The recent housing crisis has left in its wake a large inventory of foreclosed and abandoned properties. In some areas of the United States, large portions of cities have become ghost towns. This circumstance often negatively impacts city revenues, meanwhile the expense of maintaining roads, sidewalks and green spaces remains. So what is a city to do? Re-imagine their future!
Five teams of designers (including architects, urban planners, and landscape architects), economists, ecologists, and engineers—led by the principals of the architecture firms MOS, Visible Weather, Studio Gang Architects, WORKac, and Zago Architecture—began a cross-disciplinary conversation, imagining the redesign of specific sites across the country.
One might expect a project like this to focus on inner cities. Instead, teams were challenged to re-imagine five suburbs across the country. These areas are often passed over in the push of development toward an ever-more-distant periphery. Each suburb in the project represents one of five regions – Northeast, Southwest, Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Southwest. All of the suburbs lie within metropolitan areas that are growing.
Here’s the list of suburbs that were re-imagined:
- Keizer, Oregon
- Rialto, California
- Cicero, Illinois
- The Oranges, New Jersey
- Temple Terrace, Florida
Working in studios at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) during the summer of 2011, the teams discussed their projects with the public in a series of open houses. While the concepts are not intended to fix all the ills associated with the housing crisis, like sub-prime rates, the project is intended to provoke new ideas and discussions about rethinking the financial and physical architecture of living, working and commuting.
A concept for The Oranges, New Jersey is to create a pedestrian-friendly city where streets are replaced with housing and office space, thus eliminating the tax burden associated with the upkeep of roads. Could this work for neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale like Flagler Village or Progresso?
Another plan of particular interest was for Keizer, Oregon, where its own methane dome provides power to the city. In Greater Fort Lauderdale, we have our very own methane-producing plant that is fondly referred to by residents as Mount Trashmore. The official name given to the site in 2011 is the Monarch Hill Renewable Energy Park. Located in North Broward off Sample Road, the site towers 200 feet above the surrounding area. Could this be a future site of a city with no streets? How would that affect the Fort Lauderdale real estate market? Only time and imagination will tell!
To learn more about the project, visit Foreclosed: Rehousing The American Dream