A place for us : the territory of the quotidian in suburban downtown redevelopment-- Needham, Waltham, Watertown
Author(s)Houston, Kelly J. (Kelly Jean), 1970-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Terry S. Szold.
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In recent years, planners, architects, and developers alike have all begun to look to suburban downtown redevelopment as a strategy for economic development, housing development, and for creating a social and cultural amenity for town residents. Suburban downtown redevelopment holds the promise of increased employment opportunities that could reduce commute times for residents, improved economic conditions that could provide tax revenue for fiscally strained municipalities, downtown housing that could help alleviate the affordable housing crisis, and the creation of a social amenity that could help build community and social capital. Since many visions of the contemporary redevelopment of suburban downtowns appear to modeled on early nineteenth century downtowns, three case-studies with historic downtown districts were chosen for study. The downtown districts' businesses were tabulated by type, compared over time and analyzed through the framework of contemporaneous planning and development trends. There was a clear trend towards the loss of locally-oriented businesses such as retailers of staples and household goods concomitant with the development of businesses that catered to the non-local. During the same time-periods, there were attempts by local planners and business people to court the regional market, sometimes to the detriment of the local market, and many times to the detriment of the physical environment downtown.(cont.) This thesis seeks to understand the relationship between downtown development and the vision and experience of downtown for residents. Rather than a specialized district visited on occasion, a locally-oriented downtown is a place for quotidian needs, a place to engender regular visits by permanent residents. There is evidence that downtowns have historically been just such places, and that, if the historic downtown is to serve as a model, that the territory of the quotidian must be considered. If the downtown is to become the social and cultural amenity popularized in the literature, it must be attractive to the local social and cultural milieu.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2004.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.