Posted by JWmHarmon on March 15, 2002 at 08:02:52:
In Reply to: Re: ArchWeek - New Hub, No Hubcaps -- RenCen ??? posted by Kevin Matthews on March 14, 2002 at 15:59:01:
"Urban renewal" projects of the 1960's and 1970's in the USA often meant that deteriorated neighborhoods and small stores were demolished and replaced with towering office buildings. Replacing the houses and small businesses meant that there were no people left in the area after business hours. With no people present, other nearby businesses folded or moved elsewhere, often to the "new" mall on the outskirts of suburbia close to one of the then new interstate highways. The central city became a wasteland of concrete and steel and glass after business hours.
The proposed plan for the area around the Renaissance Center calls for a return to the human scale and establishing new businesses that cater to the people who will do more than visit the RenCen during business hours and then flee to the suburbs at the end of the work day.
I have visited many US cities. Many city centers are now desolate and abandoned after working hours and on weekends. Efforts to restore human activity by providing mixed use could be encouraged in all locations, new and old alike.
Shouldn't we always ask ourselves this question when we build a skyscraper and office complex: How will this be used after business hours?
Should we have some unwritten law that all new office towers and comlexes also include residential and retail sections? Would it be better to use a building 24 hours per day, or would it be better to use it for 8 hours and then abandon it for the remaining 16 hours?
How can we bring back the neighborhood feeling in the face of large scale buildings? Or is this question irrelevant?
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