Less is More

In The Atlantic Cities, Liz Dunn is profiled talking about how smaller buildings that add to the urban grain, filling in left-over space, is a positive thing.  The Wall-Street Journal discusses the savings cost of retrofitting older buildings in “Old Wine, New Bottles”, and Preservation Nation overwhelmingly agrees.  In considering the built form, people seem much more attracted to places like Belltown, Ballard, Capitol Hill, with the character of older buildings much intact. 


“It’s naïve to think that a huge fund that wants to see returns from deals in cycles of less than five years will engage in the more granular kind of development that leads to better neighborhood economic performance over the long run.”


Dunn quote above struck a chord with me.  Not only is development often creating a negative impact on the war against carbon emissions, but in the process it is destroying successful neighborhoods.   If the commodification of real estate interest is so damaging, we need to ensure future change.  But, how can we proforma in the value of character?  Is it possible to consider the value of productive spatial design?  Good urban character?  These things create value, whether or not tangible.  Market and analysis considerations should consider the inherent value of an existing building.


Can we alter the way land productivity is viewed for future generations of developers and investors? 

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/preservation-green-labs-liz-dunn-on-the-economics-of-urban-grain/248190/


-Mary Fialko


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