Panorama 2017

Page 1


volume 25 // spring 2017

cover image. Source: Mariel Kirschen, 2016.



Department of City and Regional Planning Annual Student Journal School of Design University of Pennsylvania

LETTER FROM THE CHAIR – Toward a Panoramic Paradigm of Planning


or the past eight years, it has been my great pleasure as PennPlanning department chair to watch as a distinguished and talented group of young people have, entirely on their own, put together this remarkable volume. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines panorama as “an unobstructed or complete view of an area in every direction,” and I think that is exactly what this wonderful publication does. Every year, it takes a fresh and knowing look at the world of cities, at the built and natural environments, and at how professionals use science and craft to create a better future on behalf of the public good. The last eight years have seen momentous changes across the world. After generations of disinvestment, they have seen American cities become places of choice— so much so that instead of disinvestment, we now worry about gentrification. They have seen China use urbanization to create a prosperous middle class. They have seen our assumption that race relations in America were getting inexorably better questioned by events in Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, and Baton Rouge. They have seen the rest of the world start to come to grips with the reality of climate change while here in America, we continue to leave our heads in the sand. They have seen the occurrence of the greatest threat to capitalism since the Great Depression, and in the aftermath of a painfully-slow recovery, have witnessed those left behind strike back, first in the United Kingdom with Brexit, and now in the U.S., with the election of President Donald Trump. Above all, they have seen the disruption of the view that progress is inexorable, and that city planning—that quintessential Enlightenment project—might somehow be able to favorably direct the forces of change. We are now in a new era. One where the confluence of social media, resurgent nationalism, and continual technological disruption are constantly rewriting the rules of governance and planning. Together, these disruptive forces creating a new paradigm of urban planning. One where progressive ideas are emanating not from the top down, but from an informed grass roots. One where local planners are increasingly being called upon to balance the excesses of global gentrification with the harshness of slum living. One where necessary infrastructure investments are increasingly being privatized, and where the whole notion of the public good is constantly up for grabs. One where popular culture is being increasingly globalized but governance is ever more fragmented. As always, our young people are ahead of the curve. Look at the contents of this issue of Panorama and contrast it with the Panorama of a decade ago. This year’s version is more global and multi-disciplinary in its outlook. It mixes urbanism with ecology, and preservation with capitalism. It looks at cities from a macro systems view while also focusing on the power of local interventions. It acknowledges that cities are as messy

as they are essential, and that successful city planners must therefore be able to mix traditional spatial development planning approaches with local mobilization around issues of place and equity, and with the ability to leverage global investment capital and local social capital. This is the new “and-based” paradigm of city planning. It is one of expanded technical skills, great political savvy, and a critical ability to see the world as it is in all directions. It is the paradigm of panorama. PennPlanners have always led the way, and I’m proud to say that they are doing so once again.

John D. Landis Crossways Professor and Department Chair

Professor Landis teaches Planning Theory, Introduction to Property Development, Progressive Development, and Land Use Modeling. Professor Landis’ research interests span a variety of urban development topics; his recent research and publications focus on growth management, infill housing, and the geography of urban employment centers. Together with several generations of Ph.D. students, Prof. Landis developed the California Urban Futures series of urban growth models. He is currently engaged in a National Science Foundation-funded project to model, forecast, and develop alternative spatial scenarios of U.S. population and employment patterns and their impacts on travel demand, habitat loss, and water use through 2050.



elcome to Panorama, PennDesign’s City and Regional Planning journal. Panorama is a student-run publication, collecting the best of students’ work from around the School of Design. You’ll notice that the articles this year range in size, scope, and location. This is purposeful. We believe that Panorama should reflect the work of PennDesign students from around the world, and the cities that influence our daily lives. In this edition, you’ll recognize themes of resiliency and community tied into stories of planning globally and locally. You’ll travel to San Diego and Rotterdam to look at the history of planning with water. You’ll learn about the great planning innovations of past and present: Mexico City’s 19th century Zócalo, racial integration in 20th century suburban Chicago, and new downtowns in 21st century Kuala Lumpur. The 25th edition of Panorama is an ode to cities of all shapes and sizes, to ensure that we never lose sight of what our work here at PennDesign means for the world. We look forward to sharing the 2017 Panorama journal with you. Yours, The Panorama Editors

(Left to Right) Robbie Romo, Junior Graphics Editor Wenhao Wu, Senior Graphics Editor Jessica Arias, Senior Copy Editor

photo credit: Yidi Xu.

Sandy Klanfer, Senior Copy Editor Annie Streetman, Junior Copy Editor Sarah Halle, Junior Copy Editor

Jessica Laurel Arias is a dual-degree student in the City and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture programs. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sculpture at the University of Florida and graduate studies in Urban Design at la Universidad Tadeo Lozano. Her interests include community building through public art, participatory planning, eating donuts at Reading Terminal Market, and running along the Schuylkill. Sarah Halle is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Community and Economic Development. She is from the northwest corner of Connecticut and spent the last five years in New York City. Sarah enjoys running, TV, and napping — and one day she’ll figure out how to do all three at the same time. Sandy Klanfer is a second-year in the Master of City Planning program, with a concentration in Transportation. Originally from Stamford, Connecticut, Sandy has a degree in sociology from Amherst College and a background in Communications. Professionally, Sandy enjoys transportation policy, and particularly its impact on social equity. Outside the classroom, Sandy enjoys board games, television, and craft beer. Robbie Romo is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Urban Design. Originally from Chicago, he has called Washington, D.C. home for the last six years. Robbie is passionate about how cities are designed for the pedestrian and how cities can better move their citizens, without sacrificing the urban experience. Robbie loves running, taking photos, and might be addicted to Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Annie Streetman is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Land Use and Environmental Planning. Annie combines her love of archaeology and historical city function with modern urban structure and land use. When she’s not studying, you can find Annie rowing on the Schuylkill or trying new restaurants in Philly.

Wenhao Wu is a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in Urban Design. He brings a multi-faceted perspective to Panorama. He loves linking the right-brain with its left counterpart, and everything related to the form and functions of cities. He comes from Changsha, China and wants to become a truly global citizen.

AUTHORS Annie Streetman is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Land Use and Environmental Planning. Annie combines her love of archaeology and historical city function with modern urban structure and land use. When she’s not studying, you can find Annie rowing on the Schuylkill or trying new restaurants in Philly.

Katherine Randall is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation student. Her concentration is Public-Private Development, and she is passionate about affordable housing, public policy, and political engagement. Before Penn, she studied Art History at Bowdoin College and graduated in 2016.

Dallas Teng is a senior at Bryn Mawr College and a first year submatriculant to the Master of City and Regional Planning program. Straddling humanities and science, she takes interest in applying both creative design and quantitative analysis to solving urban issues. Besides traveling and observing a myriad of cities, she is also a music addict and enjoys food and drinks with friends.

Alejandra Ramos is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in Public Private Development. She majored in Architecture and minored in Latin American Studies at Columbia University. A transplant of Houston, she has spent seven years on the East Coast learning about new urban environments, and is interested in a variety of topics including citizenship, urban design, and housing. She would like to dedicate her first publication to her grandfathers, both lovers of literature.

Joanna Joye is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a focus in community economic development. She is interested in how planning can be a tool for breaking down economic and social barriers to create more equitable cities. She’s from Saint Louis (and she’s proud) but has affectionately called Philly home since 2012. Joanna enjoys running while listing to Lady Gaga, hunting down street art, and day-dreaming about adopting a pit bull.

Madeleine Helmer is a dual-degree Master of City and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation student, with a concentration in Land Use and Environmental Planning. Her research focuses on how communities are preparing for climate change, and the integration of natural and cultural heritage in the adaptation planning process.

Durban, South Africa


The Competitive Capital: Profile of Cardiff, UK


Eastern State Penitentiary and Fairmount


Reappropriation of Space in Mexico City During the Pofiriato


The Oak Park Integration Story


Planning for Retreat


Planning for a Viable Water Supply in San Diego


Rotterdam Renewed


Ecological Urbanism


Assessing Kuala Lumpur’s Vision 2020


Lyndon DeSalvo is a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a concentration in Land Use and Environmental Planning. Prior to graduate school, he worked for the Nature Conservancy in Vermont, where he spent half his days in the woods and the other half in the office with his dog Watson. He is excited about further integrating natural solutions into today’s cities for the benefit of both people and the environment.

Carrie Sauer studies all modes of transportation, but she has her favorites. She is first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student with a Certificate in Urban Redevelopment and ambitions to rethink the design and use of streets. Carrie moved from a hamlet with 190 residents to a city of 8 million before finding a happy medium in Philadelphia, where you can find her exploring parks, piers, and pop-up gardens with her beagle, Colby.

Brett Davis is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student from New Orleans. In his first semester, Davis helped establish the Philadelphia Service Cooperative, a housing organization devoted to service. Currently, he is working on a Sustainability Plan for Scranton, PA, in fulfillment of Workshop. Davis concentrates in Community and Economic Development.

Henry Felsman is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student who spent the past few years working in South Korea and hightailing around Asia before finding his feet at Penn. He is most interested in community development, international development, and the relationship between technology and jobs. His favorite character in planning history is Patrick Geddes.

Super Green Blocks

Kathleen Hanley is a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student, concentrating in Urban Design. Originally from Northern California, she is too young to have much else to include in this bio.

The Chester Avenue Commercial Corridor

Casey Ross is a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student focusing on Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure and Community Economic Development. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, her interests focus on the intersection of transportation and urban design as drivers of economic equity in the urban context. She always reads the plaque.



Women on Wheels


Mariel Kirschen grew up and lives in the borough of Narberth, a railroad suburb outside of Philadelphia. She is a soon-to-be graduate of the Master of City and Regional Planning program who hopes to help spread mobility through sustainable transportation systems to all citizens of the Earth.

cover image. Source: Mariel Kirschen, 2016.

Moses Mabhida Stadium Built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Moses Mabhida Stadium is an example of recent large-scale investments in sports and tourism infrastructure in the city of Durban.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA A Case Study in the Struggle for Growth vs. Development

Annie Streetman


s the world becomes more globalized, cities must carve out and compete for distinct roles in an international setting. South African cities are in a unique position moving into the 21st century, as they try to emerge as major forces in this global setting while also transforming their fundamental social structures following decades of apartheid. The ability of these cities to participate on a global scale depends on simultaneous urban growth and largescale human development – goals that are not necessarily compatible (Hannan and Sutherland, 2015). Durban presents a particularly interesting case study of growth and development patterns due to its “’perfect storm’ of population growth, escalating adaptation needs and substantial development deficits created by a shortage of human and financial resources, increasing levels of informality, poor governance, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, poverty and growing inequality” (Roberts and O’Donoghue, 2013). As South Africa’s busiest port and a major center for manufacturing, recreation, and tourism, Durban offers significant opportunities for economic growth. Simultaneously, however, a large portion of Durban’s residents can be described as living in poverty (almost 42 percent in 2009), and spatial patterns are largely

reminiscent of apartheid-era exclusionary practices (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). Compounding these issues is the city’s exposure to the impacts of climate change, and particularly the threats posed to vulnerable informal settlements. It is important to analyze recent planning and policy efforts in order to understand why human development gains might be so difficult to achieve in this setting and how Durban and cities facing similar “perfect storms” might proceed going forward.

A Brief Context and History The city of Durban, consolidated in 2000 into what is now known administratively as the eThekwini Municipality, is located on the eastern coast of South Africa in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The eThekwini Municipality and Durban Metropolitan Area share the same boundaries and can be used interchangeably. Thirty-five kilometers of coastline provide access to the Indian Ocean, and the city’s temperate, subtropical climate draws tourists to the area. Durban is located within the MaputoPondoland-Albany global biodiversity hotspot, which indicates high levels of habitat loss in areas with species that do not occur naturally anywhere else (Roberts and O’Donoghue, 2013).

Panorama 2017 Durban’s history has been characterized by racial prejudice and discrimination. The area was formally established as a settlement in the mid1800s around a growing port and a developing industry in sugar farming. The indigenous Zulu population proved unwilling to serve in poorly paid positions to these early settlers who instead brought in Indian indentured laborers to work the sugar farms. Once their period of indenture ended, many of these laborers settled in the area, contributing to the large Indian population in the city today. Economically valuable for its sugar and food-processing industries and access to transportation, the city grew rapidly. More recently, petrochemical companies

have also gained a foothold in the area to take advantage of exceptional port access (Marx and Charlton, 2003). During the 20th century, apartheid policies restricted use of the urban area to the White population only, except for those Africans necessary to service jobs within White households. Apartheid policies were implemented to limit contact between different racial groups, and they resulted in severe poverty for much of the African population who did not have access to the city’s resources. Low wages and a lack of access to power for the African and Indian populations ensured a continuation of these patterns until the abolition of apartheid and the first democratic elections in 1994 (Marx and Charlton, 2003). During

Durban is located on South Africa’s eastern coast and contains 35 kilometers of coastline along the Indian Ocean.


figure 1. Context Map

Annie Streetman

figure 2. Durban’s Urban Fabric

With a population of more than three million, Durban is the second largest city in South Africa.

the mid-1980s, at the height of apartheid’s influence, segregation between the African and White populations was close to perfect with an index of dissimilarity of 0.96 (Schensul, 2008). The result of these policies is a rigid social structure with deeply entrenched roots. Despite the end of apartheid in the mid-1990s and policies intended to encourage desegregation, Durban has remained divided by race and class. Conditions for the majority of Africans in Durban remain bleak. In 1996, in the first post-apartheid census, the index of dissimilarity remained exceptionally high at 0.93. By 2001, this number had lessened, but only slightly, to 0.91, remaining among the highest in the world. Studies suggest that polarization and inequality have actually increased in Durban since the end of the apartheid era (Schensul and Heller, 2010). The result of this extreme segregation and the class discrepancies that accompany it is a city where the conditions of both developed and developing countries are

located in close spatial proximity to each other (Hannan and Sutherland, 2015). This presents an unusual set of challenges for the city to grow its economy and compete on a global scale, but also respond to and improve the human development crisis that has characterized the past century.

Growth Patterns and Forces Durban’s population in 2011 was 3.4 million, which represents approximately one third of the population of the KwaZuluNatal province and almost seven percent of South Africa’s population. This makes it the second largest city behind Johannesburg (Marx and Charlton, 2003). Population growth has slowed in recent years, with the average annual population growth between 2001 and 2011 falling to 1.1 percent from 2.4 percent between 1996 and 2001 (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). Growth is still occurring, however,


Panorama 2017 largely due to high in-migration rates from rural areas. With a growth rate of 1.1 percent, the 2013 eThekwini City Density Strategy predicts an additional 775,000 people by 2030, pushing the population to 4.4 million. The estimate acknowledges that this growth rate may be too low based on global urbanization trends: “Cities across the world now accommodate 3.5 billion people or fifty percent of the worlds’ population. By 2050 they will accommodate 6.4 billion people or over 70% of the world’s population” (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). While Durban’s rate of population growth appears to be slowing, it may be unreasonable to expect it to stay that way. This pattern of slow growth with the potential for drastic increases largely characterizes the economic situation in Durban as well. Originally settled as a port city and a center for production, manufacturing industries centered around the port grew rapidly during the 20th century, and tourism developed as a significant source of income. This economic growth has decelerated in the past few decades and Durban has gone from South Africa’s fastest growing metropolitan area in the 1960s and 1970s to its slowest from the 1980s onward (Marx and Charlton, 2003). The manufacturing industry, while diverse, produces few goods that are “considered sufficiently well developed to compete in global markets” (Marx and Charlton, 2003). Since 2008, imports have grown at a faster rate than exports (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). Durban remains, however, a significant economic force within the country. It is South Africa’s second largest economic center and is home to the country’s busiest seaport. With such prominent economic resources, it provides 10 percent of all employment opportunities in South Africa (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). The city boasts a major international airport, global conferencing and sporting facilities, and serves as a booming tourist destination.


A number of issues, however, have impacted Durban’s recent economic stagnation and threaten to continue their effects going forward. Manufacturing growth averaged one percent per year during the 1990s, and most of that was “jobless” growth (Marx and Charlton, 2003). In the first decades of the 21st century, Durban’s economy has been specifically hurt by poor infrastructure, a consistently high unemployment rate, a need for greater diversity in the economy, a declining resource base, low foreign direct investment (FDI) and a high cost of doing business (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). The eThekwini Municipality, however, in the 2016-2017 Spatial Development Framework, describes their economy as “poised for steady economic growth” (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). Recent mega-projects such as the construction of the Moses Mabhida Stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the redevelopment of the Point Waterfront are intended to catapult the city into the global consciousness. The city will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games with the intention of reinforcing the city’s growing reputation as an international sports center. Since global attention would allow Durban to showcase its growth and development initiatives, the municipality views Durban’s presence on a global stage as a driver of urban improvements.

Development Patterns and Forces While these goals have the potential to increase economic growth for the city, their impact on human development requires careful analysis. In 1996, 39 percent of Durban’s population lived below the poverty line; by 2004, this had increased to 44 percent. Thirty-four percent of Durban’s population was unemployed in 2006 compared to 20 percent in Johannesburg and 21 percent in Cape Town (Maharaj and

Annie Streetman

figure 3. Durban’s Extensive Coastline

Durban’s temperate climate and location along the Indian Ocean have made it a center for recreation and tourism.

Khan, 2013). In 1996, the Gini coefficient for Durban was 0.56; by 2004 it had increased to 0.61. Despite the absence of formal apartheid policies, inequality and racial segregation remain shockingly high. Exclusively Black areas of Durban compete on an international level for the lowest Human Development Index (HDI), whereas the HDI for primarily White areas competes with that of California (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). Between 1998 and 2005, 50 percent of households were unable to pay for health care, water, shelter, electricity or education (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). These trends illustrate that quality of life for the poor in Durban is actually decreasing. The majority of residents are unable to reap the benefits of economic improvements because they remain so isolated from the city center. The 2005/2006 Integrated Development Review identified the top challenges facing the city of Durban, including poor access to basic household services, high levels of poverty, low levels of literacy and skills development, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and exposure to an unacceptably high level of

crime. It went on to credit many of these issues to unsustainable development practices and an inefficient, inward-looking government (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). Motivated by business interests, Durban is advocating for growth through expanded tourism infrastructure and by branding itself as an international sports hub. The majority of the population, however, is excluded from the benefits of these large-scale projects due to the cost of entry and access to the location. Rather, benefits for these projects are limited to a select few. Additionally, these projects divert money away from other, arguably more pressing needs, such as providing basic services to the substantial segment of the population below the poverty line and redistributing the township structure in order to better facilitate physical and economic mobility. In the case of the new stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the pre-existing Kings Park Stadium met 93 percent of FIFA’s requirements, indicating that an entirely new stadium may not have been necessary. This raises the


Panorama 2017

Kings Park Stadium met 93 percent of FIFA’s requirements. Nevertheless, a new stadium was constructed nearby for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

question of whether or not these largescale investments are the best allocation of funds and are in the best interests of the city.

Spatial Development Patterns Durban has largely maintained the segregated physical structure of its apartheid past. Apartheid cities were designed and implemented to exclude Africans from the resources of the city. This was achieved through a set of concentric circles around the core. The pattern produces a settlement pattern where, in contrast to most developed cities, densities are much higher on the periphery than they are at the city’s core. This is the result of a low-density White area in the city center with Africans pushed to highdensity townships at the fringes. Despite the collapse of apartheid governance and government initiatives to transform this spatial configuration,


Durban’s settlement patterns have remained largely static. Schensul (2008) notes that while there are some small changes in distribution between the 1996 and 2001 censuses, overall, the Durban population is strictly segmented into three categories separated by race and income: a core, primarily White community; suburban areas composed of Whites and Indians; and poor, informal townships at the periphery where 75 percent of the Africans in Durban live. It is worth noting, however, that the core area has undergone some racial diversification. With the end of apartheid, significant White flight from the core to other areas within South Africa or elsewhere in the globe occurred and Africans and Indians with access to resources or connections to political power were able to move to Durban’s core. This has not, however, resulted in any change to income segregation in the area. The people who are able to move into the core are wealthy Africans and Indians who have the power to change their situation. For

figure 4. View of Kings Park Stadium from the top of Moses Mabhida Stadium

Annie Streetman the vast majority of Durban’s African poor, the option for mobility does not exist. This lack of mobility is a crucial issue for poor communities because, while the core is economically vibrant and efforts are being made to accelerate its growth, the periphery is not. Economic activity in the eThekwini Municipality is largely isolated in the City Center, the South Basin, the Port of Durban, and the Pinetown and New Germany areas (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). Access to core markets is a crucial prerequisite for spatial transformation away from the starkly segregated apartheid pattern of settlement (Schensul, 2008). An additional spatial challenge that Durban faces is that 68 percent of the municipality is described as rural, and much of this land falls under the ownership of the Ingonyama Trust Board and Traditional Authorities. This means that the municipality does not have control over the land management of these areas, resulting in haphazard land allocation and a lack of regulation. This is especially problematic in areas that are urbanizing rapidly, with some densities approaching 30 dwelling units per hectare (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). Without planning intervention, these urbanizing areas lack the additional services necessary to support higher densities. Additionally, a lack of regulation has led to unmitigated sprawl and fragmentation in many areas, which threatens the efficiency and sustainability of the city.

Effects on Physical and Natural Environment and Sense of Place A high value is placed on Durban’s location along the Indian Ocean and the opportunities for recreation and tourism that it provides. As a manufacturing center, the environment has often fallen victim to abuse by large companies. This includes

pollution from oil refineries, wastewater treatment, toxic landfills, and chemical processing plants (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). The effects of this pollution are especially visible in the South Durban Basin which produces 30 percent of Durban’s GDP and provides 10 percent of the manufacturing jobs in South Africa (Adebayo et al., 2013). The area, created in the 1970s with a goal of economic efficiency, locates employee residents in close proximity to industry. While the residential area is compact, mixed-use, and provides easy access to employment, the extreme levels of pollution that have affected residents have overshadowed the advantages. More than 50 percent of children suffer from asthma and the leukemia rate is 24 times the national average (Adebayo et al., 2013). While the government has imposed restrictions on pollution levels, fines are often not enforced and collusion between the government and big industry has compromised sustainability goals (Adebayo et al., 2013). Rural fragmentation and haphazard land management have produced threats of sprawl and rural over-development as areas urbanize rapidly. The municipality has attempted to address these concerns by establishing the Durban Metropolitan Open Space Systems (D’MOSS), which establishes land of high biodiversity value that requires further investigation into potential impacts before development can occur. While this has helped to curb these patterns somewhat, only 10 percent of this land is officially designated as a protected area, which reduces power to actually limit development on this land (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). As a coastal city, climate change poses a hazard to the city of Durban. Sea levels are already rising by 2.7 millimeters per decade and this is projected to increase. Temperatures are expected to rise by three to five degrees Celsius by the year 2100 (Roberts and O’Donoghue, 2013). While the local government has established climate


Panorama 2017 change adaptation across all sectors as a major priority going forward, Durban’s role as a manufacturing and port center, as well as its fragmented pattern of settlement, have already created sustainability issues for the city. Increased pressure for recreational facilities along the coastline has driven higher levels of development and has prevented the natural creation of sand dunes. This has resulted in greater damage to the coastline during storm surges (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). Urgent and focused attention is required to reverse these trends and secure the city’s natural assets. Pressures for increased development within the city core to catapult Durban into the global tourism and sports arena have had significant impacts on the sense of place of the downtown. Neoliberal priorities have encouraged a focus on defining and branding the image of the city, often over the needs of its citizens. Mega-projects such as the new stadium for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the Point Waterfront development, along with accompanying infrastructure to encourage walkability and improve connections to the beachfront, greatly improved the city from a tourist’s perspective. Questions arise as to how beneficial and accessible these large-scale projects are to the citizens of Durban, however. Distance from township settlements on the periphery and high transportation costs to get into the city, combined with entrance fees to most educational facilities, mean that these new developments are not easily accessible to the majority of Durban’s population. The small boat harbor, planned as part of the waterfront development, has prompted fears that, when finished, what was once a public space in a historic neighborhood will be a space exclusively for the elite. Although public opposition was able to prompt a redesign of this harbor, these large-scale developments that drastically alter the feel of the downtown have not made much of an effort to include community input. The


waterfront redevelopment project, as a whole, has been fragmented, costly, and prolonged. Many worry that this stagnation has created an isolated community, or “urban cul-de-sac,” and that the growing disconnect of this area from the larger community has not been adequately addressed (Hannan and Sutherland, 2015). The Durban periphery, too, is threatened by a loss of sense of place. As densities quickly rise without the necessary increase in infrastructure to support them, informal settlements are plagued by even greater overcrowding and unsanitary conditions (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). Lacking permanent housing and basic services, these communities are especially vulnerable to climate change and the potential for more frequent natural disasters that could accompany it (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). This raises questions of sustainability in informal settlements and highlights the need for immediate and sustained attention in these areas.

Political Economy of Growth and Development

In the post-apartheid era, the constitution of South Africa calls for a transformation of the apartheid city and for the delivery of services to all citizens, emphasizing the need for “equality, equity and sustainability” (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). The 1996 Bill of Rights tasked local governments with carrying out this mandate, assigning them the role to “structure and manage its administration and budgeting and planning processes to give priority to the basic needs of the community, and to promote the social and economic development of the community” (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). This endowed local governments with a high level of responsibility for determining how cities would proceed with the enormous task of social restructuring. Before the unification of the eThekwini Municipality in 2000, the

Annie Streetman

figure 5. Durban’s Beachfront

Much of Durban’s 35 kilometers of coastline is characterized by high levels of beachfront development.

greater Durban area was administered by multiple fragmented governments with responsibility for their own areas (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). In the late 1990s, private enterprises were tasked with providing basic services to peripheral township settlements as part of an overall restructuring process. This market approach only served to reinforce the social inequalities associated with apartheid, as private sectors were unwilling to invest in areas where residents couldn’t pay bills. These enterprises often charged premiums for high-density households in informal settlements, and residents frequently refused the installation of water services because they knew bills would soon follow (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). This privatization was accompanied by a prioritization of neoliberal policies at the government level. In June 1996, the Growth, Employment and Redistribution program (GEAR) promoted an approach to economic growth led by the private sector with reduced public expenditure for social services. These policies were

criticized for widening the gap between rich and poor and recreating apartheid spatial patterns (Maharaj and Khan, 2013). Later policies have increasingly tried to navigate this relationship between public and private enterprises. It was not until the consolidation of the eThekwini Municipality in 2000 that government initiative was able to, at least nominally, take on a larger, more comprehensive role. The consolidation of fragmented smaller governments in 2000 into the eThekwini Municipality that is responsible for planning and development for the entire area is crucial to the municipality’s potential to effect change (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). With this consolidation, the municipality created an overarching “package of plans” to establish planning priorities and to influence development. This package of plans can be divided into 3 subsets: corporate strategy plans, policy and planning implementation tools, and a built environment plan. Within the corporate strategy plans, a Long Term Development Framework (LTDF) provides


Panorama 2017 a long-term vision and strategy for the municipality, an Integrated Development Plan (IDP) provides medium-term development strategies, and a Spatial Development Framework (SDF) provides spatial guidance to the IDP. Policy and Planning implementation tools include Spatial Development Plans, Local Area Plans, Functional Area Plans and Special Projects and Schemes. The municipality aims to review these documents annually for compliance and consistency with national and provincial initiatives (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). The city recently established the first city planning commission in the country with a stated primary goal to be “Africa’s most caring and livable city by 2030” (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). These documents, at least in principle, imply a move away from the neoliberal policies of the late 20th century. While economic growth continues to be a major focus, Durban’s planning documents embrace objectives of housing reform, job creation, spatial transformation, growth, access, and sustainability. While this has

produced ambitious and progressive planning documents, in practice other city voices have overpowered many of these objectives to direct the course of investment toward growth and private interests. National policies in South Africa favor initiatives of economic growth and international competition, and the powerful influence of the core city’s growth machine has continued to result in the prioritization of economic goals over humanitarian ones. Schensul even goes so far as to say, “despite the resources that Durban’s local government committed to the problem, the dominant literature predicts little change” (Schensul, 2008). This poses a question concerning the power of such planning policies. Are they capable of making the changes for which they advocate? Musvoto notes that these documents, particularly Spatial Development Frameworks in general, may not have the power to produce significant changes. “SDFs have been widely criticized for conceptual weakness and for being grounded in abstract concepts that are insufficiently embedded in local government spatial and

Much of the development along Durban’s coast caters to wealthy tourists and sports enthusiasts.


figure 6. Coastal Character

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figure 7. Climate Change Risks

Rising sea levels and extreme storms pose significant risks to beachfront development in Durban.

socioeconomic realities” (Mustovo et al., 2016). After examining the effectiveness of planning policies in the eThekwini Municipality over the past 20 years, he characterizes SDFs as “compliancedriven rather than inclusive of stakeholder concerns” (Mustovo et al., 2016). While post-apartheid attempts at social and racial restructuring have not been characterized by great success, this does not mean that there has been no progress whatsoever. Initiatives focused on housing improvements and desegregation in the late 1990s, though they did not have much success in the peripheral African settlements or the central White core, did have some effect in the “buffer zone” between them (Schensul, 2008). Here, the government was able to construct public housing that was accessible to both residential areas and economic opportunities. Schensul (2008) argues that this was due to the strength of the government relative to the powers of the community. In the Durban core, a

powerful business elite was able to push for growth-oriented intervention. In the peripheral townships, the overwhelming demand for services, and the need for it to happen quickly, resulted in rushed, low-quality productions (Schensul, 2008). In the buffer zone between these two, however, fairly successful public housing with access to employment opportunities was able to be created. Grassroots organizations created to fight against elements of the Durban growth machine have been largely successful, particularly at raising international awareness. One organization, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), was formed to represent the South Durban Basin community’s views against those of the manufacturing plants. By allying with international social justice organizations, appearing in the media, and fighting oil refineries in court, the group was able to gain enough attention to force the South African Petroleum Refinery to listen to their needs and propose adjustments (Adebayo et al., 2013).


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Conclusion & Recommendations Durban is a city with a complex history and a convoluted future. Strategically located with an abundance of resources and a landscape that is a tourism draw, the city is poised to become a major global force. In recent years it has gained international attention for its sustainability and climate change initiatives that focus on adaptation, and in 2013 it was selected as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge (eThekwini Municipality SDF, 2016). This will present a distinct opportunity for the city to share its local innovation and to learn from other cities. It could also present an opportunity for widespread support for major initiatives, allowing the local government to implement some of the objectives it highlights in its planning materials. This opportunity presents a unique alliance of global attention and sustainable initiatives, allowing the urban growth machine to support policy improvements that are simultaneously an economic boon for the city. If the city is to succeed in a global setting, however, efforts must also be taken to address the human development crisis that is so prevalent within the municipality’s borders. The city cannot compete on a global scale while it is simultaneously characterized by such extreme inequality and poverty. Durban stands at a critical crossroads; it must create a true planning culture and mitigate the apartheid patterns of inequity in order to be recognized as an international power. In order for planning efforts to be achieved, a cohesive unit of government and support by the business elite will be necessary. The following succinct list of key long-term planning goals and objectives should be prioritized:


1. Improve Access to Employment. Poverty within informal settlements on the urban periphery (townships) is one of the most pressing issues facing Durban. While high unemployment levels are recognized as a major factor in these settlements, attempts to improve conditions within townships, however, have largely focused on providing services to the settlements. This ignores the larger issue that these townships are isolated on the city’s periphery. In order to improve these conditions, agglomeration nodes with employment opportunities should be placed within access of townships, or residents should be relocated to areas where they are capable of accessing existing jobs (Schensul, 2008). 2. Provide Education and Job Training. Employment opportunities are only helpful if residents are able to participate in the work force. Efforts should be made to educate township residents and provide on-site job training. This initiative would also benefit the economy by growing the size of the skilled work force. 3. Expand the Transportation Network. In order to create a more socially- and racially-integrated city, Durban’s spatial structure needs to become less stratified. By increasing physical connections between city segments and opening up the city, the strict divides might begin to soften, allowing Durban the opportunity to be a strong, cohesive city.

Annie Streetman

works cited

images cited

Adebayo, Ambrose A., Godfrey P. Musvoto, P. Adebayo. “Towards the Creation of Healthier City Neighborhoods for Marginalized Communities in South Africa: a Case Study of the South Durban Industrial Basin in the City of Durban,” Urban Forum, vol. 24, no. 3, 2013, p. 343-355. Angel, Schlomo. Making Room for a Planet of Cities, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2011. Hannan, Sylvia and Catherine Sutherland. “Mega-Projects and Sustainability in Durban, South Africa: Convergent or Divergent Agendas?” Habitat International, Vol. 45, 2015, pp. 205-212. Maharaj, Brij and Sultan Khan. “Urban Sustainability Rhetoric and Neoliberal Realities: Durban – a City in Transition,” Urban Sustainability: A Global Perspective, edited by Igor Vojnovic, Michigan State University Press, 2013, p. 256-281. Marx, Colin and Sarah Charlton. “Urban Slum Reports: The Case of Durban, South Africa,” Understanding Slums: Case Studies for the Global Report on Human Settlements, 2003, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Global_Report, p. 1-27. Molotch, Harvey. “The City as a Growth Machine: Toward a Political Economy of Place,” The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 82, no. 2, 1976, p. 309-332. Mustovo, Godfrey, Gill Lincoln, Robynne Hansmann. “The Role of Spatial Development Frameworks in Transformation of the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Reflecting on 20 Years of Planning,” Urban Forum, vol. 27, pp. 187-210. Roberts, Debra and Sean O’Donoghue. “Urban environmental challenges and climate change action in Durban, South Africa,” Environment and Urbanization, vol 25, no. 2, 2013, pp. 299-319. Sassen, Saskia. “The Global City: Introducing a Concept.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Vol 11, no. 2, 2005, pp. 27-43. Schensul, Daniel. “From Resources to Power: the State and Spatial Change in Post-apartheid Durban, South Africa,” Studies in Comparative International Development, vol. 42, 2008, p. 290- 313. Schensul, Daniel and Patrick Heller. “Legacies, Change and Transformation in the Post-Apartheid City: Towards an Urban Sociological Cartography,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 35, no. 1, p. 1-32. cover image. Source: Annie Streetman, 2013. figure 1. Source: map by Annie Streetman, data from, 2017. figure 2 - 7. Source: Annie Streetman, 2013.


Roald Dahl Plaza and the Millennium Centre The Plaza is part of Cardiff Bay’s large scale physical redevelopment.


Katie Randall


ne of the most striking features of the 2016 Brexit vote was the disparity between the United Kingdom’s four countries. While much of England voted to leave, other nations tallied more “remain” votes (BBC, 2016). The inconsistency highlights the ongoing tensions between England and Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. While part of the United Kingdom, these latter nations seek to establish importance separate from the dominating culture of England. Thus, cities in these nations, particularly cultural or political capitals, have an extra incentive to compete on an international scale. Cardiff has been the capital of Wales since the 1950s and is home to a semi-independent Welsh Assembly. The medieval city’s modern importance dates to the mid-nineteenth century when it became known as the Coal Metropolis of the World (Punter, 2010). However, the city’s continued steady growth has been rooted in its contemporary position as the Welsh Capital. Wales is an economically depressed nation, struggling with low birthrates, high unemployment, and general poor health (Jones, 2014). As the capital, Cardiff naturally draws people seeking employment, especially in politics, media, and services (Davies, 1993). Additionally, Cardiff’s governing bodies have

consciously followed a pro-growth policy to establish both Cardiff and Wales as important entities distinct from the United Kingdom. Through growth, the government hopes to make Cardiff more competitive on an international scale. However, the desire for economic growth and the need to work closely with private interests often hinders human development. This is problematic because, as the relatively young capital of a semiindependent and generally deprived nation, it is particularly necessary for Cardiff to prove itself a strong, desirable city and to foster human development. Today, Cardiff contains wards calculated to be the most and the least economically deprived in Wales (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010). Pressure from wealthy rural and suburban dwellers also prevents Cardiff from addressing urban concerns. Recently, the Cardiff County Council has tried to take a more community and human developmentoriented approach through increased government regulation of growth, but they are restricted by their own limited resources. Fortunately, the recent trend of judging cities by human development standards and the importance of human development to sustained growth should aid the city to address these issues going forward.


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Growing into the Capital Cardiff’s modern growth can be traced to the 1850s when new railroad construction connected coal fields to the harbor. The population exploded from 2,000 to 164,000 by 1901 as the city became internationally famous for highquality coal (Rakodi, 2009). After World War II, the Welsh economy shifted to production of steel and car components, but, as manufacturing exports gradually declined, Cardiff’s dock areas and business districts began to decline as well (Davies, 1993; Rakodi, 2009).

However, the city continued to grow steadily because of its new status as the capital. Cardiff was officially named the capital of Wales in 1955, and growing Welsh patriotism immediately drew new people to the city (Davies, 1993). As Davies argues, the existence of the Welsh Office in Cardiff “strengthened the concept of the territorial unity of Wales and created the need for other organizations reflecting that unity.” These needs created jobs in government support and an increasingly important Welsh media (Davies, 1993). Capital status also increased visitors to the city, leading to the rise of a service economy (Punter, 2010). Cardiff’s continued growth in the

Cardiff is located in southwest of Wales, with a large population located in its vicinity.


figure 1. Administrative Map of Wales

Katie Randall face of deindustrialization conforms to one of Edward Glaeser’s theories that capital cities succeed by drawing people to power (Glaeser, 2011). The government in Cardiff offered job growth directly but also drew people as a symbol of Welsh, not English, power. In addition to this natural flow, the government fosters redevelopment in order to further attract individuals. In an era of globalization, Philip Boland argues that cities must be “competitive, entrepreneurial, and market themselves as attractive locations in order to stimulate economic growth” (Boland, 2006). When talented individuals are drawn to attractive locations, international, innovative businesses are drawn to those potential employees, increasing a city’s economic competitiveness on a global scale. Therefore, growth policies have centered on making Cardiff “an attractive place in which to live and work, a place in which the quality of life acts as a trigger for forward investment” (Rakodi, 2009). In the 1960s and 1970s, strategies focused on redeveloping the central business district and on improving road connections between the city center and residential areas (Rakodi, 2009). In the 1980s, strategies shifted, inserting new leisure and office infrastructure in the Cardiff Bay area to make it more attractive to the potential “modern” workforce (Rakodi, 2009). Finally, in 1996, Cardiff turned to individual “megaprojects” that would make Cardiff’s name on the European stage (Punter, 2010). One famous resulting project is the Millennium Centre, recognized as a leading European performance venue (Jones, 2014). These competition-based strategies succeeded at inducing economic growth and led to a better-educated population. In 2015, Cardiff’s population was 354,300, making the city one of the ten largest cities in the United Kingdom (“Cardiff Liveable Cities Report,” 2015; Punter 2010). Almost half of the Welsh population lives in the

Cardiff commuter belt today (Jones, 2014). Additionally, 45 percent of working-age people had NVQ4-level skills (highest rank in the British education system) or higher, placing Cardiff second of English Core Cities (Hooper and Smith, 2006; “Cardiff Liveable Cities Report,” 2015). Economically, two of three new jobs created in Southeast Wales are in Cardiff, and employment grew 27 percent between 1998 and 2004. The city also drives the surrounding economy; 40 percent of people who work in Cardiff commute from within the capital region (Punter, 2010; “Cardiff Liveable Cities Report,” 2015; “Cardiff: A Proud Capital. What Matters: 2010-2010 The 10 Year Strategy,” 2010). Thus, Cardiff ranked fourth for “competitiveness,” a measurement of people capturing income and firms creating it, against English Core Cities in 2010 (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital. What Matters: 2010-2010 - The 10 Year Strategy,” 2010). However, the city’s strategy has failed to live up to some expectations. Median weekly wages are still below wages in the UK as a whole (“Cardiff Liveable Cities Report,” 2015). Economic output per head lags behind other cities because Cardiff failed to attract as many new businesses as it hoped (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010). Ironically, many of these failures are rooted in ongoing human development issues caused by both past and recent growth.

Growth Stagnation and the Importance of Human Development When the United Nations’ Wheel of Prosperity placed human development measures beside productivity as measures of urban prosperity, it spoke to a recent trend to judge cities on more than a growth basis. In theory, growth can foster human development by providing people


Panorama 2017 with a wider variety of opportunities and resources to improve their quality of life. However, ineffective governments negatively impact the likelihood that growth and development will track, and this is certainly the case in Cardiff (Landis, 2016). Historically, Cardiff’s government believed that growth alone can mitigate development problems. Russel Goodway, head of the Cardiff City Council 1996-2004, argued that projects such as the Millennium Centre would help bring people to the city, which would attract employers, driving money to the city to help the government care for its people (Morgan, 2006). Though a reasonable strategy given Cardiff’s lack of resources, the 2004 Lyons Report showed that the government’s emphasis on growth has made the government unable or unwilling to effectively manage the negative externalities of growth. (Morgan, 2006). Cardiff faces its greatest challenges in achieving equity. While the city contains several of Wales’ most prosperous wards in the north, wards in the south are disproportionately not benefiting from Cardiff’s recent growth. As of 2010, nine of ten of the most deprived wards in Wales were in Cardiff (Punter, 2010; “Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010). Minorities often suffer disproportionately from deprivation; only 15 percent of the city’s population is non-white, but these groups are concentrated in deprived areas to the south and west (Hooper and Smith, 2006; “Cardiff Liveable Cities Report,” 2015). While the employment rate in Cardiff in 2010 was 68 percent, the rate for minorities was just 53 percent (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital. What Matters: 2010-2010 - The 10 Year Strategy,” 2010). Areas home to the most deprived people today have not clearly benefited from growth, and growth may even have made their situation worse. 1970s development efforts effectively abandoned areas to the south, condemning areas already suffering from deindustrialization


to further poverty. Later, Cardiff Bay development shifted focus to the south but did very little for the people who already lived there. A new road linking the Central Business District (CBD) and the waterfront purposefully avoided povertyridden Butetown, and developers provided little funding for small business relocation and community programs. Development created fewer jobs and affordable housing opportunities than expected, resulting in net losses. The process left Butetown’s people feeling more ostracized and less able to take part in the Cardiff economy than before (Rakodi, 2009). Growth has also negatively impacted the environment. In 2010, the ecological footprint of the city was 5.59 global hectares (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010). The greatest contributors include restaurant services, car travel, air travel, and domestic energy use, all linked to an unregulated service economy designed to improve leisure activities to facilitate growth (Punter, 2010). As the city’s growth totals increased, these human development problems became worse. Fortunately, in the mid-2000s, the Cardiff County Council recognized its human development shortcomings. The UN Prosperity Wheel represents the rising view that cities should have effective governments that care for their citizens; therefore, Cardiff’s omnipresent desire to prove itself pushed the city to recognize “the importance of achieving social inclusion and the need to promote sustainable development” (Hooper and Smith, 2006). The city government stepped forward with a number of plans and regulations, including the Cardiff Carbon Lite Action Plan, a new housing scheme to prioritize greatest need, and education programs to help adults compete in the knowledge-based economy (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010; “What We Did” 2015). The new initiatives have had some successes. The ten-year trend of increasing unemployment recently reversed, and people ages 16-17 not in

Katie Randall education, employment, or training (NEET) decreased from 8.9 percent in 2010 to 4.3 percent in 2015 (“Cardiff Liveable Cities Report” 2015; “Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010; “What We Did” 2015). The city also installed solar panels on council properties (“What We Did,” 2015). However, problems with inequality and sustained poverty persist within the city. Eighteen percent of the Cardiff population still lives in a ward that is in the top 10 percent of the most deprived areas in Wales (“Cardiff Liveable Cities Report,” 2015). In the 2015 Liveable Cities Report, the Council acknowledged that continuing poverty is probably due to difficulty accessing sufficiently highpaying jobs, despite increased education. To address this issue, the Council believes it must continue to attract high-class businesses and educate citizens to meet the demands of jobs created (“Cardiff Liveable Cities Report,” 2015). Embracing the opportunities of growth while using planning to help growth work for its citizens is a good strategy going forward, but to truly address inequality within Cardiff, the government might need to examine the issue more spatially.

Impacts on, and Impacts of, Space Cardiff’s ethos of growth and competitiveness has strongly impacted spatial development, particularly in the Central Business District (the medieval town center) and Cardiff Bay (the wharf and dock areas surrounding the body of water). Initial phases of redevelopment focused on the CBD. To transform the area into a dense, pedestrian retail center, the city acquired sites for private development. Construction of new major roads outside the city’s center helped it become more pedestrian-oriented. While the initial developer-centered physical changes succeeded in restoring some vibrancy to the area, development was somewhat ad

hoc. In the 1990s, the government added design guidelines and conservation areas, which improved the built environment. The tension between a regulated, quality city center and a prosperous, money-making center continues to characterize the area’s design (Rakodi, 2009). Cardiff’s “competitive ethos” also impacted Cardiff Bay from the 1980s to the present. The disused industrial zones and docks were modernized with current, theoretically more attractive, designs and uses to attract new residents and businesses. The government hoped that rebranding Cardiff Bay as a distinctive and important place would bring prestige to the city (Rakodi, 2009). Award-winning projects including the Millennium Centre, located in Cardiff Bay rather than the CBD, are an important part of this effort (Rakodi, 2009). While these efforts successfully utilized spaces abandoned during deindustrialization, developing both the CBD and Cardiff Bay resulted in a polycentric density model, and John Punter argues that Cardiff’s size prevents either from succeeding economically (Punter, 2010). This problem could be causing Cardiff’s ongoing job creation struggle. Developing specific sites in Cardiff Bay also failed to physically connect deprived wards with redevelopment, increasing their social and economic segregation. Development has also caused larger spatial inequity issues. Development of the city first created physical divides that fostered the southern Arc of Deprivation in the 1850s (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010). The economy centered on exporting coal, so working class development focused on the docks rather than on the traditional medieval city, located two kilometers from the water. Meanwhile, suburban development concentrated east and west of the medieval center. Construction of a rail line further divided the docks, and the people who lived there, from the rest of the city (Rakodi, 2009; Hooper, 2006).


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Former industrial areas on the water are now sites of a new service economy.

As the economy shifted away from industry, new residential development occurred in the west, east, and north of the city, and government focused on redeveloping the city center for new administrative functions. Physically cut off from the rest of the city, people living around the docks were unable to take advantage of this growth and redevelopment, which set the stage for income segregation (Rakodi, 2009). Today, three percent of children in Lisvane, a northern neighborhood, live in poverty. In Ely, a neighborhood to the south, the number is 48 percent (“Cardiff Liveable Cities Report”, 2015). Some southern areas, such as Butetown, have recently become more prosperous; the result of inmigration rather than local changes, and the pockets of prosperity only increase the isolation of deprived communities (Hooper and Smith, 2006; “Cardiff Liveable Cities Report,” 2015).


Cardiff is also unable to expand to accommodate its growing population, further contributing to inequitable conditions. In the twentieth century, wealthy people were able to move away from the city center to escape limited, and therefore unaffordable, housing choices. This movement gradually expanded the urban footprint (Hooper and Smith, 2006). Today, however, there are new growth constraints that prevent the city’s expansion. The M4 prevents the city from cohesively expanding northwards, and wealthy English homeowners in the countryside apply intense pressure opposing development because they fear urban expansion will threaten their homes’ rural beauty (Rakodi, 2009; Davies, 1993; Jones, 2014; Punter, 2010). These physical and political expansion barriers led current development to be very dense and concentrated in brownfield

figure 2. Aerial view of Cardiff noting Cardiff Bay

Katie Randall sites (Punter, 2010). Unfortunately, density does not make up for lack of greenfield development, preventing housing supply from meeting demand and threatening affordability. In the Southern Arc of Deprivation, homelessness and reliance on substandard housing are increasing (Hooper and Smith, 2006). Cardiff’s spatial patterns have severe impacts on human development for all citizens, but those segregated in concentrated areas of poverty fare worst.

The Hand of Local Government Cardiff’s tradition of strong, dynamic governing bodies is key to understanding recent growth policies. The Labour Party’s near constant control allowed it to push more impactful plans for the city, while competition between tiers of local government pushed each to have a large, positive impact on the city (Morgan, 2006). Though the city’s reliance on publicprivate partnership means market forces and developers have had a decided impact on the landscape, growth, and human development patterns of the city, a strong local government with a vision for Cardiff’s future always shaped major private investment in the city. Local councils also determined the role of economic development in the city’s goals and plans. The growth agendas of local governments are visible in all stages of Cardiff’s recent growth, but are especially apparent between 1996 and 2004. When the city and county governments unified into the Cardiff County Council, leader Russel Goodway put forward “visions of a vibrant, entrepreneurial and competitive European capital.” Goodway believed in working forthe people, and he believed that marketing Cardiff to the world with government-endorsed projects such as the Millennium Centre would attract new capital and ensure delivery of social services to the people (Morgan, 2006).

Unfortunately, as we have seen, this policy failed to deliver on its promises, largely because of reliance on private partners and a single-minded focus on growth. Public-private partnerships mean that Cardiff must foster good relationships with the private sector to achieve any kind of growth (Punter, 2010). Though the government has tried to oversee its partners’ operations, it has had to decrease regulations and accept sub-par human development results to ensure that something was built. The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation (CBDC) is a telling example. The government helped establish CBDC in 1987 and set the corporation’s goals to address concerns including housing and lack of local opportunity. The government retained control over CBDC, but the corporation was responsible creating and executing development plans. The difficult development climate and short time frame caused both parties to need to choose between maintaining standards that might frighten away potential investors or compromising on human development to achieve any physical and economic development (Punter, 2010). Thus, the development led by the CBDC failed to complete many of its human development objectives, including sufficient jobs, connecting locals to any new jobs, and delivery on infrastructure. In Carole Rakodi’s words, “such public-private partnerships are a key characteristic of ‘civic boosterism’ everywhere. However, often this approach, as in Cardiff, tends to sideline social inclusion, equality and sustainability objectives, everyday service delivery and the achievement of high quality urban design” (Rakodi, 2009). After 2004, however, the Liberal Democrats took over Cardiff’s government, framing growth and the city’s status in terms of making the city really work for its people. Cardiff’s recent report on city growth and development strategy, the What Matters 2010-2020 Ten Year Strategy, demonstrates a new interest in


Panorama 2017 planning, community engagement, and human development. The plan includes broad goals such as “Cardiff Is a Fair, Just and Inclusive Society” and “People in Cardiff Achieve Their Full Potential.” The plan makes extended community surveys and partners with local organizations, including private, public, and non-profit organizations. These measures help government understand neighborhoodspecific planning issues. (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010; “What Matters Delivery Plan”, 2010). The What Matters plan also places new emphasis on the government’s responsibility to its people, framing plans in terms of “what we [the Council] will do” and “delivery” to Cardiff’s people (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010). Programs the County Council developed emphasize responsibility to regulate. In housing, for instance, the Council intends to make developers conform to higher standards of design and sustainability to improve quality of life. (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010).

The government’s new focus on providing services to mitigate the negative effects of growth is a positive step; it should correct the problem of ineffective government that has prevented Cardiff from matching the UN’s Wheel of Prosperity. However, the new focus does not fix the city’s ongoing dilemma of balancing growth and development interests. The county council is still financially unable to accomplish goals such as public transit without private support (“Cardiff: A Proud Capital”, 2010; Punter, 2010). Cardiff must find some way to draw private partnership, but it must do so without sacrificing human development.

Recommendations for a Competitive Cardiff To address ongoing human prosperity issues, Cardiff must consistently recognize the needs of the current residents rather than continuing to hope that attracting

figure 3. Sunrise Over Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay was once home to one of the busiest ports in the world, and many boats continue to use the harbor to this day.


Katie Randall new people or businesses will solve all of the city’s problems. Recent plans have gotten closer to achieving this balance, but encouraging growth still figures largely in both the What Matters and the Liveable Cities plan. While some equity-focused measures may also attract new businesses, the current population should be the target audience. The following recommendations are designed to balance public and private interests for the good of Cardiff’s people, especially those who currently have limited access to the positive impacts of Cardiff’s economic growth. To address housing issues, Cardiff needs to find ways to allocate more land for housing and/or continue increasing densities. The city must also ensure that housing meets current needs, despite the desire to build luxury housing to lure new residents. Given the problems with accessing greenfield land, Cardiff should focus its attention on highdensity development in underdeveloped or undeveloped sites. Changing land use or density policies may encourage this kind of development. Equally important is ensuring that the housing serves lowincome needs. In the spirit of publicprivate partnership, the city should provide subsidies to developers for mixed-income housing. Additionally, the city must consider the ongoing segregation of underserved communities. The current plan of attracting more jobs or helping people access better paying jobs does not appear to be working. In the knowledge-driven economy, it is difficult to provide jobs with decent working-class wages to replace those that disappeared with deindustrialization. Therefore, it seems more logical for the city to help citizens access infrastructure and amenities with their current lower incomes through subsidies and housing vouchers. This policy might encourage more spending within the city by lower-income groups, making it an attractive policy for businesses. It will also help lower-income

households to save, making it possible for them to escape persistent poverty. If Cardiff becomes known as a place where poor people can improve their lives, as Glaeser (2011) argues, this reputation will have a positive impact on the city’s growth. A spirit of greater inclusion may also improve the lives of underserved citizens. Along these lines, the city should focus attention on improving transit and infrastructure service within the city to help break down historical physical barriers. The key to this plan will be finding business and development interests that could gain from expanding these services to new areas. However, the Cardiff Council must be careful that development interests do not push the very people who need these services out of newly serviced areas. Requiring community representation in transit planning, restricting development to undeveloped sites, or making use of rent control and vouchers to help people stay in neighborhoods could all be effective tools. Cardiff’s status as the capital of Wales has led to strategies with too much emphasis on growth and international competition. Though these policies have placed Cardiff on the map, perhaps benefiting Wales politically within the United Kingdom, human development issues have been neglected. However, the city’s position as the capital also provides Cardiff with an opportunity to put its people first. If Cardiff can hold true to this philosophy, then the city will also continue to grow, drawing people and businesses to the seat of Welsh power and to a capital with a reputation for improving the lives of its citizens.


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The medieval city of Cardiff remains a vibrant destination for shopping, working, dining, and socializing.


figure 4. Cardiff City Center

Katie Randall

works cited

images cited

Angel, Shlomo, Jason Parent, Daniel L Civco, and Alejandro M Blei. 2011. ‘Making room for a planet of cities’, Policy Focus Report/Code PF027, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Boland, Philip. 2006. ‘Competitive Cities: unpacking the theoretical debates.’ in Alan hooper and John Punter (eds.), Capital Cardiff 1975-2020: Regeneration, Competitiveness, and the urban Environment (University of Wales Press: Cardiff). ----. “Cardiff Liveable Cities Report.” In. 2015. edited by City of Cardiff Council. Cardiff City Council. ----. “Cardiff: A Proud Capital. What Matters: 2010-2010 - The 10 Year Strategy.” In. 2010. edited by Cardiff City Council. Cardiff City Council. Davies, John. 1993. A history of Wales (Allen Lane; The Penguin Press: London). ----. ‘EU Referendum: The result in maps and chars’. 2016. BBC. politics-36616028. Glaeser, Edward. 2011. Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier (Penguin Books: New York). Hooper, Alan. 2006. ‘Introduction.’ in Alan Hooper and John Punter (eds.), Capital Cardiff 1975 2020: Regeneration, Competitiveness, and the urban Environment (University of Wales Press: Cardiff). Hooper, Alan, and Robert Smith. 2006. ‘Housing and Regeneration in Cardiff, 1974-2020.’ in Alan Hooper and John Punter (eds.), Capital Cardiff 1975-2020: Regeneration, Competitiveness, and the urban Environment (University of Wales Press: Cardiff). Jargowski, Paul A. . 2011. ‘Urban Poverty, Economic Segregation, and Urban Policy.’ in Nancy Brooks, Kieran Donaghy and Gerrit-Jan Knaap (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Urban Economics and Planning (Oxford University Press: Oxford). Jones, J. Graham author. 2014. The History of Wales (University of Wales Press: Cardiff). Landis, John D., Lectures: CPLN 510 Urban and Planning Theory. University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Fall 2016. Morgan, Kevin. 2006. ‘Governing Cardiff: politics, power and personalities.’ in Alan Hooper and John Punter (eds.), Capital Cardiff 1975-2020: Regeneration, Competitiveness, and the urban Environment (University of Wales Press: Cardiff). Punter, John. 2010. ‘Cardiff: a Renaissance City ‘with a reputation for imaginative architecture and iconic urban design?’.’ in John Punter (ed.), Urban design and the British urban renaissance (Routledge: London). Rakodi, Carole. 2009. “The Politics of Urban Regeneration in Cardiff, UK.” In Revisiting Urban Planning: Global Report on Human Settlements 2009. United Nations. ----. ‘Wales: an Introduction.’ in. 2010. John Punter (ed.), Urban design and the British urban renaissance (Routledge: London). ----. “What Matters Delievery Plan.” In. 2010. edited by Cardiff City Council. Cardiff City Council. ----. “What We Did.” In. 2015. edited by Cardiff City Council. Cardiff City Council. Cover Image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3. figure 4.

Source: Cardiff Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, Wales. September 8, 2010. Source: Lesniewski, Rainer. Wales Administrative Map. Source: Survey, Ordnance. “#Oseye Roger Flew over Cardiff Bay.” Flickr, 2014. Source: Rowland, Geraint. “Cardiff Bay (The Other Side) Sunrise Glow.” Flickr, 2011. Source: Oléhn, Anna-Maria. “Cardiff City Centre.” Flickr, 2015.


REBOOTING NEW ENGLAND A “Met-Work” Strategy for Bypassed Metros

Darcy Anders Adam Berkowitz Kyle Kager Sandy Klanfer Ziming Liu Jessica Neubelt Diwen Shen Jarred Toups Dan Wang Jia Wei Qian Zhang Luyun Zhao

City Planning Studio Fall 2016


ebooting New England: A “Metwork” Strategy for Bypassed Metros is a comprehensive proposal to transform the struggling, congested region between New York City and Boston. Building on a proposed world-class high-performance rail network, the plan proposes a comprehensive economic development strategy for the region’s older industrial cities with targeted investments in research institutions, job skills training, downtown revitalization and governance reforms. It calls for a new federal-state partnership to coordinate these investments. This plan is designed to transform Southern New England’s struggling mid-sized metropolitan areas into a unified regional network that is wellpositioned to attract and retain talented people, incubate innovative industries and compete globally for growth opportunities. The benefits of this plan would extend beyond the three Southern New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, to include the rest of New England, Long Island and the New York metropolitan region - a region with a total population of 35 million. The backbone of Rebuilding New England’s transportation component is a high-performance rail network that would provide multiple layers of mobility throughout the region. A new high-speed spine between New York and Boston via Long Island, Hartford, and Providence will reduce today’s end-to-end travel times by more than 50 percent, and drastically improve service between these mid-sized size cities and the booming economies that bookend the route. To better integrate New

England’s other cities, the plan proposes adding or upgrading over 600 route miles of high-performance branch lines, providing frequent service to New York and major cities in all six New England states. The combined high-speed and highperformance lines will act as a powerful circulation system for a reconnected New England. To complement this rail plan, Rebuilding New England features a detailed plan for strategic economic development. Broadly described, the four fundamental goals are to create a federalstate economic development partnership, integrate labor and housing markets across the region, “Remagnetize” New England’s bypassed urban centers, and develop a large and highly-skilled work force to staff the region’s emerging innovation economy. Current commute patterns demonstrate the disconnect of the region’s cities as well as the spatial extent of the existing demand.


Eastern State Penitentiary The Penitentiary’s walls are a prominent feature of Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia.


Dallas Teng


rban space is not a static physical environment immune to change; it is associated with specific functions and meanings that are constantly constructed and reshaped by its context and dwellers. This change in turn impacts citizens and the surrounding environment. Eastern State Penitentiary provides one example of this reciprocal influence. Once a prominent prison, the Penitentiary is now a historical museum established within the empty cell blocks in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia. In this article, I explore the prison and the surrounding historical Fairmount neighborhood to examine how the interaction between Eastern State Penitentiary and its surroundings redefines and reshapes the social and cultural meaning, as well as the function, of the site. Later, I discuss what this change of use means for the residents living within the Fairmount neighborhood.

General Information and Methodology The Eastern State Penitentiary is located at 2027 Fairmount Avenue between Corinthian Avenue and North 22nd Street in Fairmount, a neighborhood in North Philadelphia. The name “Penitentiary” derives from the word “penitence,”

stemming from a time when American prisons were riddled with overcrowding and disease. The Penitentiary was revolutionary in its solitary confinement system, dubbed the “Pennsylvania System” or “Separate System”, which aimed to bring out the “inner light” and the true repentance of the inmates sentenced to serve time there (Dolan, 2007). The Penitentiary was in operation from 1829 to 1971, then was abandoned for over 20 years before being redeveloped as a museum in 1994. Since re-opening, the Penitentiary has attracted tourists, giving a boost to local businesses and causing the surrounding neighborhood to flourish. Today, the Fairmount neighborhood is undergoing a revitalization as a result of gentrification and increased property values. Eastern State Penitentiary is promoted as a must-see attraction in Philadelphia. I originally assumed that it must be an entirely tourist-oriented area, standing alone and somewhat detached from the people living in the city. However, as I passed by the prison on the tour bus, I was astonished to find that the neighborhood is in fact quite residential. I was intrigued by the contrast between the grand solemn prison on one side of the road and the laid-back, cozy feel of the restaurants across the street. The Fairmount neighborhood is

Panorama 2017 located adjacent to Fairmount Park and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, just east of the Schuylkill River. Girard College is situated at Fairmount’s northern border, although the boundaries of Fairmount may vary according to the speaker. Poplar Street and Corinthian Avenue separate Fairmount from the Brewerytown and Francisville neighborhoods. Center City lies southeast of the neighborhood. To perform a close study of Fairmount and Eastern State Penitentiary, I made three visits, each of which lasted four to five hours, to the Penitentiary, the neighborhood, and its adjoining areas. These trips allowed me to not only examine the site, but also to take its context into account, so that connections and comparisons can be drawn to facilitate my analysis of the interaction. During these visits, I observed the architecture, businesses, communal facilities, open space, and people. I also interviewed locals, tourists, visitors, employees, and business owners, and telephoned landlords and leasing companies. I paid special attention to the words used by minority residents and the contradictory responses heard during interviews. Based on the thoughts and ideas of Sharon Zukin, Clarence Perry, and Richard Florida, in combination with my observations, I pondered how the

neighborhood came to be what it is today, and how patterns of change may impact residents in the future.

Interaction between the Penitentiary and the Neighborhood Shaping the Penitentiary Today, visitors to Eastern State Penitentiary are amazed by the imposing, castle-like prison walls composed of old cracked bricks patched with lichen, which have been standing for the past 185 years. Built on top of a rural cherry orchard in 1829, the location was originally the outskirts of Philadelphia. According to a Penitentiary tour guide, the surrounding area was sparsely populated, mostly by prison guards and their families. As Philadelphia expanded due to industrialization, the city “crept northward” and “swallowed up” the prison. The Penitentiary came into conflict with the nearby neighborhoods and became an “unwelcome” occupier (Dolan, 2007); it was a constant reminder to the citizens of what would happen to them should they break the law, or should the inmates break out. To the satisfaction of the residents, the Penitentiary closed in 1971.

Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and operated as a prison until 1972.


figure 1. Eastern State Penitentiary, 1855

Dallas Teng

figure 2. Eastern State Penitentiary’s Gargoyles

Gargoyles guard the Penitentiary during its annual haunted house, Terror Behind the Walls.

Soon the Penitentiary was abandoned and forgotten by many Philadelphians. Originally, I expected that the shut-down would inspire positive changes within Fairmount. However, long-time residents I interviewed told me that for the 20 years after the prison closed, nothing much changed. There were no banks, schools, or supermarkets, and very few restaurants and shops. However, in 1994 the Penitentiary re-opened as a museum and cultural landmark, bringing visitors to Fairmount. The area surrounding

the Penitentiary experienced economic growth, and restaurants and cafes catering to tourists opened in the area. As commerce prospered, young people and families started to move in, further reviving the area. Gentrification and development of Fairmount welcomed many facilities and services supporting the growing businesses, residents, and tourists. These features made the Eastern State Penitentiary area a more attractive place for both residents and visitors.


Panorama 2017 Shaping the Neighborhood The Fairmount neighborhood changed drastically over time. I believe that re-opening Eastern State Penitentiary played an important role in neighborhood revitalization. The prison, changed by its neighbors, in turn impacted the surrounding neighborhood development. One of the direct influences can be seen in the business patterns that have emerged around the Penitentiary and along Fairmount Avenue since the mid-1990s. Businesses are concentrated around the Penitentiary and disperse westward and southward. I also observed a pattern of change in the conditions of the housing stock relative to their distance from the Penitentiary. Historical and newly renovated townhouses line streets to the north and south, while preservation seems to slow when moving farther away from the prison, especially to the north. The houses remain in good condition to the west of the prison. Eastward, however, one notices an attenuation of commerce as well as a deterioration of buildings.

Those I interviewed had a positive opinion of the pattern of growth and development. The waiters of Jack’s Firehouse, a local restaurant and bar located just south of the Penitentiary, told me that about 50 percent of the clientele are tourists. The waiters loved the Penitentiary, not only for its beauty, but also because it increased patronage. A Lebanese couple with a young child witnessed the neighborhood change firsthand. They moved in around the same time the prison reopened, and they say that since then the place has improved significantly. “Just about 20 years ago when we first moved here, there were just the post office, one warehouse and the London Grill and nothing more. But now a solid community is growing here,” the woman commented. When I asked them why they chose Fairmount, they explained that there wasn’t much strategy to their housing decision. Rather, they just “accidentally ended up in Fairmount and yet everything worked out well.” Just as the Lebanese couple “accidentally” arrived in Fairmount, many people seemed to have

Fairmount lies only one mile from Center City, Philadelphia.


figure 3. A View of Center City from Fairmount

Dallas Teng

figure 4. Jack’s Firehouse Grill and Bar

Jack’s Firehouse Grill and Bar attracts both tourists and residents. The 19th century firehouse where it is located was originally home to Ladder Company 1.

similarly discovered the neighborhood. “Discover” and “by chance” were words most often used when talking about living in Fairmount. These words reveal the relatively recent revitalization of the neighborhood. One of the most noticeable features about Fairmount in comparison with the western area nearby is the shade. After being exposed to sunlight on my walk through the open space of the park and museum to the east of Fairmount, I felt that the neighborhood held a contrasting sense of shelter and comfort. The shade indicated that trees had been planted more than 20 years prior. This suggests a longer time span of the redevelopment of the community. As the Penitentiary was reopened in 1994, the prison itself may not be the entire reason for the neighborhood change. Additionally, the rhythm of life slowed down here, and Fairmount appeared fairly quiet despite the flow of tourists and those who sat leisurely at the tables outside Urban Saloon restaurant. The neighborhood appeared to be a suburb within the city, and this idea was echoed

by my interviewees. This unique character is shaped by a combination of factors: its relatively outlying location, the quiet residential atmosphere, gentrification, and redevelopment. The neighborhood has a safe and desirable character thanks to its relatively outlying location, well-preserved historical sites, and primarily residential atmosphere. When I asked interviewees why they chose Fairmount, there were four main reasons. First, Fairmount is within walking distance to Center City, so many young people move in because of the convenience to work (figure 2). Others enjoy its proximity to the Art Museum and Fairmount Park. Furthermore, many people mentioned the convenience and safety of the neighborhood as its most desirable characteristic. Lastly, the culture of the neighborhood is a major attraction for many residents. As far as its infrastructure, Fairmount seems to have married the ideas of Sharon Zukin and Clarence Perry. In her book Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, Sharon Zukin


Panorama 2017 mourns the “soullessness” of New York in its upscale growth, and proposes the idea of “authenticity” as a powerful tool to battle the homogeneity and standardization in the urban revitalization process (Zukin, 2011). Fairmount is branded as having “distinctive cultural identities” by keeping the red brick historical buildings, developing boutique shops tailored to the tastes of the new residents, and the restoration of Eastern State Penitentiary. The original redevelopment plan for the prison included demolishing cell blocks to make room for the construction of condominiums (Dolan, 2007). While the Penitentiary was ultimately preserved as a historic site, I wonder how real estate development on the site might have changed the feeling of Fairmount. Fairmount was structured, in many ways, in accordance with “the neighborhood unit” idea proposed by Clarence Perry, who advocates against the alienation and declining association found among modern urban neighborhoods (Perry, 1974). Perry notes that a neighborhood must maintain a human scale, with the unit bounded by arterial streets on the outside for smooth traffic movements and much narrower interior streets within. Fairmount, in both its central school and road system, fits this description. The major business district in Fairmount is located, similar to what Perry devised, on the edge of the unit, providing services for both the local residents and the visitors. Perry also advocates for open space, which Fairmount provides in the form of a community garden and a playground, in addition to Fairmount Park. During my visits, I observed that a number of people worked with plants in the garden and families and children used the playground for various games. Today, Fairmount has banks, dry cleaners, supermarkets, grocery stores, playgrounds, a small gym, a community garden, schools, and restaurants, all catering to the different tastes of residents and visitors. According to the construction


worker I interviewed, residential properties are becoming expensive, and recently many townhouses are being renovated and new condos are being built. Housing in Fairmount has, in recent years, become expensive in comparison to Philadelphia as a whole. The average one-bedroom apartment across from the Penitentiary costs at least $1,400 per month, and one north of the Penitentiary ranges from about $750 to $1,200 (from interviews with landlords). A woman who moved away from the neighborhood about 15 years ago, added that the biggest change she noticed was the reduction in ethnic minority groups that once dominated the area.

Interpreting the Evolving Neighborhood

John Haviland’s neo-gothic architectural design, originally intended to deter outlaws and to strike fear among citizens, has now become appealing to viewers. The prison no longer evokes memories of criminals and riots; it is now a symbol of safety. This is evidenced by a small playground immediately adjacent to the northern wall of the Penitentiary where children can be seen playing games with their families; people sometimes use the wall as a shield and hold parties or picnics beside the southern side of the grand wall. With more tourists, businesses, residents and police patrolling the street, the Penitentiary has become one of the safest areas in Philadelphia. Another distinct feature of the Penitentiary area is its richness in history. When surveying general opinion in the neighborhood, nearly all of my interviewees mentioned that they appreciated the historical character of the Penitentiary. The OCF Coffee House across the street is now a modern café decorated with bright glass windows, but one can still see the faded word “warehouse” behind the Coffee House sign, indicating a previous owner. Directly

Dallas Teng

figure 5. A View of the Fairmount Neighborhood

The building at 2601 Pennsylvania Avenue provides a view of the Fairmount neighborhood. In the distance is Girard College.

across from the Penitentiary on Fairmount Avenue is Jack’s Firehouse (figure 3), occupying the space previously occupied by Philadelphia’s first firehouse. Much of the original character has been preserved, including the shiny black wooden texture and the umiak boat hung across the ceiling. The staff told anecdotes and haunted stories from the neighborhood. The Penitentiary is home to Terror Behind the Walls, the largest haunted house event in America. The Penitentiary’s historic image has become a selling point, giving Fairmount special appeal. Its complicated history has been rebranded as a historical asset, ignoring the past tension and riots, as if they never existed. According to Zukin, these newly created spaces based on cultural tastes are also “authentic” and they can be “marketed around the world, drawing tourists and investors and making the city safe” (Zukin, 2011). However, there is always some uncertainty in letting authenticity speak for the people of the

neighborhood. The question remains: whose authenticity is it, and how much of a place’s authenticity should be preserved? Regarding the relationship between the local residents and the Penitentiary, most people replied that they loved having the historical site nearby. The only complaint I heard is the trouble of street parking when tourists flood the neighborhood around Halloween. Fairmount residents do not seem to be troubled by the prison’s popularity with tourists. As I dined in the little garden outside the Firehouse, I watched the lamp giving a glow to the silhouette of the Penitentiary, whose dark stone exterior takes on a warm hue from the street lights. I felt the giant prison had been incorporated into its neighborhood, comprising part of the residential scene. The redeveloped Fairmount neighborhood is now a clean, safe, and popular place to live in. It is close to Center City, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and Fairmount Park while offering a variety of shops and services that satisfy different needs.


Panorama 2017 Schools, gardens, playgrounds, and other infrastructure are also in place. A new and different lifestyle has been cultivated thanks to the rebirth of the Penitentiary.

Greater Context

Eastern State Penitentiary and the Fairmount neighborhood are located within the Greater Art Museum district. The open space and greenery in Fairmount Park adds to the tourist and residential value of the site. Unlike the Philadelphia Museum of Art or Fairmount Park, which were designed specifically for visitors, the Penitentiary was not built to be a museum, but rather as a functional prison. Its location dictates a closer interaction with the neighborhood. Gentrification is measured in the property value increase described earlier, and in the various businesses (restaurants, bars, shops, and services) that reflect the tastes and consumption patterns of higher-income residents. The waiters at Jack’s Firehouse noted that their business generally “target the upperclass customers.” Staff at the OCF Coffee House also indicated that, though the area had generations of long-time residents, more and more young professionals are moving in, constituting the majority of their clientele. Richard Florida rated two census tracts in the Fairmount-Spring Garden area in his Philadelphia edition of Class-Divided Cities, as the second (84.1 percent) and the sixth (77.6 percent) largest creative classes respectively (Florida, 2006). While gentrification and the emerging creative class bring benefits, there are important downsides for Fairmount which require attention. Gentrification does not positively affect all members of the Fairmount community, and a certain level of division and exclusion is present. Molly Webb reported in an article of the Daily News that “property values skyrocketed” in the now “super trendy” gentrified Fairmount and


Francisville, and “owners who want to stay will have to struggle with huge increases to their tax bills” (Webb, 2013). Increasing property tax is one way to push out longtime working-class residents. When I asked interviewees the same question about housing prices and diversity in Fairmount, there were two interesting contradictions in their responses. A young White professional working for an advertising company said that “the rent is not cheap but in comparison with other parts of the city, it is very affordable.” Alternatively, a Black employee at OCF simply said that the neighborhood is expensive. The OCF worker mentioned that the neighborhood was racially diverse, while the young professional said that there was not much diversity and noted a homogeneous White population. I inferred that two reasons may explain the discrepancy. For one, their social activity scopes likely do not overlap, and their personal definitions of diversity differ. Census data shows that the White population dominates the region at 75.2 percent of the total. However, one of the two census tracts do show an African American population of 39.3 percent, indicating that there is some racial diversity present within Fairmount. Another possible explanation for the differing views on racial diversity may be divergent understandings of who actually owns the space. The larger question here is this: does Fairmount only belong to those who live here, and not to those who work here? Is the shop worker denied ownership of the shared space in Fairmount and only considered a permanent passerby? The ownership of the urban space becomes complicated and uncertain in Fairmount, and is exposed in the conversation I had with an African American family who stopped by the Fairmount playground for their children to play on their way back to their home in North Philadelphia. The mother said, “I really like the playground here. My children love it, too. But we can’t really drive 20

Dallas Teng minutes a day just to get here. I wish they could build more of this in other parts of the city.” Her words not only reflect her appreciation of modern Fairmount, but also a lack of access to similar infrastructure in her own community and in other areas of Philadelphia. Sharon Zukin discusses how a city “loses its soul” when there is economic division and “a cultural barrier between rich and poor, young and old” (Zukin, 2011). She claims that the future of the figure 6. The inner wall of the Penitentiary

city depends on its authenticity – “I would like ‘origins’ to speak for the politics of the underprivileged” (Zukin, 2011). However, when the concept of authenticity is defined and valued more by the wealthy, the cultural barrier is more likely to stem from the pursuit of authenticity, as I observed in the effects of gentrification in Fairmount. Diversity valued in the neighborhood is stamped with elitism that Florida associates with the creative class. This is shown in the lack of racial diversity, but a

This image shows the dominating walls of Eastern State Penitentiary from inside the prison, noting the lookout towers atop the walls.


Panorama 2017 simultaneous embrace of cultural diversity, with newspapers such as China Daily available at newsstands.

The Penitentiary and Girard College: Walls and Bridges

To the local residents, the physical image of Eastern State Penitentiary is that of walls. They used to be barriers warding off the prisoners but are now architectural attractions. These walls have become bridges to the history of Fairmount. Similar historical walls are also found at Girard College, a boarding school for economically disadvantaged students, located north of the Penitentiary. It is enclosed by a wall 10 feet high and one and a quarter miles long. Many interviewees commented that the Girard area is a different world as compared to its neighbor. When asked how Girard responds to the threats from this more dangerous neighborhood, a school security guard said the wall itself serves as a deterrent and protects students from the crimes just outside its campus. Interestingly, Girard College’s walls seem to be more representative of a barrier, in contrast to the sense of connection that comes from the Penitentiary prison wall. More than a simple deterrent to the crime threats from its northern neighborhood, the walls also connect to the students who live in the very conditions found outside of the wall - founder Stephen Girard’s philanthropic goal of educating at-risk children as active citizens is similarly an intangible bridge. As seen at Eastern State Penitentiary and Girard College, a wall can act as both protection and connection. People attach and modify different meanings to similar structures; their perceptions are influenced by the larger economic and social stratification. What then makes the meaning of a place significant? A place can convey a sense of fear and despair, but it can also bring about hope and vision. While


interviewing one of the Jack’s Firehouse waiters who lived in the Girard area, he told me how “creepy” and “unsafe” the area is and warned me against walking there alone at night. I asked him, “Aren’t you afraid of living in that place”? He replied, “Girl, I have a whole other side that you haven’t seen yet.” Two sets of personalities and behaviors can coexist in one person. He can be tough and defensive in Girard, but he is also polite and warm-hearted in Fairmount. What he thinks of the place dictates how he feels and, therefore, how he acts around it. There are many walls around us, physical or intangible; some ought to be kept while some need to be torn down. During development, some people are walled off and segregated into areas with fewer resources and infrastructure. They may be denied access to the many opportunities abundant in a better off neighborhood like Fairmount and have to change their attitude and lifestyles to adapt to the environment where they find themselves. This is especially true in North Philadelphia, which is only a few blocks away from Fairmount and Eastern State Penitentiary, where many people struggle with poverty. However, North Philadelphia is rich in historical architecture and cultural sites, too. It leads me to think that those sites can also be reformed and serve as impetuses for redevelopment, earning new reputations to bring the neighborhood back to prosperity and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Conclusion The interaction between Eastern State Penitentiary and the surrounding Fairmount neighborhood is a complicated, reciprocal process. The very prison that conjured up nightmares of tension and fear now embodies new functions and meanings, attracting business, tourists, and residents to the area. Such revitalization of

Dallas Teng the neighborhood is set within the larger context of gentrification and consequently, the changes and development have had distinct effects on the different social classes, creating both a sense of inclusion and exclusion. The model demonstrated in the Penitentiary and Fairmount case suggests that this change of urban space

works cited

images cited

and its attached meaning can influence the neighborhood residents in important ways. It therefore directs us to future patterns of urban development for the adjacent North Philadelphia areas.

Dolan, Francis X. Eastern State Penitentiary. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2007. Florida, Richard. “Class-Divided Cities: Philadelphia Edition.” CityLab. March 19, 2013. Accessed February 23, 2017. philadelphia-edition/4858/. Florida, Richard L. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books, 2006. Perry, Clarence. “Neighborhood Community Planning.” In Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs. Vol. VII. New York: Arno Press, 1974. Webb, Molly. “Francisville Property Values Skyrocket, and Taxes Do Too.” Curbed Philly. July 17, 2013. Accessed February 23, 2017. http://philly.curbed. com/2013/7/17/10218806/francisville- property-values-skyrocket- and-taxes-do-too. Zukin, Sharon. Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. cover image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3.

Source: Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Date Unknown. Available from Shutterstock. Source: Mike Graham. The State Penitentiary for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Lithograph by P.S: Duval and Co., 1855. Available from Flickr. Source: Dorevabelfiore. Gargoyle, Exterior of Eastern State Penitentiary. September 13, 2006. Available via Wikimedia Commons. Source: National Parks Service. August 3, 2014. Available via Wikimedia Commons.

figure 4. figure 5. figure 6.

Source: Mike Legeros. “Jack’s Firehouse Grill and Bar.” July 18,2012. Available from Flickr. Source: GooseGoddessS. “City Snowscape.” February 14, 2007. Available from Flickr. Source: Dslrnovice. Eastern State Penitentiary. August 23, 2014. Available from Flickr.


Plaza Zรณcalo, Mexico City, Mexico In 1939, crowds of people gathered to march on the one-year anniversary of the nationalization of the petroleum industry in Mexico. This is an example of the legacy of public space usage through citizen protest.


“…A new society, whose building begins with the solid foundation of natural law, and concludes with the most perfect harmony of civil law, ruining at the same time the Gothic Alcázar built at the expense of the suffering and ignorance of our ancestors1” (Catecismo de Doctrina Civil, Don Andrés de Moya Luzuriaga, 1810).

After a long and violent war for independence, the Mexican intellectuals of the early 19th century set out to build a nation state from the ground up. Many had imagined a new society that would break with the colonial past and lead the newborn country of Mexico towards a solid future. They would be guided by modern revolutionary thought that had afforded countries such as the United States and France their freedoms. Early 19th century Mexico was a time of great political instability as the populace dealt with internal strife between the Federalists and Centralists. These tensions lead to the Reform War and subsequently the period of the French Intervention, which gave rise to a nationalist movement led by Benito Juarez to restore the Mexican republic as an independent nation free from foreign influence. It was in the period between 1867 and 1910, under the government under Porfirio Diaz, now

called the Porfiriato, that a continuation of Juarez’s reform can be outlined, primarily through the Positivist school of thought. As prescribed by Positivism, rationality and logic were to be the guiding factors in the building of every sector of society, guided by the Científicos, or “Scientists,” who were primarily inspired by Western schools of thought. Who were the builders of this new order and progress? The political, economic, and intellectual elite of Mexico. It was they who would attempt to guide the peasantry of Mexico into an advanced society by not only reforming their physical surroundings, but their minds and bodies as well. Per contemporary urban reformers from England and America, an advanced society required a modern, clean central city that the new government had to build from the ground up. Mexico had to build a façade to project onto the world stage in order to prove its legitimacy among nations. As the economy grew, the Porfiriato oversaw much construction and urbanization to keep up with population growth. The Mexican government reconsolidated power in a central location and focused its urbanization efforts on

1 The quote was originally written in a civil doctrine for the Junta Superior de Gobierno, Cádiz, prefacing the Mexican independence war. Reform was needed then to break with old ties, as it was needed during the Porfiriato.


Panorama 2017 Mexico City, the chosen seat of power for the various empires that had inhabited the same region.2 Over the decades between 1890 and 1910, the Científicos undertook an enormous project of city beautification as a means of creating a modern city to present to the global community the progressive state that Mexico had become. It is not a new notion to show power through architecture and the built environment; architecture is not only a way to express culture, but also to mark territory within a city. Physical interventions made in the city shape how its citizens interact with certain areas of the city, as well as people in societal sectors outside of their own. Ultimately, physical interventions are intended to limit the use of spaces to “acceptable” citizens. To an extent, the physical reformations of the Porfirian government had different intended uses for varying sectors of the society. These sectors lived different everyday realities as their degrees of perceived citizenship varied according to their socio-economic status, enhanced by the increasing urbanization of Mexico. In this sense, citizenship can be defined as a formal relationship between an individual and the state. The state protects the rights of its individuals by creating and enforcing laws and providing resources. But when the government denies resources and benefits to certain sectors, it denies them their right to an equal state of citizenship and instead places them in a state of negligence that amounts to oppression. As individuals that were being denied their rights, the poor wanted to reclaim their citizenship. One way that happened was through the reclamation of physical space. Although the government attempted to limit their use of space, lower classes within the city established their presence and importance by infiltrating public spaces of the city to which they had been 2 The main empires referred to are the Aztec and Spanish Empires that also centralized their seat of power in what is now Mexico City.


denied full access. The physical neglect of the lower-class neighborhoods of Mexico City during the Porfiriato was supported by the Científicos’ theories to morally reform the lower classes above all else. The state’s misguided efforts created active citizens, but not in the way the government originally intended.

Physical Reforms and their Consequences Systematic urban planning was a fairly new concept that developed into a new field of study during the mid19th century. Methods of quantitative and qualitative data collection emerged from the Société Médicale d’Observation of Paris and quickly spread through academic circles in Europe and the Americas. The Société advanced empirical observational research on the spread of diseases in societies. As a result, earlyand mid-19th century urbanists instituted physical reform in order to catalyze moral reform as a method of social sanitation (Troen, 1987-1988). Largely inspired by Georges-Eugene Haussmann’s reforms of Paris in 1853, urban planning was viewed as a science that attempted to organize cities into ideal spaces for an idealized population. The Científicos of President Porfirio Diaz’s cabinet attempted to create public and private spaces for the gente decente, or “decent people.” This term can be interpreted in many ways, yet it certainly referred to those of a higher socio-economic status that fit the mold of the proper citizen as defined by the Constitution of 1857: those with an honest means of living. Those that were not categorized as decent were of the lowly classes — crooks, thieves, prostitutes, or beggars. The physical reforms of Mexico City during the Porfiriato created spaces in which social mixing in public spaces was unavoidable, such as in public parks, although highly contested by the upper

Alejandra Ramos

figure 1. Urban Growth during the Administration of Porfirio Díaz

This historical map illustrates the development of Mexico City from 1810 to 1909.

classes. As Gryan Prakash discusses in The Spaces of the Modern City: Imaginaries, Politics, and Everyday Life, spatial politics became an increasingly large concern of the “modern” city: “The spaces of the modern city both shaped political concerns and were, in turn, shaped by them. Urban spaces could generate political clashes, as conflicts rooted in, or fought over, the built environment lent themselves to larger clashes that spilled into the broader world of politics. But urban spaces were just as often reconfigured by such political clashes, as rival groups, divided by distinctions of race, class, and politics, sought to make such political division concrete in the physical structures and order of the city” (Prakash and Kruse, 2008).

In this case, the new urban spaces that were created in Mexico City became contested spaces by three main groups: the government, the upper classes, and the lower classes. Mexican Científicos, architects, planners, and reformers were largely headed by José Yves Limantour and Miguel Ángel de Quevedo. Limantour was a trained lawyer, economist, and engineer, and Quevedo was a trained engineer.

Amongst Limantour and Quevedo’s notable contributions to the reformation of the city was the completion of the major Grand Drainage project of Mexico City in 1901. Begun in 1886, the Drainage Project instituted dikes, canals, and aqueducts that cut through the mountainous country that directly surrounded Mexico City in order to try to control the frequent flooding of the city. The system of canals also allowed for potable water pipes, sewage, and drainage systems to be webbed into the city infrastructure. However, potable water did not reach all areas of the city, thus denying many of the poor a basic life necessity. The main projects of the Porfiriato not only included necessary infrastructure, but city beautification projects as well. For example, the widening and creation of major boulevards like Paseo de la Reforma, paving streets and sidewalks, and constructing national buildings in BeauxArts and Neoclassical styles aided the Cientificos’ aims to create monumental city landscapes that would prove the elegance


Panorama 2017

The Burning of Judas in a major street in Mexico City shows an active reclamation of space by the citizenry.

of the Mexican state.3 The historical map to the left shows the progression of the construction of boulevards that would act as axes to reorient the city to a monumental center, The Plaza Zócalo. The axes also helped to circulate air into the city center, as well as goods and people. The major boulevards cut through an expanding orthogonal grid, creating controlled geometric spaces that reflected the tight control of the state (Wakild, 2007). The city squares were, thus, formally grouped into districts as seen in figure 1, in some cases neighborhoods that had historically identified with certain cultural and indigenous groups that had long lived 3 Paseo de la Reforma is decorated with statues of Christopher Columbus and Hernán Cortés, two notable figures of the conquest, alongside Aztec nobles like Cuauhtémoc. Two heritages are represented in a major public space of an evolving city.


in poverty. For example, indigenous groups had long claimed the areas of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco as their territories around the central portion of Mexico City. The barrio of Tepito had a long-standing tradition as an outlying indigenous commercial neighborhood since the colonial period, and became a poor and dangerous barrio after the government forcefully ousted the indigenous population in 1857 after neighbors formally complained. Racial segregation in Mexico City continued throughout the 19th century as the city developed according to the growing population and migratory trends in and outside of the city, creating massive urban and suburban sprawl. The Porfirian regime orchestrated much of the urban spatial organization, given that the secular government had expropriated much of the property that once belonged to the

figure 2. Burning of Judas

Alejandra Ramos Catholic Church under the 1856 Lerdo Law, making the state the primary real estate beneficiary of private property. Furthermore, the introduction of electricity into major areas of the city allowed not only for the electrification of the homes of the wealthy, but for an electric tram that served as public transportation for the rich and poor. Transportation to the inner areas of the city resulted in a mass reorganization of housing as the middle class and wealthy migrated to the newly developed southwestern areas of the city adjacent to Paseo de la Reforma (Districts seven and eight), while rising housing costs in the city center displaced the poor to the fringe areas. The buildings in the central core were once mixed-income residences that were taken over by commerce and industry, creating a truly “modern” city with socio-economically divided neighborhoods, as was the trend in private development (Piccato, 1997). Segregated from the lowly masses, the upper classes saw themselves as part of a state in which their rights to private property came to be associated with privilege, as they could afford to move away from the dirty center figure 3. Districts of Mexico City

The Plaza Zócalo and the historic center are located in the district of Cuauhtémoc, in the north of Mexico City.

into their own private spaces. The poor were left to dwell in crowded tenements called vecindades, where living conditions were harsh, and many buildings lacked necessary infrastructure. This, in turn, exposed the poor to public ridicule and deprived them of private space. As Mexico delved deeper into industrial production fueled by capitalist theory, the idea of private property pervaded family life, forging the way for secluded spaces in which nuclear families could thrive intimately, safe from the dangers of the urban city. “It is precisely in the second half of the nineteenth century when public space is defined as a democratic forum to express civil liberties and rights, whereas property and private life is seen as the most precious goods of modern society” (Alonso, 2002).

In his essay “El Hogar, Fruto de la Edificación del Ámbito Público,” Enrique Ayala Alonso discusses how the private lives of families in homes developed simultaneously alongside “democratic” public spaces within the city. Yet, only certain sectors of society could reach this level of entitlement, allowing them to actively participate in the public exchange of this new supposed democracy to legally defend their right to privacy (Alonso, 2002). Owning a piece of physical territory of the nation to which one pledges their allegiance cements a strong feeling of belonging and protection, necessary in the formation of the modern nation-state. Alternatively, those that could not afford the comfort of owning private property were left to make their livelihoods in the public spaces of the city, fighting for their own privacy. Public spaces that were highly contested in Mexico City during the Porfiriato were green spaces that were open to all, yet fully accessible only to some. The redesign of Chapultepec Park and the planting of greenery down major boulevards were also carried out during the Porfiriato. Quevedo was deeply committed to introducing trees to the


Panorama 2017 cityscape because he believed in the contemporary scientific notion of plants as natural detoxifiers (Wakild, 2007). Greenery would help disseminate clean oxygen into the dirty city, helping to clear out bacteria and disease that was believed to stagnate in the lower-class districts. Parks were not only aesthetically pleasing, but also served to fulfill the Cientificos’ theory to carefully reintroduce nature back into the city as part of their plan of regimented control over space and people. Green spaces were sacred public spaces that allowed for recreational use by gente decente, in this case those that knew how to comport themselves in public. Those that already knew proper public etiquette developed an attachment to these public spaces, even creating committees like the Comisión de Paseos, or Comisión de Embellecimiento, and Ornato e Instrucción Pública to oversee the completion and proper use of beautification projects (Perez Bertruy, 2002). The main beneficiaries of these public spaces were private property owners who paid for and demanded these spaces be kept clean and unstained by the lower classes (Perez Bertruy, 2002). When the financiers of the public spaces complained to the state about their misuse, the state had to act as intermediary between the upper and lower classes by instituting a policing system.

Reforming the Citizen As plants and shrubs were carefully kept, people had to be served in the same manner in order to be allowed to participate as active citizens. The Científicos had a clear notion of what a Mexican citizen looked like and would attempt to mold societal brackets based on those standards. Starting with hygienization, the Porfirian government sponsored the sanitation programs in Mexico City as a means to create a clean city. Furthermore, as new technology and medical knowledge


became available to Mexican scientists, an effort was made to introduce public health standards in the creation of the clean state. The Porfirian government began their hygienization campaign by making the Superior Sanitation Council (SSC) directly controlled by the Ministry of the Interior, centralizing all public health concerns in the Federal District. The SSC was to oversee the regulation of food, medicine, and disease control for the country, but mainly focused on urban issues due to the continuous population migration to the city. The government’s main concern, however, was bridging the gap between the high standard of living the upper classes enjoyed and the rest of the population who lived in squalor (Herrick and Stuart, 2005). The Porfirito government also passed education reforms and organized public lectures about healthy living and against alcohol consumption in their attempt to truly reform the poor’s way of life. Health policies and education were not enough to clean the internal states of the poor that also had behavioral issues, according to the state. Thus, the people that lived in the lower class districts had to be policed as Pablo Piccato discusses in City of Suspects. Piccato discusses the intense categorization of people and the multiple profiles of the “types” of lower class people created by criminologists. Criminology flourished as a leading science to justify the physiognomic and behavioral differences between the higher and lower classes. This pseudo-science explained why lower classes had to be instructed in using the modern city, a concept that was far beyond their cultural reaches (Piccato, 2001). Fear of congestion, as articulated by 19th-century urban reformers, was another widely circulated idea which had direct spatial consequences in cities as far reaching as British-occupied Delhi. In Mexico, the poor had to be taught that there was a difference between private and public behaviors, given that their private behaviors were constantly public without a

Alejandra Ramos

figure 4. Vecindad

This image shows a typical vecindad, where lower-class citizens had open access to public space.

space of their own (Piccato, 2001). The tenements in which the poor, beggars, and workers had to live lacked many of the amenities that the wealthy had become accustomed to, including electricity, ventilation, potable water, and sewage systems, forcing them to live in the public eye when searching for water or a place to use the restroom: “These needs and a distinctive conception of urban space impelled the poor to blur the artificial border between a modern city, where public and private “functions were clearly separated, and another city, where elite models of behavior seemed less important. A tension thus emerged between the hierarchical and rigid map of the capital imagined by the Porfirian elites and the ambiguous, often not articulated, horizontal view of those who spent most of their time on the streets“ (Piccato, 2001).

Many of the municipal requests submitted by those that lived in lower class districts were “systematically denied to these areas of popular settlement,” instead “concentrating limited resources on the embellishment of the modern city, rather than on the expansion of all services” throughout all of the districts and not just the immediately visible parts of the city (Lear, 1996; Piccato, 2001).

After the sun set and the bustling city grew quiet, the poor were invisible as far as the government was concerned, indifferent about where these non-citizen beings laid their heads at night. There is an obvious irony in the government’s interference in the private lives of the poor yet complete disregard for the physical conditions in which they were forced to live in. The issue then for the government was not the fact that the poor were missing basic amenities but that they lacked a moral consciousness to prevent them from disgracing themselves in public. The government focused on controlling behavior through the gendarmes and by turning accepted public practice into law through written legal models of behavior starting in 1893 after the government unsuccessfully attempted to regulate tenements (Lear, 1996).4 An imbalance existed between perceived social behavior and the cause of certain private behaviors made public. “They tried to teach the urban lower classes how to use their own city. This dominating pretense, rather than material improvements, characterized the Porfirian version of the modern capital,” one that desperately longed to be accepted into a Western global community (Piccato, 2001). Despite the hypocrisies of the Porfirian government, the ordinances and laws were not enough to suppress the neglected into an obedient stupor.

Reclamation of Space, Reclamation of Citizenship The idea of the re-appropriation of space is explored by Victor Jimenez in his essay “Desarollo urbano y tendencias arquitectónicas”, in which he discusses how civil organization and participation influence the urban and architectonic processes; it is not only the government 4 Gendarmes are federal policemen of the Mexican state.


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Paseo de la Reforma is an emblematic avenue that runs through the center of Mexico City. To this day it is the scene of frequent marches, celebrations, and other civic activities.

that has a direct say in how the city is laid out, but the civil sector does as well through the use of space. A public space usually has a delineated function, yet human use is not predictable and can, in turn, create new informal ways of using the space that can eventually become formalized. In other words, spaces change as the demographics and social hierarchies of


the city change. As previously mentioned, urban spaces in Mexico City were not strictly used the way in which they were intended. Urban spaces were appropriated and re-appropriated in the struggle between the government, upper classes, and lower classes to maintain their presence in the city. One form in which space

figure 5. Paseo de la Reforma

Alejandra Ramos is appropriated is through informal occupation. Some public spaces become central areas of gathering for mobilization and political upheaval. The use of certain public spaces can be compared to key historical moments that signify change through an analysis of the way in which these spaces were adapted to fit the needs of the movement. The plaza as a central place for gathering carries a long tradition in Latin America as Setha M. Low discusses in On the Plaza: The Politics of Public Space and Culture. In the case of Mexico City specifically, the Plaza de la Constitución, or El Zócalo, is a key public space that has hosted a multitude of civil upheavals and protests. As the center point of the city, the Zócalo houses the seat of authority for the federal, local, and religious powers of Mexico, the three largest contenders in the historical fight for power in the country.5 As a fiercely contested space, the plaza is representative of social hierarchies. The Zócalo has undergone multiple physical transformations through various regimes, all focused on whether it is open for the public to occupy or not. During the Porfiriato, the Zócalo was actively inhabited by the citizens of Mexico. Not all informal occupations of space were in grand formal spaces such as the Plaza Zócalo, but also in the middle of the newly-paved roads and streets that had been demarcated and labeled for other uses by the government. “The use of the street for fast transportation competed with its use as a place for commerce and sociability” by the lower classes (Piccato, 2001). Artisans and vendors alike took to the streets, setting up their stands wherever they found it most financially beneficial. “Regardless of origin, visitors crowded the streets, drinking and eating and creating a bonanza for merchants and a headache 5 Ciudad Mexico (CDMX) is the official name for the local seat. It is no longer called the “Federal District.” A new constitution for CDMX, which is to operate similarly to Washington DC, is scheduled to be adopted in 2017.

for the police” in tight spaces that were meant to facilitate the circulation of people (Piccato, 2001). In addition, the illegally placed vendor stalls posed a threat to legal merchants and established vendors in formal markets, creating many arguments over appropriation of commercial space (Piccato, 1997). The lower classes also took to the streets to publicly celebrate their culture through traditional festivals that would not be stopped in order to comply with a law imposed by a government that ignored them. For example, the Burning of Judas, a public ritual that involved burning a representation of Judas Iscariot followed by a day of festivities, was carried out regardless of the government’s disapproval as seen below. As tight police control ensued, the government intervened in old traditions and created new “acceptable” ones. The traditional Carnaval de Cuaresma continued until the latter third of the Porfiriato, which was essentially a masquerade where people of all classes mixed on Paseo de la Reforma in their masks, disguised from one another and equal for one short period of time every year. Towards the end of the 19th century, the rich attended the parade in luxurious carriages while the poor walked about, reflecting the growing stratification of social classes (Ramirez, 2002). The Combate de las Flores was created in 1890 as an attempt of the government and aristocratic classes to re-appropriate Paseo de la Reforma from seemingly barbaric cultural traditions that should not be seen by the gente decente, pushing the poor to claim Paseo de la Viga, a boulevard that had been neglected just as they had. Continual struggles over landmark areas throughout the city continued throughout the Porfiriato and into the conflicts that would lead to the Mexican Revolution, as lower and working class urban inhabitants gathered momentum in their fight to reclaim their rights as citizens.


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Conclusion: Spaces Change as Citizen Bodies Change As the central government had garnered power through control of the land, certain populations did so as well through the occupation of space. “They used the city in different ways, walking across the social boundaries between rich and marginal areas, challenging the authority of the police, and even subverting the ‘official’ dictates about street nomenclature” (Piccato, Anuario de Espacios Urbanos, 1997). Through the appropriation of space, different sectors of societies were able to claim their presence in the city, be they indigenous groups, criminals, or the new urban middle class workers that in the eyes of the government counted as second class citizens. This backlash allowed for social sectors to

permanently stake their claim on the land they were forcibly grouped into, forming individual neighborhoods that, to this day, can attribute their formation to acts during the Porfirian regime. The centuries of history of Mexico City that predate the colonial era inevitably pervade the culture of the contemporary city through its physical formation. In the Porfirian regime, one of the main goals was to break with the anarchic and archaic history that in the Positivist point of view dragged down the potential of the country as a whole. Mexico City, newly constructed, was to be governed through a rational system of logic by the best minds that Mexico had to offer. As the development of Mexico City’s spatial politics has proven, the appropriation of space is not a strictly formal process as a diverse citizen body begins to develop their own ideas of what it means to inhabit a space.

At a student protest in 2012, demonstrators marched from Plaza Zócalo and down the Paseo de la Reforma in protest of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.


figure 6.

Alejandra Ramos

works cited

images cited

Agostoni, Claudia. “Hygiene and Public Health Policy During the Porfiriato (Mexico).” In Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America, edited by M. Herrick and Paul H. Stuart, 184-186. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2005. Ayala Alonso, Enrique. “El Hogar, Fruto de Edificación del Ámbito Publico.” Los espacios públicos de la ciudad : siglos XVIII y XIX, edited by Carlos Aguirre Anaya, Marcela Dávalos and María Amparo Ros Torres, 161-200. México: Casa Juan Pablos: Instituto de Cultura de la Ciudad de México, 2002. Jiménez, Víctor. “Desarrollo urbano y tendencias arquitectónicas.” Ensayos sobre la Ciudad de Mexico: “Macropolis Mexicana,” edited by Arechederra, Isobal Tovar de and Magdalena Mas. Mexico: DDF: Universidad Iberoamericana, 1994. Lear, John. “Mexico City: Space and Class in the Porfirian Capital, 1884-1910.” Journal of Urban History, no. 22 (1996): 454-492. Lira, Andrés. Comunidades Indígenas frente la Ciudad de México-Tenochtitlan y Tlatelolco, sus pueblos y barrios, 1812-1919. Zamora, Michoacán: El Colegio de Michoacán-El Colegio de México, 1988. Low, Setha M. On the Plaza: The Politics of Public Space and Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000. ----. Ordinary Places, extraordinary events, citizenship, democracy and public space in Latin America. Ed. Clara Irazabal. New York: Routledge, 2008. Pérez Bertruy, Ramona I. “La Construcción de Paseos y Jardines Públicos Modernos en la Ciudad de México durante el Porfiriato: Una experiencia social.” Los espacios públicos de la ciudad: siglos XVIII y XIX, edited by Carlos Aguirre Anaya, Marcela Dávalos and María Amparo Ros Torres. México: Casa Juan Pablos: Instituto de Cultura de la Ciudad de México, 2002. Piccato, Pablo. City of Suspects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001. Piccato, Pablo. “Urbanistas, ambulantes and mendigos: the dispute for urban space in Mexico City, 1890-1930.” Anuario de Espacios Urbanos: Historia, cultura, diseño, edited by Oscar Terrazas, Jorge Ortiz, and Sergio Tamayo. Azcapotzalco: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 1997. The Spaces of the Modern City: Imaginaries, Politics, and Everyday Life. Ed. Gyan Prakash and Kevin M. Kruse. Princeton: 2008. Troen, Ilan. “Urban Reform in Nineteenth Century France, England, and the United States: The Keating Lecture.” Presentation at Tel Aviv University, 1987-1988. Ramirez Ramírez, Virginia. “Los Festejos del Paseo de la Reforma.” Los espacios públicos de la ciudad: siglos XVIII y XIX, edited by Carlos Aguirre Anaya, Marcela Dávalos and María Amparo Ros Torres. Mexico: Casa Juan Pablos: Instituto de Cultura de la Ciudad de Mexico, 2002. Rituals of Rule, Rituals of Resistance: Public Celebrations and Popular Culture in Mexico. Ed. William H. Beezley, Cheryl English Martin, William E. French. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Inc, 1994. Wakild, Emily. “Naturalizing Modernity: Urban Parks, Public Gardens and Drainage Projects in Porfirian Mexico City.” Mexican Studies 23, no. 1 (2007): 101-123. cover image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3. figure 4. figure 5. figure 6.

Source: Plaza Zócalo, first anniversary of the petroleum expropriation of 1938. Sistema Nacional de Fototecas, Mexico City. Available from: SINAFO. Source: Mexico in 1810, 1876, and 1909. Plan of the city, its development during the government of General Porfirio Diaz, president of the United Mexican States. Mapoteca Manuel Orozco y Berra, Mexico City. Source: Burning of Judas in Mexico City. Condesa Street, 1909. Available from: Pinterest. Source: Neighborhood of Mexico City, early 20th Century. Archivo Higinio Casasola, Sistema Nacional de Fototecas, Mexico City. Available from: Pinterest. Source: Administrative division of the Federal District, Mexico. Available from: Wikimedia Commons. Source: Paseo de la Reforma, 2010. Jelly H. Available from: Source: Manifestación, 2012. Adolfo Vladimir. Available from:


Oak Park Housing Counseling Counseling in the 1970s helped homeowners and prospective homeowners combat racial segregation in Oak Park, IL.



n the 1960s, during a time when many integration efforts merely reinforced segregation patterns, the village of Oak Park, Illinois decided to become stably integrated. Residents watched as people of color started moving into the majorityWhite neighborhood of Austin directly to the east. A few years later, Austin transitioned to majority-Black. White Oak Park residents realized if they did not take action, integration would transition to segregation and they would soon be looking for a new place to call home. The planning and community economic development interventions used in Oak Park were critical to the village’s stable integration and provide replicable tools that should be used by other communities to facilitate integration.

The Problem The first step Oak Park took to solving the problem of racial change was defining the problem in market terms rather than racial terms. Leaders realized that while some of the “White flight” was undoubtedly due to racism, there were also strong market forces at work. Real estate agents were looking to profit from racial change block busting and panic-peddling tactics that convinced White homeowners that

they would lose the equity in their homes if they did not sell soon after racial change started in their neighborhood. In Austin, “White homeowners were besieged by real estate firms with telephone calls, door-todoor solicitations, and mail offers to sell their homes” (Goodwin, 1979). Real estate agents would then turn around and sell the formerly White-occupied homes to new Black residents at inflated pricing in what became known as a “color-tax” in a “dual housing market” (Goodwin, 1979). The government-backed financial system also encouraged segregation and White flight as banks refused to grant conventional mortgages in racially changing areas, also known as redlining (Goodwin, 1979). Oftentimes, banks would only make Federal Housing Authority mortgages in areas perceived to be racially changing, which encouraged White homeowners to move before the value of their home decreased significantly due to the dual housing market and disinvestment caused by realtors and banks. In addition to market forces, segregation can be caused by relatively race-neutral preferences, or a comfort threshold, rather than overt racism. When a dissimilar group passes a person’s comfort threshold, “tipping” usually occurs, often known as “White flight”. The effects of preference on segregation can by demonstrated by the Schelling


Panorama 2017 Model (Talwalkar, 2008). This model shows that when people have a racial similarity comfort threshold of more than 40 percent, the result is almost complete segregation, indicating that segregation occurred without a high preference for homogeneity (Landis, 2016). Racial similarity preferences must be as low as almost 20 percent similar for segregation to not occur in the Schelling model. Integration has proven not to be a natural process and segregation has been driven by market forces. Therefore, planning and community development interventions, such as those used in Oak Park, are needed for successful, stable integration to occur.

The Interventions The Oak Park community did not take “White flight” as a given or an inevitable future to be addressed after the fact. Instead, the community sought to transform the way people perceived and reacted to racial change by promoting stable integration through planning and community development interventions. During deliberation of how Oak Park would address integration and racial change, a top-down racial quota requiring a certain number of non-White resident was introduced as a possible solution. Integration advocates convinced village leaders to abandon the quota for a more creative approach. A bottom-up program of “widespread counseling of homeseekers, possible economic incentives for people to choose homes in locations consistent with integration aims, equity insurance for homeowners, and public relations programs” was implemented as the official Oak Park integration strategy. (Goodwin, 1979). The transformative model of community building “accepts that reality is being made and remade continually and also accepts that people working together actually can be a part of making history, not merely observing


it” (Derienzo, 2012). A prescriptive quota would have been less transformative than the innovative, community-based tools used in Oak Park. The first element of intervention was the Village Fair Housing Ordinance. Passed in 1968, it “prohibited discrimination in home and apartment advertising, sales, rentals, and financing” (Goodwin, 1979). The ordinance was a key policy that helped to set a culture of racial integration and inclusion in the city and to serve as a living document. Community groups were instrumental in implementing, enforcing, and expanding the policy. In 1972, “the village board passed an ordinance banning “for sale” and “sold” signs from all residential property other than condominiums and new construction to deter block-busting. This also served to reduce the White residents’ fears of losing home equity due to the market

figure 1. Oak Park Village relative to Chicago and Cook County

Cook County Chicago Oak Park

N 0

1.25 2.5



10 Miles

Joanna Joye being flooded because of racial change and tipping. While the real estate sign ban was found unconstitutional, it is still unofficially practiced and enforced by informal community norms and values. Also in 1972, the ordinance officially banned redlining. In 1973, the village government implemented testing of real estate practices for compliance with the ordinance in response to pressure from community organizations. Homeowners equity assurance was an innovative intervention aimed at market forces and market-based fears that had driven racial change and desegregation in other neighborhoods. The government showed its commitment to keeping White people in the neighborhood as Black people started to integrate by underwriting an insurance program to protect people against the possible decline in home values due to integration. (Goodwin, 1979). While some insurance companies were interested in the idea, all declined to underwrite it, so the village government took the underwriting upon itself. To date, there have been no payouts on the policy (Sempniak, 2010), largely due to the interconnected elements of the integration strategy. The Oak Park Housing Center is the community organization established explicitly to provide housing counseling and promote the racial integration of housing on a geographic “block-by-block” level. The official policy of the Oak Park Housing Center was openly communicated to clients and the public via brochures as: “The policy of the Oak Park Housing Center is to assist in stabilizing integration in the village. To this end, there will be encouragement of white clients to move into buildings or areas that are already integrated, and the encouragement of black clients to move into buildings or areas which are not substantially integrated. Listings will be provided in keeping with this policy, with the understanding that under both local and federal laws, all clients are free to pursue the housing of their choice.”

Less than a year after being founded by Roberta Raymond, who also served

as the center’s first director, it had achieved a “position very near the top of the prestige hierarchy of community and civic organizations” (Goodwin, 1979). The housing center was successful because it was able to gain the respect and cooperation of the real estate industry, which saw the housing center as a partner committed to the long-term success of the neighborhood, rather than simply a watchdog. The real estate industry benefited from the housing center’s marketing of Oak Park, the unified listing services, and housing referral. When working with prospective residents, the center worked to dissipate negative feelings about parts of the neighborhood by challenging assumptions about the undesirability of some areas. Oak Park leadership invested in a strong, place-based community as a tool for achieving racial integration and influencing possible opinions about living in an integrated community. A public relations campaign, led by the Oak Park housing center, rebranded Oak Park as young, progressive, and racially integrated. Through the public relations campaign, leaders shifted the message away from Black and White and toward “the idea of a harmonious mingling of all races and ethnic backgrounds” (Goodwin, 1979). One of the key objectives of the campaign was to attract Whites, especially young families, who were seeking integration and deter Whites who were fleeing racial change. The professionally-produced brochure distributed by the housing center did not explicitly mention integration aside from the fair housing ordinance. Rather, the brochure featured pictures of Black people and White people enjoying integrated life in Oak Park (Goodwin, 1979). During a time when race relations were tense and integration was largely viewed as a place-based community liability, Oak Park leaders worked to attract people who valued integration as a community asset. As a result, Oak Park “became a viable


Panorama 2017 residential option for a type of young liberal who sought suburban amenities yet tended to subscribe to the ideology that suburbs in general were bland cultural wastelands of social irresponsibility” (Goodwin, 1979). Thus, public relations successfully promoted Oak Park as a desirable placebased community for everyone.

Politics and Power The success and stability of Oak Park’s integration strategy was due to the high level of local power. As a village outside of Chicago, Oak Park had an autonomous government and school district. Thus, school district and village interests, boundaries, and funding sources were aligned, which enabled the two public entities to work together on the integration strategy. Furthermore, the Oak Park public school system was well supported and attended by the community, which enabled it to be an integration tool. In Austin, most of the White residents attended Catholic schools, so the school system become more segregated than the neighborhood. When desegregation busing began, the Austin neighborhood and school system became more fragmented and misaligned. Oak Park’s high level of local power resulted in strong community control, which was a key factor in achieving racial integration. Oak Park politicians used community control to establish a fair housing policy that included control over the local real estate industry. Control over real estate agents and landlords gave Oak Park leadership the power to exert community control over market forces. To sell real estate in Oak Park, real estate agents were required to have offices in either Oak Park or the neighboring suburb, River Forest. This served as a barrier to entry to discourage real estate professionals seeking to profit from racial change in the village. Community control of the real estate industry was also used


to leverage support and cooperation with the Oak Park Housing Center’s integration objectives. A primary reason integration was so successful in Oak Park was the support political leaders provided for integration. In addition, Oak Park residents and community organization leaders had a high level of trust in local political leaders “who were seen not as politicians, but as fellow residents accepting their civic responsibilities” (Goodwin, 1979). Oak Park political leaders used their power to set an example for community members and the real estate industry. The southeast section of Oak Park that shares a border with Austin was the first to become integrated. The political powers displayed their commitment to Oak Park residents of all races by relocating Village Hall in a new civic center in southeast Oak Park. They also increased services to southeast Oak Park and “augmented police patrols which led to decreases in street crime in the area after 1974” (Goodwin, 1979). Instead of the systematic disinvestment that was common for those with power to begin once an area started racial change, Oak Park political leaders increased their investment. Oak Park political leaders were also personal champions of integration who leveraged their human capital to establish powerful support for the integration efforts. The village manager helped secure support for the housing center saying, “I’ve put my arms around it and said, ‘Look, I think this is a good thing.’ I’ve persuaded businessmen to support it financially, which they have done” (Goodwin, 1979). On a more macro level, one of the village’s most important roles in its integration strategy was empowering and facilitating cooperation among community organizations. Political anxiety may have discouraged a less confident government than Oak Park’s from taking a lead in promoting racial integration. For this reason, the most difficult changes

Joanna Joye in a community are officially led by “grassroots” community groups. In Oak Park, much of the integration work was done by community groups. However, the village government took a strong lead from the beginning of the integration strategy in the 1960s. Centralized power contributed to the integration effort because “the village government was the center through which the overall racial stabilization effort was coordinated” (Goodwin, 1979). Oak Park became an “inclusive city” from a community development perspective because the neighborhood organizations could exercise power and win influence since the city government found them to be useful allies. The relative stability of political power in Oak Park enabled community groups to be strong partners and to develop their skills and capacity (Mayer, 2012). Strong cooperation among high-capacity community organizations facilitated by the government was a key component of the success of Oak Park’s integration strategy.

Why Maps? Segregation exhibits itself both spatially and economically. In the context of real estate and neighborhood change, markets and neighborhood are interconnected. Using census data from 1960 to 2010, I tracked the progress of Oak Park’s integration strategy by mapping the spatial dispersal of the increase in the Black population in the village. The following maps show the integration increasing in 1980, after the Oak Park integration strategy that began in 1968 had over 10 years to impact the community and the housing market. Also in the 1980s, pressures of inner city disinvestment and suburban housing preferences were driving the Black population to the innerring suburbs. The map shows integration first started on the east side, where Oak Park boarders the Austin neighborhood.

Then integration started spreading more evenly across the neighborhood in 2000. The maps show that even a deliberate integration strategy like Oak Park’s takes time to be effective. For the ease of measurement and comparison, I only focused on the Black population for this assignment.

The Role of Community Economic Development and Planning A strong network of community organizations played a critical role in implementing the integration strategy led by the village government. In addition, the strategy was being implemented just as the community economic development (CED) field was becoming more professionalized and closely tied with planning. During the 1970s, the planning conversation was shifting from guiding growth to dealing with decline, as city neighborhoods experiencing racial change were labeled as declining. Thus, planners were forced “to address topics – poverty, race, empowerment – that were a little uncomfortable,” which elevated the importance of CED (Chapple, 2012). The place-based community integration and stabilization efforts carried out by various community organizations were critical to Oak Park avoiding the “declining” label and reinventing itself as a vibrant, racially integrated community. A driver of the integration strategy was the Oak Park Housing Center, made possible by a high-capacity founder, director, and integration champion, Roberta Raymond. The center still performs integration work today as the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. Before founding the housing center, Ms. Raymond had several years of experience in fair housing activity in Oak Park and a master’s degree in sociology. She was able to gain


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The Black population in the census tracts that comprise Oak Park has increased from 0% in 1960 to 21% in 2010.

support from “prominent elements of the community” because “her energy, drive, and competence were recognized and respected by other community leaders” (Goodwin, 1979). In her role at the Housing Center, Ms. Raymond reflected the broader trend of increased professionalization of community development and relations.

Shades of Grey – Oak Park Today The planning and community development interventions enacted by


Oak Park leaders starting in the 1960s have shaped Oak Park into a racially integrated oasis in a highly segregated area (figure 2). However, the village is not free from racial challenges. First, compared to Cook County, Hispanics are significantly underrepresented and White people are overrepresented (figure 3). In addition, there is a racial academic achievement gap reported on the 20152016 state report card; 11 percent of White students did not meet performance levels compared to 30 percent of Black students (Illinois Report Card). Further, Oak Park failed a rental housing discrimination test in 2014 (Inklebarger, 2014). Despite

figure 2. Black/African American Population in Oak Park between 1960 and 2010 (Percent by Census Tract)

Joanna Joye these setbacks, integration is something for which the Oak Park Regional Housing center continues to fight.

figure 3. Racial Composition of Oak Park Compared to Cook County

Following Oak Park’s Lead When I first learned about the Oak Park integration strategy in Urban and Planning Theory, the first question I asked was, “If integration is something we value

Oak Park has a significantly more diverse population than greater Chicago and Cook County.


Panorama 2017 as a society, why aren’t integration planning interventions something that more communities are doing?” The professor responded that it was a good question for which he did not have an answer. During my research and reflection this semester, the answer I have constructed for myself is that the majority of people do not like to think of themselves as racist. Planning interventions to promote integration should not be needed if the people in a community are not racist, right? Wrong. The Schelling Model shows that even “non-racist” similarity preferences have the potential to result in high levels of segregation. Thus, integration is not something that will happen because it is generally a normative societal value. Integration must be planned for in order for it to happen. Further, CED organizations and professionals should be the champions promoting integration through planning interventions similar to those used in Oak Park and inclusive place-based community building. High levels of community control, political support, and human capital all contributed to the success of Oak Park’s integration strategy. However, I believe any communities wanting to plan for integration should consider the following interventions and strategies:


• • • • •

Implement a public relations campaign to market the community as diverse and inclusive; Engage political and community leaders with strong human capital to serve as integration champions; Use public schools as an integration tool to make the schools part of the integration strategy; Solicit support from the real estate industry and find ways to incentivize cooperation; Use culture and community building to foster an attractive, inclusive, placebased community in which people want to become invested; and Invest in integration and lead by example by investing in and supporting areas in danger of disinvestment.

Integration should be a priority of planners and community development professionals because it has the power to change the future through place-based interventions. Integration also has the power to reduce inequity since “the fact that place and race exert such a profound impact on one’s future, or whether there even will be a future, violate accepted notions of equal opportunities and fair play.” (Squires, 2012). While policy is an important part of integration, it cannot be the only tool used for integration to be stable, successful, and sustainable. Quotas and regulations are not transformational. Integration done through community development similar to the Oak Park strategy, has the power to be transformational by improving the way one views one’s neighborhood, neighbors, and self.

Joanna Joye

works cited

images cited

Chapple, Karen. “The Evolving Role of Community Economic Development in Planning.” Oxford Handbooks Online (2012). Derienzo H., “Power and Democracy: Lessons Learned.” In The Community Development Reader, edited by James DeFilippis and Susan Saegert. New York: Routledge, 2012. Goodwin, Carole. The Oak Park Strategy: Community Control of Racial Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. Inklebarger, Timothy. “Oak Park Flunks Rental Housing Discrimination Test.” February 14, 2014. Accessed December 14, 2016. Articles/2-14-2014/Oak-Park-flunks-rental-housing-discrimination-test. Landis, John D. Urban and Planning Theory Lecture. University of Pennsylvania School of Design. October 17, 2016. ----. “Oak Park & River Forest High School (9-12) – Oak Park – River Forest SD 200.” Achievement Gap. Illinois Report Card. Illinois State Board of Education. Accessed December 14, 2016. Stempniak, Marty. “Would Affordable Housing Lower Oak Park Property Values?” September 21, 2010. Accessed December 14, 2016. http://www.oakpark. com/News/Articles/9-21-2010/Would-affordable-housing-lower-Oak-Park-property- values. Talwalkar, Presh. “Game Theory and Racism: The Schelling Segregation Model.” Mind Your Decisions. October 28, 2008. Accessed December 14, 2016. segregation-model. Mayer, N. and Keyes, L., City Governments Role In The CD System. DeFilippis, James, and Saegert, Susan. The Community Development Reader. New York: Routledge, 2012. Squires, G.D and Kubrin, CE, Privileged Places. DeFilippis, James, and Saegert, Susan. The Community Development Reader. New York: Routledge, 2012. cover image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3.

Source: The Oak Parker, 21 December, 2012. Source: Joanna Joye, 2016. Source: Joanna Joye, 2016. Source: Joanna Joye, 2016.


ECO-DISTRICT Reservoir Hill Baltimore, MD

Shruthi Arvind Jackson Byerly Phylicia Coleman Devon Delvecchio Catherine Droser Alexandra Edsall Thomas Gilbertson Adija Manley Laura Rigell Kirsten Weismantle William Wellington Chuhan Zheng

City Planning Studio Fall 2016


eservoir Hill is a historic residential neighborhood in central-west Baltimore made up of large estates that, over time, have developed into smaller rowhomes and apartment complexes. Despite significant population loss in the 1960s, recent efforts such as the demolition of a large public housing project, new development, and increased resident engagement make Reservoir Hill an ideal place to focus planning energy. Through a combination of offsite research and site visits, this studio understood the facets of the neighborhood and created a proposal for its development that emphasizes the following opportunities: strengthening Reservoir Hill’s connections to its neighbors; taking advantage of high levels of resident engagement; and building on existing sustainability efforts in the Baltimore area. Based on an eco-district protocol that emphasizes environmental, economic, and social sustainability, this studio developed goals for a range of interventions from community identity to water and mobility, as well as metrics to measure the proposal’s impact and a model of community-driven implementation to ensure continued interest and benefits for Reservoir Hill residents. The studio developed a vision for the growth of the neighborhood: Reservoir Hill represents the standard for engaging citizens in the integration of local community, economic, and environmental systems. Over years of innovative, collaborative, and inclusive development and investments in human capital, Reservoir Hill sustains infrastructural,

social, and environmental systems that serve as a model for neighborhoods across the country. Proposals are organized under three main topics: 1.

2. 3.

Neighborhood-wide strategies, such as campaigns to increase solar use, alley beautification efforts, and the preparation of design guidelines to encourage historic home rehabilitation Revitalizing Reservoir Hill’s barriers Strengthening its core

With the addition of the proposed projects, Reservoir Hill will represent a model of housing, economic, and environmental systems. Through community-driven implementation, groups in Reservoir Hill will form a robust mechanism to integrate the projects into the fabric of the neighborhood, while engaging the residents in the site projects. (opposite page) The proposal’s site plan re-imagines Reservoir Hill’s town center. (below) Typical Baltimore rowhomes are a historic component of the built environment in Reservoir Hill.


New Jersey Coastline Following Hurricane Sandy, 2012 Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard, as seen in this photo of destroyed homes along the New Jersey beacfront.

PLANNING FOR RETREAT Buyout Programs in New Jersey as a Strategy for Coastal Resilience

Madeleine Helmer


oastal communities in the United States are coping with the accelerating effects of anthropogenic climate change in the form of rising sea levels and more intense and frequent storms. In response to increasing vulnerability, municipalities are developing and implementing strategies for becoming more resilient. New Jersey’s coastal counties contain eight million residents and 285 square miles of land less than five feet above the high tide line, making the area highly susceptible to flooding (NJDEP, 2011) (Climate Central, 2014). As properties in these areas are repeatedly damaged by storms, many homes become burdensome to their owners and to the federal programs that provide flood insurance and postdisaster rehabilitation. In New Jersey, state and county governments have established buyout programs that purchase vulnerable property from residents and convert the land to open space. This strategy for managed retreat is implemented with local planning support and the assistance of federal grants. New Jersey’s buyout programs target coastal homes as well as riverine communities that are prone to repeated flooding events. Buyout programs have varied success, as they are largely guided by the requirements of the federal grants and they often lack strong local backing. The financing and resources these programs provide may

also not be adequately distributed among communities. Despite these challenges, however, buyout programs can be an effective adaptation strategy for the New Jersey coast.

Retreat as an Adaptation Strategy The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) promotes three strategies for reducing vulnerability in coastal areas: protection, accommodation, and retreat (Klein et al., 2001). Each of these strategies can be achieved with various techniques. To protect is to implement hard, soft, and indigenous solutions in order to reduce “the risk of an event by decreasing its probability of occurrence” (Klein et al., 2001). To accommodate is to “increase society’s ability to cope with the effects of the event” and can be applied through emergency planning, regulations, modifications of building styles and codes, and improved drainage (Klein et al., 2001). Retreat is the third strategy, defined as the ability to reduce the risk of an event by “limiting its effects” and taking shape through increased setbacks, relocation of buildings, phasing out development in susceptible areas, and buyout programs (Klein et al., 2001). In a buyout program, a

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Many Shore communities have not received assistance from the Blue Acres program. One such community is Ortley Beach, which was hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

public agency purchases a private property, demolishes the structures and converts the land to open space. By eliminating risk, buyouts are an assertive method of retreat. Of all the adaptation strategies implemented in the New York metropolitan area to date, “retreat has received the least attention� (Freudenberg, 2016). Out of $60 billion in federal aid allocated for resilience and recovery in the New York Metropolitan region after Hurricane Sandy, only $750 million has been spent on buyout programs (Freudenberg, 2016). This lack of funding demonstrates how managed retreat is still not a common or well-supported adaptation technique (Freudenberg, 2016). The vast majority of recovery efforts in the region have focused on rebuilding and reconstruction after disaster, even though managed retreat has been demonstrated to be a cost-effective measure for resilience.


In New Jersey, buyout programs operate in coastal and riverine communities to reduce damages caused by flooding. The Blue Acres program is a widespread initiative developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, with a latest initiative to target properties impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The Morris County Flood Mitigation Program is a much smaller, county-level program in New Jersey that provides funding and assistance to towns interested in the acquisition of flood-prone riverfront properties.

Blue Acres Blue Acres is the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s program for acquiring flood-prone

figure 1. Ortley Beach Homes

Madeleine Helmer

Some properties in Denville have been purchased through the Blue Acres program and preserved as a public park. Shown above is flooding in Denville after Hurricane Irene in 2011.

figure 2. Denville Flooding

properties. The program first launched in 1961 to preserve open space through New Jersey’s Green Acres program for Farmland and Historic Preservation, which expanded over the following decades (Freudenberg, 2016). In response to the widespread damage incurred by Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy in 2011 and 2012, respectively, a new iteration of the program was launched in 2013 as the Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Buyout Program. The program works only in municipalities that agree to participate, offering homeowners pre-storm market values for properties damaged in Hurricane Sandy or previous storms. At its launch, The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection dedicated $300 million to acquire 1,000 houses in tidal areas affected by Hurricane Sandy and 300 in other areas with repeated flooding (NJDEP, 2016). As of August 2016, the program had completed more than 500

buyouts in seven counties (Woods, 2016). Blue Acres is a state program supported primarily by federal disaster recovery funds from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR). These two federal funders have their own requirements for eligible recipients and for the program’s management. Both FEMA and CDBG-DR funding demand that acquired properties be preserved as open space for the public, with restrictions imposed upon the types of protective barriers that may be erected on the lands after acquisition (FEMA does not allow certain types of levees, for example). The FEMA funding may only be used to acquire property with a building standing on it, and cost-effectiveness must also be


Panorama 2017 demonstrated (Freudenberg, 2016). The CDBG-DR program regulates the type of recipient for the buyout program, requiring that a majority of the funds be spent on census blocks where residents are mostly low- to moderate-income. Facilitating buyouts using these federal funds, the Blue Acres program’s procedures and list of recipients are determined by FEMA and CDBG-DR regulations. Morris County, New Jersey implemented its own buyout program in 2011 through its Open Space, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust. The County designated $16 million at the launch of the initiative using funds from its own open space tax to acquire flood prone riverine properties (Freudenberg, 2016). The program uses two funding tracks: the MATCH program and the CORE program. The MATCH program provides matching funding for land acquisitions already underway with another agency (such as Blue Acres). The CORE program is tailored to provide up to 75 percent of the acquisition cost for acquiring houses that have failed to receive other agency funds, “to catch homes which have fallen through the FEMA/Blue Acres net” (County of Morris, NJ, 2016). With funding only from the county, the CORE program is not restricted by the regulatory framework of FEMA and CDBG-DR.

Implementation Even though FEMA and CDBGDR allow for the acquisition of nonresidential properties, Blue Acres and Morris County are only directing programs towards homeowners. Both are voluntary programs, although they differ in their implementation. Blue Acres negotiates directly with homeowners, and will approach a town after a homeowner’s application is approved. The state then acquires and manages properties. Morris County’s program negotiates directly with


the towns as they become responsible for overseeing building demolition and restoration of the site (Freudenberg, 2016). Once acquired, Blue Acres properties are all state-owned, but maintained by the local municipality. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection intends for the land to return to a natural state. However, an unkempt parcel can be a nuisance for neighbors that have not relocated. This transition period, as a community is in the process of complete acquisition, is a challenging time for local leaders as they must maintain properties and upkeep the infrastructure to serve a shrinking community.

Preserved Land as a Buffer Buyouts are a strategy for not only relocating people to safety, but also providing communities with “open space that acts as a natural, sustainable flood storage area, thus protecting the remaining homes, businesses and properties by forming a flood barrier with this preserved land” (County of Morris, NJ, 2016). Open space that is impervious and vegetated will absorb floodwater and protect communities, as “capturing and infiltrating stormwater on-site is essential for flood control” (Daniels, 2014). Preserved coastlines and riverfronts have the potential to be community assets that draw economic benefits, while also improving air quality and public health. All land acquired through the Blue Acres program is deed restricted as open space, ensuring that the land will serve the public in perpetuity, and that no new construction will take place. Managed retreat programs irreversibly change communities, as coastlines are relinquished back to nature. However, retreat does not necessarily entail the relocation of entire communities. The land immediately adjacent to the coast is redefined, with greater protection and resilience provided for those structures

Madeleine Helmer

figure 3. Ortley Beach

An aerial photograph shows the extent of damage to homes in Ortley Beach after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

immediately inland. Buyouts provide a new buffer between the town and its shoreline, ensuring that properties inland have sufficient setback. The land acquired through buyouts can be restored to return to wetlands, or naturally engineered to improve the shoreline resilience. The strip of preserved land may also be an area where the town can construct hard infrastructure, such as seawalls and berms. Buyouts can correspond with other adaptation strategies. Managed retreat through buyouts is a cost-effective strategy for eliminating risk to coastal communities. While protective barriers require ongoing maintenance or improvements, retreat programs

do not require as much long-term management. Furthermore, in some cases hard infrastructure projects have higher initial costs than buyouts. Near Trenton, communities in the Passaic River Basin have been pursuing buyouts for more than 20 years. In 1995, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opted to construct a $2 billion tunnel to divert floodwater, while a buyout of these homes would have cost roughly $200 million (New York Times, 1995). The large amount of capital devoted to these projects is an indication of the immense value that communities attribute to their neighborhoods, and an unwillingness to retreat.


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Municipalities Push Back Some municipalities do not support buyout programs because of property tax loss. In February 2016 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) announced the expansion of Blue Acres to include Downe Township in Cumberland County and Rahway in Union County. The Mayor of Downe Township publicly expressed concern over the expansion, maintaining that the town would lose six percent of its ratable base, or nine million dollars in property taxes, if houses were permanently demolished on

its shore (Woods, 2016). The township already lost 10 percent of its ratable base after Hurricane Sandy, and further depletion was a concern. Studies suggest that residential land uses demand more local revenue than other land uses, and are, in fact, a burden: “residential properties generally do not generate more tax revenue for municipalities than they cost, whereas nonresidential properties do� (Freudenberg, 2016). A loss of residences may not be damaging to a township, as long as the community has the ability to easily adjust its services and costs to suit the diminished population. However, much

Flooding in Middlesex after Hurricane Irene, 2011. Middlesex County is a recipient of the Blue Acres program.


figure 4. Middlesex County

Madeleine Helmer of a community’s infrastructure does not have the flexibility to be right-sized to suit a smaller population and ratable base, costing fewer residents more money to maintain. If some houses remain on a block, the town must continue to maintain the streets and provide utilities to those residents.

Challenges to Implementation on the Shore Although Blue Acres was intended for both riverine and coastal municipalities, the program has not been as successful in coastal towns. Examples include little to no activity in Monmouth and Ocean counties, areas with widespread damage from Hurricane Sandy. The NJ DEP maintains that these communities have not expressed as much interest. However, a recent study posits that some homeowners on the coast are interested in a buyout, but are not receiving adequate attention from the State (Oglesby, 2016). For a program that aims to purchase clusters of homes, buyouts on the coast may be challenged by a lack of cooperation among neighbors. The NJDEP program prefers to acquire clusters of houses in order to better facilitate FEMA and HUD resiliency-based grant applications. A consensus among neighbors may be more difficult for coastal properties, where real estate values are still high and the beach retains great cultural significance. In 2014, it was reported that 80 percent of the municipalities where homeowners applied for Blue Acres had fewer than 10 applicants, and many were on the coast (O’Dea, 2014). Another obstacle to the Blue Acres program on the coast is the high market value of homes. Blue Acres compensates homeowners according to a home’s prestorm market values, and the program may have limited capacity to acquire coastal properties. The socio-economic

composition of the coastal homeowners may also be a limiting factor, as CDBG-DR grants require that the majority of funding be allocated to low- to moderate-income areas. As with other communities, municipalities on the shore may also have an economic incentive to not participate in the buyouts and maintain their property base. Beachfront parcels are some of the most expensive properties in a municipality, providing even higher property tax revenues for a town. Furthermore, local governments are not burdened with the costs of rehabilitation after a disaster. Federal flood insurance often funds the rehabilitation of houses after flooding, and the Stafford Act provides federal support for 75 percent or more of the cost for repairing local infrastructure after a federally declared disaster (Gillis, 2012). The Blue Acres program encourages managed retreat, which can be contradicted by land use planning that encourages coastal development. In 2014, an overhaul of the NJDEP’s Coastal Development Rules further enabled construction in low-lying coastal areas by streamlining procedures and relaxing protections (O’Neill, 2014). Managed retreat will be most effective when communities are pressured to adapt, and lenient land use planning measures do nothing to encourage relocation efforts.

Conclusion Throughout the Northeast, state and local responses to Hurricane Sandy have largely turned towards protection measures, constructing substantial soft and hard infrastructure to secure shorelines and valuable assets. After Hurricane Sandy, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg “backed a $20 billion plan with barrier dunes, flood walls and more stringent buildings codes” (Daniels, 2014). Managed retreat has been supported, but it has by no means been the leading proposal


Panorama 2017 for adaptation planning. Beachfront properties are valuable and desired, and they retain a strong identity for their community members. The New Jersey Blue Acres program could learn from similar buyout programs in other states. New York State’s similar retreat program, NY Rising, provides assistance to displaced tenants, as well as homeowners, to further ensure that the most socially vulnerable communities are not ignored in resilience planning. Planners already have a troubled legacy when it comes to relocating low-income communities and, as recommended by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, buyout programs must be mindful of their motivations and outcomes to avoid causing further harm (Freudenberg, 2016). Buyout programs could be expanded with alternative funding models, such as the open space taxes seen in Morris County, or by involving non-profit institutions and land trusts. Federal grants require proving cost-effectiveness, acquiring land that has been developed, and limiting what hard protective infrastructure can be constructed. With more flexible funding sources, states would be able to design buyout programs that are more attractive to their municipalities and tailored to their


region. Underdeveloped land could be acquired and protected to provide land buffers, and programs could be designed for more effectively acquiring beachfront properties and relocating residents. Municipalities in New Jersey are concerned about losing coastal properties because they rely on the tax revenue to maintain critical infrastructure and services. Buyout programs need to address these concerns, and programs could be established to alleviate those issues associated with a shrinking population and a fluctuating community. Programs could be established to encourage communications between neighboring municipalities, promote regional planning, or assist with relocating residents within municipality boundaries. Municipalities along the coast are planning for climate change and its associated hazards. In the New York metropolitan region, 1.2 million residents live in coastal surge zones and riverine floodplains at risk to flooding, and this number is expected to double by 2050 (Freudenberg, 2016). Regions, states, and federal planners need to consider options for reducing risk in coastal communities. Retreat should not be considered the last alternative.

Madeleine Helmer

works cited

images cited

Daniels, Thomas L. The Environmental Planning Handbook, 2nd Edition. Washington, DC: American Planning Association, 2014. Freudenberg, Calvin, Tolkoff, and Brawley. Buy-in for Buyouts: The Case for Managed Retreat from Flood Zones. Cambridge: Lincoln Institute, 2016. Gillis, Justin. “As Coasts Rebuild and U.S. Pays, Repeatedly, the Critics Ask Why.” New York Times, November 18, 2012, accessed January 2017, science/earth/as-coasts-rebuild-and-us-pays-again-critics-stop-to-ask-why.html. Morris County NJ. “Frequently Asked Questions”, accessed December 2016, http://morriscountynj. gov/planning/flood/faq/. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, “Frequently Asked Questions: Superstorm Sandy Blue Acres Buyout Program”, accessed December 2016, greenacres/pdf/faqs-blueacres.pdf. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). “Getting to Resilience: A Coastal Community Resilience Evaluation Tool”. Trenton, NJ: Office of Coastal Management, March 2011. O’Dea, Colleen. “Blue Acres Buyouts Attract Over 1,000 Owners of Flood-Prone Homes”, NJ Spotlight, February 21, 2014, accessed Dec 2016, blue-acres-applications/. Oglesby, Amanda. “Shore Still Left Out of Flooding Buyout?”, Asbury Park Press, August 10, 2016, accessed Dec 2016, environment/2016/08/10/shore-still-left-out-flooding-buyout/88529652/. O’Neill, Erin. “N.J. officials, environmentalists clash over coastal rule changes”,, accessed Dec 2016, clash_over_coastal_rule_changes.html. Richard J. T. Klein et al. “Technological Options for Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal Zones.” Journal of Coastal Research, vol. 17, no. 3, 2001, pp. 531–543. Sharkey, Joe. “No Aid for Flood Basin Buyout”, New York Times, October 17, 1995. US Department of Housing and Urban Development. “CDBG-DR Eligibility Requirements”, accessed December 2016, eligibility-requirements/. Woods, Don. “500 properties later, Blue Acres closes first buyout in Delaware Bayshore”, August 06, 2016, accessed Dec 2016, program_hits_milestone_buying_500th_piece_of.html. cover image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3. figure 4.

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Source: George Pankewytch, Flickr. Source: Gina “Robotgirl” Donahu, Flickr. Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Flickr. Source: Chris Martino, Flickr.


All-American Canal The All-American Canal diverts water from the Colorado River in order to provide farms located in the Imperial Valley with adequate irrigation. In 2010, the San Diego County Water Authority lined the canal with concrete to prevent water loss through seepage as part of a water conservation and transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District.



n many parts of the world, water scarcity is the new normal. Due to the world’s growing population and human impacts on the climate, supplies of fresh water are declining at an alarming rate. The United Nations has predicted that within a decade nearly 2.5 billion people will live in regions of intense water scarcity, forcing many from their homes in search of secure water sources (Dini, 2016). A dearth of potable water already contributes to regional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where it is a main impetus for taking up arms. While it is easy for Americans to ignore such foreign catastrophes, what writer John Fleck terms the “over there” dismissal of climate change, the recent water crisis in California has demonstrated that we are not immune (Carpe Diem West, 2013). In the height of California’s water shortage from 2012 to 2015, many journalists and scientists referred to the period as a drought, implying the crisis was the result of a periodic shift in precipitation. While those four years were particularly dry, the use of the term drought misconstrues the reality of the situation and ignores areas of chronic water shortages. In particular, Southern California is most at risk of a water crisis, with major urban areas and agricultural regions often at the mercy of state and federal regulations, water district pricing, groundwater levels,

and annual precipitation. Situated just 10 miles from the Mexican border, the City of San Diego is perhaps the most vulnerable as it is “located at the ‘end’ of the imported water pipelines” flowing from Northern California and the Colorado River (City of San Diego, 2012). As a result, the City has been actively decreasing per capita water use and diversifying supplies to reduce vulnerability and ensure long-term water supply reliability. True to its history, California is once again a new frontier. This time, it is diving into the uncharted territory of water resource planning in the United States, with San Diego at the forefront.

Water Supply Planning in Southern California In order to better understand the present-day situation of the City of San Diego and its greater metropolitan region, it is first necessary to place it within the context of water resource planning in Southern California. As Marc Reisner writes in his seminal work Cadillac Desert, released in the 1980s, “California’s very existence is premised on epic liberties taken with water…” (Reisner, 1986). He describes western expansion and settlement, the mega-projects pressed by the federal government, and the consistent


Panorama 2017 undervaluing of freshwater resources in the West. Thirty years on, we are experiencing the crisis Reisner warned about and still we are acting too slowly to evade it. One of the inherent problems with water supply in California is that much of the landscape can be characterized as desert, yet it is the center of agriculture in the United States, accounting for over one third of the produce grown nationally (Bittman, 2012). The Central Valley extends approximately 450 miles down the center of the state, from Redding to Bakersfield, and is bounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to the east and the Coast Ranges to the west (see figure 1). While the northern part of the Central Valley is wetter, with the Sacramento Valley receiving 20 inches of rainfall annually on average, the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin to the south are drier, receiving annual precipitation of 15 inches and five inches, respectively (U.S. Geological Survey, 2016). In addition to annual precipitation, the region relies heavily on snowmelt from the Sierras. Dwindling snowpack in recent years has led to extreme water shortages. Located 30 miles east of San Diego and immediately north of the Mexican border, the Imperial Valley is even less suited for agriculture. It technically qualifies as a desert, with less than three inches of precipitation per year (Fishman, 2012). In The Big Thirst, Charles Fishman explains that agriculture developed here solely because cheap water was made available to farmers. “We’ve decided to have farms in the Imperial Valley as surely as we’ve decided to have casinos in Las Vegas – by providing water to both places, from the very same overtapped Colorado River” (Fishman, 2012). However, he points out that the water provided to Imperial Valley farmers is heavily subsidized compared to that of Las Vegas or, for that matter, most places throughout the United States. In 2010, the price of water for Imperial Valley farmers was $19 per acre-foot, or six cents per 1,000 gallons, as compared to


the $3.24 per 1,000 gallons for the average U.S. home (Fishman, 2012). The federal government bears chief responsibility for the skewed water pricing in California today, as it funded the large-scale engineering projects that made farming feasible in parched areas of Southern California. Most notably, the Central Valley Project (CVP), a federal water management project launched in 1933 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, dammed and pumped water from northern to southern California. The cost of building the dams was intended to be covered in part by the farmers purchasing irrigation water from the Bureau; however, the low prices for agriculture have meant that these purchases were not close to covering the costs of the multibillion dollar project in today’s dollars (Daniels, 2014). California has also struggled to implement any state regulations on the extraction of groundwater, meaning that landowners can legally draw up

Located between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges, the Central Valley produces over one third of America’s fruits and vegetables. The San Joaquin Valley receives less annual rainfall than the northern part of the valley and relies heavily on snow melt from the Sierras as well as groundwater from the Central Valley Aquifer.

figure 1. San Joaquin Valley

Lyndon DeSalvo

figure 2. Water Supply and Storage in California

Similar to other western states, California has a long history of manipulating water resources in order to sustain population centers and agriculture in areas where they would otherwise not be viable. The map demonstrates the extent of the water storage and distribution system throughout the state and illustrates Southern California’s reliance on imported water.

well water from underground aquifers. Thus, when surface water resources are limited or too costly, farmers seek water from underground aquifers, dangerously depleting supplies faster than the natural recharge. As Daniels (2014) notes, “the loss of groundwater reduces available water supplies, which can lead to land subsidence, decreased flows of springs and surface water, and the decline of wetlands”. In his work Water Follies,

Robert Jerome Glennon (2002) tells the history of America’s perilous pumping of groundwater, warning of the irreparable harm caused by overuse with references to such extreme cases as the Arabian city of Ubar, which is said to have extracted so much water as to weaken its own foundation. While the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was finally passed by the California Legislature in 2014, the regulations will not be applied


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The California Aqueduct extends 444 miles and was part of the State Water Project approved by the State Legislature in the 1960s. In addition to providing water for irrigation, the aqueduct was intended to deliver a stable water supply to California’s southern cities.

until at least 2022, lacking the urgency required to address the unprecedented groundwater declines (Christian-Smith, 2016). In the 1960s, the state took on a megaproject of its own when the State Legislature approved the Burns-Porter Act authorizing the State Water Project (SDCWA, 2016). Operated by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), the project stretches more than 700 miles, delivering water to Southern California (see figure 2). While the CVP was mostly concerned with providing water for agricultural purposes, the State Water Project (SWP) was also intended to provide a stable supply of water to California’s southern cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego. As it grew rapidly, the region was overly dependent on imported water from the Colorado River and required additional sources (MWD, 2016). Although this overview of California’s major water projects is only the tip of the iceberg concerning the state’s long and complicated relationship with water, it is nonetheless important in framing the current situation in Southern California. Despite heavy reliance on imported water since the early 1900s, cities in the region have continued to grow, and have continuously sought increasing supplies of freshwater to sustain such


expansion. At the same time, farmers have depended on subsidized water resources and underground reserves in a region where agriculture would otherwise prove impracticable at the scale of today’s production. The San Diego region is keenly aware of its vulnerability to limited water resources and both the county and city have taken measures to safeguard against the Western water crisis.

The Case of San Diego County Water supply planning is undoubtedly a regional issue. Watersheds rarely conform to political boundaries, yet ensuring stable water supplies is the responsibility of state, county, and local governments. The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) is charged with providing a reliable water supply to the San Diego region, and delivers water to 24 retail water agencies, including six cities, five water districts, three irrigation districts, eight municipal water districts, one public utility district, and one military base (SDCWA, 2016). Until the 1990s, the SDCWA relied heavily on the aforementioned State Water Project and Colorado River Aqueduct, receiving the vast majority of its water from the Metropolitan Water District (Carpe Diem West, 2013).

figure 3. California Aqueduct

Lyndon DeSalvo

Once heavily reliant on imported water, San Diego has begun to diversify its fresh water sources by employing agricultural transfers, water recycling, and conservation efforts. Additionally, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant was opened in late 2015 and, in its first year of operation, produced nearly 15 billion gallons of fresh water, approximately 10 percent of the region’s water demand.

figure 4. Sources of San Diego County’s Water Supply

“Twenty years ago, San Diego County was strung out – quite literally. Most of its water was imported from mountains hundreds of miles away, and the region was in the grip of an epic drought. The tipping point came when the Metropolitan District of Southern California (MWD) – which provided 95% of the County’s supply – had to cut deliveries by 20%” (Carpe Diem West, 2013).

Confronted with its own vulnerability, the county opted to diversify the source of its water supply, protecting against unplanned future limitations. Figure 4 demonstrates the incredible progress the county made between 1991 and 2012. A big chunk of San Diego County’s water supply – around 27 percent – now comes from water conservation and transfer agreements. In 2003, the SDCWA agreed to the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) in conjunction with the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), MWD, the State of California, and the U.S. Department of the Interior (SDCWA, 2016). The QSA allows California to reduce its historical overdependence on the Colorado River to its annual 4.4 million-acre-foot entitlement through agriculture-to-urban water transfers, most notably from IID to SDCWA. Due to the QSA, “California can creatively stretch its limited Colorado River resource by allowing urban areas to fund conservation efforts in the Imperial Valley

in exchange for use of the conserved water” (IID, 2006). For example, the SDCWA led projects to line portions of the Coachella and All-American Canals, completed in 2007 and 2010, respectively, thus reducing water loss via seepage (SDCWA, 2016). The QSA also addresses the restoration of the Salton Sea, the largest lake in California, which presents a significant loss of habitat for wildlife and health risk to nearby residents. Still, many remain skeptical, believing that the QSA will actually hinder the Salton Sea restoration as it diverts water away from the already declining lake, which has greater salt concentrations than the Pacific Ocean (Water Education Foundation, 2016). In the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan, required by the state’s Urban Water Management Planning Act of 1983, the SDCWA also notes that per-capita potable water use has decreased by 39 percent between 1990 and 2015, thanks to public outreach, incentives for water-efficient devices, legislative efforts, code changes, and water restrictions (SDCWA 2015). One example is the SoCal Water$mart program that offers rebates for installing watersaving features such as drought-resistant landscapes or high-efficiency toilets. Nonpotable recycled water also made up four percent of the county water supply in 2012.


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Receiving less than three inches of precipitation per year, the Imperial Valley technically qualifies as a desert. However, heavily subsidized water diverted from the Colorado River ensures that agriculture remains viable in the region 30 miles east of San Diego and abutting the Mexican border.

In the past few years, the county has seen a couple of large-scale projects through to fruition that greatly limit its reliance on imported water. In 2014, SDWCA completed the San Vicente Dam raising project, which increased the height of the dam by 117 feet, allowing the San Vicente Reservoir to more than double its water storage capacity (SDCWA, 2016). The raising is part of the county’s Emergency & Carryover Storage Project, which aims to protect the region in the event of an interruption in the delivery of imported water, such as what happened in 1991. Additional pipelines and pumping stations were also linked to the project in order to increase the County’s flexibility in storing and moving locally controlled water supplies (SDCWA, 2016). In December 2015, the Water Authority finished the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which can supply up to 10 percent of the region’s demand (Weston, 2016). Costing upwards of $1 billion, the plant is capable of processing 50 million gallons of water per day (SDCWA, 2016).


Given the incredible quantity of water the plant can provide from a seemingly inexhaustible source (the Pacific Ocean), the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan considers additional desalination plants in its long-term strategy. This includes the potential for the Rosarito Beach Binational Desalination Plant, a proposed publicprivate development, with aspirations to make the plant operational by 2019 (Dibble, 2016). To put the magnitude of San Diego’s water supply diversification into context, Los Angeles County relied on imported water for 87 percent of its supply in 2014, with much of the remaining amount sourced from local groundwater (LADWP, 2015). While the SDCWA has done a tremendous job of diversifying water supply within the past two decades, it has not escaped criticism. Many of the projects could cause environmental degradation, including the desalination plant, dam raising, and diversion of water from the Salton Sea. Though these measures are necessary to provide a reliable water

figure 5. San Diego and Imperial Valley

Lyndon DeSalvo supply to the 3.1 million residents of the greater San Diego region, they do expose the almost inevitable negative externalities that come with the manipulation of freshwater resources. For example, the effects of desalination plants and the reintroduction of salt and mineral outputs into the world’s oceans is still unknown, given that the scaling of this purification method is still relatively new. Josh Burnett, the former Mayor of Carmel, California, initially opposed the construction of a desalination plant around Monterey citing the huge carbon footprint (desalination is incredibly energy intensive) and its potential impact on marine life, but ultimately saw no other solutions (National Public Radio, 2015). Meanwhile, the devastating effects of the Salton Sea crisis are well-known as it has led to massive fish kills, decreased migratory birds, and has the potential to become the largest source of particulate air pollution in North America (Turner & Gold, 2016).

figure 6. San Diego Aerial View

The Case of San Diego City Given the water distribution structure in Southern California, the City of San Diego is somewhat limited in its procurement of water. While SDCWA works to reduce its reliance on MWD to only 30 percent of its overall water supply by 2020, the City of San Diego is also hoping to reduce reliance on SDCWA, as it sits even further down in the water hierarchy. Currently, San Diego buys over 90 percent of its water from the SDCWA, meaning that the cost of water is closely tied to MWD rates (Rivard, 2015). And the cost of water is rising. From 2007 to 2012, the cost of water supplied by MWD increased by 12 percent (City of San Diego, 2012). However, the situation is somewhat of a Catch-22: as the City and SDCWA seek to minimize their reliance on water pumped from Northern California, they need to increase water prices even more, to fund the large-scale projects that will diversify the water supply. Additionally, as per-capita water use declines, the City must charge more per drop to fund its capital budget.

The City of San Diego is located at the end of the aqueducts flowing from Northern California and the Colorado River. In order to reduce its vulnerability to water shortages, the City has diversified its water sources and reduced per capita water use through pricing and educational campaigns.


Panorama 2017 Although San Diego is relying heavily on SDCWA to diversify its water supply, it has also undertaken city-specific initiatives, most notably the Pure Water San Diego project. The San Diego City Council initiated Pure Water San Diego, ultimately aiming to deliver one-third of the city’s daily water demand (83 million gallons), by recycling wastewater in a direct and indirect potable reuse structure (City of San Diego, 2016). The three billion dollar plan to recycle wastewater has been approved by the City Water Board following a successful demonstration project run from 2009 to 2013, and awaits state regulations to affirm the legality of such urban wastewater recycling (Weiser 2016). The water purification process would include ozonation, biological activated carbon, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, and UV/advanced oxidation. Still, California would be the first state in the U.S. to do direct potable reuse, and is currently doing extensive outreach to overcome the psychological barriers to “toilet to tap”. Once fully completed, the city might consider alternative water transfers, providing wastewater to Imperial Valley farmers in exchange for groundwater resources. This would also allow the city and region greater control over sensitive groundwater resources. Similar to the greater San Diego region, the City itself has greatly reduced per capita water use in the past couple decades, and especially in the last few years, well ahead of the 20 percent reduction required of the state’s 2009 Water Conservation Act (known as the 20x2020 plan). Nevertheless, the city’s population continues to explode, with an expected 400,000 more residents by 2035 (San Diego, 2012). Though primarily sparked by a housing crisis, new land use development regulations requiring increased building density are also key to stemming per capita water use in the future. San Diego has also been leading the charge in increased water restrictions and


The All-American Canal is an 80-mile long aqueduct located in southeastern California.

incentives immediately following Governor Jerry Brown’s announcement of the state’s first-ever mandatory water restrictions (Dimick, 2015).

Conclusion Given its vulnerability to water shortages, the San Diego region has been proactively planning for a sustainable water supply over the past couple decades. The progress made by the SDCWA to diversify its supply within this timeframe has been truly remarkable. The county has shown it is capable of greatly reducing per capita water use in a short time – equal to 23 percent since 2013 – and securing water reserves in the event of an extreme water crisis (Weston, 2016). The City of San Diego has also demonstrated that local municipalities can use regulations, incentives, and infrastructure to minimize reliance on imported water. Nevertheless, the region is far from secure in its water future and the question remains whether population centers should really be situated in such water-poor areas.

figure 7. All-American Canal

Lyndon DeSalvo

works cited

images cited

Carpe Diem West. 2013. New Visions. Smart Choices.: Western Water Security in a Changing Climate. Christian-Smith, Juliet. 2016. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: New California Groundwater Regulations Missing Metrics to Define Sustainability. Union of Concerned Scientists, Accessed 15 October City of San Diego. 2012. 2012 Long-Range Water Resources Plan. Public Utilities Department. City of San Diego. 2016. Pure Water San Diego Program. Retrieved 15 October 2016. Daniels, Tom. 2014. The Environmental Planning Handbook for Sustainable Communities and Regions, 2nd edition. Chicago: American Planning Association Planners Press. Dibble, Sandra. 2016. Major Baja Projects touted at World Investment Forum. Retrieved 16 October 2016. In San Diego Union Tribune. Dimick, Dennis. 2015. 5 Things You Should Know About California’s Water Crisis. Accessed 15 October 2016. In National Geographic. Dini, Jack. 2016. Desalination of Seawater – Much Needed Help Worldwide. Retrieved 15 October 2016. In Canada Free Press. Fishman, Charles. 2011. The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. New York: Free Press. Glennon, Robert Jerome. 2002. Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters. Washington, DC: Island Press. Imperial Irrigation District. 2006. Quantification Settlement Agreement Annual Implementation Report 2006. Accessed 16 October 2016. Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. 2015. 2015 Urban Water Management Plan. Accessed 21 February 2017. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016. National Public Radio. 2015. Desalination Plants: Drought Cure or Growth Enabler? Retrieved 16 October 2016. Reisner, Mar. 1986. Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water. New York: Viking Press. Rivard, Ry. 2015. 4 Reasons City Water Bills Keep Rising. In Voice of San Diego. Accessed 16 October 2016. Sabalow, Ryan. 2015. Tensions, threats as California’s new groundwater law takes shape. Accessed 14 October 2016. In Sacramento Bee. San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA). 2016. 2015 Urban Water Management Plan. Accessed 13 October 2016. San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA). 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016. Turner, Allison and Barry Gold. 2016. Solving the Salton Sea Crisis. Accessed 14 October 2016. In San Diego Union Tribune. Weiser, Matt. 2016. Wastewater: A New Frontier for Water Recycling. In News Deeply. Accessed 17 October 2016. Weston, Mark. 2016. Hasty Water Policies Don’t Mix Well with Long-Term Planning. Accessed 16 October 2016. In Voice of San Diego. cover image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3. figure 4. figure 5. figure 6. figure 7.

Source: Bureau of Reclamation. June 28, 2012. Available from Flickr Commons. Source: Lyndon DeSalvo, 2017. Source: Shannon1. Water in California new. Available from Wikimedia Commons. Source: Thomas Hart. Antelope Valley Panorama. September 3, 2013. Available from Flickr Commons. Source: Carpe Diem West. 2013. New Visions. Smart Choices.: Western Water Security in a Changing Climate. Source: NASA. June 21, 2013. Available from Wikimedia Commons. Source: San Diego Convention Center. January 10, 2009. Available from Flickr Commons. Source (All-American Canal): Adam Dubrowa/FEMA. June 15, 2010. Available from Wikimedia Commons.


Port of Rotterdam Access to the North Sea and to a vast market established Rotterdam as a major industrial and port city. The Port of Rotterdam ranks as the largest port in Europe.

ROTTERDAM RENEWED A Theoretical Analysis of a Second City

Carrie Sauer


he City of Rotterdam is a study in balance. A historic city with a Modernist core, a sprawling megalopolis with growth-restricting boundaries, a moderate-sized city boasting the continent’s largest and most important port, a city destroyed and a city renewed. Recent accolades for its quality of life and quality of urban form – “City of the Future” and “Best City in Europe” say Dezeen magazine and the Academy of Urbanism – reflect Rotterdam’s strides in development accomplished since the mid-20th century. Following complete destruction in World War II, the city’s second coming exemplifies success through innovation and design and demonstrates a wide spectrum of theoretical concepts.

“Everyone says Rotterdam is the one city in Europe that has turned the disasters of war and occupation into a triumph. For once, everyone is right” (Mumford, 1957).

On May 14, 1940, Germany launched an aerial operation that decimated the City of Rotterdam. During the event, known as the Rotterdam Blitz, German air forces (Luftwaffe) dropped bombs on Rotterdam’s downtown core causing upwards of 800 casualties, most of which were civilian. The Blitz destroyed more than 25,000 buildings and resulted in displacement of over 80,000 Dutch citizens (War over Holland, 2001). While this bombardment

was an unimaginable tragedy that all but destroyed Rotterdam, it presented the city with an extraordinary opportunity. Charged with rebuilding, planners had a rare opportunity to reimagine a major city and build holistically from a tabula rasa. This process of renewal is the core of what makes Rotterdam exemplary of planning theory application. Through exploration of the city’s past and future, this report chronicles Rotterdam’s development and assesses how different concepts and policies operate, succeed, and change over time. Spatial patterns, theoretical frameworks, and paradigm shifts of prosuburbanization and pro-centralization are discussed and considered within larger trends, with a focus on the decades following the post-war reconstruction. Understanding Rotterdam individually and within such contexts incites appreciation of the policies and patterns that shaped its development and those that will influence its trajectory for the future. To enhance this trajectory, the report concludes with an outlined collection of long-term planning strategies and considerations for the city.

Rotterdam and the Randstad Situated on a harbor that leads to the North Sea, Rotterdam’s origins stem from superior location - providing resources

Panorama 2017 for industry as well as vital connectivity to other areas via waterways and sea travel. Rotterdam also benefits from an expansive hinterland market and proximity to the British Isles (World Bank, 2000). By the mid-1600s, Rotterdam ranked as the second most populous Dutch city and continued to grow and advance during the Industrial Revolution (van de Laar, 2007). At present, with a population of approximately 629,000, Rotterdam remains the second largest city in the Netherlands (Rotterdam Zuid-Holland, 2016). The economic vitality that supported this growth is owed to the city’s coastal location and its extensive port industry. The Port of Rotterdam was formally established in the early 20th century, and for forty years – 1962 until 2004 – maintained repute as the world’s largest port (Port of Rotterdam, n.d.). Unsurprisingly, residents of Rotterdam have enormous pride in their port and many are dependent on the port for their livelihoods (World Bank, 2000). The city’s largest employment sectors (in terms of number of employees and operating returns) are, first, wholesale and retail trade and, second, manufacturing (Statistics Netherlands, 2016; Trade and Industry, 2016). Other large sectors include general business support, transportation, and storage. The port and its associated industrial economy are especially preferential when viewed in a larger regional context. Geographically, Rotterdam sits 16 miles from The Hague and 38 miles from Utrecht; less than 50 miles north is Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. These four cities are the country’s largest, and their geographic layout illustrates a horseshoe formation referred to as the Randstad. The Randstad is the prototypical megalopolis – a large, multi-centric, and connected city of cities (Bruegmann, 2005). Each of the four cities included in this megalopolis fulfills a specific role or capacity: The Hague is the setting for major government and international policy institutions;


The aerial bombing on Rotterdam in May 14, 1940 cleared most of the buildings in the city’s historic city center.

Utrecht houses many service-related industries; Amsterdam serves as the cultural, financial, and business center, and Rotterdam sustains the key port and base of trade and industry (Stead, 2015).

figures 1 and 2. Rotterdam before and after May 14, 1940

Carrie Sauer The inter-city relationships and regional structure conform with the concept of urbanization agglomeration economies in which dissimilar industries benefit from proximate co-location. This allows the cities of the Randstad to share resources, qualified labor, and markets. Consequentially, the sharing of resources results in greater innovation across various sectors and specialization within others. Beyond providing a competitive advantage to each of the cities within it, the Randstad is invaluable to the greater Dutch economy. Whereas the Randstad comprises 20 percent of land in the Netherlands, it accounts for half of the income earned in the country (Stead, 2015). In addition to economic development, Rotterdam’s human development is also attributed in part to the Randstad agglomeration framework.

Indicators of Development in Rotterdam

Development refers to the extent to which a city improves the quality of life and prosperity opportunities for its residents. In this realm, Rotterdam excels by standard indicators of development: housing and public transportation are reliably available and appropriately affordable, life expectancy exceeds 80 years of age, and the level of unemployment is below seven percent (U.N. Development Programme, 2015). The city and country’s government transparency and participation are additional features of development discussed in subsequent sections. Overall, the country receives a score of 0.922 on the Human Development Index (HDI) and, per the United Nation’s Development Programme (2015), the Netherlands ranks as the fifth best country in the world for factors of development. Martin Prosperity Institute’s Global Cities Report (2013) similarly ranked 61 global cities based on talent, technology,

tolerance, and quality of life. Rotterdam was given the highest score in the quality of life category, averaging a total score of A- for all components, and earned the 23rd spot overall (ranking ahead of Paris, Sydney, and Barcelona, for reference). An invaluable facet of development is education; many studies recognize education as a reliable predictor of development both in metrics of greater opportunity as well as quantifiable economic advantage (Glaeser, 2011). Rotterdam’s education system and policies are ambitious and successful. Of the countries included in the Global Cities Report, Rotterdam received top placement in terms of education level: 99.6 percent of all residents complete primary schooling and 37 percent have college degrees (Martin Prosperity Institute, 2013). In addition, the city is pursuing alternative education and training access for ‘21st Century skills’ through the 100 Resilient Cities Initiative (100 Resilient Cities, 2016). In these ways, Rotterdam continues to invest in the potential of its citizens and promote the city’s development. Housing affordability and availability are other factors directly linked to city development and growth. Addressing these matters, Rotterdam instituted an innovative program, known as the urbannerdam project, through which residents are subsidized to upgrade housing stock. Residential property is sold at belowmarket rates with the understanding that buyers are responsible for upgrading and repairing the property to a determined level of sustainability or quality. As of 2013 there were more than 250 properties associated with this program, eliciting a demonstrative change in the built environment across the city (Martin Prosperity Institute, 2013). The urbannerdam project is a valuable example of fostering development in its dual capacity to provide the resources and help individuals meet their potential while transforming neighborhoods to achieve a better quality – and more sustainable – city.


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Growth Trends in the Netherlands In Triumph of the City, Glaeser suggests two methods to increase growth potential for cities: 1) improve the appeal of a ‘hip’ downtown, or 2) provide efficient and effective public services and transportation. Rotterdam succeeds at both. The city focuses on high-quality architecture, public space, and other amenities to enhance an aesthetically-appealing and enjoyable downtown core (van Melik and Lawton, 2011; Frearson, 2016). For instance, the city invested in Museum Triangle to attract residents, tourists, and investors towards the downtown (McCarthy, 1998). Glaeser (2011) posits that amenities like Museum Triangle are vital to recruiting smart, talented residents with the mobility to select cities based on enjoyment. To Glaeser’s second suggestion of effective public provisions, Rotterdam’s investments in transportation, housing, and other services advance the city’s growth (Academy of Urbanism, 2014). These strategies, when paired with the prime location and connection to the Randstad megalopolis, elicit the desired effect on Rotterdam’s population. Rotterdam is beginning to experience a growth phase. Since the late 1980s, the city has been rebounding from a declining population and maintaining growth rates between one to three percent. Likewise, Rotterdam’s share of the total population of the Netherlands has been consistent for the past 10 years and is forecasted to steadily increase through 2030 (U.N. Department of Economic and It is notable Social Affairs, 2014). that this growth is a function of increased immigration. In 2016, immigration outnumbered emigration by over 30 percent with 10 percent of immigrants affiliated with the Syrian refugee crisis (Statistics Netherlands, 2016). This rate not only exceeds immigration rates of the last forty years – it also exceeded the birth rate,


which reflects the lowest natural growth rate since the 19th century (Statistics Netherlands, 2016). Causal composition of the growth trend is critical, and the current situation should be embraced and encouraged. As contended by Glaeser in Triumph of the City (2011), immigration is mutually beneficial to new residents and the cities themselves, adding skill and talent into the labor force and weaving new cultures into the city’s fabric. Based on the current geopolitical climate, it is likely that this trend will continue to influence growth within the Netherlands and within Rotterdam. Overall, the present development levels and growth rates are occurring in tandem and are directly related to the spatial development patterns and planning polices implemented since Rotterdam’s reconstruction in the mid-20th century. The next section evaluates the above growth and development trends within this context, with appreciation to the respective impacts on the physical and natural environment.

Spatial Development Patterns

The cities comprising the Randstad are spatially organized in a horseshoe, or circuit-shaped, format and partially encircle an agricultural zone spanning about 80 kilometers in diameter (Stead, 2015). This natural buffer is referred to as the “Green Heart” of the Netherlands and fosters a Garden City spatial development pattern of multiple nodes with a shared boundary to encroaching urban development. The surrounding agglomeration is set up in a polycentric model, in which population densities decrease (and increase) as they move away (and towards) each of the four cities. The overall growth of this area, as well as increasing linkages between The Hague and Rotterdam, suggest the agglomeration of the region is invaluable in the identity and

Carrie Sauer

figure 3. Rotterdam Skyline

potential of Rotterdam (Salet, Thornley, and Kreukels, 2003). Encouraging development and transportation patterns that foster better access across the Randstad is one strategy worth pursuing. The spatial pattern of the Randstad influences Rotterdam’s individual development and sense of place as outlined below. Rotterdam bears a rich history of growth patterns and trends instituted throughout its post-war recovery. Following the destruction of the Rotterdam Blitz in 1940, the city seized the opportunity to reimagine its potential and plan exclusively for the future rather than attempt to rebuild its former state. As Frearson (2016) mentions in her review of Rotterdam’s architecture: “there is very little old architecture to preserve and respect in Rotterdam. It is this lack of historical context…that has transformed the city into a testing ground for new building styles.” This attitude was shared by the planners of the post-war period, who opted to test a completely modernist approach to reconstruction. The Modernist strategy laid out in the Basic Plan of Rotterdam 1946 introduced

a decidedly calculated framework for city design. The plan determined unmet needs and strategized to build accordingly, with priority given to function and mobility over urban form (World Bank, 2000). Land uses were separated by function and, through this separation, the plan limited the number of homes that could be within the inner-city limits. (van de Laar, 2007; World Bank, 2000). The Basic Plan precludes the critiques of Jane Jacobs, Jan Gehl, and Gary Hack: over-planning, separating, and organizing the urban built environment crafts a sterile and dull environment (Gehl, 2010; Hack, 2012). The residents and planning experts came to a similar conclusion in the 1960s: the re-vamped Rotterdam was not livable enough. In response, Rotterdam added new housing units inside the downtown core (McCarthy, 1998), but continued to assume people would prefer to live outside the Central Business District (CBD). This mindset and orientation towards suburbanization continued into the 1970s. Like suburbanization experiences of other major cities, Rotterdam and its CBD declined in terms of social and economic

The Netherlands’ second largest city is distinguished by Modernist design and remarkable architecture.


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The Port of Richmond is one of the world’s largest ports, and supports a large part of the Netherlands’ economy.

power while suburbs of the “Green Heart” gained influence. Within a decade, Rotterdam reversed its direct and indirect incentivization of sprawl and worked to attract residents back to the CBD. The city shifted its planning paradigm towards prioritizing mixing of land uses and encouraging housing construction within the downtown core. This was complemented by transportation policies aimed to reduce the city’s car dependency (World Bank, 2000; McCarthy, 1998). By affecting the land use policies, Rotterdam incited recentralization. At present, the city covers an area of approximately 209 square kilometers and population density hovers around 3,000 people per square kilometer (“Rotterdam”, 2016). The growth trend outlined in the previous section (averaging one to three percent growth regularly since 1980) is reflective of the transition to recentralization. An interesting component of Rotterdam’s spatial development and urban form is its distinction in design. It has gained renown as the international center for architecture, as noted in a New York Times review: “Rotterdam is increasingly to architecture what Paris is to fashion, or Los Angeles to entertainment” (Yang, 2005). In Cities for People (2010), Gehl critiques this quality by comparing Rotterdam to Amsterdam and other major Dutch cities, noting the modernist layout


and architecture as detrimental to the human-scale and quality of the physical environment. He provides an anecdote of struggling with an umbrella in wind intensified by buildings due to high-rises that are ill-suited to the local weather. Whereas Gehl suggests the urban form is flawed for its tall buildings, Glaeser would disagree, highlighting the economic and perceptive value of height on accommodating a greater number of people on the smaller amount of land. Based on the forecasted growth and trend towards urbanism, the availability of tall buildings is a benefit to future spatial development and an increasing population. As with the larger Randstad patterns, Rotterdam continues to benefit from connections and proximity to resources and business, conforming to agglomeration-based theory both locally and within the region.

Political Economy of Growth and Development Though inherently intertwined in growth and development, there is no official governing body that covers the Randstad megalopolis. The structure of political power as it relates to urban policy and planning operates on five levels: national, provincial, regional, municipal, and district (World Bank, 2000). The

figure 4. Port of Rotterdam

Carrie Sauer atmosphere of planning in the Netherlands is very strong. Step by step, a planning agenda is implemented in the following series of activities and responsibility: 1) The national arena, including the Ministry of Housing and Ministry of Transport, develops broad-stroke visions and strategies for the country; 2) The province agencies (such as the South Holland province to which Rotterdam belongs) then establish plans based on the national vision; 3) In the case of Rotterdam there is a regional component, in which agencies within the four cities of the Randstad work in tandem to determine cooperative issues and shared strategies; 4) At the next level, the Municipal Departments of Public Works, Urban Planning and Housing, as well as entities such as the Rotterdam Port Management, work to create detailed guidelines, carried out at the district level (World Bank, 2000; Salet, Thornley, and Kreukels, 2003). It is noted that there is a great level of inter- and intra-organizational collaboration throughout the process, and the Netherlands is renowned for comprehensive and involved planning practices (Faludi, 2005). Salet, Thornley, and Kreukels (2003) describe this process and the planning culture of Rotterdam as very hierarchical and structured. In consideration of the city’s planning structure and engagement among the community and how this correlates with political economy, a distinctive element is the position of the Mayor. The Academy of Urbanism (2014) reports that the city’s Mayor operates outside of the political system, which allows greater transparency of office. This approach reflects development-focused planning. In Brooks’ (2002) overview of successful planning, emphasis is given to open participation and decision-making. Rotterdam exemplifies this valuation; this transparency and focus on community involvement is also reflective of the city’s high Human Development Index (HDI) score.

A Planning Agenda for Rotterdam Based on these power structures and underlying initiatives, there are various approaches in which Rotterdam can work to implement proactive strategies. Five of these are overviewed in this section. With consideration to the historical and theoretical context, and based on existing policies, the following items are suggested for inclusion in a larger planning agenda for Rotterdam. 1. Reinforce and expand connections throughout the Randstad. The value of Rotterdam’s place within the Randstad megalopolis is significant. By improving multimodal accessibility among the Randstad cities, inter-city interaction may improve and develop. There is anecdotal support of increased live-work connections between the cities such as commuting between Rotterdam and The Hague. Encouraging this structure through more efficient and frequent transportation services improves options for residents, while cities benefit from shared resources and shared consumers. 2. Encourage mode share shifts. Rotterdam’s potential to reduce dependency on automobiles and trucks is achievable. Encouraging mode share shifts towards active transportation and rail helps to meet resiliency goals and reshape how the city is used and accessed. First, mode shift could be encouraged within the Port of Rotterdam. At present, land-based cargo from the Port travels 80 percent by road and only four percent by rail (Stead, 2015). A shift towards railbased freight was proposed in 1996 (World Bank, 2000), and the city would benefit from pursuing this suggestion. There is evidence that this is underway as a rail connection between the Netherlands and China was completed in 2016 (Port of Rotterdam, n.d.). This rail provides a new


Panorama 2017 link to a huge market. Pursuing additional mode change of freight (prioritizing rail above trucks) may help alleviate the stress on the existing roadway and relieve congestion. This prioritization for alternative transportation is also a planning strategy to be pursued on an individual scale. At present, residents of the Randstad region own cars at a ratio of 527 vehicles per 1,000 people (Stead, 2015). Because existing density of Rotterdam supports a strong public transit system, the city should work towards encouraging modal shifts from driving to transit-riding. Additionally, promoting and increasing ridership supports citywide goals of sustainability, resilience, and climate-proofing. 3. Continue expanding co-working and incubator space. In collaboration with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, the City of Rotterdam created an innovation center on a former shipyard site in 2002 (Frearson, 2016). Going forward, the city would benefit from additional incubator or co-working spaces to better meet the needs of the transforming workforce and growing gig-based economy. This would facilitate growth of Rotterdam’s innovation economy and increase its competitive advantage as a start-up friendly city. 4. Increase services and facilities for immigrants. The rate of immigration in the Netherlands is currently in a period of growth, especially with consideration to resettlement among Syrian refugees. In this context, Rotterdam could benefit from expanding the process of settlement and advancing refugees towards citizenship, if possible. Availability of training or education would further benefit incoming residents and benefit the city through strengthening of the work force. 5. Maintain urban growth boundaries. Maintaining the “Green Heart” should be included as a long-term planning objective of Rotterdam and the Randstad.


As population is slated to increase and the global spatial pattern moves towards urbanization, the city should focus on maintaining natural environments and not allowing costly leap-frog development.

Conclusion – Rotterdam in Context Rotterdam, following devastation in the mid-20th century, boasts a unique history of urban planning paradigm shifts and theoretical approaches. From the city’s unique post-war situation arose a terrific opportunity for planning: the Rotterdam Blitz voided typical limitations and worries of displacement or preservation. The subsequent policies emphasized segregated land use and modernist strategy, causing increased fragmentation and suburbanization in the city’s peripheral regions. Over the last 30 years, the theoretical pendulum has swung towards a pro-city approach, and Rotterdam has pursued a re-centralization initiative towards increased density, livability, and appeal in the CBD. This city’s exceptionalism is amplified by the Randstad region – the megalopolitan region including Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. As a polycentric region, the Randstad holds strong political and economic power for the Netherlands, and houses a shared population above seven million (Stead, 2015; Statistics Netherlands, 2016). The agglomeration economy is valuable to Rotterdam, as Rotterdam can fulfill a more specialized role, rely on the specialized economies of other cities, and share resources. Rotterdam presents an interesting and exceptional illustration of city planning theories and concepts. Accolades as the “City of the Future” not only remark upon Rotterdam’s modernist features and impressive design, but note that this is a city to visit, to study, and to learn from in the 21st century.

Carrie Sauer

works cited

images cited

100 Resilient Cities. “Rotterdam Resilience Strategy.” 2016. Accessed October 20, 2016, The Academy of Urbanism. “Urbanism awards: Rotterdam takes top prize”. 2014. Accessed October 16, 2016, Brooks, Michael. P. Planning Theory for Practitioners. Chicago: APA Planners Press, 2002. Bruegmann, Robert. “Chapter 4: Sprawl in the postwar boom years”. In Sprawl: A compact history. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005. Faludi, Andreas. The Netherlands: A culture with a soft spot for planning. In B. Sanyal (Ed.), Comparative Planning Cultures (pp. 285-307). New York: Routledge, 2005. Frearson, Amy. Rotterdam is “the city of the future” say architects. Dezeen, January 20, 2016. Accessed October 30, 2016, Gehl, Jan. Cities for People. Washington: Island Press, 2010. Glaeser, Edward. Triumph of the city: How our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier, and happier. New York: Penguin Group, 2011. Hack, Gary. Shaping urban form. In Planning Ideas that Matter: Livability, Territoriality, Governance, and Reflective Practice. Sanyal, B., Vale, L., and C. Rosan, eds. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2012. McCarthy, John. Reconstruction, regeneration, and re-imagining: The case of Rotterdam. Cities, 15(1998): 337-344. Mumford, Lewis. “The Sky Line.” New Yorker, October 12, 1957. The Port of Rotterdam. Accessed October 28, 2016, ----. “Rotterdam (Zuid-Holland)”. 2016. Accessed October 15, 2016, Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management. Global Cities. 2013. Accessed October 27, 2016, Rotterdam.pdf. Salet, Willem, Thornley, Andy, and Anton Kreukels (eds). Metropolitan Governance and Spatial Planning: Comparative Case Studies of European City-Regions. New York: Spon Press, 2003. Statistics Netherlands (CBS). “Trends in the Netherlands”. The Hague/Heerlen/ Bonaire: Statistics Netherlands. 2016. -----. Trade and industry: employment and finance per sector (SIC 2008). 2016. Accessed October 27, 2016, Stead, Dominic. and Evert Meijers. Urban planning and transport infrastructure provision in the Randstad, Netherlands – A global city cluster. Prepared for Roundtable on Integrated Transport Development Experiences of Global City Clusters. Beijing: International Transport Forum, of Organistion for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2015. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 revision. 2014. Custom data via website. Accessed October 28, 2016, United Nations Development Programme. “Human development report 2015: Work for human development.” Human Development Reports, 2015. van de Laar, Paul. Modernism in European reconstruction – policy and its public reception. 2007. Accessed October 15, 2016, van Melik, Rianne and Philip Lawton. The Role of Public Space in Urban Renewal Strategies in Rotterdam and Dublin. Planning Practice & Research, 26(2011): 513-530. War over Holland. “14 May, Rotterdam”. 2001. Accessed October 29, 2016, www.waroverholland. nl/. World Bank. “Relationship between urban land use planning, land markets, transport provisions and welfare of the poor.” 2000. Yang, Andrew. A City Designed Around Design. The New York Times, March 20, 2005. cover image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3. figure 4.

Source: Stroujko, Boris. Skyline of Rotterdam city, Netherlands. Shutterstock. Source: Willem-57. Rotterdam1-before14may1940. Photobucket. Source: Willem-57. Rotterdam1-after14may1940. Photobucket. Source: Shchipkova, Elena. City views Rotterdam, Nideranda. Shutterstock. Source: Aerovista Luchtfotografie. Rotterdam Cargo. Shutterstock.


Red Ribbon Park This photo depicts the continuous red bench structure extending through the park.


Brett Davis


orld population growth continues to strain global sustainability. Climate change and rising sea levels threaten the environmental and social health of human habitats worldwide. The United National (U.N.) Agenda 21 found that “some 70 percent of the actions required to achieve sustainability needed to be done locally” (Giddings et al., 2005). In response, ecological urbanism attempts to place sustainability in the vanguard of city design. Landscape architect Kongjian Yu explores ecological urbanism in Red Ribbon Park, an experiment in adapting wilderness for human needs. Yu’s firm Turenscape completed the park in 2008, located along the Tanghe River in the eastern outskirts of Qinhuangdao, Hebei, a port city in Northern China. Before intervention, the site was used as a dumping ground and faced development pressure, but it also featured diverse native flora. Yu inserted architectural features into the existing landscape, rendering “the beauty of the weeds...culturally accessible” (Desimini, 2014). An illuminated red bench meanders

figure 1. The Ribbon at Night

alongside the river, contrasting with and highlighting the surrounding vegetation (Turenscape, 2014). This ‘ribbon’, and two other walkways and pavilions, ensure functional variety by integrating “lighting, seating, environmental interpretation, and orientation” (Turenscape, 2014). Small pockets of “new plantings of marsh grasses, forbs, and wetland trees” (Turenscape, 2014) accentuate preserved willow and poplar trees (Desimini, 2014). Through minimalist planning, Turenscape transformed the land into a park that is “extremely popular for sitting, lounging, playing, and socializing” (Desimini, 2014). Ecological urbanism’s major innovation is the use of urban biodiversity to achieve social and environmental sustainability. It recognizes the ways in which “environmental health, social justice, [and] cultural relevance” complement one another as design goals (Waldheim, 2010),and “start thinking about how the human species and the natural environment can interact with each other to their mutual benefit” (Garvin, 2008). Turenscape actualizes the site’s social

This photo shows the interior illumination of the “ribbon” structure at night, encouraging use of the park after sunset.


Panorama 2017 potential by exploiting unplanned plant growth (Desimini, 2014). This, in turn, protects the natural ecology. Meanwhile, Red Ribbon Park’s abundant plant life removes “ oxygen, absorbs pollution, controls temperatures, [and] provides habitat for our fellow creatures” (Sorkin, 2011). The wetlands provide flood protection. Ecological urbanism insists that cities and the environment work together “in

places of greatest need” (Desimini, 2014) to guarantee a future for both. Kongjian Yu’s Red Ribbon Park uses simple design methods to improve both human welfare and ecological health. The park ties together complex ecosystems of humans and wildlife. To ensure the sustainability of future urbanization, designers and planners must expand and elaborate their embrace of the ecological.

A view of the ribbon through a copse of native trees.

figure 2. The Ribbon through the Trees

Pavilions within the park promote socialization and provide places for relaxation without detracting from the natural landscape.

figure 4. Pavilion


Brett Davis

figure 5. The Ribbon in Summer

Native wildflowers bloom alongside the ribbon, complementing the color of the ribbon.

figure 6. The Ribbon in Winter

Snow covers the ribbon and the adjacent landscape.

works cited

images cited

Desimini, Jill. “From Planned Shrinkage to Formerly Urban: Staking Landscape Architecture’s Claim in the Shrinking City Debate.” Landscape Journal 33.1 (2014): 17-35. Garvin, Alexander. “Greening Cities: A Public Realm Approach.” Growing Greener Cities: Urban Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Eugenie L. Birch and Susan M. Wachter. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. 60-83. Giddings, Bob, Bill Hopwood, Mary Mellow, and Geoff O’Brien. “Back to the City: A Route to Urban Sustainability.” Future Forms and Design for Sustainable Cities. Ed. Mike Jenks and Nicola Dempsey. Burlington, MA: Architectural Press, 2005. 13-30. ----. “Qinhuangdao Red Ribbon Park.” Welcome to Turenscape. Turenscape, n.d. Web. 13 December 2014. Sorkin, Michael. All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities. London: Verso, 2011. Waldheim, Charles. “On Landscape, Ecology and Other Modifiers to Urbanism.” Topos 71 (2010): 21- 24. Computer File. cover image. figure 1 - 6.

Source: ArchDaily. “Red Ribbon Park/Turenscape.” Accessed March 3, 2017. http:// Source: ArchDaily. “Red Ribbon Park/Turenscape.” Accessed March 3, 2017. http://



Oforiwaa Agyei-Boakye Elizabeth Colletti Lyndon DeSalvo Madeleine Helmer Simon Kassel Miles Owen Lauren Payne-Riley Gavin Taves Katherine Webb

City Planning Studio Fall 2016


levated transportation structures are a common sight throughout Philadelphia. Cutting through industrial areas, commercial districts, and neighborhoods, the elevated structures have moved people and goods from one location to another for much of Philadelphia’s history. This singular focus results in an elevated system that is largely disconnected from surrounding communities. This studio took advantage of the opportunity to rethink elevated structures and to incorporate green infrastructure into their design and operation. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) can activate elevated transportation structures in ways that encourage economic investment, strengthen environmental resiliency, and bolster community development. This concept embodies the Triple Bottom Line approach that the Philadelphia Water Department has employed in their projects. This studio moved beyond looking at GSI as an environmental tool, considerably expanding the definition to include ancillary benefits. To begin the process of integrating GSI into the elevated structures, a full assessment of potential typologies was required. Since elevated infrastructure systems are drastically different from each other, this assessment served to not only classify the elevated into specific typologies, but also to identify areas where green infrastructure could be most effectively leveraged to improve the community. This allowed for the selection of three different sites, representing areas

of economic, environmental, and social opportunity. Upon selection, each site was divided into priority areas, which illustrated sections of the line and surrounding community that would benefit the most from a GSI project. Ranging from constructed wetlands to educational opportunity sites with water features, the studio explored a range of interventions that were developed into a toolkit for use by the city. Elevated structures represent an integral piece of Philadelphia’s legacy, and expanding on that legacy with dynamic GSI projects helps contribute to the future resilience of the city.


FDR Park

1-5% Grading Sediment Catch Filtering Plants

Gravel Filter


(opposite page) A large-scale constructed wetland near I-95 South and the Stadium District. This project would connect the stadiums to FDR Park using a pedestrian walkway while capturing thousands of gallons of runoff. (above, top) The GSI feature along I-95 South illustrates a regrading scheme to capture excess stormwater runoff in adjacent bioswales with native plantings. (above, bottom) This is a concept for a large parcel stormwater infiltration project next to the 25th Street Viaduct, incorporating the addition of a bike lane.


The Petronas Towers The towers, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, (seen from the south) were the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004.



hen the Petronas Towers were completed in downtown Kuala Lumpur almost 20 years ago, the world was confronted with the fact that a “developing country” had just built the tallest skyscraper(s) in human history. For Malaysia, they were the double exclamation points capping a period of extraordinary new growth – a population that tripled; and a GDP that went from $2 billion to $100 billion – since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1957 (World Bank Group, 2016). But the towers also represented something much more than a giant trophy. Designed by an Argentine architect, and constructed by Japanese and South Korean firms (one for each tower), the project’s implementation reflected the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur’s aspirations to be recognized as a truly global city – not just in the image it projects, but in practice (Polallis, 2002). More mega-projects are on the way. The KL118 Tower is currently under construction downtown and on track to become the third-tallest building in world, at 682 meters, by 2020, more than 200 meters higher than the Petronas Towers (Daily Express Malaysia, 2016). A new multi-modal transportation terminal, Bandar Malaysia, will be built on the site of the old Simpang Airport with the hopes to soon serve as a high-speedrail hub between Bangkok and Singapore

as part of “the grand Chinese plan to link up 65 nations in a kind of modern-day Silk Road” (Malaysiakini, 2016). There is a new, 70-acre financial district planned for the city center, and there’s a massive new office park, to be complemented by four skyscraping luxury hotels, planned for Damansara – an area five miles outside the city center that the city’s central planning agency, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (CHKL), designated an “International Zone” in its plan for 2020. (Thean, 2015) Kuala Lumpur’s massive growth spurt is certainly impressive, but whether or not it’s sustainable and equitable is another matter. Traffic congestion is worse than ever. Sprawl has accelerated as housing prices have skyrocketed in the city center. Tensions between the Chinese and Bumiputera ethnic groups continue to play a major role, as do disputes between indigenous residents of dense inner-city enclaves and the government agencies intent on redeveloping their land. Industrialization and efforts to preserve one of the world’s most biodiverse environments remain diametrically opposed. Growth is a notorious doubleedged sword, but the framework for assessing it is simple. Buildings, at the end of the day, are only good if they are good for people. Kuala Lumpur has the world’s attention; now, what has it got to say?


Panorama 2017

Growth vs. Development: Buildings and Beings As Malaysia’s capital and largest city, Kuala Lumpur is unique in that, compared to other such Asian capital cities like Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Jakarta, or Bangkok, it is a relatively new city. It was founded in 1857 by the Chinese as an up-river port connecting the Strait of Malacca to the tin mines in the mountains. The British, already in Penang and Singapore, soon seized control of the city, extracting tin, rubber, and later, oil. Consequently, many Chinese Malaysians and the growing number of urban Bumiputera learned English. After the Japanese occupation during World War II, independence finally seemed imminent, but the British returned, remaining until 1957 to help thwart Chinese-led communist movements (Australian Government Department of Veterans Affairs, 2016). But ethnic tensions persisted. A decade later, the indigenous Bumiputera rioted violently over what they saw as vast economic inequality in relation to a far wealthier Chinese class. The result was the New Economic Policy (NEP) of 1971, a new era in Malaysian politics. The NEP stipulated a series of affirmative action policies favoring the indigenous group, in everything from education and employment to politics. But while the Bumiputera were the majority nationwide, the Chinese were the majority in the capital – and so, in an effort to assert their control, the government claimed Kuala Lumpur as a Federal Territory in 1974 (Wonderful Malaysia, 2016). Since then, the city’s ethnic composition has steadily evened out, from 52 percent Chinese and 33 percent Bumiputera in 1980, to the slight Bumiputera majority that exists today (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). Ethnic compositional equality has not, however, solved the root of the tension: economic inequality. According to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s


2010 New Economic Model (NEM): “Since becoming an upper middle income country, like many others, Malaysia has largely stayed where it is. Historically, it has been much easier for a low income country to make the transition to middle income status when they made good use of their natural resources or low cost advantage to attract investment. But the low cost advantage is a fleeting moment that ends when other low-cost centres emerge. Without new niches and strategic reform plans, many countries have been unable to break out of the middle income category – a phenomenon that has been termed ‘the middle income trap’” (National Economic Advisory Council, 2010).

The NEM acknowledges that while the NEP’s affirmative action policies may have helped the Bumiputera, at least in terms of reducing poverty and facilitating political participation, it has “also increasingly and inadvertently raised the cost of doing business due to rent-seeking, patronage and opaque government procurement.” (National Economic Advisory Council, 2010). Furthermore, income inequality in terms of Gini coefficients actually rose among both the Chinese and Indian (the city’s third-largest ethnic group, roughly 10 percent of the city’s population) ethnic groups between 1987 and 2007 (National Economic Advisory Council, 2010). For these reasons, the NEM has been interpreted as a blueprint to move away from affirmative action towards policies based more on need, or worthiness, regardless of race – a direction that 71 percent of all Malaysians supported as of 2008 (The Economist, 2013). In Kuala Lumpur, this national economic vision was preceded by the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (KLSP 2020), drafted in 2003, and approved in 2004. The plan’s “Vision 2020” aimed to transform Kuala Lumpur into “A WorldClass City” with a population of 2.2 million people by 2020 (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). For the city, this figure represented an expected continuation of exponential growth post-independence, most recently characterized by a rise in population from 900,000 in 1980 to 1.4 million at the

Henry Felsman time of the plan’s writing, to 1.7 million people today, with a GDP per capita now nearly triple the national average (Malaysia Department of Statistics, 2016). Meanwhile, greater Kuala Lumpur, or Kuala Lumpur Conurbation, has grown even more in that time, from less than a million people in 1980, to more than seven million people today (World Population Review, 2016). A major factor behind this sustained growth, the plan asserts, is the city’s foresight in recognizing the need to shift from an economy reliant on manufacturing and exports to a knowledge-based economy (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). The KLSP 2020’s first four (of 11) economic policy proposals speak volumes in informing today’s large-scale urban developments, as well as subtler trends: According to the plan, “CHKL shall: Implement measures to develop Kuala • Lumpur as a centre of the KnowledgeBased Economy. • Implement measures to attract international organizations and business entities. • Develop and promote tourism as an important economic sector. • Enhance and develop Kuala Lumpur as an international shopping centre.” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004)

In many ways, the city is following the lead of its knowledge-based trade partner and competitor to the south: Singapore. In September 2014, Prime Minister Najib Razak set forth the objective that 60 percent of all high school graduates go on to study for careers in science, technology, engineering, or math (the STEM subjects) by the year 2020, up from 40 percent of all high school graduates at the time of the announcement, and 25 percent of all high school graduates in 2000 (Astro Awani Network, 2016). As Razak’s NEM reads: “Malaysia suffers from an exodus of talent. Not only is our education system failing to deliver the required talent, we have not been able to retain local talent of all races nor attract foreign ones due to poor prospects

and a lack of high skilled jobs.” What Razak is referring to here as a failure to “retain talent of all races” is crucial – this talent is the ethnic Chinese – an implicit shot at the NEP’s affirmative action policies. Skilled Chinese workers, and promising Chinese students, effectively excluded from institutions that favor the Bumiputera, have increasingly begun seeking opportunities abroad (The Economist, 2013). With a shift from “ethnic-based” aid to “need-based” aid, Razak hopes to retain the Chinese elite by promising to raise the lot of the Chinese working-class (Chin, 2015). The theory is sound, and the intent is clearly positive. But one big question arises: what will this mean for the Bumiputera?

Spatial Development: If You Build It, They Will… Commute? Kuala Lumpur’s economy has boomed; Its GDP per capita tripled between 1995 and 2015. As its economy has grown, so too has the city sprawled (Department of Statistics, 2016). While the population of the city proper has doubled since 1980, its urban agglomeration has multiplied sevenfold and is projected to reach nearly 10 million by 2030 (World Population Review, 2016). In assessing this sprawl it had not foreseen in KLSP 1984 (the prior city plan), the KLSP 2020 offers the following explanation: “The out-migration is clearly not a result of lack of employment opportunities but is partly due to the shortage of affordable housing. Kuala Lumpur has experienced a movement of people to the suburbs and outlying towns, who, nonetheless, commute daily back into the City to work. While the KLC (Kuala Lumpur Conurbation) grew rapidly, the City itself experienced a slower population growth.” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004)

In other words, it’s not so much newcomers moving from rural to suburban areas, but rather newcomers moving to the city center and pushing other people out. The clear way to control this, as the KLSP 2020 rightly suggests, is to address


Panorama 2017

In the foreground is Kampung Baru, a Malay Reservation Area that has been facing pressure from developers for years. The Petronas Towers lie just a few miles south.

the lack of affordable housing in the city center. However, in practice this theory has been compromised by other elements of the plan that seem to stand in direct contradiction to it. For example, the plan designated the city’s largest and densest Bumiputera enclave, Kampung Baru, as a “Commercial Development Area.” Just a short walk north of the mighty Petronas Towers, this old neighborhood provides affordable housing for 45,000 workingclass people. Their presence in a city aiming to recharge population growth in the city center in an equitable manner is vital. However, when the government unveiled their Kampung Baru Detailed Development Master Plan in 2015, the proposed centerpiece was another twintower skyscraper, this time with a Ferris wheel atop it. The proposal is even odder considering the city’s stated objective to reverse the declining amount of residential


land in the city center: “To enhance the City’s living environment, CHKL aims to revitalize the City Centre by increasing the residential population” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). The city explains a slew of factors, beyond the affordable housing shortage, responsible for the residential exodus: “The decline in residential land use in the City Centre is due to the redevelopment of some of the older housing areas into offices and other commercial uses. In addition to the areas of dilapidated housing in the City Centre, there are many older, low density housing areas occupying land which has high potential commercial value. Pressures will remain on these remaining pockets of residential land to convert to more profitable land use, which, in turn, could lead to a further reduction in the inner city residential population.” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004).

On one hand, they seem to be accepting residential flight as a natural consequence of redevelopment. But at

figure 1. Kampung Baru

Henry Felsman the same time, the “older, low density housing areas” – like Kampung Baru – facing “pressures to convert” are the very areas they themselves, the public sector city planning agency, have designated for development. The second issue, or second part of sprawl’s multi-part engine, is traffic congestion. Unlike the issue of affordable housing, even the tourist can perceive this problem at street level. For all its warm weather and world-famous street food, Kuala Lumpur is nowhere near the walkable city that one might suspect; instead, it is maze-like and car-dominated. In this instance, at least, the city holds itself partly accountable. It acknowledges that the 1984 Structure Plan “has not been entirely successful,” and that “as a consequence of the intensification of commercial development in the CPA [Central Planning Area] and the outmigration of the residential population, private vehicle commuting into the CPA has increased” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). In 1985, a third of the workforce commuted by public transportation, mostly by bus; in 1997, reliance on public transport had declined to less than one-fifth (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). According to the city, this was “partly attributable to higher personal affluence leading to an increase in car ownership,” and partly “deficiencies in the bus services” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). The response to declining transit use was a resounding commitment to public infrastructure, beginning in the mid-1990s. Two new light rail systems opened in 1996 and 1998 respectively. They cover a combined 50 kilometers and are connected by 40 stations. Two new commuter rails cover an additional 140 kilometers, while the KL Monorail, or the “People Mover Rapid Transit”, opened in 2003, covering 10 kilometers of tracks and connecting key areas in the City Centre. Kuala Lumpur International Airport also opened in 1998 (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). In 2007, the Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel, or

SMART Tunnel, opened as the longest tunnel in Malaysia and one of the first of its kind in the world. It is a dual-purpose tunnel designed to alleviate both traffic congestion and flooding, essential for a city as prone to such disastrous storms as Kuala Lumpur is during monsoon season (ITS International, 2012). More recently, despite a national economy that has historically relied on the production and export of oil, nearly all of Kuala Lumpur’s taxicabs have shifted to running on natural gas as of 2013 (Malaysian Times, 2013). Despite these efforts, congestion and sprawl remain as forcibly locked in a chicken-and-egg dynamic as ever. Furthermore, Kuala Lumpur’s sprawl is complicated. Considering that 83 percent of its population growth actually occurred outside the city limits between 1980 and 2010, it is important to make a distinction between Kuala Lumpur’s suburbs from the interurban sprawl between cities that are all part of its agglomeration, including Klang (home to Port Klang, the 12th busiest port in the world, as of 2014, with a population of 880,000 people, as of 2010), Kajang (740,000 people), Subung Jaya (710,000), and Petaling Jaya (520,000) (Cox, 2013; World Shipping Council, 2014). Improving public transportation in Kuala Lumpur is one thing. Constructing a comprehensive public transportation network that serves the entire agglomeration (all throughout which people come in their cars to congest the capital) is a more complex challenge. The only way out is in the details. What kind of development is the city facilitating? The SMART Tunnel was a problemsolving wonder, addressing both traffic and flood concerns in the same project. The purpose of the proposed Kampung Baru redevelopment is much more questionable. Even within the Petronas Towers themselves, a major national symbol grounded purposefully in Islamic architectural motifs, its upscale shopping mall full of Western clothing chains and franchise fast-food restaurants, seems


Panorama 2017 less in the business of raising the country as a whole, and more in the business of extracting money from Malaysians – a kind of contemporary colonialism (Pelli and Crosbie, 2003). The KLSP 2020 clearly indicates an understanding of the danger in furthering this type of development: “[While] shop houses, the more traditional form of local shopping, are becoming less relevant as people prefer the convenience, air-conditioned comfort and wider variety of goods available in the large shopping complexes… there is a phenomenon of unsuccessful shopping complexes in Kuala Lumpur… principally due to poor accessibility, insufficient catchment, unattractive design and the lack of proper market and financial studies” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004).

The plan goes on to propose a shift, such that commercial “areas or zones, rather than shopping complexes, become the focus of retail activity” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004). In short, the city wants walkable streets of small business agglomerations. Every city does. But expensive new developments require wealthy tenants, and not just within their air-conditioned walls. As land values rise around them, these new buildings also make it exceedingly difficult for any business that’s not a retail chain to open up shop anywhere in the vicinity. Small businesses, like the working-class, decentralize. The city understands this. But what they do to break the cycle – to what effect they prove able to influence the kind of development, the details incorporated – remains to be seen. At present, early returns are discouraging: incorporated into the plans for Bandar Malaysia, the new transportation complex, is the additional development plan to make this terminal the “world’s largest underground city,” complete with “a subterranean shopping mall, canals, and indoor theme parks” (Malaysiakini, 2016). The KLSP 2020 also stipulates that inner-city schools be considered for redevelopment. High demand and a short supply of land in the city center have boosted these public facilities’ property


values to levels that have captured the city’s imagination. Not only would the city stand to profit, the plan argues, but congestion would also be alleviated: “The high concentration of schools in the City Centre no longer correlates with population catchment areas and consequently contributes to traffic congestion… this has contributed in a way to traffic congestion especially during peak hours due to increased school travel demand originating from outlying sub-urban residential areas” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004).

The city is using residential decentralization to justify the dispersal of schools. If people have moved to the suburbs, the argument goes, the schools should follow. This would kill two birds with one stone: relieving congestion caused by long, converging commutes; and freeing up developable land in the city center. At the same time, it flies in the face of another clearly-stated objective: increasing the residential population in the city center. Pushing schools to the suburbs while still expecting more people to move to the city is playing with fire – if schools turn into shopping malls, Kuala Lumpur will risk turning into a “donut city,” dense during the day and lifeless at night. If the old schools turn into better schools or institutions able to boost the knowledge-based economy, rather than just the retail economy – well, then the city may be on to something.

An Ongoing Struggle: Local Government in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur In addition to the new international airport, the most ambitious exurban developments of the 1990s in Greater Kuala Lumpur were the establishments of Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. The former is a planned, 7,000 acre city designed to be “the Silicon Valley” of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia Cyberjaya, 2016). Today, it’s a science and technology agglomeration economy of

Henry Felsman

Traffic congestion in the city center is the result of a vicious cycle: downtown commercial development pushes residents out, which leads to more private car commuting, which in turn leads to new downtown developments to counter the increased congestion.

figure 2. Bukit Bintang, downtown Kuala Lumpur

over 800 companies, up from 21 founding companies, in 1997 (Malaysia Cyberjaya, 2016). The latter, to the east of Cyberjaya, is Putrajaya – a new city designed by, and for, the federal government of Malaysia. Citing congestion in the city center and a lack of affordable housing for public employees, the Federal government abandoned Kuala Lumpur for greener pastures in 1999, almost exactly 100 years since the city had been recognized as the Federal headquarters. Today, the Federal Territory of Putrajaya has a population of 80,000 people, and has been connected by high speed rail to Kuala Lumpur since 2002. These two developments helped define the role that Kuala Lumpur would play going forward. With its knowledgebased sectors and high-skilled labor force concentrated in Cyberjaya, retail and unskilled labor would have a higher

concentration in the city. And with the federal government now concentrated in Putrajaya – and federal planners more likely to prioritize planning in Putrajaya over planning in Kuala Lumpur – the role of local government in Kuala Lumpur would become increasingly important. On one hand, less top-down planning pressure could inspire more of a grassroots approach to local planning; on the other hand, it could leave a void for the private sector to fill. The ongoing struggle over Kampung Baru is a good example of this volatility. On one side, private developers have been aggressively trying to purchase pieces of the prime real estate; on the other, the community has been intent on preserving its heritage (Kirk, 2016). City government operates in between. But it’s difficult to see the city government as an impartial arbitrator, especially when it was


Panorama 2017 that very government that encouraged the development to start, with the KLSP 2020 designating the area a Commercial Development Area in 2003. So even though the Kampung Baru Development Corporation, on their website, promises the aim of “maintaining, conserving, restore and optimizing the use of existing potential historical and heritage building,” neighborhood residents are right to be skeptical (Kampong Bharu Development Corporation, 2016). They are right to cry foul when the city mayor appoints the director of the leading consulting firm that oversaw the production of KLSP 2020 as the new Public Opinion Hearing Committee chairman, assigning him with the task of hearing community complaints regarding the very plan he himself is tied to devising (Malaysia Today, 2008). And they are right to distrust government statements of progress, such as the claim that 88 percent of the Kampung’s landowners had agreed to sell their land (Tam, 2015). “Who? Who are they?” a resident was quoted as saying in early 2015, by local online publication Coconuts KL. “I’ve not signed any papers. Maybe the 88 percent they claim just reflects the attendance to the meetings they have with residents” (Tam, 2015).

The Malays of Kampung Baru understand the significance of their ownership rights and the unique position they are in. First allocated to the natives by the British in 1900 as a Malay Agricultural Settlement, the 300-acre area worth more than a billion dollars today has its own local government and unique set of laws (such as excluding non-Malays from owning property) that date back generations (Tam, 2015; Kirk, 2016). It’s the densest such settlement in the city, and famous among both Malaysians and foreigners for its street food and small, family-owned restaurants (Jamshed, 2016). In this sense, it much more closely resembles the kind of shopping area city planners favor than the unsuccessful shopping complexes that have so often accompanied redevelopment in recent years. But as development continues around Kampung Baru, and land values continue to rise, the temptation among residents to sell their lot and strike it rich will only increase. It will be the task of the government to ensure that once the developers and community members inevitably do come to an agreement, the developers hold up their end of the bargain. .

The streets of Kampung Baru are lined with small low-rise buildings, providing a dense urban fabric of restaurants, shops, and homes.


figure 3. Kampung Baru, at street level

Henry Felsman

Improving the Built Environment Two years ago, while working in Asia, I visited the Petronas Towers. What amazed me most were not the majestic towers themselves; rather, it was the shockingly counterintuitive walk to get to them that left the greater impression on me. The main commercial corridor was crowded with cars and alarmingly lacking in crosswalks. The new KL Monorail ran noisily overhead. As the street curved, I gained sight, and then lost sight, of the Petronas Towers repeatedly. I walked under overpasses and skybridges, over tunnels and underground shopping centers, around construction sites, and around dead, fenced-off areas that had been cleared for the next phase of development. Checking my map, I saw that I had unwittingly walked in a circle around the towers. I asked a construction worker for directions and he responded in perfect English, directing me through a set of back doors that led downstairs, down a long corridor, and up into a massive underground shopping center. I looked up at the ceiling, the high ceiling that seemed to me like the mouth of a deep cave, and that’s when it hit me: I was inside the Petronas Towers. The KLSP 2020’s Vision to shift towards a knowledge-based economy and Prime Minister Razak’s emphasis on both the development and retention of homegrown human capital are the type of mindsets leadership must have in today’s increasingly interconnected and competitive global market. Malaysia is also well-positioned in its region, due to a couple of inherent advantages it has over other Asian countries. First, most of the country already speaks English. As countries like China and South Korea spend billions investing in English education, at the expense of other programs, Malaysia has the luxury to invest a far greater share in science and technology.

Secondly, Malaysia is one of the most diverse countries in the world – certainly in Asia. As ethnic and religious tensions turn violent elsewhere, Malaysia has been able to celebrate its diversity. For example, while Chinese Buddhists and Malay Muslims compose most of the population, Kuala Lumpur’s greatest attraction might very well be the Hindu temples in the Batu Caves. However, Kuala Lumpur faces challenges to improving its built environment. After my circuitous route to the towers, I learned that the city had built a long, air-conditioned pedestrian skybridge that links the towers with the neighborhood I was staying in. This made the trip back the next night easier. But for a city kneedeep in new development, pedestrian skybridges are little more than expensive band-aids. More needs to be done to improve Kuala Lumpur’s built environment on the street level. Here’s how I would begin: 1. Limit large-scale building development in the city center to a high number of small-scale affordable housing projects throughout the inner city. While it is tempting to decongest a city by building up, such policies, when abused, transform downtowns into construction sites. By the time one building goes up, land values rise around it to the point where it soon makes fiscal sense to redevelopment the older buildings around the new development, too – akin to the kind of domino effect we see now. A better idea would be to invest more heavily in public transportation, and allow this greater connectivity to facilitate the development of more affordable housing units dispersed throughout the city, including in the city center. Attracting lowand middle-income, public transportationdependent residents back to the city center and its adjacent neighborhoods, will reinvigorate street-life and help realize the city’s desire to “increase the residential population of the City Centre not only to optimize the infrastructural investment,


Panorama 2017 but also with a view to making the City Centre a more vibrant and dynamic place which can attract local and international businesses” (Kuala Lumpur City Hall, 2004, 4.5.2). 2. Inner-city schools that no longer serve the existing residential base may be repurposed, but not redeveloped entirely. Once the inner-city residential population increases, as planned, these schools will be crucial in limiting reverse-commuting. 3. Build Kuala Lumpur’s next “Silicon Valley” in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Planning an industry cluster outside the city limits, in suburban Cyberjaya, is one thing. A better idea would be to ensure that the next new boom industry brings jobs to the city center. What exactly that next “Silicon Valley” will be, no one knows for sure. But Kuala Lumpur, with its educational emphasis on science and its unique position as the capital of a diverse, English-speaking Asian country, has the opportunity to take a leading role in discovering just what that mystery technology of the future might be. 4. Let Kampung Baru be. It’s easy to understand the city’s rationale in desiring to upgrade a relatively low-density, lowincome tract of land of enormous real estate value. But Kuala Lumpur would

works cited


The author poses in front of the Petronas Towers at night.

be wise to take a tip from Seoul and its 1971 implementation of a Restricted Development Zone, or greenbelt. Developers may not like it, but designating the Malay Reservation Area as a kind of Restricted Development Zone that limits all development to the organic communitycontrolled development that has occurred in the old, near-pastoral community since its creation – applicable to all remaining areas that have yet to be sold, of course – would do wonders towards improving trust between local government and locals.

figure 4. Felsman at the Petronas Towers in December, 2014

Chin, James. “The Costs of Malaysian Supremacy.” The New York Times, 2015. Accessed Oct. 2016. Cox, Wendell. “The Evolving Urban Form: Kuala Lumpur.” 2013. content/003395-the-evolving-urban-form-kuala-lumpur. Accessed Oct. 2016. Department of Statistics, “Malaysia: World Portal, GDP by State, 2010-2015,” Sept. 2016. cthemeByCat&cat=102&bul_id=Y1NNYUhXOG14MTNQeEpCbXJVNURkZz09&menu_ id=TE5CRUZCblh4ZTZMODZIbmk2aWRRQT09. Accessed Oct. 2016. Jamshed, Zahra. “A Village Lost in Time: Inside Kampong Baru”, 2016, http://www.cnn. com/2016/09/14/arts/kamal-photographer-malaysia/, Accessed Oct. 2016. Kuala Lumpur City Hall. “Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020.” Kuala Lumpur City Hall: 2004., Accessed Oct. 2016. Kuala Lumpur Records History and National Development, “National Archives of Malaysia.” http://

Henry Felsman negara, Accessed Oct. 2016. National Economic Advisory Council of Malaysia. “New Economic Model for Malaysia,” 2010. http://, Accessed Oct. 2016. pp. 58-61. Kirk, Mimi. “Kuala Lumpur’s Controversial Plan to Develop the Last of its Low-rise Villages.” The Atlantic: City Lab, 2016. develop-kampung-baru-malay/490202/. Accessed Oct. 2016. Pelli, Cesar and Crosbie, Michael J. “Building Petronas Towers.” Architecture Week. 2003. http:// Accessed Oct. 2016. Pollalis, Spiro, “The Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.” The Harvard School of Design, 2002. Accessed Oct. 2016. Tam, Susan. “Spotlight: Kampung Baru and the Price of Development,” 2015. Coconuts Kuala Lumpur,, Accessed Oct. 2016. Thean, Janice Melissa. “Kuala Lumpur Soon To Boom With Mega Projects.” The Edge Malaysia: 24 Nov. 2015. boom-mega-projects. Accessed Oct. 2016. The Australian Government Department of Veteran’s Affairs. “The Malayan Emergency (1948 1960): Background.” 2009, malayan-emergency/causes-and-description.php, Accessed Oct. 2016. The World Bank Group. “Malaysia: 2016.”, Accessed Oct. 2016. World Shipping Council. “Top 50 World Container Ports,” 2014. about-the-industry/global-trade/top-50-world-container-ports. Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “City Folks Allege Conflict of Interest.” Malaysia Today. 2008. http://www.malaysia-today. net/city-folks-allege-conflict-of-interest/. Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “History of Kuala Lumpur.” Wonderful Malaysia. lumpur-history.htm. Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “Humble Beginnings.” Malaysia Cyberjaya. the-story, Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “KL118 To Be Among World’s Tallest.” Daily Express Malaysia. Jan. 2016, http://www.kl118., Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “Kuala Lumpur Population.” World Population Review, 2016, http://worldpopulationreview. com/world-cities/kuala-lumpur-population/, Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “Malaysia: A Never Ending Policy.” The Economist, 2013. briefing/21576654-elections-may-could-mark-turning-point-never-ending policy. Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “Malaysia Aims for 60 percent of children to take up STEM education – Najib.” Astro Awani Network, 2016, percent-children-take-stem-education-najib-44509. Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “Malaysia Eyes More Natural Gas to Fuel Cars.” The Malaysian Times, 2013., http://www., Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “Success of Kuala Lumpur’s Dual-purpose Tunnel.” ITS International. 2012. http://www. success-of-kuala-lumpurs-dual-purpose-tunnel/. Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “The Basis of Kampong Bharu Development,” Official Website of Kampong Bharu Development Corporation, 2016, future-aspirations/basis-kampong-bharu-development, Accessed Oct. 2016. ----. “World’s Largest Underground City Planned for Bandar M’sia.” Malaysiakini. Oct. 2016., Accessed Oct. 2016.

images cited

cover image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3. figure 4.

Source: Pexels free stock photos Source: Pexels free stock photos Source: By Sham Hardy, via Wikimedia Commons. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Source: Henry Felsman, 2017.


Panorama 2017


Kathleen Hanley


The Reading Viaduct, a proposed brownfield redevelopment project to create a rail park in Philadelphia, sparked new interest in underutilized neighborhoods north of Center City. Dominated by industrial zoning, big-box stores, and surface parking lots, the neighborhoods of Callowhill, Poplar, and Spring Garden present an in opportunity to accommodate Philadelphia’s booming housing market. We propose the creation of superGREENblocks: a site with stormwater retention and solar energy generation capabilities beyond its need, to maximize stormwater and solar energy capacity. superGREENblocks will help to bear the burden of redevelopment projects around the new rail park.

































The site produces

23 million kwh of solar power annually


That surplus solar energy is enough to power 85% offsets the site’s energy use

348 households





Kathleen Hanley

A concert of green roofs, blue roofs, and “tree rails” dominate a built environment where stormwater management is form as well as function.

By converting Willow Street into a pedestrian path, cars fade into the background, leaving a human-scale oasis in the heart of the city.

To create active edges and a lively urban community, building uses are mixed vertically as well as laterally, rendering the street mosaic of residential, commercial, and office life.

The site manages

1,868 greened acres of stormwater

4% offsets the site’s stormwater management requirement

That surplus capactiy is enough to manage the stormwater for

1,783 acres 121

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Geographic Location of the C3 Study Area


The Chester Commercial Corridor (C3) is located in the Kingsessing neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia.

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THE CHESTER AVENUE COMMERCIAL CORRIDOR Placemaking as a Tool for Community Economic Development in West Philadelphia

Casey Ross


his report examines the existing conditions of a small commercial corridor in West Philadelphia, on Chester Avenue between 54th and 56th Streets. The study area, which this report refers to as the Chester Commercial Corridor (C3 for short) is in the center of

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A photograph of 5504 Chester Avenue in 1956 from the Free Library of Philadelphia historic photos archives shows the C3 corridor, which has been mixed-use commercial since at least 1930.

the Kingsessing neighborhood of West Philadelphia, which is bounded by 53rd Street to the east, the Media/Elwyn Line rail tracks to the north, Woodland Avenue to the south, and the city of Philadelphia’s boundary at Cobbs Creek Parkway/Island Avenue to the west. Map on opposite page highlights C3 in relation to the larger Kingsessing neighborhood in the context of Southwest Philadelphia. The study area’s geography was determined using census tracts and block groups located directly adjacent to and within easy walking distance of the study area. Data from the US Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 ACS 5-Year Estimates for the C3 area’s census tracts and census block groups was retrieved through Social Explorer and American Fact Finder, and compared to data from the US Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 ACS 5-year estimates for Philadelphia using location quotients. 2011-2015 ACS 5-year estimate data was also mapped in ArcGIS to examine the spatial attributes of the neighborhood’s demographic and economic characteristics. While the Philadelphia City Planning Commission identifies Kingsessing as extending up to Baltimore Avenue, this report draws the northern boundary at


Panorama 2017

Although originally an agricultural area, Kingsessing has been primarily residential since its founding.

the Media/Elwyn Line railroad tracks. This decision was made after visiting the site and walking along the tracks, at which point it was determined that they act as a de facto border between neighborhoods, even if they are not recognized as the official border.

History Kingsessing is a neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia. Originally part of greater Kingsessing Township, “the first section of Philadelphia settled by Europeans” (Krulikowski, 2016). Kingsessing was home to Swedish immigrants even before William Penn acquired the land that is now Pennsylvania (City of Philadelphia, 2013). It became part of the City of Philadelphia with the passage of the 1854 Act of Consolidation. Up until the middle of the 19th century, Kingsessing remained primarily rural and suburban, and lacked any real urban density. In the early 20th century, Philadelphia Ward 40, containing modernday Kingsessing, had a population of 78,900 persons at a density of around


15 people per acre (City of Philadelphia, 2013). Thirteen percent of the Ward’s total population was foreign born, and only five percent of the population was Black (City of Philadelphia, 2013). At this time the electric trolley lines that run along Woodland, Chester, and Baltimore Avenues were already well-established (City of Philadelphia, 2013), and Chester Avenue and 55th Street — C3’s modern-day nexus — was a recognized commercial center (City of Philadelphia, 2013). Compared to neighboring townships, especially Blockley to the north, Kingsessing Township was lowerclass and predominantly an agricultural community from the time it was first settled, and it never featured the stately, aristocratic mansions found in some other parts of the city (Weaver, 2012). As late as 1930, the area that is modern-day Kingsessing contained “the homes of workingmen, clerks, and a lower middle class population” (Weaver, 2012).

Planning Context

figure 2. South 58th Street and Florence Avenue looking towards Warrington Avenue in 1953

Casey Ross

51st Republican Ward Empowered Community Development Corporation Snyderville Community Development Corporation Southwest Community Advisory Group Southwest Community Development Corporation Southwest Philadelphia District Services .


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C3 is located within the territories of multiple registered community organizations. All but the Snyderville Community Development Corporation contain C3 in its entirety.

figure 3. Kingsessing RCO Boundaries

Kingsessing is included in the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s University Southwest district and is included in that area’s 2013 District Plan. The University Southwest District Plan notes that Kingsessing struggles with poverty, unemployment, and disinvestment, and that its racial and economic demographics vary starkly from neighborhoods in the same district that

are closer to Center City, the University of Pennsylvania, and Drexel University. According to the District Plan, the census tracts comprising Kingsessing have experienced “either a continuous decline or stagnation of population between 1980 and 2010” (City of Philadelphia, 2013). The University Southwest District Plan calls for interventions in specific target areas of the larger district, and while the C3 area is not specifically identified


Panorama 2017 in any of the city’s interventions or plans, it will likely be affected by several of its recommendations. Plans to address vacant lots and houses throughout Kingsessing specifically target areas directly adjacent to C3, and such policies anywhere in the district would likely affect C3 either directly or indirectly, either through remediation of vacant buildings along the corridor itself or through increased density in the surrounding areas. The District Plan also calls for tree planting along parts of Chester Avenue with poor canopy coverage, and recommends extending commercial zoning along Chester Avenue from S 54th Street to S 58th Street. Kingsessing also falls within the boundaries of multiple Registered Community Organizations (RCOs), many of which have overlapping territories and different missions. Figure 3 shows the boundaries of these RCOs and demonstrates the complex overlapping jurisdictions they each claim. C3 lies completely within the territories of all but the Snyderville Community Development Corporation, which has its southern border on the corridor’s northern side.

Existing Conditions Transportation Access Kingsessing is well connected to other parts of the city, especially Center City and other areas to the east. Eleven bus routes run through the neighborhood, connecting it to areas north, south, east, and west. In addition, the Route 11 trolley runs along Woodland Avenue on the neighborhood’s southern border, the Route 34 trolley runs along Baltimore Avenue just north of the Media/Elwyn Line tracks, and the Route 13 trolley runs down Chester Avenue through Kingsessing’s center and directly through the C3 corridor. Route 13 stops at three locations within C3: on Chester Avenue and 54th Street, on Chester Avenue and


55th Street, and on Chester Avenue and 56th Street. There are also two Media/Elwyn Line Regional Rail stations in Kingsessing, 49th Street and Angora. While these stations might allow residents working in the suburbs to reverse commute, the lack of employment centers in Kingsessing suggests that few people are using them to commute to the neighborhood, and residents are unlikely to use them to get to Center City given the availability of significantly less expensive travel options. The neighborhood is also very bikeable: the Cobbs Creek Park trail runs north/south along Kingsessing’s western border, and the 58th Street Greenway connects it to Bartram’s Garden, the East Coast Greenway, and additional circuit trails. Small, one-way residential streets with relatively slow traffic and a regular grid pattern add to the area’s bike-ability, and also make it a generally pedestrianfriendly neighborhood.1 Built Environment and Land Use Kingsessing is a predominantly residential neighborhood with mostly twoand three-story single- and multi-family row homes, and a high rate of building and lot vacancy. Unlike nearby neighborhoods such as Cedar Park and Spruce Hill, which have buildings dating back to the turn of the 19th century, 55 percent of housing structures in Kingsessing were built between 1940 and 1959 (US Census, 2015). Kingsessing also differs from other Philadelphia neighborhoods with high vacancy: there has been almost no new 1 According to data from the Philadelphia Managing Director’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems (OTIS) , a total of 1,278 crash incidents occurred within Kingsessing’s boundaries between 2011 and 2014. These incidents account for only three percent of all crashes in Philadelphia county in that timespan. Of the 1,278 crash incidents in Kingsessing, six percent involved at least one cyclist and 20 percent involved at least one pedestrian. The majority of crashes involving at least one cyclist/ pedestrian (92.2 percent) did not result in a major injury to any party involved.

Casey Ross

Bus Routes Trolley Routes



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C3 is well connected to the rest of Kingsessing as well as to other parts of the city by three trolley routes and 12 bus routes. The 13 trolley runs down Chester avenue and has three stops along the commercial corridor there.

figure 4. Transit Access on and around the C3

development in Kingsessing in the last 15 years, and only one percent of the area’s housing was built after 2000. The newer housing stock and lack of recent building reflects the disinvestment Kingsessing has experienced since the height of urban renewal in the mid-twentieth century. There are no industrial facilities in Kingsessing, so any job centers that exist in the neighborhood are likely smallscale commercial or service. C3 is the

neighborhood’s geographically central commercial corridor, but there is an autooriented commercial center on Woodland Avenue to the south and a pedestrianoriented commercial center on Baltimore Avenue to the north. The north side of the 5400 block of Chester Avenue at the Eastern end of C3 is residential and contains no commercial, but the rest of the corridor has groundfloor storefronts with residential above.


Panorama 2017

Vacant Commercial Residential


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Kingsessing is a predominantly residential neighborhood with scattered commercial along Chester Avenue. C3 is the densest commercial center within the neighborhood. Kingsessing also has high building and lot vacancy, especially east of Cobbs Creek Park and Mount Moriah Cemetery.

37 of the 51 storefronts along the length of C3 (72.5 percent) are occupied,2 though their physical condition is often poor. It is sometimes difficult to determine if a storefront is abandoned, or if an active business is merely closed.

2 Data obtained by the author by counting storefronts along the corridor and classifying them as occupied or vacant.


Except for The Fresh Grocer on the corner of Chester Avenue and 55th Street and a metroPCS between Allison and Voges, the active businesses along C3 are small-scale, independently-owned, and non-chain. There are multiple small bodegas (Jaquez Mini Market, Kim’s Market, Cold Beer Deli, and Bleeway African Market), to-go food vendors (Jamaica Flava, Shangri-La Chinese Food, Chinese

figure 5. Land Use in and around the C3

Casey Ross & American Food, Chester Pizza, Lucky Chinese and American Food) and one sitdown diner called Jake’s Place. There are also multiple beautyrelated retail and service outlets (Wig Town, Hair Depot, Chester Jewelry, Sharon’s Beauty Heaven, Modern Nails, New Choice Unisex Salon, Al-Medina Perfume & Variety Store), a non-chain pharmacy (Bell-Edge Pharmacy), a small hardware store (J&R Hardware and Locksmith Service), a check-cashing office, and a performance arts center called Bodies in Motion. There is an Islamic clothing store called With Allah Da’Ahkees Apparel & Footwear, and a storefront daycare center called Daddy Daycare. There are also several figure 6. Racial Composition of the C3 83% of the C3 population is Black/African American, compared to 42% of the population in Philadelphia County

Non-Hispanic White

figure 7. National Origin of Residents in the C3


Asian 2+ Races

4% 81% 1%


1% 47 percent of C3 residents who were born outside of the United States were born in Africa. Of those born in Africa, 81 percent come from countries in West Africa, especially Liberia.

storefront ministries along the corridor, but it is unclear if they are currently open/ functioning. The corridor’s sidewalks are unusually broad: the northern side has 16-foot sidewalks and the southern side has 17-foot sidewalks. These broad pedestrian spaces contribute to a sense of spaciousness along the corridor and make it a comfortable place to walk. Aside from a few stores with racks and displays outside their storefronts, however, this space is largely under-utilized. There is also a dearth of trees along the corridor despite ample room for new plantings that would provide shade and help beautify the area. Demographic Characteristics The C3 study area is inhabited by a majority-Black population. Whereas 43 percent of Philadelphia’s total population identifies as Black or African American (US Census, 2015), the C3 study area’s Black residents account for 85 percent of the total population (US Census, 2015) and only 10 percent of residents around C3 are White (US Census, 2015), compared to 42 percent of Philadelphia residents (US Census, 2015). This demographic skew is likely due to the area’s large immigrant population: 9 percent residents are not native to the United States (US Census, 2015), and most foreign-born residents (81 percent) originated in Western Africa, specifically Liberia (43 percent of foreign-born West Africans) (US Census, 2015). Most of these West African immigrants live in the areas directly adjacent to C3, and their presence is reflected in African-oriented retail that exists along the corridor. There is also a Caribbean population directly south of C3, and their presence is also reflected in existing retail. Educationally, Kingsessing is relatively representative of the greater population in Philadelphia County. Although the percent of population with lower educational achievement is slightly higher in the


Panorama 2017 45%

C3 Study Area Philadelphia County 39%






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Doctoral Degree

The C3 area has lower educational achievement than Philadelphia County. Sixty percent of the C3 area population does not have any education beyond high school.

study area than it is in Philadelphia, most categories are within a few percentage points. The real discrepancies exist in higher education: only 16 percent of the study area population has a Bachelor’s degree or higher (US Census, 2015), almost 10 percent fewer than Philadelphia County, where 25 percent of the population over 25 years old has a Bachelor’s degree or higher (US Census, 2015). Figure 8 visualizes the difference in educational achievement between Kingsessing and Philadelphia County, highlighting the neighborhood’s low levels of education. Economic Characteristics The C3 study area’s comparatively low


educational attainment likely contributes to the area’s high unemployment: while nine percent of Philadelphia residents 16 years old and over are unemployed (US Census, 2015), that number jumps to 12 percent around the commercial corridor (US Census, 2015). Because only 4 percent of the area’s total population is between the ages of 16 and 18 years old, this percentage is not artificially inflated due to a high number of high-school age residents who aren’t working, and likely represents an accurate accounting of employment in the area. This unusually high unemployment is accompanied by unsurprisingly low

figure 8. Educational Achievement

Casey Ross

Industry Sector Health Care and Social Assistance Retail Trade Educational Services Administration & Support, Waste Management Other Services (excluding Public Administration) Construction Finance & Insurance Accomodation & Food Services Real Estate Transportation/Warehousing Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services Public Administration figure 9. Employment by Industry Sector in the C3

Count 141 103 90 19 9 7 6 5 4 1 1 1

Share 36.4% 26.6% 23.3% 4.9% 2.3% 1.8% 1.6% 1.3% 1.0% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3%

The top three employment sectors in the C3 are Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Educational Services. Nearby schools and the Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Home likely account for the non-retail jobs in the area.

Inflow: 362

Outflow: 778


figure 10. Worker Inflow and Outflow in 2014

The C3 area contained a total of 372 jobs in 2014. 362 of those jobs were filled by workers who live outside of the C3 study area, and 10 of those jobs were filled by workers who live within the C3 study area. Another 778 workers who lived within the C3 worked in jobs outside of its boundaries.

household income: over 50 percent of households in the study area earn less than $30,000 a year, versus 42 percent of households in Philadelphia County. A similar discrepancy exists on the higherend of the income spectrum: whereas

18 percent of Philadelphia households between $75,000 and $150,000 annually (US Census, 2015), only 9 percent of households in Kingsessing earn that amount each year (US Census, 2015). Figure 11 helps visualize the different


Panorama 2017

< - C3 Household Income


=1% of total households

PHL Household Income > The C3 area has comparatively low income, even for Philadelphia. Over half of all households earn less than $30,000 a year, and only 24 percent earn more than $50,000 annually.

household incomes in Kingsessing and Philadelphia, demonstrating that Kingsessing is heavily skewed towards the lower end of the household income spectrum. Approximately 372 jobs were based in and around the C3 study area in 2015 (US Census OnTheMap, 2015), most which were in Health Care and Social Assistance (36.4 percent), Retail Trade (26.6 percent), and Educational Services (23.3 percent). Aside from the shops and outlets along the C3, there are two major employment centers nearby: Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Home, an assisted-living facility for seniors on Chester Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, and


Mitchell Elementary School on Kingsessing Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets. As shown in Figure 9, multiple other industry sectors make up the remaining 14 percent of jobs in the C3.

The C3 as a Public Space Overview Although the C3 is not a highfunctioning commercial corridor like Baltimore Avenue in Spruce Hill or Chestnut Street in Center City, one need only walk down it on a weekday afternoon to recognize that it is the commercial heart of the surrounding area and that it fills a niche

figure 11. Annual Household Income in the C3 and Philadelphia County

Casey Ross within its specific residential community. The economic groundwork has been laid, and building upon that groundwork using the fundamentals of placemaking and planning theory, we can transform it into a place for community engagement as well as economic activity. According to the Project for Public Spaces, “placemaking pays close attention to the myriad ways in which the physical, social, ecological, cultural, and even spiritual qualities of a place are intimately figures 12 and 13.

intertwined” (Project for Public Spaces, 2009). The C3 has many of the physical, social, ecological, cultural, and perhaps even spiritual qualities that can create a truly vibrant public space. The following sections of this report will evaluate the C3 using the framework created by the Project for Public Spaces. The framework analyzes C3’s strengths, weaknesses, and the specific areas upon which the foundations of a community center can be built going forward. Figure

The C3 has a large immigrant community from West Africa, around which programming and public art could be centered.


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By mapping the density of crime incidents in an area, taking the average of that density, and then subtracting the average from the original, we can visualize areas of higher-than-average crime. The Chester Commercial Corridor (circled) has average or belowaverage crime incidents. Lighter and red areas have higher-than-average crime incidents.

18 lists visualizes this framework based on the recommendations made in this report.

Sociability, Comfort, and Image The C3 is in a diverse neighborhood with a large immigrant population from a specific part of the world. The shops along


the corridor reflect the specific needs of that immigrant population as well as everyday needs for every Philadelphian. Because the Philadelphia City Planning Commission classifies the C3 as a “stable” commercial corridor (Econsult Corporation, 2009) and a “Neighborhood Center” (Econsult Corporation, 2009), it remains a stable geographic center for the community.

figure 14. Areas of Higher than Average Crime in Kingsessing

Casey Ross

figure 15.

The C3 is generally diverse, friendly, and welcoming but could benefit from improvements that add to its centrality within the community and reflect the people who live and work in it. Interventions like signage and a parklet would foster a sense of identity along the corridor and give residents a space to come together.

Although the C3 is not a declining corridor, it bears the physical marks of decades of disinvestment throughout parts of West Philadelphia. Simple physical interventions could drastically improve the C3s comfort and image, and create spaces for increased socialization and community engagement. The C3 is also relatively safe compared to both Philadelphia and some other commercial corridors in Kingsessing. Figure 14 uses crime data from the Philadelphia Police Department, made available through, to look at the density of crime incidents in Kingsessing and then find areas of higher-than-average crime throughout the neighborhood. The C3 generally has average or below-average crime for the neighborhood. Access and Linkages Although it is relatively far-removed from Center City, the cultural and economic core of the greater Philadelphia region, the C3 is extremely centrally located within the context of the Kingsessing neighborhood.

As seen in the first map, the C3 study area is located centrally within the neighborhood, situated directly between the Baltimore Avenue commercial corridor to the north and the Woodland Avenue commercial corridor to the south. As the Route 13 trolley runs eastwest down Chester Avenue through the corridor, it is easily accessible from both directions, and north-south linkages are easily accessible via three separate bus lines within blocks of the study area, as shown in Figure 4. Additionally, Kingsessing as a whole is a walkable neighborhood, and the C3 area has exceptionally wide (16- and 17foot) sidewalks. Although the C3 does not have shade trees, many of the surrounding blocks do, and walking to and from the corridor is generally pleasant when weather permits. Overall, the C3 is strongest in terms of its access and linkages. Because creating access and improving mobility to a place is often one of the largest challenges in addition to being one of the most expensive, this is a considerable strength


Panorama 2017 that should not be underestimated. All of the infrastructure needed to access the corridor easily is already in place; what’s left is to give people more and better reasons to utilize that infrastructure and think of C3 as a destination, rather than a stop on the way to somewhere else. Uses and Activities At the moment, the C3 is not properly configured to support programmed uses and activities. It currently serves an important purpose as a Neighborhood Center and a commercial corridor, but it lacks the kind of programming and physical infrastructure that can make an economic center into a community center. The C3 has no street trees despite their presence on other blocks along Chester and many of the side streets surrounding the corridors, and despite its wide sidewalks there are no places specifically designed for pauses or rests. Without these amenities, the corridor remains a place to pass through coming to or from somewhere else, rather than a space conducive to its own social functions in conjunction with existing and future economic activities.

Interventions and Recommendations Street Trees: Green, Charming, Attractive, Indigenous - Provide shade in the summer and make the C3 a more pleasant walk. Bring the corridor into conformity with surrounding blocks to enable seamless transitional flow in and out, weaving it into the fabric of the neighborhood. Curb Grass: Green, Charming, Attractive, Special Create a buffer between pedestrians and Chester Avenue, improving the walkability of the corridor as well as increasing pervious surface in the neighborhood.


Street Benches: Neighborly, Sittable, Charming - Create spaces for people to sit and rest, or to pause and talk while they run errands. Turns the corridor into a meeting place instead of a passthrough and creates opportunities for individuals to linger. Also provides support for seniors living in the Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Home, who can go for walks knowing there will be places to rest. Seniors from across the community can experience the corridor with increased mobility and less fear. Parklet: Pride, Fun, Special, Sittable, Green, Charming - Because the C3 is a pedestrian-oriented commercial corridor, there is excess street parking. The only major store on the corridor is the Fresh Grocer on the corner, which has its own parking lot. A few parking spaces can be removed and turned into parklets, with additional greenery and seating. Like the street benches, parklets help establish the corridor as a place to pause rather than a place to pass through. They can also serve as sites for gatherings in ways that a single bench cannot, and will improve the overall comfort and image of the corridor. Activities: Pride, Indigenous, Celebratory, Fun - Because the C3 is so well-served by RCOs, any number of events can take place along the improved corridor. Although a street fair is unlikely due to the trolley, sidewalk sales or cultural festivals would be ideal activities for the corridor. The Mural Arts Program could partner with students at surrounding schools and/ or the residents of the Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Home to create a mural or murals along the corridor that reflect the neighborhood’s diverse community. An empty storefront could be converted into a community art space, like the CDC’s Frankford Avenue gallery in the Frankford neighborhood corridor.

Casey Ross

The addition of greenery and street furniture along Chester Avenue can build on current strengths to promote community development, give a boost to local businesses, and provide for the commercial needs of Kingsessing residents.

figures 16 and 17. Before and After Renderings of Proposed Interventions in C3

Outcomes Following the implementation of the interventions discussed in this report, the C3 will be a much stronger public space (as illustrated in Figure 17). The corridor has the longstanding economic groundwork and geographic location to already be an established, stable commercial center. The Economic part of Community Economic Development is already underway, and has

been for quite some time. The goal going forward must be on the Community part of Community Economic Development. Physical interventions can kick-start a change in perception along the corridor: it can go from being officially economic and unofficially community to officially both. Once the physical interventions begin appearing, Registered Community Organizations (RCOs) can build upon the momentum generated by improvements and construction to make


Panorama 2017 could set the precedent for the C3. The goal should not be to turn the C3 into the next Chestnut Street, or the next Baltimore Avenue, but to turn it into a better version of what it already is. Doing so will require intensive community outreach and cooperation between stakeholders like competing RCOs, community organizations, and local business owners.

sure the spaces provided are utilized productively. Next steps might include installing better pedestrian lighting along the corridor, to make it attractive at night as well as during the day, and the addition of signage. The Frankford Community Development Corporation has been a major driver of this kind of intervention in the Frankford neighborhood in lower Northeast Philadelphia, and their example




















Adapted from the Project for Public Space’s “What Makes a Great Public Space?” diagram, Figure 18 shows the public space characteristics that would be improved by the recommendations in this report.



























































figure 18. Public Space Analysis Diagram

Casey Ross

works cited

images cited

Balinois, Francis. Before - 58th Street - Florence Avenue to Warrington Avenue. Photograph, October 1, 1953. City of Philadelphia Department of records. City of Philadelphia. “Philadelphia 2035: University Southwest District Plan.” City Planning District Plan. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 2013. Devine+Partnets (flickr). Opening of the 58th Street Greenway. Digital Photograph, June 8, 2013. Econsult Corporation. “COMMERCIAL CORRIDORS: A STRATEGIC INVESTMENT FRAMEWORK FOR PHILADELPHIA.” Philadelphia, PA, March 2009. Humphrey, Willin “Nomo,” and Jack Ramsdale. Bridging the Gap. Digital Photograph of a Painted Mural, Unknown. Krulikowski, Anne E. “Southwest Philadelphia.” The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Accessed November 26, 2016. Nickels, Frank V. 5532 Chester Avenue. Photographic Negatives, September 24, 1956. Free Library of Philadelphia. Philadelphia City Planning Commission, and Philadelphia Office of Innovation and Technology. “Zoning and RCO Map.” Interactive Online. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia City Planning Commission, August 16, 2016. Project for Public Spaces. “What Is Placemaking?,” December 31, 2009. So Cal Metro (flickr). SEPTA Trolley. Digital Photograph, May 3, 2015. Steve Ives (flickr: PhillyTrax). PIFA Street Fair 2013 1. Digital Photograph, April 27, 2013. United States Census Bureau. “American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates 2011-2014 for Census Block Groups in Philadelphia County.” United States Census Bureau, November 26, 2016. ----. “American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates 2011-2014 for Census Tracts in Philadelphia County.” United States Census Bureau, n.d. Accessed November 26, 2016. ----. “American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates 2011-2014 for Philadelphia County.” United States Census Bureau, n.d. Accessed November 26, 2016. VisitPhiladelphia. “Odunde Festival: One of the Largest and Most Longstanding African American Street Festivals in the Nation.”, Unknown. Weaver, Wallace. “West Philadelphia: A Study of Natural Social Areas. A thesis in sociology presented to the faculty of the graduate school in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy.” University of Pennsylvania, 1930. “A ‘Parklet’ Coming to 44th Street.” West Philly Local, August 23, 2012. Yamamoto, Ema, ed. “Vehicular Crashes.” Philadelphia Managing Director’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems, October 1, 2015. cover image. figure 1. figure 2. figure 3 - 11. figure 12. figure 13. figure 14. figure 15. figure 16. figure 17. figure 18.

Source: created by Casey C. Ross. Source: Nickels, Frank V. 5532 Chester Avenue. Photographic Negatives, September 24, 1956. Free Library of Philadelphia. Source: Balinois, Francis. Before - 58th Street - Florence Avenue to Warrington Avenue. Photograph, October 1, 1953. City of Philadelphia Department of records. Source: Casey C. Ross, 2016. Source: Humphrey, Willin “Nomo,” and Jack Ramsdale. Bridging the Gap. Digital Photograph of a Painted Mural, Unknown. Source: Devine+Partnets (flickr). Opening of the 58th Street Greenway. Digital Photograph. Source: Casey C. Ross, 2016. Source: “A ‘Parklet’ Coming to 44th Street.” West Philly Local, August 23, 2012. Source: Google Maps street view Source: Casey C. Ross, 2016. Source: Casey C. Ross, 2016.


A RESPONSIBLE URBAN RENEWAL PLAN Voto Nacional Bogotรก, Colombia

Danqi Fang Phil Fargason Jonah Fay Yumeng Gu Kathryn Kramer Akshay Malik Tianyi Ren Tristina Sinopoli Wenhao Wu Yidan Zhang Yajing Zhao Peiqian Zhong

City Planning Studio Fall 2016


rime and violence have defined the neighborhood of Voto Nacional for decades. Located in the heart of Bogotá, this once-thriving neighborhood has experienced rapid economic decline. Once-vibrant street life has been supplanted by violent illicit activities and concentrated poverty. This crime and violence radiates from a set of blocks, called El Bronx, located in the very center of Voto Nacional. To date, government responses to curb crime and reduce poverty have relied upon physical interventions that sought building clearance as a means to ending decades of gang violence. These urban renewal strategies have done little to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations. A Responsible Urban Renewal Plan seeks to provide an alternative approach to physical urban renewal that puts the wellbeing of people at its core. For renewal to be successful in this context, it is critical to focus on supporting those most afflicted by poverty. A responsible approach is possible, and can exemplify the best of planning approaches that couple innovative programs with thoughtful spatial change. Our Responsible Renewal Plan includes six goals, which together will create a bright future for the people of Voto Nacional: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

At the center of our people-first plan is a series of social programs, community spaces and economic development programs that create a neighborhood of empowered people. These programs are supported by a framework plan, in order to cultivate a strong sense of place that supports social, economic and environmental resiliency. Together, our proposed systems provide a more responsible alternative to the City of Bogotá’s existing urban renewal framework and will help to create a more vibrant Voto Nacional.

(opposite page) Plaza España is a central public space in the proposed plan for Voto Nacional. (below) The full site plan illustrates Transit Oriented Development around Estación De La Sabana.

Housing opportunities for people of all incomes Empowerment of women & children Neighborhood & regional connectivity Economic opportunities that create wealth Safe & human-scale public realm Sustainable & green neighborhood


Bicycle Use in Solo, Indonesia Food vendors often carry out daily shopping at one of the many markets in Solo. *All images used with permission granted by Kota Kita

WOMEN ON WHEELS Analysis Methodology for Gender-Sensitive Bicycle Planning

Mariel Kirschen


omen on Wheels is a program designed to promote bicycling for women and girls in developing countries around the world. Bicycling provides a low-cost, zero-carbon alternative mode of transportation that can benefit a variety of populations. Women on Wheels is a joint venture of Kota Kita, an Indonesian non-governmental organization (NGO) specializing in urban planning, and Living Cities, a Swedish NGO focused on innovative solutions for inclusive and resilient cities. The goal of Women on Wheels is to develop solutions to mobilize women and reshape the societal views of female cyclists. Kota Kita and Living Cities have identified women in the developing world as a group that can benefit from increased accessibility to bicycling. As a population that tends to have less mobility than its male counterpart, women often have less access to jobs, economic opportunity, and social freedom. In an effort to address such disadvantages, governments can use the Women on Wheels program to encourage and enable increased mobility for women around the world. Moreover, they can use these research findings to inform broader efforts to promote cycling among urban populations. This document provides guidance for local governments interested in implementing Women on Wheels in their city. In order to use the program’s Toolbox, interested parties should take steps to understand the conditions facing women

and bicycling. This process begins with a methodology that explores the current conditions of gender and transportation in the city. This methodology differs from the traditional analyses for many transportation projects, which typically favor the needs and preferences of men. By looking from a perspective that considers the needs of women as they travel, in addition to men, governments can take action on projects and programs that assist a broader population of travelers. To illuminate the mobility needs and preferences of women, we have split the analysis of gender and transportation into three themes: Work and Roles, Economics and Culture, and Safety and Risk. These themes represent the most common concerns of women in relation to their travel, as identified and explored through academic research and focus discussions with groups of women around the world. 1) Work and Roles explores the question of “Why are women traveling?” by looking at the purposes, journeys, and needs of both work and non-work trips. 2) Economics and Culture focuses on “How women are able to travel?” by considering the socio-economic factors that both allow and restrict women to move around the city. Finally, 3) Safety and Risk examines “Are women able to travel with confidence?” through questions assessing how infrastructure and crime influence women’s decisions to travel.


Panorama 2017 How the document works The document comprises three main sections: Work and Roles, Economics and Culture, and Safety and Risk. Each section explores two topics, each looking at different aspects of women’s daily life and travel. Under each topic, the document details why a gendered transportation analysis is important, as well as what governments can do to encourage change in their city. The introduction of each topic provides an overview of why the subject is relevant to the interests of local governments. By showing why improving women’s mobility is valuable, public decision makers can better understand why looking at transportation planning through a gendered lens can improve quality of life for women. To unravel the complexities of gender and transportation, we investigated a series of questions using varying data and analytics tools. Governments can tailor the research strategy based on available data, analytics tools, and conditions found in their cities. Under each strategy, a series of steps take the reader through the process of evaluation for relevant questions to each topic. In an effort to give examples of the decision making process necessary for this type of analysis, after each process of evaluation, possible discoveries and responses are given. Each city’s results should and will differ from the examples, so governments should customize their actions based on the conditions in their study area. Once city officials understand why the topic is important and how to go about assessing the conditions, they can begin to take action that not only improves the lives of women but has an overall positive effect on the city. The third section of each document outlines a number of the tools that a government can use from the Women on Wheels Toolbox to achieve their city goals. While awareness of the issues is important, these actions are what have


the potential to change a city for the better and improve conditions of bicycling for women and girls.

1. Work and Roles: Why are women traveling? The theme of Work and Roles explores how employment and household roles influence the way women travel around a city. In an urban environment, travel is driven by a variety of activities that sustain the population. These activities include both formal and informal work that vary across different populations of travelers and create different needs and preferences for travel across the city’s systems. Women’s travel patterns tend to differ from men’s across trip time and distance, purpose, and mode. Much of this variation can be linked to differences in daily tasks among genders. For example, women’s trips are often more complex and serve multiple purposes such as childcare and household responsibilities while men’s trips center primarily on employment. As a result, studies in urban areas around the world find that women tend to take more numerous yet shorter trips at varied times of the day. Traditional transportation planning practices tend to place more value on work trips than domestic trips. For these reasons, the variety of purposes of female trips are often not considered in transportation studies and interventions. In this section, we consider the ways in which women’s work differs from men’s, both outside of the home and within, and how a city can begin to think about what changes can be made to promote ease of travel and encourage sustainable travel decisions among broader sections of the population. This section provides tools to study why women are traveling around the city to help identify where support can be designated to help get them where they need to go. Employment investigates

Mariel Kirschen women’s vocation and current travel patterns as well as how they interact with any available public transportation services. Household Roles analyzes figure 1.

how social conditions in the household influence women’s needs and preferences for travel and how it compares to men’s.

A common trip purpose for female cyclists is shopping for daily supplies at the local market.


Panorama 2017

Employment An analysis of women’s employment reveals the ways in which where women work and what they do for work influence their travel. Work location and job type are primary drivers of travel decisions and play a role in determining where women need to go on a daily basis. Identifying patterns and trends in women’s work trips is key for a government to understand the conditions of daily travel for women.

The following analysis investigates the relationship between employment and transportation mode by examining: A) where and how women are traveling and B) how public transportation serves women’s travel needs. Knowing where women are working is integral to helping them get to and from work. By helping women get to work, a local government can:

Many workers at the markets of Solo are female food vendors.


figure 2.

Mariel Kirschen 1. 2. 3.

Increase access to employment Improve frequently traveled routes to encourage the choice to bicycle Bridge gaps in service from other transportation modes

Goals: Employment By the end of the employment analysis, a local government will be able to properly assess the travel needs of various populations of women as they travel across the city for work. Being aware of these needs is important to:

figure 3. Selected Strategy: Where and how are women traveling to work?

1. Increase access to employment around the city. Facilitating the mobility of women as it relates to their employment encourages economic activity in cities. With knowledge of where women are working, how they are getting there, and how this influences their choice to bicycle, public decision makers can begin to implement strategies to improve access to jobs. Evaluation 1.

Where are women working?

2. 3.

1. How are women traveling for work?

2. 3.

1. How do destination and route influence bicycling?

2. 3.

Map where women live and work across city Look for spatial concentrations Consider physical barriers that intersect travel Calculate general travel patterns Compare women's to men's Cross reference work sector to look for consistencies Identify spatial concentrations of bicyclists Map commonly traveled routes Assess if distance is a major barrier to bicycling

Possible tools: • Workplace incentive programs Bicycle parking programs •

2. Improve frequently traveled routes to encourage the choice to bicycle. By connecting infrastructure and services commonly used by female travelers, a city can make bicycle trips easier for current bicyclists and make the option of bicycling more appealing for those who currently choose other modes. Possible tools: Bicycle network • • OnMyRide App

3. Bridge gaps in service from other transportation modes. In cities where current services do not provide women with the proper access to where they need to go, bicycles can provide a link between services or a sustainable alternative instead of a private motorized vehicle. Possible tools: • BikeToBus • Bicycle sharing program

Discoveries • •

• •

• •

Most women commuting outside city boundaries Many women need to avoid physical barriers

More women take nonmotorized modes than men Women in informal sector are more likely to use bicycle

Women who cycle use side roads opposed to large roads Women in certain locations more likely to cycle

Responses • •

• •

• •

Focus on a regional transportation network Multi-modal approach to connecting to destinations

Bicycle programs focused on women's preferences Bicycle subsidies that support informal economy

Distribute bicycle infrastructure efforts among neighborhoods Campaign in neighborhoods with lower rates of cycling

Data needs: General and personal travel data (from travel surveys, trip logs, focus group discussions [FGDs])


Panorama 2017

Household Roles Analyzing women’s household roles can reveal the ways in which they use a city’s transportation system to fulfill diverse daily tasks. Women tend to take more complex trips than men and, therefore,

have different preferences for how and when they travel. While often neglected by traditional transportation planning analysis, such trip details are important considerations for city governments planning local transportation systems to better support the needs and preferences of travelers across gender groups.

Mothers often travel with their children in tow. Those who cycle are no different and often must travel in traffic.


figure 4.

Mariel Kirschen The following analysis looks for trends in the relationship between gendered household roles and travel using two methods: A) assessing the difference between daily travel of men and women, and B) identifying the gendered division of household tasks. Improving bicycling systems to better support daily tasks can help make it a more feasible modal choice for women. By assisting women’s complex travel needs, a local government can: 1. 2.

Increase access to economic activities around the city Encourage a sustainable transportation option for a variety of trip types

Goals: Household Roles figure 5. Selected Strategy: How do family culture and households influence travel?

At the completion of an analysis on household roles, a local government will have a better sense for how to support the needs of female travelers across a city. Once informed of the various travel patterns of women in their daily tasks, actions can be taken to: Evaluation

What tasks are women generally responsible for in addition to labor tasks?

1. 2.

1. Do additional tasks influence perceptions of distance and time?


Gather feedback from interviews and FGDs Measure most common responses against men's

Record mentions of distance and time burden from interviews and FGDs Cross reference with individuals' daily tasks and number of trips


Note mentions of vehicle limitations in relation to trip purpose

Possible tools: Bicycle network • • Bicycle map Creative signage •

2. Encourage a sustainable transportation option for a variety of trip types. Bicycles that are able to support a variety of women’s needs are more likely to be an appealing option for trips of both short and long distances. Possible tools: Comfortable bicycle design • • Bicycle design to accommodate extra capacity

Discoveries • •

• •

• Do additional tasks create additional vehicle needs?

1. Increase access to economic activities around the city. Women are often major participants in household shopping and consumption activities and are responsible for making decisions about where to shop. The buying power behind these women is an important driver of a city’s economic activity—to be enabled and encouraged. By promoting bicycling for these and other types of tasks, a city can provide an efficient option to women for getting to their destinations.

Many stop for household shopping during commute Transporting children primarily women's responsibility Distance is a major concern for working mothers Women who take more trips are more burdened by travel time Women prefer private vehicles when traveling with groceries Women do not feel comfortable bicycling with children

Responses •

Consider commercial centers and/or neighborhood schools in bicycle network planning

Tools for alleviating hardships of traveling will change negative perceptions and encourage more activity

Encouraging new bicycle design and use to fulfill needs

Data needs: Personal travel data (information about daily tasks and preferences)


Panorama 2017

2. Economics and Culture: How are women able to travel? The theme of Economics and Culture looks at the factors that contribute to how women are able to travel within their city. Because both financial and sociocultural factors play a role in enabling or prohibiting women’s mobility, a detailed assessment of both is important in understanding the relationship between gender and transportation. While positive factors, such as access to finance mechanisms or a strong bicycling culture, can make it easier for both men and women to travel, many negative factors, such as unequal access to finances and cultural stigma, often disproportionately affect women. One result of economic and social constraints is women often have less access to various forms of transportation. In many places, motorized vehicles and public transportation may be out of financial or social reach for women, further limiting their access economic or community activities. This section explores how both factors are present in a city and measures their influence on the mobility of women. By capturing the positive factors and bringing awareness to the negative, governments can take steps to improve how women are able to travel in the city. The research in this section looks at gender and travel in a city through the two lenses of economics and culture. Economics explores the relationships between economic status and travel, working to identify strong indicators of mode choice or transportation marginalization. Cultural Norms considers how social perceptions and restrictions create conditions for women’s travel decisions.


Economics An analysis of economic conditions looks at how the city’s economy and distribution of wealth influence how women travel. As a primary driver behind many decisions in the home, access to finances plays a role in where residents can live and how they can afford vehicles. The affordability of housing and transportation influences low-income populations regardless of gender, but oftentimes with women having less priority among household finances, works to further isolate women from economic and social opportunities. This study looks for trends in the relationship between economics and travel using two methods: A) identifying links between economic indicators and mode choice and B) considering the spatial distribution of these relationships. No women should be restricted from transportation because of affordability. By alleviating the gap between transportation affordability and access for women, officials can work to: 1. 2. 3.

Reduce economic marginalization across the city Promote affordable transportation choices for broad populations Provide a cheaper and sustainable alternative to motor subsidy

Goals: Economics At the completion of an economic analysis, a local government will better understand the interaction between economics, gender, and travel. This knowledge will be important to: 1. Reduce economic marginalization across the city. When exposed to high transportation costs, groups of female residents that experience high rates of poverty are more likely to experience exclusion from citywide economic culture. With support, bicycling can allow them

Mariel Kirschen to move around the city without financial restraint. Possible tools: • Bicycle loan • Bike share program • Bike and Bus

figure 6. Selected Strategy: What is the relationship between economics and mode choice?

2. Encourage affordable transportation choices for broad populations. By advocating for bicycling as an option for a variety of populations across the city, the local government can promote vehicle choices that help reduce transportation costs for households across the city. Possible tools: Bike to Work • • Bike to School • Social campaigns Bike design •


3. Provide a cheaper and sustainable alternative to a motor subsidy. With governments providing a subsidy on fuel for automobiles and motorbikes, they are footing an expensive bill to increase the affordability of transportation for their residents. Redirecting this funding towards bicycle programs would not only be a more cost effective option for transportation subsidy, but also would assist localities in promoting their sustainability goals and reduce their fossil fuel dependency. Possible tools: Bicycle loan • • Bicycle network


Responses •

1. How does income influence mode choice?


1. Are women particularly affected by economic influences?

What are the conditions in the city that influence economic marginalization?


1. 2. 3.

Pair travel data with economic data by spatial unit Look for correlations between mode and economic indicators

Compare correlation between economics and mode choice of women and men Explore qualitative data behind correlation from FGDs and surveys

Research effects of incentives on mode choice Consider availability of credit Investigate how the informal economy is recognized

• •

• •

Neighborhoods with higher poverty rates have less motor vehicle ownership Public transit usage is low across all incomes

Women have lower rates of motor vehicle ownership across income levels Vehicle ownership and mobility is restricted by women's access to finances

Gas subsidy encourages residents to use motor vehicles Very easy and cheap access to motor vehicle credit

• •

Use incentives in poverty areas to encourage bicycling Promote as inexpensive and sustainable option Use FGDs to find what the shortcomings are and how to fill them with bicycle planning

Campaign and provide incentives to encourage bicycles and increase mobility Create alternative funding structures to increase women's financial access

Restructure transportation subsidies to encourage alternative transportation use Use positive views of credit in sponsored bike loan program

Data needs: Economic data by block/neighborhood/spatial unit (i.e. household income, poverty level, etc.) General or personal travel data (transportation mode share, motorized vehicle ownership, public transit usage


Panorama 2017

Cultural Norms Analysis of cultural gender norms looks at the impact of societal codes of behavior along with related expectations and perceptions on the mobility of women in a city. These norms can exist in many levels of a city’s culture, from traditional practices to popular culture, but often dictate what activities are socially acceptable for women. In some places, these norms prohibit women from moving openly through the city. Understanding

these limitations on women’s mobility is pivotal in promoting change policies. This examination studies cultural norms and travel using two methods: A) identifying current trends and popular perceptions of different transportation modes and B) reviewing the current support system in place for bicycling. Breaking down the social barriers facing cycling allows more women to move freely. By identifying the cultural norms that influence women’s mobility, local governments can begin to:

Young students often commute to school by bicycle but switch to motorbike as they get older due to social pressures and distance to school.


figure 7.

Mariel Kirschen 1. 2.

Encourage a sustainable, healthy, and affordable mode of transportation Activate an active community within the city

Goals: Cultural Norms With a study of the cultural and social conditions as they affect women’s travel in a city, a local government can implement policies to:

figure 8. Selected Strategy: What are the travel trends and perceptions of bicycling in the city?

1. Encourage a sustainable, healthy, and affordable mode of transportation. A government can encourage positive perceptions of bicycling by promoting it as a travel option for a variety of populations. At various levels, from younger girls to older women, a variety of programs can influence how bicycles are seen by the community to influence continued support. As perceptions change, bicycling Evaluation 1.

What are the general travel patterns in the city?

2. 3.

1. Are there cultural or religious stigmas that hold women back from traveling?


1. Do certain modes fall within particular class or economic categories?


Look at the current mode distribution from travel data Research the historic rates of bicycling and motorization. Measure the split across genders Conduct surveys or FGDs to gain feedback from groups of men and women Gain perspective on how changeable/ingrained some of these stigmas are Conduct surveys or FGDs to gain feedback from groups of men and women Measure frequency of responses and if this overlaps with general travel patterns

can become an acceptable and popular option for many travelers. Possible tools: • Bike design • Creative signage • OnMyRide App Bicycle Campaign • • Bike event

2. Activate a community within the city. In supporting and investing in bicycling programs, a local government might choose to identify, activate, and coordinate with existing cycling groups and organizations. Support from community groups and civic organizations across the city can enhance the more immediate and medium-term success of programs and campaigns as well as sustain them over the longer term. Possible tools: • WoW community • Bike event

Discoveries •

• •

• •


The majority of travelers ride motor vehicles of which the rate been rising rapidly Most motor vehicle travelers are men

Clothing restrictions of women make it difficult to travel on a private vehicle Discrimination against women bicycling mostly found in older populations

Many people believe that bicycles are used by lower income travelers Motorcycles are seen as a socially "cool" form of transportation

• •

Focus transportation planning efforts to slow trend of motorization Interview women about ideas to prevent motorization

Promote adaptive bicycle design to accommodate clothing Focus efforts on younger populations in order to stop discrimination at the source

Campaign for bicycling for a variety of trip types across income Work towards a bicycle design that can fit the social needs of the school-aged population

Data needs: Historical and current data on transportation trends (bicycling rates, rates of motorization, public transit usage) Personal travel data (current usage, perceptions of travel)


Panorama 2017

3. Safety and Risk: Are women able to travel with confidence? The theme of Safety and Risk examines how current conditions, perceptions, and experiences of safety in a city influence the way women travel. As urban travelers, both women and men make travel decisions based on assessments of risk. These perceptions are taken into account in many transportation infrastructure projects with priority often placed on the safety concerns of motorists and the importance of speed. These prioritizations often overlap with the voices of the male population, who have higher risk tolerance when it comes to travel safety than women. Women’s greater concern for safety and distinct preferences for infrastructure often translate into greater barriers for travel, with many women choosing to restrict their travel for fear of harm. This section brings attention to the lesser known safety concerns of female travelers through an analysis of both physical conditions and perceptions. By identifying the safety priorities of the population as a whole, a city can begin to

make its streets better serving of a broader range of travelers. This section looks at safety under two lenses, Infrastructure and Crime and Safety, to explore how the aspects of road safety and crime play a role in women’s decisions. Analysis of these two aspects gives insight into where and how a city can make improvements to reduce traffic incidents and perceptions of safety.

Infrastructure An analysis of infrastructure conditions is important for measuring the impact of infrastructure on road incidents and perceptions of safety. The physical safety of the roads is a key aspect to women’s feelings of safety and influence travel decisions such as mode, route, and time of travel. This section will help the government identify problem areas in the current network as well as where female travelers feel efforts could be most effective. Through this lens, officials can look at the influence of infrastructure safety conditions on travel in three ways: A) evaluating the current conditions and maintenance structure, B) surveying

Lack of infrastructure for cyclists prevents many women from choosing the once-convenient mode.


figure 9.

Mariel Kirschen perceptions of bicycle safety on infrastructure, and C) mapping networks of safe travel routes. If women do not feel safe or comfortable with cycling infrastructure, they are unlikely to use it. By showing support for the safety of women in a city, local governments can: 1. 2.

Reduce rates of traffic accidents and injuries Invest in space-efficient and sustainable infrastructure

Goals: Infrastructure

figure 10. Selected Strategy: What are the perceptions of safety for bicycling on infrastructure?

After an analysis of current infrastructure conditions and perceptions of safety on the roads, a local government will be able to prioritize infrastructure investments. These investments can help to: 1. Reduce rates of traffic accidents and injuries. By improving the physical safety conditions, the city can reduce risk of traffic accidents for travelers. Strategically Evaluation

Do travelers generally feel safe on the roads?

Do women and men have different concerns and road preference?

1. 2.


2. 1.

Are there current traffic safety measures protecting bicycles?


Gather feelings of safety from FGDs and surveys Compare perceptions of safety across mode choice Inquire about greatest safety concerns and preferred roads in FGDs or surveys Compare men's and women's responses Search the laws and regulations that monitor bicycle safety Explore if measures are enforced through experience gathering from FGDs

placed investments in areas where incident rates are high can help to have a large impact and raise awareness for the need for bicycle infrastructure. Additionally, informational programs and materials can provide a low-cost support system for bicyclists. Possible tools: • Bicycle network • Bicycle map • OnMyRide App Traffic Code and Bike Patrol • • Safety campaign

2. Invest in space-efficient and sustainable infrastructure. Compared to investments in motor infrastructure (i.e. expanded roadways, parking structures), most bicycle projects require less space, leaving more available for public recreation, commercial, and residential activity. Through relatively small financial and space investments, the city can encourage sustainable travel and reduce dependence on non-renewable resources. Possible tools: • Bicycle parking • Bicycle Network

Discoveries • •

Many travelers have experienced or witnessed road accidents Bicyclists do not feel that they have a place on the road

Women will travel slower and on side roads to ensure safety and separation from motor vehicles

City has no laws mentioning bicycle protection Use of bicycle lanes for motorized vehicles is not enforced

Responses •

Focus on reducing the rates of traffic accidents to build up feelings of safety Informational campaigns about bicycles to increase awareness

Shift focus from speed oriented lanes to separated lanes and directional signage

Codify the right of bicycles to the road Create enforcement structure to ensure safety and proper usage of bike lanes

Data needs: Personal travel data and accident rates


Panorama 2017

Crime and Safety An analysis of crime looks at how rates and perception of crime influence women’s travel decisions and preferences. The experience of crime or even the fear alone can determine how, when, and where women travel. Understanding

the perceptions of crime and safety will help officials understand the severity of conditions and where efforts should be directed. This study looks at crime and safety perceptions in two ways: A) assess current rates and hot spots of crime and harassment, and B) survey current feelings of safety as a bicyclist.

Facing growing rates of motorized traffic in Solo, many cyclists feel they have lost the right of space on the road and are pushed to the fringe.


figure 11.

Mariel Kirschen Women will avoid travel if they feel in danger of crime or harassment. By taking action to alleviate crime and harassment, local governments can increase public safety on the roads.

Possible tools: • Traffic Code and Bike Patrol • Bicycle campaign • WoW Community • OnMyRide App

Conclusion Goals: Crime and Safety After an analysis of current infrastructure conditions and perceptions of safety on the roads, a local government will be able to prioritize infrastructure investments.

figure 12. Selected Strategy: What are the rates and hot spots for crime and harassment?

1. Increase public safety on the roads. The public safety of local inhabitants, particularly in public spaces, is a major priority for city officials. By further prioritizing street safety and traffic enforcement, officials can not only improve the rates of crime but also the feelings of security while traveling. Feelings of confidence while traveling will encourage residents to take more trips, increasing the number of travelers on the roads, and in turn, further reducing rates of crime through public awareness.


What are the rates of crime and harassment on the roads?

What are the hot spots for crime on the roads?

1. 2.



Compile records of past and current instances Supplement with feedback from FGDs and surveys

Map locations of instances of crime from official and personal records Identify concentrations

For local governments to encourage and enable mobility for travelers in their communities, it is important for them to understand the complex conditions in which travel occurs within their city. This analysis methodology provides a detailed set of strategies that decision makers can use to properly evaluate the multi-faceted conditions faced by female travelers on a daily basis. By focusing directly on the needs of female travelers, cities become more aware of potential gaps in their transportation systems that may leave out marginalized groups. Through the lenses of Work and Roles, Economics and Culture, and Safety and Risk, cities can begin to understand what is needed to create effective change that promotes equitable travel for all, regardless of gender, class, or age. This methodology is intended to be flexible to a variety of cultures around the world and can be adapted as decision makers see necessary.


Rates of crime and harassment have been increasing as bicycling rates have decreased

Most centered around retail locations Hot spots of crime often occur at night

Responses •

Prevent the marginalization of bicycle by both encouraging increases in ridership and prosecuting harassment

Increasing patrol of these identified locations Improve lighting where night crimes are common

Data needs: Assault and harassment rate data


CYCLE, QRO An Equity-Based Bicycle Network Implementation Plan for QuerĂŠtaro, Mexico

Tingting Feng Mariel Kirschen Cari Krol Stephanie Margolis Sha Ni Casey Ross Alex Schieferdecker Xinyi Zhou

City Planning Studio Fall 2016


ed by pioneers like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, cities around the world are recognizing the potential of bicycling as an accessible, affordable, active tool for urban mobility – Querétaro is one such city. Cheap, light, maneuverable, easy to park, and easy to ride, the bicycle is ideally suited for the bustling, modern city. However, without proper infrastructure and programming, cyclists remain vulnerable to dangerous road conditions, conflict with motorized vehicles, and inclement weather. A great city must work diligently to become great for cycling by developing a network of high-quality bicycle-specific infrastructure and by advancing a variety of programs to compliment it. Querétaro, a fast-growing city of nearly one million people located in central Mexico, is bringing cycling into its daily transportation operation. Through visionary political leadership, the city has committed to a less auto-dependent and more multi-modal future. Following the work of local cycling advocates, the Secretary of Mobility, and a study undertaken by international consulting firm Steer Davies Gleave, Querétaro developed a mobility plan to guide future government investment in transport. A critical component of that plan is the construction of a comprehensive cycle network and new programmatic interventions to turn citizens into cyclists. The existing mobility plan can benefit from specific intervention timelines and a phasing strategy. Whose needs should be prioritized? What fresh ideas can contribute to the success of the plan? What key aspects of the city must be

considered in executing the plan? Our team of eight students and one instructor highlight our response to these questions within this studio. We propose six physical interventions related to bicycle planning, Querétaro’s current bicycle plan, and life in Querétaro. As part of the planning process, the studio classified Querétaro’s roads into (clockwise from top left) (1) major highways, (2) arterials, (3) local roads, and (4) unpaved roads. This classification system help guide the studio’s placement of bike infrastructure: the lack of a consistent grid within the local road system led the team to put more of the infrastructure on the major arterials.




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