Remaking Cities After Abandonment Lecture Emphasizes Role of Community Efforts

September 16th, 2016

By Alex Highley, GOPC Project Associate

This past Wednesday, the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University hosted a lecture by Margaret Dewar, a University of Michigan professor teaching at the Taubman College of Architecture. Dewar focuses her research on economic development, housing, and urban planning and she investigates the ways planners seek to ameliorate population and employment loss. During the lecture, Dewar outlined three main questions that she seeks to answer as part of her research:

  • What does a city become after abandonment?
  • What makes a difference in what a city becomes after abandonment?
  • What should a city become after abandonment?

The theme of Dewar’s research findings is that even in the cases of extraordinary shock marked by the collapse of government and a plunge in housing values, social groups and institutions make significant strides in community building. According to Dewar, this concept is important to understand given that prior research had only concluded that community efforts could produce smaller-scale change, such as inducing a decrease in crime.

Dewar lamented that during the mortgage foreclosure crisis in Detroit during the last decade, local leadership demonstrated little in the way of support for citizen resilience. Instead of imploring citizens to stay in their homes and rebuild their communities in the midst of a widespread crisis, the previous Detroit mayor tried to clear people out of their houses because city services were so insufficient. In Dewar’s view, these services should have been restructured so that people would have more incentive to remain and persevere in rebuilding their neighborhoods. For instance, citizens could have found creative ways to combine their garbage each week in order to have more efficient garbage collection services when cuts needed to be made.

Dewar highlighted the need for governments to prioritize community development corporations (CDCs) when seeking to rebuild neighborhoods that have suffered from recent abandonment. GOPC partners with CDC associations around Ohio and likewise recognizes the important work they contribute to community investment and redevelopment. Dewar also stressed the cost savings that cities can benefit through transitioning to green stormwater infrastructure. GOPC is constantly researching and discovering new ways for local governments to finance and modernize their sewer and water infrastructure.

DetroitSkyline wikicommons Cropped

Detroit, Michigan. Source: Wikicommons

 

ULI Columbus Presents: Columbus 2050

June 4th, 2012

ULI Columbus and their partners present Columbus 2050, a strategic vision on how we will LIVE, WORK and PLAY in Central Ohio by the year 2050.

Columbus 2050 Description

Over the past 40 years, the population of Central Ohio has grown by 707,000 people, adding 235,900 between 2000 and 2010 alone. If the region grows at even half the rate of the past ten years, 604,000 will be added to the area by 2050. Absorbing a population that equates to the entire city of Boston will take some planning.

In furtherance of its mission to promote the responsible use of land, ULI Columbus, in partnership with the City of Columbus, Franklin County, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture, Department of City and Regional Planning, has developed a strategic vision that explores where and how we will Live, Work and Play in Central Ohio in the year 2050. This strategic vision is focused around eight themes: Metro Metrics; The City Wild; Water, Power, Light; Getting Around; Whole Buildings; Full Spectrum Housing; Plan it. Build It; and Click, Learn, Go, Get.

To download the full Columbus 2050 report, click here.