Middle Landscape: the Future of Rust Belt Cities

Over at Model D, reporter John Gallagher describes how urbanists are beginning to think of  what Detroit and other “post-industrial” cities might evolve into:

When we think of “cities,” we generally envision this dense urban fabric unfurling from a downtown to the outer limits of the city, where it becomes more suburban and eventually rural. In Detroit and some other cities, we’re now seeing pockets of a more rural-like landscape developing within the city itself, often interspersed between dense urban districts. Planners are struggling to come up with a new name to describe this new reality, this mix of urban and suburban and rural landscapes all within one city. The term “middle landscape” has been suggested, but it’s just a name, and other, better names might emerge for what we’re talking about. The key is that this new landscape is different from what we normally think of as urban, suburban, or rural – it’s a strange mix of all three.

While it is the old industrial giants like Detroit and Cleveland that garner the most attention, this is an issue throughout the United States, particularly the Northeast.  There are scores of second tier cities that were built to accommodate industries (and workforces) that have disappeared and are notcoming back.  Virtually everyone is at a loss when it comes to deciding what to do what’s left of these former urban centers.  Yet Gallagher’s work suggests the result might (with a lot of emphasis on might) be more human and livable cities:  a “strange mix” of urban nodes and suburban neighborhoods intermixed with open space.

Via Planetizen.

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