The future of suburbia


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  • John Archer archer@umn.edu612-624-3830Cultural Studies & Comparative Lit Educational BackgroundPh.D.: Art History, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1977. M.A.: Art History, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1969. B.A.: Art History, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1968. PublicationsArcher, John. Architecture and Suburbia: From English Villa to American Dream House, 1690-2000. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Archer, John. The Literature of British Domestic Architecture, 1715-1842. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1985. Archer, John. "Suburban Aesthetics is Not an Oxymoron." In Andrew Blauvelt, ed., Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes (Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2008), 129-146. DownloadArcher, John. "Learning from Social Theory of Space: Architecture and the Production of Self, Culture, and Society." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 64:4 (December 2005): 430-433. DownloadArcher, John. "Country and City in the American Romantic Suburb." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 42:2 (May 1983): 139-156. DownloadArcher, John. "Ideology and Aspiration: Individualism, the Middle Class, and the Genesis of the Anglo-American Suburb." Journal of Urban History 14(2) (1988): 214-253. Archer, John. "Paras, Palaces, Pathogens: Frameworks for the Growth of Calcutta, 1800-1850." City & Society 12(2) (2000): 19-54. DownloadArcher, John. "Colonial Suburbs in South Asia, 1700-1850." In Roger Silverstone, ed. Visions of Suburbia (London: Routledge, 1997), 26-54. DownloadArcher, John. "Landscape and Identity: Baby Talk at the Leasowes, 1760." Cultural Critique 51 (Spring 2002): 143-185. DownloadResearch ActivitiesSuburban aesthetics Pathology of Place: How do various places (inner cities, ticky-tacky suburbs, etc.) come to be understood as pathological by the larger culture? Professional ActivitiesChair, Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, U of M: 2007-2010 Committee on the Press, University of Minnesota Press: 2007 - 2010 Outreach ActivitiesInterviewed for: Mary Jane Smetanka, “Sidewalks? Too Pedestrian for Some. In Suburbs, Sidewalks Can Divide. Some Say They Encroach on Privacy. For Others, They Bring Safety and a Sense of Connection.” Star Tribune, 19 August 2007, A1, A14, A15. Interviewed on: “Willie & Jay” program, KSTP-AM 1500, 22 August 2007, 8:35-8:45 am.: Discussion of sidewalks in the suburbs Interviewed for: Bob Shaw, ”New Parks Give Boomers Room to Roam,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, 1 July 2007. Interviewed for: "The Hot New Trend: Meeting the Neighbors": St. Paul Pioneer Press, 21 August 2006 Interviewed for: "Burbs Find Place in Higher Ed": St Paul Pioneer Press, 19 March 2006 Interviewed for: "The Rise of Suburbia": Star Tribune, 12 March 2006 Interviewed for: Clayton Collins, “Americans Dream of Ever-Grander Homes,”: Christian Science Monitor, 3 August 2005 Interviewed for: “Heaven Can Wait: I Want to Give West Des Moines a Chance First”: The Des Moines Register, 12 September 2004 Interviewed for: “Focusing on the ‘Burbs: Academics, Filmmakers Begin to See Complexity of Suburbs”: The Sunday Republican (Waterbury, CT), 8 December 2002 Featured guest, "Film Forum: The Suburbs": Odyssey, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, 22 February 2002 Consultant, "Dwellings" (television series): KTCA-TV St. Paul, 1998 AwardsAlice Davis Hitchcock Award for most distinguished book, Society of Architectural Historians, 2007 Scholar of the College, College of Liberal Arts, U of M, 2007 - 2010 Faculty Fellow, Metropolitan Design Center, University of Minnesota, 2003 - 2004 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1987 - 1988 College of Liberal Arts "Red" Motley Teaching Award, University of Minnesota, 1999 First Annual Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Writing, 1998 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for Independent Study and Research, 1983 - 1984 Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Visiting Scholar, 1991 McKnight Arts and Humanities Research Award, University of Minnesota, 2004 - 2007 American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowship, 1987 - 1988
  • Nationally:Population grown 100,000 million people since 1966 we are among the fastest growing countries in the world, youngest boomers will be in their 80s in 2029 and with the life expectancy increasing will outlive all previous generations, we will continue to be the melting pot with European heritage dropping to 47% of the population and household size will continuing to decline, Housing averaged $25,000 40 years ago ($170,000) 1,400 sq ft 11/2 baths how many of you grew up in a home with one bathUrban growth was sprawling outward in concentric rings or along radials to become multi centers ( Buck head, Tyson's corner, Tech Center)We moved from an exporter of oil to a major importer and we increased our individual space with automobiles at great public expense to end up with those shinny new freeway in disrepair estimated to cost over $1.6 trillionHow many remember the first earth day, being shocked by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring or thinking that Jane Jacobs was full of bunk. What an awakening to reality that is evolving to national standardWE are using the Twin Cities Settlement pattern Example:
  • In 1939 growth generally contain in the CCExplain the map Rivers Centeral Cites, street car subs,growth near recreation, market towns ( as we go through the next few maps notice the growth outside the MUSAIts growth is controlled by individual cities and townships and by the Metropolitan Council. The primary, but not only, growth control since 1975 is the MUSA. The primary MC goal within this area is to achieve a density of 3 or more units per acre for the efficient disposal of waste water.Simultaneous grow nodes by the River on the River and because of the River: St. Anthony falls, head of navigationFederal Reserve: Shaped the economy which was never a major industrial region but with the universities, more orients to finance, services and high tech, generating some what higher income per capita then most other regionsSplendid Isolation: Further form other metro areas it grew a more independent mind set, a greater determination to solve own problems, fostered a international airline, national railways, and many fortune 500 companiesExtensive agricultural Land:
  • By 1959 with interstates under construction:Density lower than LA, movements along the radialsSome of the lowest urban land costs in the nation (John Borcherts work showed how much cheaper land was because of sprawl some of the lowest land costs in the nation)Federal governments FHA and highway programLending institutions lower interest rates in the suburbs than the CCAnnexation and Mpls: George Martin and Frank Moulton both brilliant politician control the Mpls City Council discourage annexationThe Non partisan legislature responds to Mpls by making incorporation easier, and enabled municipal liquor stores with the idea that the revenue could be used for infrastructure in totally residential suburbs. A number of municipal suburbs were created over night (City Mangers)
  • By 1979 wesee the rise of multiple centers but a determination to save the DowntownsMulti centers wereestablished framed around the distance people willing to travel in time (Yellow are the original dales that are today expanded into Regional Centers, the Green are the two CBD)the rise of the dales beginning with Victor Gruin’s South dale ending with Mall of America Over time the larger centers added offices, MF housing traditional use located in the CBD But difference: Rather than locating these centers on major radials that focused on the traditional centers in the region (such as Washington DC) which would have made it easier to add transit, located on a system that protected the down town stores Major decision not to build a mass transit system but to rely on buses
  • By 1999, freeway system almost complete growth has jumped the Minnesota River: Adding three major river crossing over the Minnesota and Mississippi River and completing the freeways south of St. PaulTwo Major Centers are added Eden Prairie and Mall of AmericaExodus of Majors the Wells (Wells Fargo, Honeywell) but reteneion and establishment of new Corporate HQ’s in the inner suburbs ( 3M, General Mills, Best Buy, and Medtronic's)
  • By 2005 Transit is finally back on the table: Commuter line NW, Hiawatha LTR, SW LTR and the Central Corridor LTR, BRT south to Lakeville, and NW, Local Bus service and hubs and Metropolitan bus hubs Growth outside the MUSA and around Freestanding growth centers
  • These are the terms in which American housing is always, in some measure, understood and experiencedHoratio Alger, Ragged Dick; or Street Life in New York with the Bootblacks, 1866Russell Conwell, “Acres of Diamonds,” 1870s-1925Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1936William Faulkner, “The American Dream,” 1955
  • Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick; or Street Life in New York with the Bootblacks, 1866Russell Conwell, “Acres of Diamonds,” 1870s-1925Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1936William Faulkner, “The American Dream,” 1955
  • Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick; or Street Life in New York with the Bootblacks, 1866Russell Conwell, “Acres of Diamonds,” 1870s-1925Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1936William Faulkner, “The American Dream,” 1955
  • Riverside (picturesque-pastoral)Liberty on the Lake (Bungalow/Queen Anne – historical-nostalgic)Prospect, Longmont CO (hip-and-smart)
  • technically, hybrid capital is a combination of debt and equity.
  • What can be pre-loaded or made potentially possible?
  • Planning based on differences: Recognize the diverse ways and populations that make up suburbia Do a better job helping them flourish in a way that enhances on going community vitality, We need built in flexibility and capacity for progressive and deliberate change to the built fabric rather then required migration for changing life styles
  • Put it another way; Suburbia is changing in how people practice everyday life and we need to change how we steer the Suburbian boatLets get into some examples:Traditional ways, that many of you are practicing nowNon traditional ways Social improvements and social capital buildingManyInner suburbs have learned these methods and are adapting or in some cases reacting, The struggle is in the developing suburbs with identity issues. This is an old struggle that is paramount to suburbia's future vitality Are they Urban or Rural, can they have it both ways or do they need to formulated a highbred)
  • To arrest disinvestment: Most suburbs are using maintenance codes, residential tear downs, first time home buyer loans, Those with limited area are planning higher density mostly associated with senior housing or transit such as central station in B. There is a proliferation of redevelopment projects, rehabilitation projects and new or retention of older businesses and location of new business such asBloomington Central StationBest BuyGeneral Mills3MMedtronic's to name a few
  • But suburbia is changing creating a need for Non Traditional planning and non traditional interventions such as:Aging in place aging in place needs flexibility: For Example In home and cooperative services including nursing, intergenerational child care, food at the door, co-housing such as this one in Englewood, accessory dwelling units (Shack in the Back), Alternative housing for special needs and rambler as a flexible aging in place resource Diversity programs : The united states is one of the fastest growth rates in the world, immigrants are moving to the first and second ring suburbs as home buyers, Yet we have limited staff trained in diversity issues, translatable web pages and other information in languages other than English.
  • But Suburbia is Changing creating a need for non traditional Housing neighborhood investments: Although suburbs are no longer bedroom communities, housing still plays and important role Even with dramatic increases MF housing in the closer in suburbs the vast majority of suburban housing is still SF and will continue to be in the future. The preservation, alterations and improvements to Single Family homes is a top priority with such things as: Home buying programs and other incentives directed to upper ward mobile immigrant population, Code Flexibility to accommodate: redesign meaning we need to move away from prescriptive plans and codes to codes that allow more flexibility, creativity codes to accommodate more diverse life styles and neighborhoods flexible design programs, mixed uses and codes that accommodate more diverse life styles. Neighborhoods (subdivisions) with character, connected, pedestrian friendly public places integrated into the neighborhood fabric with such things as: The mixed use corner store such as the one in Longmont or the one in Deephaven Smaller homes and smaller lots with increased density Mixed use: Single land use is not a new or redevelopment commercial alternative: All commercial use should be mixed use of shopping, housing and work places.
  • But Suburbia is changing creating the need for non traditional planning that includes life style housing for unrelated individuals, extended families, live work uses, interior redesign and accommodating growing families, such as: This live work unit in Longmont Co, Age related housing besides this senior housing designed for intergenerational single parents, singles and empty nesters such as this co housing at Monterey Place in St. Louis Park (15 Households; 8 retrofit "apartment" style units, and 7 newly built townhouse units), cluster housing such as Winslow place in WA, a 14 unit per acre development in which 20% are affordable with in walking minute or the town center and of the Ferry to downtown SeattleCottage Housing such as this one in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin with room for extended families
  • But Suburbia is Changing creating a need for non traditional Planning and interventions in how we use public spaces such as: Public places: creating places rather than spacesCreating a lineal system of open spaces (such as this one in Atlanta or this one in Edina, MN )that connect value parks neighborhoods parks and pocket parks currently organized around a patch work system that do not connect to larger regional parks steams, lakes and trail systems;Seeing places as multi functional: Planning or reinvestment in neighborhoods with gathering places that are multi functional rather than single function. Parks with stores and coffee houses and offices, community centers, incorporating public art such as this winter garden in Edina or the . High density mixed use adjacent to Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield or even little Cottage Wood store plaza adjacent to the Cottage Wood store in Deep HavenRecent in roads private spaces isolated by parking lots are short term solutions that all contribute to increased risks of future disinvestments
  • What we have talked about this afternoon is Revisit Community Values and Standards to accommodate the future suburbWhat we described was:Planning for codes and Public services that go beyond the typical municipal functionsThe future suburb will need : Build Social Capital 1. Change governance to include social capital building equal to the traditional serve and protect e.g. Non profit civic organizations with goals of social capital building and social improvements such as Minnetonka Beach’s civic committees social capital building agenda2. Coordinated activities where the neighborhood park is part with life long learning offered by universities, community education, libraries, immigrant services, 3. Cooperative aging in place services beyond the senior center and a senior center that is a staging area for community involvement including volunteerism and activism4. To Plan and regulated Land uses expeditiously with flexibilityFlexibility: In the future, retail may have life spans a little as five to 10 years, people are aging, we have one of the fastest growth rates in the world and our population is diversifying, single land use is no longer viable option, The key words are rethinking recreating and reusing building and space which begs for flexible building space, and settlement patterns,Diversity in housing population economic situation: The most at risk suburbs are those that developed fast with very little housing choice. To reduce this risk: we need to site aside areas for a variety of housing types and establish minimum densities as well as maximum densities based on the underlying multi use function of the area not on the principle of separating land uses, we need to required worker housing, senior housing in all developments and mixed uses ( if even the corner store) in each neighborhood, Flexibility includes:new and rejuvenated work places (including home occupations, telecommutes) with public, accessible, fast, reliable communication as a new addition to the work place including mixed use work places with gathering places not isolated by parking lotsUrgency: Suburban planners need to address issues: by allowing, investing and promoting alternative energy in our communities, decreasing the impact of development, improving the decision making structure and antiquated governance structure in some cases, understanding bringing together diverse interest to resolve issuesTransit is the future: In select location we need to coordinate transit planning with housing, employment and shopping in transit stops such= as Bloomington Central Station rather than adjacent or around transit stops. Integrated transit, density and mixed use needs to be a goal for transit development. If the market is not right for higher density of mixed use now, hold land in reserve until it is ready. Require connections between large developments and transit facilitiesAlternativetransportation (walking, bicycle, segways) requires connectivity, a focuse on destinations rather than just recreation and eliminate barriers to alternative transportation. Promoting choice and discouraging exclusivity : there is a growing demand for choice: choice in housing, choice in shopping and choice in work places. Choices will require new investments, new laws, new urban innovation and a new means of creating a trade off of community and individualism and the movement away from privatization of traditional public spaceLike marriage, sustainability and livability are tie together we can not have one with out the other Plan to create the necessary character to attain a higher level of meaningful public life, vitality and a sense of place From a planners view point obtaining livability requires ( San Martin): Achieving a safe, social vibrant and creative live hood for our citizensObtain a healthy level of sustainability Translating both sustainability and livability into a physical form and quality of place where the built environment corresponds to diversity and the patterns of everyday lifeReducing the ecological foot print that each of us has on the land by reducing resource consumption and waste assimilationOur ecological foot print per person is 24 ac compared to Germany at 11.6 ac Japan at 12 ac Australia a 19 ac and UK a13 acSe foot print can be reduced by improvements to Transportation, buildings and the amount of waste we produceEquity: Livability depends on freeing the potential of people especially those that live in poverty. As diversity occurs we need to focus more than ever on equity with trained staff, inclusive neighborhoods and work places.
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