He defined sprawl as “anonymous development” due to the alienation one feels when in a sprawling suburb and the loss of unique character and culture via homogenized designs. The book consists of four phases that complete a cycle of sprawl, just like nature. The phases are: sacred ground, conversion, prefabricated, and aftermath.
At the end, the book contains a plethora of fast facts, including some he read aloud. For example, Virginia classifies trees too close to the road as a danger, and that they must be removed as soon as possible. Every hour, 5 acres of land are being urbanized (or suburbanized) somewhere on Earth. In 2012, it was estimated that 3 to 5 million homes were empty in Spain alone.
Pittman claimed that golf resorts are to blame for a lot of sprawl in the US as well as internationally.
He taught us that in Spain, bricks have become the symbol for the greediness of the construction boom and sprawling development.
His next project will be, “Aftermath,” a collection of photos of “zombie subdivisions.” These subdivisions are subdivisions that were left mid-construction, often due to their developer’s financial troubles, and then worked on again by another developer.
June Williamson, is an associate professor of architecture at The City College of New York/CUNY and co-author of, "Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs." She presented the first chapter of her book, Retrofitting Suburbia, “Vision.”
She described the chapter as a “historical digest” organized with a series of historical paradigms: social, governmental, real estate, design, development patterns and trends- all the way through the beginning of tactical urbanism.
Williamson said that the book details how to retrofit a dying or dead shopping mall into “macro housing,” parking spaces into pop-up retail space, and “urban acupuncture.”
After her presentation, she facilitated a small group discussion and asked each group to identify the top three things they think need to happen next in regards to sprawl retrofitting.
What are the top 3 things you’d like to see happen in sprawl retrofitting’s future?
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