordable at Mean Renter Wage


than that of the past. Economic and

San Francisco MSA Housing Wage


National Housing Wage


demographic shifts over the past decade 60


Fair Market Rent for 2-bedroom

$80,200 $1,309


image citations

Association of Bay Area Governments. “San Francisco Bay Area Housing Needs Plan 2007-2014.” June, 2008.

Joint Center for Housing Studies. “State of the Nation’s Housing.” Harvard University, 2013.

City and County of San Francisco. “Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program Monitoring and Procedures Manual.” December 13th, 2013.

Joint Center for Housing Studies. “America’s Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs.” Harvard University, 2013.

CoreLogic. “CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report.” May, 2013. Davis, John Emmeus. “Development without Displacement.” The Community Land Trust Reader. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Cambrdge, MA. 2010. Ed: John Emmeus Davis. Davis, John Emmeus. “Origins and Evolution of the Community Land Trust in the United States. The Community Land Trust Reader. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Cambrdge, MA. 2010. Ed: John Emmeus Davis. Davis, John Emmeus and Jacobus, Rick. “The City-CLT Partnership: Municipal Support for Community Land Trusts.” Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Cambrdge, MA. 2008. Davis, John Emmeus and Stokes, Alice. “Lands in Trust, Homes that Last: A Performance Evaluation of the Champlain Housing Trust.” 2009. Dewan, Sheila. “In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class.” The New York Times. April 14, 2014. DC Office of the Tenant Advocate. “TOPA Process Chart.” May, 2013 Ehlenz, Meagan. “Shared Equity Homeownership: A Literature Review” Fields, Desiree. “Finance as a New Terrain for Progressive Urban Politics.” Metropolitiques. November 6th, 2014. Harvey, David. Rebel cities: from the right to the city to the urban revolution. Verso Books, 2012. Hoffman, Alexander von. “High Ambitions: The Past and Future of American LowIncome Housing Policy.” Housing Policy Debate. Vol. 7, Iss. 3, 1996 Immergluck, Dan. “The foreclosure crisis, foreclosed properties, and federal policy: some implications for housing and community development planning.”Journal of the American Planning Association 75.4 406-423. 2009.

Levitin, Adam and Wachter, Susan. “Why Housing?” Housing Policy Debate, 23:1, 5-27. 2013

Figure 1: “Out of Reach.” National Low Income Housing Coalition. 2014 Figure 2: “Out of Reach.” National Low Income Housing Coalition. 2014 Figure 3: Photo from getahomeorg. Courtesy of Champlain Housing Trust. Figure 4: “Out of Reach.” National Low Income Housing Coalition. 2014.

National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Out of Reach 2014: 25 Years Later, the Affordability Crisis Continues”. 2014. National Multifamily Housing Council. “Apartment Industry Quick Facts.” nmhc. org PD&R Edge. “Secretary Donovan Highlights Convening on State of America’s Rental Housing.” HUD User, 2013. Piper Jaffray & Co. “Preliminary Statement, $9,000,000 General Obligation Bonds Series 2013 A. City of Burlington, Vermont.” Pfm. com Reed, Jenny. “DC’s First Right Purchase Program Helps to Preserve Affordable Housing and Is One of DC’s Key AntiDisplacement Tools.” DC Fiscal Policy Institute. 2013. Reed, Jenny. “Disappearing Act: Affordable Housing in DC is Vanishing Amid Sharply Rising Housing Costs.” DC Fiscal Policy Institute. 2012. The Right to the City Alliance. “Rise of the Renter Nation: Solutions to the Housing Affordability Crisis.” June 2014. Peterson, Allysa. “In Our Backyards: Responding to the Afforable Housing Crisis.” July 21, 2014. Schuman, Tony. “Labor and Housing in New York City.” Swenson, Brena. “Census Bureau: Homeownership Rates Continue to Drop.” October 28, 2014. Urban Institute. “Shared Equity Homeownership Evaluation: Case Study of the San Francisco Citywide Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program.” October, 2013.


jakarta Measurements of



by Samuel Sklar Large public investments come about during periods of growth to meet the needs of the present and perhaps the near future. Lack of political will and constrained budgets can bring the process to a grinding halt and, in some instances, exacerbate current problems. Indonesiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s booming population and rapid economic rise have put significant strain on Jakarta, its political, cultural, and economic capital and largest city. Sam Sklar takes an in-depth look at the impact of Indonesiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leadership on the planning of its major city and how the election of a progressive new president may bring investments in public transportation to reduce congestion.



More than any other factor, Indonesia’s urban planning is a function of its geography. As an island nation, physical boundaries restrict its growth and development more than planning can. These land constraints should in turn restrict population growth, as it becomes occasionally prohibitive to grow upwards once outward growth is no longer possible. Indonesia is the exception to prove this rule: despite its 75,000 kilometers of coast1, its over 1.9 million square kilometers of inhabitable land are home to over 253 million people. As Indonesia’s primary city, Jakarta is home to some 10 million people (9.5 million in 2010) and this number is expected to continue to increase for the foreseeable future (Statistics Indonesia). The challenge for planners is: What role will urban planning play in managing Jakarta’s economic growth and human development? As Indonesia’s economic, political, financial, cultural and international center, Jakarta not only showcases the country’s global presence and investment capability, it also doubles as the country’s planning laboratory. The superior location and population and GDP density of Jakarta and its metropolitan radius (known as Jabodetabek2) have unlocked the competitive advantage of the country’s quarter-billion people. In 2010, Jakarta accounted for 4% of Indonesia’s population, but 17% of its total GDP (Statistics Indonesia). According to the 2010 Indonesian census, Jakarta’s accompanying agglomeration regions grew faster (some over three times faster) than Jakarta proper from 2000 to 2010. If we are to believe growth theories—that increased market size and business opportunities drive urban growth (Landis 2014)—then Jakarta’s primacy3 presents an awesome opportunity for innovative, large-scale planning as the regions surrounding the capital become more important for future development. Current planning efforts are in flux, caught between historical autocracy and market capitalism. While the latter is expected to “[...] improve social welfare…Indonesia has failed or at least has been struggling

to become a civilized society” (Wihardja 2011). No future projects or plans will have more impact than those that increase access to one of the world’s largest economies – Jakarta, Indonesia.

Urban Growth in Jakarta Exponential population growth has driven Indonesia’s economic growth more than any other factor since World War II. Since its first official census in 1971, the national population has more than doubled and has outpaced global population growth by a factor of 1.25. Jakarta has followed suit: from a modest population of 4.5 million in 1971, the city now boasts a population over 10 million. As of 2012, the city boasts the 16th largest (nominal) global economy, reporting a GDP between $860 and $870 billion, more than 10% higher than its former imperial stakeholders, the Dutch (World Bank). This growth has not been distributed evenly, however. Inequality is one of the most pressing issues in both Indonesia and Jakarta: since 1990 Indonesia’s Gini coefficient4 has risen more than 30%, from 29.2 in 1990 to 38.1 in 2012. Another measurement, demonstrates that the Palma index5, Indonesia’s wealthiest 10% enjoy twice as much of the national wealth as the total of the bottom 40% (Yusuf). This inequality is endemic of Indonesia’s history through European and North Asian occupation under Suharto’s “New Order” government. Nowhere is this history of inequality more apparent than in Indonesia’s transportation infrastructure.

Indonesia’s Imperial Legacy European colonization and exploitation have left certain aesthetic and planning legacies still visible today. The Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) incorporated in 1602 to exploit and monopolize Indonesian resources, mainly spices, but also to attempt to consolidate

governance of more than 13,000 islands with radically different genealogical backgrounds (Pisani 2014, 14-15). Until roughly 150 years after the VOC’s bankruptcy in 1799, the Dutch ramped up investment, and even after a brief Japanese occupation6, refused to surrender until future President Sukarno declared Indonesia an independent state with backing from the United Nations (Ibid, 24). In 1945, the entirety of the declaration read: “WE THE PEOPLE OF INDONESIA HEREBY DECLARE THE INDEPENDENCE OF INDONESIA. MATTERS WHICH CONCERN THE TRANSFER OF POWER AND OTHER THINGS WILL BE EXECUTED BY CAREFUL MEANS AND IN THE SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME (Ibid, 2, emphasis added).” The “other things” wording in this declaration has significant planning implications, most notably opening the door for directionless planning, taking lessons from pre-independence lackadaisical planning whose “improvement of the indigenous kampung7 in the mid-1920s was more a result of concern over the Europeans’ built environment,” but “lacked the support and political will of the central government” (Kusno 2014, 15). This theme runs through the independence movement and the term of Sukarno (through 1998). A.M. Simone describes the provision of “... affordable and judicious infrastructure” as “...constantly hijacked by the inability of politicians and planners to fully graph who actually resides in the city and the different uses to which it is put” (2014, 7). The dual accounts of the central government’s lack of ability to plan for sustainable growth is exacerbated in Jakarta, where congestion and legacy disinvestment still resonate.

Jakarta’s Congestion and Future Planning Modern Jakarta, like other primary world cities, is a function of agglomeration. Without planning, we might expect the city to continue to grow unabashedly, further pushing poor residents further away from 63

the transportation systems that Indonesia has built, at least in part, to service them. Without strategic planning targeted at solving the most pressing issues, we might see the urban phenomenon known as shrinkage, or at least stagnation.8

Transportation as a Growth Indicator: Infrastructure Disinvestment and MultiModal Systems

Urban growth generates externalities, the most important of which for Jakarta is congestion. In 2011, the Jakarta Transformation Agency estimated that congestion cost the city over Rp 46 trillion ($5 billion); most of these losses come in the form of “wasted fuel, lost working hours and expensive cost of vehicle maintenance” (Arditya 2011). Further, these losses are regressive, affecting the urban poor who spend a higher proportion of their incomes on commuting.

Both preand post-independence governments have taken a head-scratching approach to transportation planning, which plays a key role in explaining Jakarta’s past growth. In his article written for the Jakarta Globe, Idries de Vries rightly summarizes a handful of Indonesian legacy issues relating to Dutch occupation, most notably:

In response, Jakarta broke ground in 2013 on MRT Jakarta (Dewi 2013), a Jabodetabek-wide, heavy rail metro set to open in early 2018, to connect with its current commuter rail and bus system. The city has also planned right-of-way expansion and densification, including 68 km of toll-roads and raised thoroughfares (Arditya 2011). As of 2014, neither of these measures has yet helped to overcome a problem that plagues the city’s welfare; pollution from stalled vehicles has grown alarmingly quickly, close to near-toxic levels (Maulia 2014). These levels are once again regressive; those with limited access to public health facilities or hospitals pay a higher price for the increased congestion than those with access. As Jakarta continues to grow, the city and the national government must continue to manage concurrent transportation growth to encourage sustainable density. Legacy infrastructure planning and current spending will hopefully allow the city to grow at a pace that is inclusive for all.



“But whatever the exact value of 1 billion 19th century guilders may be today, it is clear that the Dutch committed a great crime when they built up their own infrastructure using Indonesian money, while at the same time substantially under-investing in the infrastructure of what would become the Republic of Indonesia” (de Vries 2011). While his plea stems from emotion, de Vries’ logic is sound: modern Indonesia and especially modern Jakarta still suffer from centuries-old infrastructure disinvestment and attempts to launch projects while maintaining a conspicuously low historical public debt ratio (approximately 25%) and deficit (under 3% of GDP) (Blöndal et al. 2009, 10). De Vries (2011) suggests two potential solutions to the transportation problem: private-sector investment and suing the Netherlands for reparations. Instead Indonesia - Jakarta in particular have responded with heavy investment in bus rapid transit (BRT), mass rapid transit, and continued refurbishment of one legacy Dutch investment, Staats Spoorwegen, now known as KRL Jabodetabek. BRT will help Jakarta grow comprehensively, especially in combination with the repurposed light rail system, a river boat system and the planned mass rapid transit system. Together, these systems (if run smoothly) will provide passage into and through Jabodetabek, which is about ten times as large as but three times less dense than Jakarta proper (Statistics Indonesia).

Yet, with almost 20% of Jakarta’s population living around or under $1.25 per day (World Bank), the systems still seem to develop without “...integration between the BRT network and the urban fabric” (Ihksani 2009, 4), demonstrating lack of attention to those who might need the system most. This multi-modal combination is ripe for economic development around transit hubs, through transit-oriented development (TOD). In theory, TOD is designed to integrate public and private space with a particular focus on creating “attractive, walkable, sustainable communities that allow residents to have housing and transportation choices and to live convenient, affordable, pleasant lives” (Center for Transit Oriented Development). Unfortunately for Jakarta, accessibility and mobility have developed separately, largely ignoring spatial growth patterns, buried under the weight of unaffordable and underfunded transportation initiatives.

Urban Development in Jakarta People move from rural to urban settings for economic opportunity, but also to gain personal fulfillment (Landis 2014). In the case of Jakarta, the lore of opportunity is too great to resist, despite the inequality in the city. The combination of historical disinvestment in transportation infrastructure and divided urban populations has placed Indonesia in the bottom third of the UN’s Human Development Index (0.684 compared to Norway’s numberone ranking of 0.944)9 even though each individual criterion might suggest otherwise (United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Reports). In fact, by Jakarta’s own measure, the average of its districts’ HDI is 10 basis points higher. This lends itself to an interesting theoretical correlation: an increase in inequality might lead to a higher HDI coefficient.

Spatial Segregation: Patterns of Urban Development & Smaller Scale Development Jakarta’s spatial segregation is inherent in its administrative practice. Political division of the 660 square kilometers into five discrete perhaps districts (and one regency)10 unnaturally separates populations (and economic development) from one another. To discuss Jakarta’s spatial development we must place it in context. DKI Jakarta is one of 34 provinces, each of which is then split into districts, each with its own administrative units. Surprisingly, this layered system arose following the ousting of “New Order” autocrat Suharto, whose government—while a synthesis of corruption, top-down authoritative process and cronyism—was significant in its efforts to improve Indonesians’ economic welfare. The debate over which governance method is “better” for planning extends beyond the scope of this article, except for one point: the welfare of Indonesia’s (and by proxy, Jakarta’s) people has flourished differently under each method (Greenlees 2008). Since the 1998 economic crisis that eventually led to the democratic regime, Indonesia has continued to unpack Suharto’s stranglehold on policy by devolving governance to the local and very-local levels. With 10 million residents, Jakarta’s spatial needs are different than those of, say, Medan, the largest city not on Indonesia’s Java Island. Its subdivisions have different current and proposed land use patterns (Pemprov DKI Jakarta). The new bylaws introduced last year (RDTR) have stripped away some of Suharto’s stranglehold on the development of place, presumably with the development of people in mind (Dewi 2013). That said, the challenge is determining the extent to which “place” includes all people, including those from different races, classes, and income levels. In his book After The New Order, which details planning and development in post-

Suharto Indonesia, Professor Abidin Kusno makes a case for recehan (literally “coin”) planning. Kusno (2014) synthesizes the ideas of Indonesian architect, Ridwan Kamil, to push for change at the smallest scale possible. This idea seems to mesh with the recent Indonesian and Jakartan commitment to smaller-scale placemaking, as noted by its district and kampung (village) developments. Kusno, quoting Kamil, says: “[...]we can’t use ‘re-master’ planning any more. [...]Small pieces (recehan) of well- designed spaces will contribute to the whole. For instance, if one private home is designed with ‘green architecture,’ a million such houses will reduce the temperature of Jakarta [...]” (2014, xv). While this strategy aims high, its concepts are apt for the agglomeration of almost 30 million people: instead of typical top-down planning, Kusno suggests a more “[...] ‘bottom-up’ approach and in small pieces, with the hope that every bit will contribute to the whole” (Ibid., xv). The concept fits with the new-New Order government of humility and action: empower the people to act and they will create a better life for themselves and those around them. In complement, Kusno also discusses leapfrog development.11 In Jakarta, often the poorest people live along center-city rivers and unused land. Addressing this problem through a recehan strategy, or improving impoverished access to mobility, might prevent an issue like the St. Moritz development in West Jakarta. This project attempted to bring cosmopolitan concepts from worldly cities to the international megacity. St. Moritz is “a product of leapfrog development, whereby developers advance by leaps and bounds between strategic spots in the city, leaving behind pockets of unprofitable areas to survive or die on their own” (Kusno 2014). While privately developed, in part by Indonesia’s largest property developer, Lippo Karawaci, the project is a dual urban oppressor in that it takes advantage of Jakarta’s still-fledgling experiment with market capitalism and

monopolizes government resources in order to complete the project (Lippo Kicks Off $292m St. Moritz in Makassar). Recehan and leapfrog development in Jakarta are at odds with one another by definition: one calls for incremental change at the local level, while the other prescribes the misuse of urban (and exurban land) at any scale. If large-scale capital investment in land is inevitable, Jakarta must approach its planning from another angle: creating access around or through the new development, by way of infrastructure investment. Physical segregation among the different land-stakeholders in Jakarta assumes a new meaning when considering factors other than place and income that separate people. In Indonesia, strong relationships, both positive and negative, exist among race, religion, and gender equality. Indonesia is globally ethnically diverse, yet most racial distinctions are within ethnic Indonesian descendants themselves: while dominated by Javanese and Sundanese descendants, at least twelve other ethnicities exist across Indonesia (CIA Factbook). While some deep-rooted tensions exist among groups based solely on the fact that they are “other,” Sidney Jones argues against the fact “that the communal violence is worse with democracy in multi-ethnic societies than it is with strong authoritarian governments that keep these kinds of conflicts under control” and that these conflicts extend back to colonial Dutch prejudices (Causes of Conflict in Indonesia). In a planning context, the question is: do we plan for inclusion for everyone or do we allow the planning to dictate the context by which everyone can find his or her own inclusiveness? Susan Fainstein summarizes this bizarre dichotomy: “Planned communities designed with the goal of diversity, whether within inner cities or in new-urbanist or neotraditional greenfields developments, seem inevitably to attract accusations of 65

inauthenticity, or being a simulacrum rather than the thing. (Fainstein 2005, 117)” Alternatively, religion poses as a cultural threat to equitable planning in Indonesia and Jakarta. The country boasts the highest number of Muslims in the world: over 87% of the population identifies as practicing Islam (CIA Factbook). For planning, this sort of majority is by definition repressive and often overwhelms minority groups’ planning needs. While combatting “inauthenticity” might be low on Jakarta’s priorities list, President Joko Widodo faces a pressing challenge in overcoming physical segregation. Perhaps a major contributor to Indonesia’s low Human Development Index is its attitude toward women, most noticeable in the GDP margin: women earned less than 50 cents on every man’s US dollar in 2013 (United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Reports). Women also received, on average, a year less of schooling than their male counterparts (8.1 vs 6.9), though curiously this margin decreases when examining residents’ expected number of years of schooling, which may mean that male hegemony is place- or situation-specific. Indonesians have a fantastically high maternal mortality rate (220 per 100,000 live births) for a G20 country and a low governmental representation rate: Only one in five politicians are women. It has not helped that the systemic hegemony of Indonesia’s Muslims has stalled the progression to equality (Yamin 2012). In a planning context, these patterns are intrinsically tied to place, whether through managing growth or empowering the disadvantaged. The connector that joins the concepts of inequality and place is the idea of mobility.

Human Development & Qualitative Growth Jakarta’s kampung and economic accessibility Jakarta’s spatial growth patterns are tied to its human development. As transportationcentric mobility will allow the city to grow outward and upward, economic mobility will afford Jabodetabek’s 28 million citizens accessibility to more rewarding employment and a more fulfilled life. In Jakarta, like in other developing countries, this notion fails – so far. The urban poor provide economic vitality and spur city growth from the outside in, yet instead of working toward equity, the Indonesian government treats the millions of urban poor with contempt. In a way the urban poor are almost always marginalized: “Indonesian...statistics are also notorious for disguising urban poverty. The official figures for Jakarta, where most researchers estimate that one-quarter of the population are poor kampung dwellers, is simply absurd: 5 percent. (Davis 2006)” Regardless of a government’s intent, outsiders will notice such cognitive dissonance. Former Indonesian General and Jakarta Governor, Sutiyoso, lauded for introducing the TransJakarta system in the early 2000s, also made it his personal crusade to clear Jakarta of informal kampung (Prameshwari & Primantia 2010). If TransJakarta (the BRT system) had any aim to provide adequate access for the urban poor to move through dense and congested Jakarta, this was not General Sutiyoso’s intention. Davis notes the discord: “With support from big business, mega-developers, and, more recently, President Megawati herself [2001-2004], the governor has evicted more than 50,000 slum-dwellers, thrown 34,000 pedicab drivers out of work, demolished the stalls of 21,000 street vendors, and arrested hundreds of street musicians. (2006, 113)” The urban poor, those who live in and around the kampung, also feel the effects of living in an urban-rural mix on the outskirts



of the city proper. While the desakotas (cityvillages), including kampung, might be a “dramatic new species of urbanism, [work trips] account [ ] for 40 to 50 percent of urban trips” (Ibid., 10). It follows then that during peak travel times, Jakarta proper feels a lurch effect of a massive influx of millions of people, all of whom use the legacy and underfunded infrastructure to get to and from: there is a mismatch between those who commute to work and the “overall need for transit capacity” (Ingram 1997, 10). The Second National Congress of Housing and Settlement (hosted in Jakarta in 2009) looked to organize sustainable housing development for all of Indonesia’s population (Kusno 2014, 139). Among the conference’s outcomes was a redefinition of what housing meant for all of Indonesia’s citizens, not just those with means and access to resources; a refocus on local government and its role in housing; an attempt to remove the informal (and illegal) housing in the kampung and stated goals (Ibid. 140143). In theory, Indonesia’s urban centers, with Jakarta placed firmly on top, should be able to reduce demand for the informal by opening a route for formal development. According to some legacy reporting some 70% of land is not documented with the state land agency and a top-down formal/ informal dualism is present in almost all discussions regarding solutions to the urban poverty problem (Ibid. 145). While this plan to formalize and develop previously unregistered and informal housing (kampung) looks to offer pathways to economic independence for some two million poor Jakartans, several roadblocks stand in the way. First, one of the provisions for a new supply and demand curve (encouraging construction) is creditworthiness, which is determined by official employment records and consistent ability to pay. The residents of the kampung often have neither and the new rules are therefore, by definition, restrictive and exclusionary (Ibid. 151). Second, without knowledge and organization of land,

including kampung and unused land beneath flyovers and along riverbanks and railway lines (Ibid. 157), it is impossible to plan for new systems that can provide economic mobility for those residents these systems are often designed to serve. This systemic pattern of marginalizing a low-income population is not unique to Jakarta or Indonesia, but the combination of hyper-density, top-down bureaucracy, and inertia among the agents involved (residents, developers, officials, employers, transit-operators) will continue to delay Jakarta’s development from inside its borders.

Planning for Sustainable Human Impact Though much of the discussion thus far has covered the poorest of Jakarta’s citizens, a burgeoning middle class is responsible for much of the non-governmental “greening” discourse in the city (Ibid., 121). Yet for action, activist middle-class volunteers still rely upon government initiative, like the “Clean and Green Jakarta” campaign proposed by then-mayor Fauzi Bowo and the top-down disestablishment of big business interests giving way to citizen initiative and agency (Ibid., 123-124). Notably absent from this process is the kampung dwellers for several reasons: a lack of information due to remoteness and lack of a central structure for information dissemination, a lack of access due to overwhelmed infrastructure, and a systematic exclusion dating to the Dutch colonial legacy (Ibid., 122). The “green” movement is certainly not new to Indonesians, but its recent prominence is related to the “[...] ‘newness’ or the ‘presentness’ of its moral and cultural authority to which the subjects of government have come to attach themselves” (Ibid. 123). Importantly, as Kusno describes, the power and agency with which Jakarta’s poor act have less to do with imperial class structure and more concerning the “integration of the relatively

independent voices of ‘communities’ into the structure of governmentality. (Ibid., 123)” Yet the “green” movement is central to development: the middle class is key to “back to the city” urbanity, which reduces per capita environmental impacts. With a higher density near the urban center, residents across income strata require fewer resources to commute. Often density promotes the use of non-motorized transport, which could alleviate some of the high unemployment and barriers to entry that car-ownership bolstered through exclusive urban growth patterns. Too often those who need the density, like residents of Jakarta’s kampung, do not get it, or are built over to make room for those who can afford it (Ibid., 132). Inherent in these discussions are concepts like “gentrification” and “social justice,” which seem largely glossed over when it comes to the Indonesian and Jakartan government policies.

Joko Widodo (known colloquially as “Jokowi”). As Indonesia’s seventh president, he is the first to not to come from Indonesia’s political or military elite (Widodo 2014). His background and experience may prove to be critical to the continued development of Jakarta. His election is a stamp on a longwinded excise from Dutch colonialism. Seventy years after the nation declared independence, Indonesia may have found the man who might create places that benefit people. It is dangerous to call Widodo’s election a windfall for radical or overhaul planning, however: while his ideas might fight for planning for “the people,” his opposition controls the majority of Parliament (or did at the time of this writing) (Otto 2014). In essence, he operates as a populist figurehead without a mandate. That said, his election might continue to invigorate all of Indonesia’s classes to contribute to its growth and development

Political Urbanity in Jakarta

Public Policy and Urban Planning: The Role of Government in Indonesian Placemaking

As noted above, Indonesian planning has been and continues to be inextricably linked to its ever-evolving political system. Though it has only had seven different heads of state since its emancipation from the Dutch in 1945, power has ebbed and flowed through various forms of nationalism and extreme corruption. The country now regularly follows a tri-cameral separation of power not unlike that of the United States. The populous elects presidents and members of two houses of parliament to five-year terms to serve as Head of State and Head of Government (The Structure of Government). For planning purposes, The Minister for National Development Planning and The Minister for Finance most closely work with the provinces to help achieve goals (An Overview of Spatial Policy in Indonesia¬).

Jokowi: The Man Who Would Be King As of 20 October, 2014, Indonesia’s Head of State is the former Governor of Jakarta,

“Mr. Suharto was driven from office in 1998 by widespread rioting, economic paralysis and political chaos, “[h]is rule was not without accomplishment; he led Indonesia to stability and nurtured economic growth (Berger 2008).” For developing countries, a strong central government can have a binding effect between spatial growth and human development (as well as spatial development and human growth). Contrarily, a strong central government also often ignores the needs of the many in favor of some “greater good,” as was the case with Suharto’s “New Order” government. While Berger’s statement neatly characterizes the Indonesian government’s role in city planning: comprehensive planning with a top-down mentality. For Indonesia and Jakarta, continuity has been and will continue to be the force that determines national and regional planning. 67

Government stability is essential to promote private investment in a developing area with a shaky past and uncertain future.12 From 1600 through 1945, Dutch rule mostly ignored indigenous planning needs in favor of investment in economic infrastructure and political legacy. Following the scattered disengagement from European colonization, President Sukarno looked to strong concepts in vogue at the time: nationalism and investment in native Indonesian culture (Palmer 1957). Central to Sukarno’s unification plan was the construction of at least eight monuments around Indonesia, the most famous of which, the National Monument, is located in a park in the center of Jakarta’s central district (Jakarta Post: “Monuments, statues in Jakarta simply a landmark”). This combination of nationalism and City Beautiful planning laid the groundwork for much of the development of today’s Jakarta by creating fantastic structures at the expense of the people who engage with them. Continuing through General Suharto’s (Sukarno’s successor) three decade reign, placemaking became much more of a political football within the confines of hard-lined economic development and corruption. Suharto’s title as Indonesia’s first “president” is paired with endemic corruption that stunted the human development and spatial growth that Jakarta so desperately needed. Yet upon his 2013 reflection, New York Times Reporter Joe Cochrane found that his planning legacy is mixed: “Crime is higher [now] than during Mr. Suharto’s ‘New Order’ regime, and Jakarta and other cities have chronic traffic problems” (Cochrane 2013). Suharto’s resignation amid the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98 opened the door for true democratic placemaking. The combination of existing need and political willpower might empower Jakarta to act swiftly to correct some of its most pressing woes, most notably the anachronistic infrastructure and the repression of its lowest classes. While nowhere near the levels 68


of human indignity of Suharto’s bloody New Order13, the lack of accessibility and mobility left from years of political neglect still hold back Jakarta’s people.

Agency of the Government BAPPENAS, or The Ministry of National Development Planning, is responsible for a slew of urban functions including, but not limited to economic development, infrastructure development, and human resources development (State Ministry of National Development Planning). BAPPENAS works with the other ministries, including the Ministry of Finance, which is in charge of setting and monitoring a budget. The OECD recently described BAPPENAS’ major functions within this context: • Independent development planning is viewed in “a very positive light.” The plan is “comprehensive and takes account of multiple public policy instruments in addition to budgeting…” The plan is also more future-oriented with a longer timehorizon than the budget. • The plan can be seen as a major marketing tool for encouraging outside investment in Indonesian infrastructure. • The five-year plan parallels the five-year term of office of the President, but is also non-cumulative, severely hindering Indonesia’s investment capability in long-term projects, such as muchneeded upgrades to its transportation infrastructure. • The Indonesian planning system’s functions are housed within both BAPPENAS and The Ministry of Finance, creating redundancies and inefficiencies. (Blöndal et al. 2009, 12) Thus this agency is best positioned to oversee the transition of Indonesia and Jakarta into a true, fair and just democracy with economic accessibility and transit mobility for all.

Agency of the People Though the democratic process is relatively new and uncertain in Indonesia, the opportunity for comprehensive voice is even more elusive in Jakarta. While power has slowly been dispersed through local channels and most of Suharto’s restrictive measures finally lifted (including on the right to demonstrate), Jakarta can look to empower its people through spatial agency, the right to one’s own place (Cochrane 2014). It should be the government’s responsibility to engage with those who cannot adequately represent themselves. For example, the Javanese word blusukan, which roughly translates to “an impromptu visit,” is often the only way that a lawmaker can interact with constituents who live in the kampung and other underserved neighborhoods. It is fitting that President Widodo engages in blusukan to truly understand his people outside a traditional sense (Tirtosudarmo). Blusukan is also a variation of recehan development: if President Widodo can inspire Indonesia’s representatives, perhaps even one at a time, to engage with all of his or her electorate, then agglomeration effects may transcend expectation.

Jakarta’s Poor Urban Growth Coalition Under President Sukarno, Indonesia essentially attempted a form of cultural and economic revolution oriented around Sukarno’s personal doctrines: nationalism, internationalism, democracy, social prosperity and belief in God. In a way, Sukarno operated under a form of cognitive dissonance: his words demanded a firm belief in Indonesia as a sovereign power but his actions largely dismantled the rights of its people to a subservient position to him and his coalition. Aristocratic grandeur and excess trumped any hope for the underclasses in Jakarta: Sukarno’s “city plan” and policy may not have worked specifically against the urban poor; he simply ignored the kampung and their residents (Encyclopedia Britannica: Sukarno).

and the organization of political competition shape the mobilization of these interests. Mollenkopf ’s last point is the synthesis of his theory: That coalitions are essential to the perpetuity of government and economic interests within a political system. Social change among those with voice will be a key factor in Indonesia’s planning moving forward and the mobilization of the voices that have not yet had access to the process will shape Jakarta and Indonesia’s growth and development for years to come. Figure 1: President Widodo on 20 October 2014, the day he took office as the 7th President of Indonesia.

For all intents and purposes General Suharto acted on similar disdain for the people. His overlong reign as a seventerm monolithic head of state ran on fear and corruption, often belying the needs of the urban poor in order to elevate the status of the wealthier classes. Suharto also practiced a form of cognitive dissonance: his New Order quite literally promised a change from Sukarto’s philosophies but had little discernable impact on the equity of Indonesia’s poorest citizens. Flyovers (overpasses) literally excluded those without automobiles from access to certain parts of the city, and becak pedicabs were obliterated (Shackford-Bradley 2002). To recover from centuries of counterproductive human and spatial growth and development, Indonesia could perhaps employ the idea of the urban growth coalition. Sukarno’s and Suharto’s public stranglehold on policy and development was both unsustainable politically and capitally: “Sooner or later, the state and political competition will be subordinated to the needs of capital” (Mollenkopf 2010, 384). By integrating Mollenkopf ’s theory into Indonesia we can project a satisfactory approach to balancing state and economic power:14

1. How the local state’s relationship to the economy and society conditions its capacity to act. Post-Suharto Indonesia is generally democratic and relies on its massive

electorate for guidance (although the “electorate” does not necessarily include the residents of kampung). It is unfair to judge Indonesia on its current spatial program and thus more relevant to examine the process going forward. President Widodo is in a unique position to engage multiple factions of a potential coalition, given his background as governor of Jakarta and current role of Head of State and Government. Capacity should not focus on the capital interests, but on the needs of those most disadvantaged.

2. How the ‘rules of the game’ of local politics shape the competition among interests and actors to construct a dominant political coalition able to exercise that capacity to act. The rules of the game have changed: Indonesia is a global economic player and its centerpiece is Jakarta. The area that requires Widodo’s attention is infrastructure, the decrepitude of which damages the city’s competitiveness and blunts Indonesia’s aspiration to be a regional manufacturing hub. More energy resources and better roads are needed. To assemble the investment capital required, the president must establish a clear framework, ending the dismal situation where project after project becomes snarled in competing claims over land and permits (Financial Times, 23 July 2014). President Widodo must establish new rules of the game, a tall order.

3. How economic and social change

Planning for the Jakarta of 2050 & beyond

The most important planning tool that Indonesia and Jakarta has is a plan for its people, rather than space. Specific concerns include: • W  hen planning for the 2018 Asian Games, the government should take care to preserve the space for people that might seem ready to be claimed for investment. • Invest in more sustainable infrastructure to improve the accessibility and mobility for its dense and diverse population. More specifically, Indonesia should: Lighten restrictive debt controls that keep the budget in order but stunt growth and development. Austerity might not be the correct present action. Encourage foreign and private investment, which can be achieved with a stable government and a comprehensive and actionable plan that spans more than one term. • Continue to plan for rapid transit and improve existing BRT standards. Take care to design the systems to include Jakarta’s poor but also engage wealthier residents, as to not create another level on which Jakarta’s 10 million people can be segregated. • E  ngage the kampung community on a meaningful level. Continue President Widodo’s sterling example by creating agency among the urban poor, providing support without overrunning a way of life. • President Widodo must use his position to create a sustainable coalition to invest in long-term projects that the infrastructure that all of Indonesia and Jakarta’s residents might use.


endnotes 1. This number is calculated as an approximate midpoint between the estimates of the World Factbook (55,000 km) and The World Resources Institute (95,000 km). 2. Jabodetabek includes: DKI Jakarta, Bogor Regency, Bogor City, Tangerang Regency, Tangerang City, South Tangerang City, Bekasi Regency and Depok Regency. It draws its name from a literal agglomeration of these regions: Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi. It had a population of over 27 million people in 2010, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in the world. 3. The next largest city outside the Jabodetabek matrix is Medan, on the island of Sumatra, with 2.5 million residents in 2010. 4. The Gini coefficient measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal situation (World Bank). 5. The Palma index calculates the ratio of the income share of the top 10% to the bottom 40%, assuming the “middle class” makes up the other 50%. 6. Japan’s involvement in the Eastern Theatre of World War II provided a semi-transition away from Dutch imperialism, but by all accounts Japanese “rule” was as devastating as Dutch rule (Pisani 2014, 9). If nothing else, this intermission in Indonesian history primed the second half of the 20th century for perhaps ill-suit consolidation at Jakarta. 7. Kampung is Indonesian for “village”; such places are also sometimes referred to as desa or kelurahan. 8. This assumes that Jakarta (Jabodetabek) does not continue to fight its congestion problem by simply expanding its boundaries outward. Being an island nation, this too has limits, unless Jakarta mimics other coastal cities that have literally built on the filled-in sea. 9. Analysis might suggest that Norway’s substantially higher HDI could be attributed to the lower levels of income inequality and higher levels of homogeneity among the population, but this discussion is outside the scope of this paper. 10. The five districts are Selatan, Timur, Pusat, Barata, Utara; Kepulauan Serib is the lone regency. 70


11. If land is naturally segregated according to highest-and-best use, then from the distance of the economic or cultural center of a place (Jakarta proper), a parcel of land might have several efficient uses. The price a developer or renter might be willing to pay will depend on which one is the most efficient. All else equal, zoning is unnecessary. This theory breaks when income inequality is too great or when policy prevents natural land use ordering (Landis 2014). 12. To quote political analyst Nate Silver: “Risk greases the wheels of a free-market economy; uncertainty grinds them to a halt” (Silver 2012, 29).

Cochrane, Joe. “A Child of the Slum Rises as President of Indonesia.” The New York Times, July 22, 2014. Accessed October 23, 2014. w o rl d / a s i a / j o k o - w i d o d o - p o p u l i s t governor-is-named-winner-in-indonesianelection.html?_r=0 Cochrane, Joe. “Indonesian Strongman’s Legacy Remains a Matter of Debate.” The New York Times, May 19, 2013. Accessed October 20, 2014. http://www.nytimes. com/2013/05/20/world/asia/suhartosindonesian-legacy-15-years-later.html.

13. Cornell professor Richard O’Gorman Anderson estimates that Suharto died in 2008 with blood on his hands from “anywhere from half a million to a million people” (Berger 2008).

Cochrane, Joe. “New Leader Takes Oath of Office in Indonesia.” The New York Times, October 20, 2014. Accessed October 23, 2014. http://www.nytimes. com/2014/10/21/world/asia/jokowidodo-is-swor n-in-as-indonesianpresident.html

14. These three considerations are adapted from Mollenkopf (2010, 387).

Davis, Mike. Planet of slums. London: Verso, 2006.


De Vries, Idries. “Indonesia’s Infrastructure Problems: A Legacy From Dutch Colonialism.” The Jakarta Globe, April 25, 2011. Accessed October 23, 2014. http:// indonesias-infrastructure-problems-alegacy-from-dutch-colonialism/

*Several theories and ideas presented in this paper have been synthesized through lectures by John D. Landis, Professor and Chair of University of Pennsylvania’s City and Regional Planning Program. The class is “Urban and Planning Theory” taught in the fall of 2014. These ideas have been noted inline as (Landis 2014). “An Overview of Spatial Policy in Indonesia.” An Overview of Spatial Policy in Indonesia. Accessed February 27, 2015. http://www. spw/general/indonesia/index_e.html. Arditya, Andreas. “Congestion costs Jakarta Rp 46 trillion.” The Jakarta Post, March 16, 2011. Accessed October 23, 2014. news/2011/03/16/congestion-costsjakarta-rp-46-trillion.html Berger, Marilyn. “Suharto Dies at 86; Indonesian Dictator Brought Order and Bloodshed.” The New York Times, January 28, 2008. Accessed October 23, 2014. http:// asia/28suharto.html?page- wanted=all&_ r=0 Center for Transit-Oriented Development: Center for Neighborhood Technology. (n.d.). Accessed October 23, 2014. http://

Dewa, Sita. “Jokowi Leads MRT Groundbreaking Ceremony.” The Jakarta Post, October 10, 2013. Accessed February 27, 2015. news/2013/10/10/jokowi-leads-mrtground-breaking-ceremony.html. Dewi, Sita. “Proposed zoning changes encourage vertical living.” The Jakarta Post, September 2, 2013. Accessed October 23, 2014 news/2013/09/02/proposed-zoningchanges-encourage-vertical-living.html Fainstein, S. S. “Cities And Diversity: Should We Want It? Can We Plan For It?” Urban Affairs Review, 2005, 3-19. Greenlees, Donald. “Suharto’s legacy of development and corruption.” The New York Times, January 28, 2008. Accessed October 23, 2014. http://www.nytimes. com/2008/01/28/world/asia/28ihts u h a r t o. 1 . 9 5 4 2 6 8 4 . h t m l ? p a g e w a n t ed=all&_r=1&

Hawkesworth, Ian, Jón R. Blöndal, and Hyun Deok Choi. “Budgeting in Indonesia.” OECD Journal on Budgeting, 2009: 1-31. Accessed October 24, 2014. http://www. h t t p : / / re p o s i t o r y. t u d e l f t . n l / v i e w / i r / uuid%3A97aacc03-9f76-4fc7-b6ec331d4cedaadb/ Ikhsani, M.R.. “The Case of Jakarta: A City with an Isolated Bus Rapid Transit: formulating a design strategy to establish an integrated transit oriented development in Jakarta using the existing bus rapid transit system” PhD. diss., Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands, 2009. Accessed 23 October 2014. “Indonesia - THE STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT.” Indonesia - THE STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT. Accessed February 27, 2015. http:// Ingram, Gregory K. “Patterns of Metropolitan Development: What Have We Learned?” Paper presented at the TRED Conference, Cambridge, MA, USA, August, 1997. “Joko Widodo must not waste his mandate in Indonesia.” The Financial Times, July 23 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014. Jones, Sidney. “Causes of Conflict in Indonesia.” Asia Society, Accessed October 23, 2014.,0 Kusno, Abidin. After the new order space, politics and Jakarta. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014 Lippo Kicks Off $292m St. Moritz in Makassar. (2014, June 14). The Jakarta Globe, June 14, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu. com/business/lippo-kicks-292m-st-moritzmakassar/ Maulia, Erwida. “Jakarta’s Air Quality Takes a Toxic Turn for The Worse.”The Jakarta Globe, May 9, 2014. Accessed October 12, 2014. http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu. com/news/jakarta/jakartas-air-qualitytakes-toxic-turn-worse/. Mollenkopf, John. “How To Study Urban Political Power.” The Blackwell City Reader. Edited by Gary Bridge. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2010.

“Monuments, statues in Jakarta simply a landmark.” The Jakarta Post, Februrary 26, 2000. Accessed October 23, 2014. h t t p : / / w w w. t h e j a k a r t a p o s t . c o m / news/2000/02/26/monuments-statuesjakarta-simply-a-land- mark.html Otto, Ben. “Indonesia’s Widodo Faces Emboldened Opposition.” The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2014. Accessed February 27, 2015. indonesias-widodo-already-outflankedweakened-by-opponents-1412255931. Palmer, Leslie. “Sukarno, the Nationalist.” Pacific Affairs 30, no. 2 (1957): 101-99. Accessed February 27, 2015. http://www. Pisani, Elizabeth. Indonesia etc.: Exploring the improbable nation. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2014. Prameshwari, Putri, and Arientha Primanita. “Jakarta’s Busway a Total Failure, Sutiyoso Claims.” Jakarta Globe, April 10, 2010. Accessed October 20, 2014. http:// jakartas-busway-a-total-failure-sutiyosoclaims/. Schelling, Thomas. “Models of Segregation.” The American Economic Review 59, no. 2 (1969): 488-93. Accessed October 20, 2014. Shackford-Bradley, Julie. “Planning Jakarta.” Inside Indonesia. October 1, 2002. Accessed October 20, 2014. http://www. planning-jakarta. Silver, Nate. The signal and the noise: Why so many predictions fail--but some don’t. New York: Penguin Press, 2012. Simanjuntak, Hotli, and Ina Parlina. “Aceh Fully Enforces Sharia.” The Jakarta Post, February 7, 2014. Accessed October 20, 2014. news/2014/02/07/aceh-fully-enforcessharia.html. Simone, A. M. Jakarta, Drawing the City Near. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

State Ministry of National Development Planning / BAPPENAS. Accessed February 27, 2015. http://www. state-minister-for-chair person-ofthe-national-development-planningagency/1646-profile/277-kementerianperencanaan-pembangunan-nasional.html. Tirtosudarmo, Riwanto. “Blusukan, a new kind of governmentality?” Accessed October 20, 2014. rtjk/140325 Widodo, Joko. “Opening Indonesia.” Opening Indonesia: A Conversation with Joko Widodo. November 1, 2014. Accessed February 27, 2015. discussions/interviews/opening-indonesia. Wihardja, Maria. “Can market capitalism, democracy, decentralization ensure civilization?” The Jakarta Post, May 3, 2011. Accessed October 23, 2014. http://www. c a n - m a rk e t - c a p i t a l i s m - d e m o c r a c y decentralization-ensure-civilization.htm Yamin, Kafil. “Indonesia Islamists Stall Gender Equality Bill.” The Jakarta Globe, May 9, 2012. Accessed October 23, 2014. archive/indonesia-islamists-stall-genderequality-bill/ Yusuf, Arief Anshory. “Has Prosperity Been For All? Revisiting the Trend of Various Demensions of Inequality in Indonesia.” Accessed from:

Image Credits Title Image: Wiriawan, Charles. “Indonesia Satellite Image.” Satellite Image. 2004. From Wikimedia Commons: Screenshot from NASA World Wind, Blue Marble Next-Generation layer. commons/9/9d/Indonesia_BMNG.png. (Accessed February 2015) Figure 1: uyeah “The New Mr. President.” Photograph. Self-Published, 2014. From Flickr. (Accessed February 2015)


neighborhood parks in

philadelphia: reaching

by Eddie Diaz-Etchevehere The most powerful benefits of urban investments cannot always be measured in dollars and cents. Parks represent perhaps the most visible instance of the intermingling of financial, physical, social, and environmental concerns. Author Eddie Diaz-Etchevehere examines Philadelphiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts to achieve equitable goals through the creation of green space and offers recommendations for maximizing their impact.



Philadelphia is a city full of opportunities for both those who seek to benefit from parks and those who seek to improve them. The city features one of the nation’s largest urban parks and over one hundred neighborhood parks, so those looking for a long walk or a touch of nature have no shortage of places to go. However, Philadelphia also has a decades-long history of underfunding its parks, which has led to widespread dilapidation but also many citizen-led campaigns to reclaim them. Though the city built parks to serve its citizens, frequently this relationship is turned on its head—the parks only become valuable once neighborhood residents start to serve the parks. What does it mean for a neighborhood of the city to be “underserved” by the park system? It may mean that there simply is not a park in the neighborhood or nearby. In 2014, the Trust for Public Land estimated that 91.3% of Philadelphians lived within a ten-minute walk of a park, placing the city within the top ten of the forty largest U.S. cities for walkable park access (Harnik and Martin 2014). Nevertheless, Mayor Michael Nutter’s Office of Sustainability believes the city can do even better; after the PennPraxis 2010 Green2015 plan found that the city had exceeded its 2009 goal of 75% walkable access to green space, the office expanded the goal to provide walkable access to all residents and reiterated its 2009 goal of greening 500 acres within the city (Dews and Wu 2012). Another meaning of “underserved” is that a neighborhood has access to a park, but the park is in such poor shape that it is a liability, not an asset, to nearby residents. Philadelphia does not have an estimate of how many fewer residents would have adequate park access if parks actively avoided by residents were removed from access calculations. Overhauling a neglected park, however, can cost as much and require as much planning as building a new one, if land acquisition is not taken into account (McCabe 2014). Thus park

renovation is as important to the city’s park access goals as new park construction. This article discusses ways to mitigate the costs involved in expanding access to and the effective service area of Philadelphia’s park system. It considers the roles that city agencies, nonprofits, and citizen groups can play in this process. Finally, this article proposes that new opportunities for communication and organizational efficiency can allow both the city and its citizens to conduct more expansion and restoration activities with the resources they have.

How Parks are Currently Funded in Philadelphia The Philadelphia park system’s first-line source of funding is the city’s operating and capital budgets. In 2014, the Department of Parks & Recreation (PPR) received about $51 million in operating funds and about $25 million from the capital budget (City of Philadelphia 2014). Not all of this money is ultimately sourced from city taxes or municipal bonds. Of particular note is that about $8 million of the capital funds were raised from state and private sources specifically for PPR (Philadelphia City Planning Commission 2014), whereas non-tax operational money generally goes into the General Fund, from which the PPR operating budget is drawn (City of Philadelphia 2013). Most PPR capital projects are relatively low-profile, but major, repairs to buildings and infrastructure. For instance, the department’s largest recurring annual expense is $8 million in deferred maintenance of recreation centers (Philadelphia City Planning Commission 2014). The department also occasionally makes significant investments in highprofile projects, such as the $16.5 million to be spent in 2015 to renovate JFK Plaza (PCPC 2014). The department also partners with nonprofits, most notably

the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, for additional projects. The Horticultural Society spent about $10 million on its various greening projects in 2013, though many were not specifically park-focused (The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society 2013). The Conservancy, however, was founded with the specific goal of raising funds for the park system, and spent about $4 million on the park system between 2009 and 2010, principally on capital projects (The Fairmount Park Conservancy 2010). Responsibility for routine maintenance is shared by PPR and local Friends groups, with nonprofits again playing a strong support role. Friends groups are community organizations officially affiliated with PPR who are critical to supporting parks. The department would likely not endorse any new park proposal that did not already have a supportive Friends group committed to its creation and regular maintenance (McCabe 2014). There are over one hundred active Friends groups in the city, some of which have several hundred members (Philadelphia Parks & Recreation 2014). With the value of a single hour of volunteer time in Pennsylvania estimated to be $21.94 (Independent Sector 2013), the total value they provide to the city is considerable. Friends groups are also largely responsible for programming events in neighborhood parks, a factor as important to a park’s success as regular maintenance. Parks with Friends groups are generally much more successful than parks without them. For this reason PPR and major nonprofits invest considerably in the Friends groups through operational support, grant programs, and major events such as the much-touted “Love Your Park Week,” designed to encourage greater citizen participation in the Friends groups (McCabe 2014). To put in perspective how important the support of nonprofits and volunteers is to Philadelphia’s parks, consider that the city spent $54 on park operations per city resident in 2014, compared to the 73

Figure 1: JFK Plaza

national average of $63 and a maximum of $247, in Washington, DC (Harnik and Martin 2014). Just 1.4% of the city’s $4.3 billion operating budget is spent on Parks & Recreation (City of Philadelphia 2013), and though the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, an advocacy nonprofit, has had success lobbying for increased city spending on parks (Philadelphia Parks Alliance 2013), far more money is still needed to ensure that all neighborhoods are well-served. The contributions of nonprofits and volunteers, however, allow Philadelphia’s park system to keep pace with those of other large American cities.

the Process of Park Improvement Given these funding constraints, minimizing the costs of park improvements without compromising quality is paramount. Cost-efficiency can be pursued in each of the three phases of park development: planning, construction, and stewardship. If a new park is proposed, the first part of the planning phase is building local interest, with the aim of creating a local Friends group. PPR does not have the resources to actively recruit group members (McCabe 2014), but there are ways to passively build such interest. One particularly successful model is the Horticultural Society’s LandCare program. By “cleaning and 74


greening” vacant lots, LandCare reveals their potential for new uses. The program has led to the redevelopment of 850 properties (PHS 2014). A new use, however, could also mean conversion of the lot’s parklike setting into a real park. In Southwest Center City, for example, neighbors chose to throw their weight behind expanded park use of several contiguous vacant greened lots, eventually resulting (after several years of negotiations) in the creation of Julian Abele Park, the first new park in the city in over a decade when it opened in 2008 (SOSNA 2014). This success suggests that in the future, LandCare could focus its efforts in neighborhoods that need green space, to build similar community support. Currently the Horticultural Society works primarily with the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development to select its sites (PHS 2014), but it could also make reference to the list of opportunity sites in Green2015. The Green2015 500-acre goal makes most opportunity sites far larger than the average LandCare site1 (PennPraxis 2010), but the Society need not clean up an entire site to capture neighbors’ interest. Greening only a corner of a large site could in fact go farther toward highlighting its potential, as doing so would show how much work remains to be done. The Horticultural Society would not need to dramatically expand the LandCare program, and PPR would receive low-cost, passive recruitment for Friends groups specifically in areas that need them most. Once a Friends group has formed, the second part of the planning phase is acquiring the land. Though in the past the city has purchased land for strategicallylocated corridor and waterfront parks and trails, this should not be required for neighborhood parks as there is a high amount of city-owned and tax-delinquent vacant land in need-critical areas (Interface Studio LLC 2014). The process for PPR taking management of Julian Abele Park was costly and inefficient; Councilwoman Anna Verna reportedly bought the ¼ acre

area for $1 million, and a new method of land transfer between the Redevelopment Authority and the Department of Public Property had to be devised before the City Council and the Mayor could authorize it as part of the park system (DeMent 2014). This process has since been standardized, but the plan for Philadelphia’s new Land Bank asserts that the Land Bank will further streamline it (Interface Studio 2014). The new Land Bank can play a direct role in creating new parks. While its principal purpose is to return vacant land to productive use (i.e. commercial or residential) the Bank’s proposed strategic plan also sets a quota of properties to be turned over to open space uses (Interface Studio 2014). To this end, the plan calls for broad collaboration among PPR, the Horticultural Society, and other organizations. For example, if the Horticultural Society greens a lot and successfully attracts a Friends group, the Land Bank can use its powers of foreclosure, lien clearance, and consolidation to quickly prepare the property for acceptance by Public Property. Endorsement by the City Council and the Mayor would then be all that is needed to officially make the land a park. In this way, the Land Bank can help the city avoid paying top dollar for new parkland. Another way the Land Bank can save the city money is by finding private buyers who will maintain land as open space. The Land Bank plan cites Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Gardens Trust as an example. Many community gardens in the city are operated on land that does not belong to the gardeners, and transfer of the garden properties to this land trust would protect them from development (Interface Studio 2014). There are numerous other potential owners of green space within the city, including larger land trusts such as the Trust for Public Land or the Natural Lands Trust, the Philadelphia Water Department, developers who promise to maintain publicly-accessible private open space in new housing or commercial developments,

or a new land trust dedicated to protecting the city’s natural areas. The Land Bank could even convey land to the School District if any available properties are adjacent to existing schools, as a separate Green2015 initiative calls for the greening of schoolyards (PennPraxis 2010). Maintaining land as green space without burdening PPR will allow the department to focus its resources on maintaining and renovating existing parks. Designing the park is the last part of the planning phase. Outside of acquisition, the design and construction phases have the “hardest” costs, since design services and materials have relatively fixed costs (DeMent 2014). Reducing costs here without directly compromising park quality is difficult. However, volunteers can help design as well. One Philadelphia example is the Community Design Collaborative, which provides pro bono services to registered nonprofits, including Friends groups. However, these designs are occasionally still too expensive to build (DeMent 2014). To defray construction costs, Friends groups that attract enough attention may seek inkind donations of construction work or materials from contractors. For relatively simple improvements like tree planting, Friends group members may even do the work themselves. The third and last phase, stewardship, includes ongoing maintenance and

programming. PPR is responsible for basic maintenance, and also runs some programming in conjunction with the Conservancy (McCabe 2014). However, since Friends groups share such heavy responsibility for these activities, one of the department’s major roles is providing technical expertise for these activities. For instance, PPR hosts an online “Philadelphia Park Friends Group Toolkit” intended to guide individuals who start groups (Philadelphia Parks & Recreation 2014). Additionally, during large events where a majority of volunteers may be inexperienced, the department sends staff to support the volunteers (McCabe 2014). Between the extremes of consulting a manual and bringing in experts, however, there is one intermediate, potentially major resource that has gone largely unexplored: peer-to-peer sharing of expertise. The Love Your Park website was originally envisioned as a place where people could share their park stories. However, the ability for members of the public to submit articles to the site was removed in 2013 (PPR 2013). Existing suggestions for site improvements include replacing the submissions model with an online discussion board, where individuals could post directly (PPR 2014). This board would be an excellent place for park volunteers to share their expertise, and for experts in the department or major nonprofits to answer common questions.

Figure 2: Campbell Square Arch. The construction of this artistic arch was supported entirely with funds raised by the Friends of Campbell Square.

The ultimate goal is the creation of a knowledge base of technical support on issues common to parks and Friends groups in Philadelphia. Just as such resources routinely save professionals’ time in other fields by allowing people to find solutions before consulting experts, this knowledge base would reduce the number of occasions on which Parks & Recreation would have to provide in-person technical support for volunteer activities.

Covering Costs In every phase of the park development process, there are opportunities to save time and money. Ultimately, however, only so much can be saved, and funding must come from somewhere. Green2015 lists over a dozen possible public and private funding sources, from the Philadelphia Water Department to the Home Depot Foundation (PennPraxis 2010). But before considering these, there are a couple of important trends to note. Generally, public funding has been more promising in recent years. Before PPR had a $51 million operating budget in 2014, it had a $50 million budget in 2013 and a $45 million budget in 2012 (City of Philadelphia 2013). The 2015 budget is closer to $52 million (City of Philadelphia 2014). In addition, the city has frequently had success applying for grants from Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to be used for park projects (Mahar 2014), and in 2013 Governor Tom Corbett called for the expansion of this program (Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 2013). If these trends continue under the next mayoral administration, total public funding will gradually increase. A second trend is the gradual reduction of capital funds spent on deferred maintenance costs, as facilities across the city are fixed and new maintenance regimes ensure that facilities do not fall into serious disrepair. A report released by the Mayor’s Task Force on City-Owned Facilities in 2013 estimated 75

Conclusion The latest Greenworks progress report stated that Philadelphia added 142 acres of green space from 2009 to 2013 (Dews, Freeh, & Wu 2014). With 358 acres to go, it is unlikely that the city will meet its 500acre goal before the plan reaches the end of its scope in 2015. This does not invalidate, however, the strategies that the city has used and could use in pursuit of this goal. Many of them will become increasingly viable as the city’s population continues to grow, and so they are better seen as long-term strategies. The city will need to use them to keep pace with growth, and to proactively acquire land for parks as cheaply as possible. Figure 3: Julian Abele Park Opening

that anywhere from $16.5 million to $33.7 million of the city’s capital budget across all departments could be saved over the next five years through the use of preventative maintenance (Mayor’s Task Force on CityOwned Facilities 2013). Given that deferred maintenance costs are PPR’s largest annual capital expense, these savings will allow the department to direct increasing sums away from maintenance and towards new projects. Such a structural change will be a more reliable source of funds than projectspecific grants. That said, park advocates should continue to pursue supplemental funds from nonprofit and government sources when a park will serve the purpose of a grant. For instance, the Conservancy has partnered with playground-focused nonprofit KaBOOM! to fund playgrounds in several parks, including Hunting Park and McPherson Square (FPC, 2014). Any park sites that are largely hardscape will likely receive support from the Water Department to be renovated with new stormwater infrastructure. The Get Healthy Philly initiative should find the goal of walkable park access particularly relevant to its focus on increasing citizens’ physical activity (PennPraxis 2010). Grants from such sources are especially 76


advantageous to Friends groups because the group may not need to go through PPR to get them. In the longer-term the city might resort to using more fundamentally budget-altering tools to raise money for parks. GreenPlan Philadelphia, an open space plan also released in 2010 but with a broader scope than Green2015, provides an overview of these tools, which include well-known techniques such as development exactions and real estate transfer taxes (Wallace Roberts & Todd 2010). Though Philadelphia currently has a real estate transfer tax, expanding it to provide funds for parks may be politically infeasible in the short term as the city continues to attract new development. A more palatable alternative might be a per-lot or per-unit impact fee on new development, as new residents will put additional strain on existing park infrastructure. A broader overall strategy for raising money for parks would be raising property taxes, but this revenue would be placed in the General Fund, and most of it would go to agencies other than PPR. Such strategies are perhaps best saved for the future, as continued competition among developers and a wealthier city overall would support their implementation.

The city’s growth will not be evenly distributed, however, and new residents will want to invest in the parks closest to them. It is significant that in Greenworks, the goal of adding 500 acres of green space was not listed as an environmental goal, but as an equity goal. Without discounting the importance of citywide destination parks, small parks in already popular neighborhoods, and grand gestures of connectivity made through trails, little progress will be made in serving Philadelphia’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods if parks are not constructed and improved within them. Inequality among Philadelphia’s parks is not at the level of New York’s, where nonprofits’ routine expenditures of tens of millions of Figure 4: Team Vick Field at Hunting Park was renovated as part of the Hunting Park Revitalization Project, which has attracted numerous donors.

dollars on signature parks led to a proposal during Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign to force the largest nonprofits to dedicate a fifth of their funding to New York’s smaller parks (Foderaro 2014). The residents of

Philadelphia and the city government can begin working now to ensure such inequality never happens in their own city, by strengthening the existing network of park groups. If the groups can look beyond

their own neighborhoods, then the mutual support they can lend to one another will ensure that the park system’s fortunes rise everywhere.

1. Universal green space access is a goal that is in some ways easier and in some ways harder to achieve than universal park access. Private green spaces with public access are included in access calculations, but public parks that are mostly paved and have little plant life are not.

Foderaro, Lisa. 35 New York City Parks to Get Makeovers. October 6, 2014. http://www. rl o o k e d - p a rk s - i n - p o o r- n e w - yo rk city-neighborhoods-to-get-makeovers. html?partner=socialflow&smid=twnytmetro&_r=0.

The Fairmount Park Conservancy. Capital Projects. January 1, 2014. http:// capitalProjects.php.

2. This includes $2 million from state sources and $6 million from private sources. Examples of major reoccurring donors include Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the William Penn Foundation.

Harnik, Peter, and Abby Martin. 2014 City Park Facts. Washington, DC: The Trust for Public Land Center for City Park Excellence, 2014.

3. The minimum size of a Green2015 opportunity site is ¼ acre, which is just about the size of Julian Abele Park.

Interface Studio LLC. Proposed Land Bank Strategic Plan & Disposition Policies. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Land Bank, 2014.


4. A bill is still needed to amend Title 15 of the Philadelphia Code to include the land in the jurisdictional area of the Fairmount Park System (City of Philadelphia 2014).

references City of Philadelphia. “An Ordinance Authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property, on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, to acquire title from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority to a certain tract of land at the southeast corner of North 16th & Seybert Streets.” Bill No. 140440. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: City of Philadelphia, June 12, 2014. City of Philadelphia. The Mayor’s Operating Budget in Brief for Fiscal Year 2014. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2013. City of Philadelphia. The Mayor’s Operating Budget in Brief for Fiscal Year 2015. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2014. DeMent, Tammy Leigh, interview by Eduardo Diaz-Etchevehere. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Associate Director of Civic Landscapes (October 9, 2014). Dews, Alex, and Sarah Wu. Greenworks Philadelphia Update: 2012 Progress Report. Philadelphia: Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, 2012. Dews, Alex, Richard Freeh, and Sarah Wu. Greenworks Philadelphia: 2014 Progress Report. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2014.

Independent Sector. Independent Sector’s Value of Volunteer Time. January 1, 2013. https://www.

Mahar, Jennifer, interview by Eduardo DiazEtchevehere. Fairmount Park Conservancy Director of Park Stewardship (October 6, 2014). Mayor’s Task Force on City-Owned Facilities. Final Report and Recommendations. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2013. McCabe, Barbara, interview by Eduardo DiazEtchevehere. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Director of Stewardship (October 1, 2014). PennPraxis. Green2015: An Action Plan for the First 500 Acres. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2010.

The Fairmount Park Conservancy. Fairmount Park Conservancy Annual Report FY2010. Philadelphia: The Fairmount Park Conservancy, 2010. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Faces of PHS: Annual Report July 1, 2012 - June 30 2013. Philadelphia: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, 2013. LandCare FAQs. January 1, 2014. http:// landcare-faqs/. Wallace Roberts & Todd. GreenPlan Philadelphia: Our Guide to Achieving Virbrant and Sustainable Urban Places. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2010. Zieper, Matthew. “The Massachusetts Community Preservation Act: A Case Study in Fostering Intergovernmental Partnership in Conservation Finance.” In Conservation Capital in the Americas, by James Jevitt, 29-48. Cambridge: Lincoln Institute for Land Use Policy, 2010.

image citations

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. TreeVitalize efforts expanding across the state. April 17, 2013. http://www. res2013/13-0417-treevitalize.aspx.

Title Image: “Open Space- Composite 1.” Digital Illustration. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Land Bank, 30 October 2014. Reproduced with permission of Interface Studio LLC.

Philadelphia City Planning Commission. The FY2014-2019 Capital Program. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2014.

Figure 1: Diaz-Etchevehere, Eduardo. “JFK Plaza.” Photograph. Self-published, 21 August 2013.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. ‘Love Your Park Week’ Website Recommendations. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2014.

Figure 2: Berryman, Beige. “Campbell Square Arch.” Photograph. Self-published, 25 November 2014. Reproduced with permission of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Philadelphia Park Friends Group Toolkit. Philadelphia: City of Philadelphia, 2014. Share Your Love. January 7, 2013. https:// Philadelphia Parks Alliance. About Us. January 1, 2013. SOSNA. Julian Abele Park. January 1, 2014.

Figure 3: DeMent, Tammy Leigh. “Julian Abele Park Opening.” Photograph. Self-published, 17 May 2013. Reproduced with permission of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Figure 4: Yee, Albert. “Hunting Park Football.” Photograph. Self Published, 19 August 2013. Reproduced with permission of the Fairmount Park Conservancy.




of South Africa’s


by Mazen Chaanine South Africa’s latest dive into infrastructure investment, a $4 billion heavy rail system dubbed “Gautrain,” hopes to ease congestion in the ever-growing Gauteng province, the nation’s economic powerhouse, home to over 12 million South Africans. But its success as a mega-project also depends on its ability to serve a broader stratum of the region’s population, which to date remains limited. Mazen Chaanine breaks down the dynamic socio-economic impacts of Gautrain as the world awaits its next mega-project south of the equator.



On June 8, 2010, the first segment of Africa’s first high-speed urban train opened to the public, linking Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport with Sandton, the city’s new commercial hub.1 This achievement occurred just in time as millions of tourists were pouring into South Africa to attend the 2010 soccer World Cup. In subsequent years, the new train, dubbed Gautrain, eventually expanded to connect the downtowns of Johannesburg and Pretoria, the nation’s capital, with roughly 80 kilometers of tracks. Overall, the project cost around USD 4 billion, including 24 brand new Bombardier Electrostars capable of reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour.2 Indeed, Gautrain has distinguished South Africa in the world, reflecting its potential to attract foreign businesses and tourists, and to stimulate its economy. According to former Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe, “It has created a sense of national pride. South Africans can achieve the impossible when we put our minds to it”.3 Nevertheless, the project did not pass without criticism. In a country with 23 percent of its population below the poverty line, and one of the highest inequality rates in the world, questions about Gautrain’s viability quickly emerged. What about the millions of people living in poor townships such as Soweto that are not served by Gautrain? What of the relatively high fares which the average South African cannot afford? Couldn’t all the construction money be put to more useful purposes?4

financial, and wholesale sectors (Statistics South Africa, 2011).5 Gauteng also boasts an extensive network of roads, highways, and rail lines. In February 2000, Gauteng’s Premier Sam Shilowa announced the need for a new rapid rail link between the region’s two major cities. After six years of continuous studies and analyses, construction of the future Gautrain finally began on September 28, 2006. As a large-scale public-private partnership, the project was overseen by the Gautrain Management Agency, which resulted from a consortium of the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Bombela Concession Company (Annual Report, 2013).6 The project featured 80 kilometers of dedicated tracks, linking not only Johannesburg with Pretoria, but also the international airport. With a total of ten stations along its route, Gautrain would serve as an express train, making stops at strategic locations only.

Introducing Gautrain

After four years of work, the first segment opened on June 8, 2010, just in time for the FIFA World Cup. It provided a connection for arriving visitors and fans between the airport and Sandton, an emerging business district north of downtown Johannesburg. On August 2, 2011, Gautrain commenced operation between Rosebank and Hatfield Stations. Less than a year later, the link to Johannesburg’s Park Station was completed, leading to the official inauguration of Gautrain on August 2, 20127 (Gautrain Management). The total bill of the project stood at nearly USD 4 billion, after a number of upward revisions from USD 1 billion (BBC, 2011).8

The province of Gauteng, in northeastern South Africa, is the nation’s economic powerhouse. With a total population of 12.3 million, it is home to Africa’s most prominent city, Johannesburg, as well as to Pretoria, the nation’s capital. Around one third of the national GDP, and a tenth of Africa’s, is generated by Gauteng province alone, specifically in the manufacturing,

Today, Gautrain runs from Johannesburg to Pretoria in just over 40 minutes, compared to around two hours by car during rush hour (BBC, 2012).9 It also takes 15 minutes to travel from the airport to Sandton, less than half the time of driving by car (Figure 4). With trains operating at more than 100 miles per hour, the ride can truly be more time-effective.

Figure 1: Map of South Africa

With regards to frequency, Gautrain operates every 12 minutes during peak hours in each direction, and every 20 minutes during off-peak periods. Furthermore, passengers benefit from some of the most advanced methods of ticketing. Rechargeable cards, known as Gold Cards, can be purchased at every station, and reloaded by either cash, credit, or debit means. For convenience, cards are automatically scanned as soon as passengers enter stations, thus eliminating the need of physically swiping them (Gautrain Management, 2014).10 South Africa is known for its severely high crime rates, particularly in the Johannesburg area, which suffers from around 18,000 homicides per year (BBC, 2010).11 Safety, therefore, represents a major concern for travelers. To address this issue, the Gautrain Management Agency equipped the entire system with 650 surveillance cameras. It also hired some 400 security guards to patrol trains and stations, which only ticket holders can access (Gautrain Management, 2014). Although in essence a train, Gautrain’s system features a network of feeder buses, which operate in and around stations, providing door-to-door access to surrounding neighborhoods. For the moment, Gautrain buses run separately, unincorporated with either Johannesburg or Pretoria’s public bus network. Nevertheless, there are plans to unify ticketing among all transit modes within Gauteng in the coming years.


Figure 3: Timeline of Gautrain’s Development

heavy price is reflected in production time forgone, increased transportation costs, and above average accident rates (Gautrain Officials stated Management, 2011).13 that Gautrain would be able to divert 20 percent of drivers onto trains, which means that it would need to carry up to 100,000 passengers daily. If it manages to reach this target, the project could indeed be viable, easing traffic along a route of high significance (Thomas, 2013).14 Figure 2: Gautrain Route

In a final attempt to lure passengers, notably automobile users, the management ensured large parking spaces around every station. These lots are tightly controlled and guarded by the system’s security team, and once again, only Gold Card holders may park in them.

Why Gautrain? Congestion The principal argument used by the proponents of Gautrain is undoubtedly traffic congestion on the highway linking Johannesburg and Pretoria, also known as the Ben Shoeman Highway. As of 2014, over 300,000 cars commute along the Johannesburg-Pretoria corridor on a normal week day, and estimates predict a yearly growth rate of around 7 percent. It takes up to two hours to travel along the 55 kilometer stretch of road during rush hour. In addition, it is believed that traffic jams cost Gauteng’s economy around USD 30 million annually. This 80


Economic Development Supporters of Gautrain have also argued that it would have positive social impacts in the region. Since 1990, South Africa’s grew 44 percent, reaching 51 million people by 2012. Similarly, its GDP skyrocketed by almost 240 percent within the same timeframe, standing currently at USD 384 billion (World Bank, 2012).15 Yet for the average South African, the picture is not as hopeful. Indeed, according to David Thomas from Mount Allison University, “economic growth and vast wealth in the province have not resulted in an equitable distribution of resources for all citizens. Poverty, inequality, and unemployment remain serious challenges in Gauteng. Official unemployment is roughly 22 percent in the province, while one-third

of its citizens live below the poverty line” (2013). Gautrain’s development promised to address these issues by enhancing job creation, promoting black empowerment where the racial divide is also an economic one, and offering employment primarily to disadvantaged groups (Thomas, 2013).16 Rail transit also offers greater confidence to private sector investors, since it demonstrates the government’s commitment to the chosen corridor, increasing the likelihood that private investment will follow suit (Walmsley & Perrett, 1992).17

Sustainability Because its tracks would be entirely electrified, the project is sustainable and environmentally-friendly, contributing to a decrease in CO2 emissions. Gautrain’s management also cites the “strengthening of developing nodes in Gauteng”, the “promotion of urban restructuring and redevelopment”, and the “facilitation of the revitalization of the Johannesburg and Pretoria central business districts” (Gautrain Management, 2011). In fact, according to economist Chris Hart, economic activity is bound to grow around stations, which may ultimately affect land use and galvanize new developments (Thomas, 2013).

Figure 4: Trip Duration Comparison Departure


Transportation Mode

Trip Duration (At Peak)

Johannesburg Station

Pretoria Station


120 minutes


40 minutes


30 minutes


15 minutes

Johannesburg Airport

Sandton Station

Impacts of Gautrain Ridership In its initial study, the Gautrain Management Agency predicted a daily ridership of around 100,000 passengers. In addition, “an expected annual growth of 4.8 percent [would] result in more than 120,000 passengers per day by 2010” (Gautrain Management, 2014). But reality proved quite different. In the 2011/2012 financial year, a total of 6.6 million passengers boarded the train, the equivalent of around 18,000 per day (Figures 5 & 6). That being said, significant improvements took place in the 2012/2013 financial year, which served 11 million passengers or 30,000 per day, a 65 percent jump from the previous period (Annual Report, 2013).18 Now, in a revised statement, the management predicts it will reach the 100,000 target by 2016 (Engineering News, 2013).19 As a first step in that direction, the recent tolling scheme on the Ben Shoeman Highway is expected to add between 5,000 and 7,000 daily passengers to Gautrain system (Engineering News, 2013).

Employment In addition to impacting transit, Gautrain triggered noticeable effects on the job Figure 7: Satellite Image of Centurion Station

Figure 5: Gautrain Ridership – 2011/2012

Figure 6: Gautrain Ridership – 2012/2013

market. The Bombela Concession Company, which oversees construction and operations, created an estimated 120,000 jobs, of which 35,000 were local and direct (Gautrain Management, 2013). Moreover, 86 percent of local jobs were attributed to Historically Disadvantaged Groups (HDGs), which largely include South Africa’s black population. As part of an initiative to empower black companies, close

to USD 500 million were sub-contracted to such entities. A total of 390 of these have so far benefited from this initiative. Similarly, USD 250 million went to 190 new black entities. More than 320 Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises, received up to USD 120 million worth of sub-contracts, compared to an initial obligation of USD 30 million (Gautrain Management, 2013). Another objective covered by Gautrain’s management focused on skill development. The most notable scheme targeted women, who received training through a mentoring program before being offered employment. More than 120 women were consequently hired. In a transfer of skills initiatives, seventeen employees of Bombardier South Africa were sent to Derby in the United Kingdom where the project’s rail cars were manufactured. After working closely on the assembly of 15 cars, they returned home and assembled the 81 remaining cars at mirror plants in South Africa (Thomas, 2013). Finally, unskilled and semi-skilled staff attended close to 16,000 training courses to improve their skill set, while management staff members participated in 3,500 until 2013 (Annual Report, 2013). 81

Land Use Rapid rail is drawing commercial developers’ attention to stations areas, notably Rosebank, Sandton, and Midrand. Today, there are close to 200,000 square meters of new developments either in the planning phase or under construction in the corridor (SA Commercial Property News, 2014).20 Undoubtedly, Gautrain has spurred overall economic activity and development in the province of Gauteng (Thomas, 2013). It has enhanced the creation of jobs in an area where unemployment is rampant and has encouraged real estate development around its stations, leading to potential transit-oriented developments.

Limitations & Criticism Social Inequality Overwhelmingly, critics argue that the new train has exacerbated income inequality, prioritizing the wealthy and isolating the poor. South African cities are spatially divided between the wealthy white suburbs and the poorer black townships, a legacy of apartheid planning. According to Professor Janis Van Der Westhuizen from the University of Stellenbosch, around 90 percent of whites in the country own cars and use them as their primary mode of transport, compared to 11 percent for blacks who represent 80 percent of the population

(2007).21 As a result, the vast majority of South Africans today are forced to rely on either informal public transportation, privately owned minibuses, or the existing commuter train known as Metrorail. The latter mostly serves the townships, carrying up to two million passengers every day (BBC, 2011).22 It continues to suffer from overcrowding, abrupt cancellations, and onboard crime. Overall, “for both the poor and working classes, the costs of public transport often consume a considerably larger proportion of income than for the middle class, who generally have access to private cars” (Van Der Westhuizen, 2007). Yet many contend that Gautrain failed to address these issues in any way. According to David Thomas, “the route and stations of Gautrain run along regions of the province that primarily serve ‘professional’ individuals. The project was explicitly designed to promote public transportation for an elite class of citizens living in geographically distinct areas from the poor majority” (2013). This claim is further supported by Janis Van Der Westhuizen who notes that “nearly all Gautrain stations are located in up-market suburbs with very little, if any connections to townships” (2007). This reality inevitably led to a skewed racial composition of Gautrain passengers, where almost half are white as opposed to a third being black (Figure 8). Inequality in transit modes is also reflected in funding and transit fares between

Figure 9: Fare Comparison from Johannesburg to Pretoria Mode

Fare (USD)

Trip Duration (At Peak)



40 minutes

Metrorail Business Express


90 minutes

Metrorail Regular





120 minutes

Figure 10: Cost Comparison of Alternatives Transportation Modes (USD Millions) Mode







Capital Cost







Annual Operating Costs









Figure 8 : Gautrain Passengers Ethnic Composition – 2012/2013

Gautrain and Metrorail. In fact, in the 2004-2005 budget, the government allocated approximately USD 750 million to all public transit modes which include trains, buses and taxis, across the entire country. In contrast, Gautrain alone was to receive a total of USD 3-4 billion over a five year period beginning in 2005 (Van Der Westhuizen, 2007). In terms of fares, a one way trip from Johannesburg to Pretoria on Gautrain costs significantly more than the Metrorail, and requires half the time. As Figure 9 shows, Gautrain fares are priced at USD 4, as opposed to 85 cents for Metrorail. It comes as no surprise then that poor South Africans are continuously forced to rely on mediocre public transportation, spending hours on the road on a daily basis in order to get to work (Thomas, 2013).

Alternatives Because of Gautrain’s staggering price tag which increased consistently since construction began, opponents believed that cheaper, more inclusive alternatives could have been explored (BBC, 2011). Professor Romano Del Mistro from the University of Cape Town conducted a costbenefit analysis for an alternative Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line along the N1 and M1 freeways linking Johannesburg and Pretoria. His proposal called for the development of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, along which fifty high-quality and air-conditioned

buses would run. These would be able to travel at speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, and would cost approximately USD 140,000 each. In addition, the system would have a frequency rate of 5 minutes during peak hours, and 15 minutes for offpeak periods. Finally, just like Gautrain, a network of feeder buses would support the BRT at each of its stations (Del Mistro, 2001).23 Del Mistro’s analysis is notable because it shows that both capital and operating costs are greater for heavy rail than for BRT, provided that the number of passengers per hour and per direction is less than 10,000 (Figure 10). Anything above that value results in higher operating costs for BRT, making rail more attractive. For the moment, Gautrain transports close to 1,700 per hour, which raises questions about its feasibility.24 Another alternative consisted of renovating the existing Metrorail network, which is far more extensive than Gautrain’s, more inclusionary, and busier in terms of ridership. According to Van der Westhuizen, “possibilities for integration with existing infrastructure seemed to be underestimated” (2007). For instance, the international airport terminal is one kilometer away from the Isando Metrorail Station, which provides a direct connection to both Johannesburg and Pretoria central business districts, as well as to Soweto Township. In this particular case, a link between the airport and Isando station could have been constructed. Moreover, “a private railway siding exists between Isando station and Modderfontein’s AECI factory covering a distance of 8 [kilometers], nearly halfway to Sandton” (Van der Westhuizen, 2007). This could have been useful for including Sandton in the extended Metrorail network.

country’s image as a leading African nation. While this assessment is not necessarily flawed, it certainly contributes to the alienation of poorer classes. Expensive technological projects do bolster a nation’s prestige, but may occur to the detriment of the poor. When asked about this last statement, Janis Van Der Westhuizen, who initially brought up the argument in one of his articles, stated: “It depends in whose interests the symbolism is supposed to serve. Is it to signal progress and modernity as a means to lure capital? [It] seems to me […] as a basis for affirming an identity. Whether this serves the material interests of ordinary people, and especially the poor, [remains] less clear to me” (Interview, 2014).

What are they expected to achieve? Which is more important, attracting foreign capital or promoting equity? In which instances do we favor the former over the latter?


Regardless of what side one chooses to be on, transportation issues in Gauteng are far from being resolved, and there remains an urgent need to address them. Whether by investing in Bus Rapid Transit or renovating Metrorail services, the government should seriously consider alternative options in order to reach out to the nation’s working class. In addition, a gradual integration of Gautrain with existing transit must be taken into serious consideration.

The debate on Gautrain’s impacts requires an understanding of the tradeoff between the desire to reduce road congestion and accommodate growth, and the need to help the poor and sustain disadvantaged groups. This applies to other forms of transportation investments around the world as well. Who should they target?

Gautrain is now entering its fourth year of operation. While there continues to be mixed feelings about its impacts on South Africa’s socio-economic landscape, official figures of ridership are showing moderate signs of growth. That being said, the question of social inequality remains at the heart of the debate regarding Gautrain’s very existence. When asked whether the project has exacerbated income inequality in Gauteng province, Janis Van Der Westhuizen claimed that “if it has not […], it has remained the same” (Interview, 2014).

Figure 11: Satellite Image of Isando Station

Political Symbolism Some critics believe that overall, Gautrain is nothing more than a political symbol, a tool elite South Africans use to enhance the 83



1. “Welcome aboard Gautrain, Africa’s first highspeed urban train”, The Guardian, 06/08/2010.

Bouwer, Gerhardt. “Regional Economic Growth” Accessed March 8, 2015. growth/16%20Regional%20estimates.pdf

2. – Gautrain’s official website. 3. “Welcome aboard Gautrain, Africa’s first highspeed urban train”, The Guardian, 06/08/2010. 4. “High-speed train gives South Africa a lift”, The Lost Angeles Times, 06/09/2010. 5. Statistics South Africa, ‘Regional Economic Growth’ report. 6. Gautrain Management Agency 2013 Annual Report 30 August 2013. http://gma.gautrain. pdf accessed March 8, 2015. 34 7. – Gautrain’s official website. 8. “South Africa Gautrain opens JohannesburgPretoria route”, BBC News, 08/02/2011. 9. “South Africa Gautrain opens JohannesburgPretoria route”, BBC News, 08/02/2012. 10. – Gautrain’s official website. 11. “How dangerous is South Africa?”, BBC News, 05/17/2010. 12. – Gautrain’s official website. 13. – Gautrain’s official website. 14. Gautrain project in South Africa: a cautionary tale, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, David P. Thomas, 2013, p. 80. 15. Country Data, the World Bank, 2012. 16. Gautrain project in South Africa: a cautionary tale, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, David P. Thomas, 2013, p. 79 17. Alternative Road Based Public Transport Between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Romano Del Mistro (2001), p. 13. 18. Gautrain 2013 Annual Report, p. 47. 19. “Gautrain passenger numbers tick up, but below initial estimates”, Engineering News, 02/08/2013. 20. “Gautrain and traffic congestion a fillip for Joburg’s Northern office nodes”, SA Commercial Property News, 01/31/2014. 21. Glitz, Glamour and Gautrain: Mega-Projects as Political Symbols, Janis Van Der Westhuizen, 2007. 22. “South Africa Gautrain opens JohannesburgPretoria route”, BBC News, 08/02/2011. 23. Alternative Road Based Public Transport Between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Romano Del Mistro (2001), p. 4. 24. Personal computation, using 11,002,502 passengers for 2012/2013 and 18 hours of operation per day (Source: Gautrain).



Thomas, David P. “The Gautrain Project in South Africa: A Cautionary Tale.” Journal of Contemporary African Studies 31, no. 1 (2013): 77-94. Del Mistro, Romano and Louis Roodt. “Alternative Road Based Public Transport Between Johannesburg and Pretoria.” Paper presented at the 20th South African Transport Conference, South Africa, 16-20 July 2001 Dixon, Robyn. “High-speed Train Gives South Africa a Lift.” Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2010. Accessed March 8, 2015. http:// la-fg-south-africa-underground-20100609. Rohrer, Finlo. “How Dangerous Is South Africa?” BBC News Magazine, May 17, 2010. Accessed March 8, 2015. http:// Smith, David. “Welcome aboard the Gautrain, Africa’s First High-speed Urban Train.” The Guardian, June 8, 2010. Accessed March 8, 2015. http://www.theguardian. com/world/2010/jun/08/gautrain-africahigh-speed-train. Venter, Irma. “Gautrain Passenger Numbers Tick Up, but below Initial Estimates.” Engineering News. February 8, 2013. Accessed March 8, 2015. http:// gautrain-2013-01-29. Westhuizen, Janis Van Der. “Glitz, Glamour and the Gautrain: Mega-Projects as Political Symbols.” Politikon 34, no. 3 (2008): 33351. Accessed March 8, 2015. http://dx.doi. org/10.1080/02589340801962650. “South Africa Gautrain Opens JohannesburgPretoria Route.” BBC News, Africa, August 2, 2011. Accessed March 8, 2015. h t t p : / / w w w. b b c . c o m / n e w s / w o rl d africa-14371113. “Gautrain and Traffic Congestion a Fillip for Joburg’s Northern Office Nodes.” - SA Commercial Property News. January 31, 2014. Accessed March 8, 2015. http://www.

Gautrain Management Agency 2013 Annual Report 30 August 2013. http://gma. g accessed March 8, 2015 Official Website of the Gautrain Management Agency World Development Indicators, The World Bank

image citations Title Image: Dal Silva, Greg. “Gautrain”. Self-published, 2010. https://gregdasilva. (Accessed on March 1, 2015) Figure 1: From Wikimedia Commons. http:// Africa_location_map.svg (Accessed March 1, 2015) Figure 2: From Wikimedia Commons. File:Gautrain_map_on_OSM_base.svg (Accessed on March 1 , 2015) Figure 3: Chaanine, Mazen Tony. “Timeline of Gautrain’s Development”. Selfpublished, February 23, 2015. Figure 4: BBC News, 2012. Figure 5: Gautrain. Figure 6: Gautrain. Figure 7: From Google Earth (Dated January 20, 2015). Figure 8: Gautrain. Figure 9: Gautrain; Figure 10: Romano Del Mistro, 2001. Figure 11: From Google Earth (Dated January 20, 2015). Alterations made by Mazen Chaanine.

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