Sources: Sprawl Repair Manual

One of the pre-eminent experts in suburban redevelopment, Galina Tachieva is the author of the “Sprawl Repair Manual“:

We’ll be using it as one of our main references in the coming months because “Perception is Reality“!

One of the aspects of dealing with local government and agencies, non-profit organizations and community groups, and even motivated individuals, is that “sprawl” and its problems are by definition locked to LARGE communities and developments, that the related challenges couldn’t possibly be associated with small towns such as Round Lake Beach.

Until enough local people both 1) see the problems caused by our very own infrastructure AND 2) realize that we CAN do something about, our economic growth will continue to stagnate by being fixed in a minimal-return “single-use” model, and the people-potential will remain untapped.

Dis-function occurs when modern (vice centuries-old traditional and time-tested) building methodologies are used EVERYTIME and  EVERYWHERE they are used, and at any scale. Galina sums it up succinctly in this write-up:

“Sprawl” is an outdated and dysfunctional form of development. Its gargantuan problems have been pointed out over the past few decades, but the recent economic and real estate calamities — with shopping centers, office parks, and entire subdivisions failing daily — have proven the urgent need to address these problems. The responsible and sustainable way to deal with sprawl is neither to abandon it nor to continue building in the same pattern but to repair, reorganize, and reuse as much of it as possible in complete, livable, robust communities.

Sprawl is inflexible in its physical form and will not naturally mature into walkable environments. Without precise interventions, sprawl might morph somewhat but it is unlikely to produce diverse, sustainable urbanism. It is imperative that we repair sprawl consciously and methodically through design, policy, and incentives.

Sprawl repair transforms failing or potentially failing single-use and car-dominated developments into complete communities that have better economic, social, and environmental performance.

The objective of the sprawl repair strategy is to build communities based on the neighborhood unit, similar to the traditional fabric that was established in cities and suburbs prior to World War II.

The primary tactic of sprawl repair is to insert needed elements — buildings, density, public space, additional connections — to complete and diversify the mono-cultural agglomerations of sprawl: residential subdivisions, strip shopping centers, office parks, suburban campuses, malls, and edge cities.

By systematically modifying the reparable areas (turning subdivisions into walkable neighborhoods and shopping centers and malls into town centers) and leaving to devolution those that are irreparable (abandonment or conversion to park, agricultural, or natural land), portions of sprawl can be reorganized into complete communities.


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