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Reshaping of America & the Quality of Cities

Richard Florida pens an interesting long-form article in the Atlantic on how the “crash” will reshape where we live and how cities and regions will look going forward. Nothing specific about parks in here, but some interesting food for thought on the role parks can play in attracting talented individuals. Florida sees a country that:

…..allows more people to mix more freely and interact more efficiently in a discrete number of dense, innovative mega-regions and creative cities. Serendipitously, it will be a landscape suited to a world in which petroleum is no longer cheap by any measure. But most of all, it will be a landscape that can accommodate and accelerate invention, innovation, and creation—the activities in which the U.S. still holds a big competitive advantage.

Florida suggests that:

…….we need to begin making smarter use of both our urban spaces and the suburban rings that surround them—packing in more people, more affordably, while at the same time improving their quality of life. That means liberal zoning and building codes within cities to allow more residential development, more mixed-use development in suburbs and cities alike, the in-filling of suburban cores near rail links, new investment in rail, and congestion pricing for travel on our roads. Not everyone wants to live in city centers, and the suburbs are not about to disappear. But we can do a much better job of connecting suburbs to cities and to each other, and allowing regions to grow bigger and denser without losing their velocity.

What Florida also mentioned earlier in his book The Rise of the Creative Class that recreational amenities, such as trails and parks, can be another element that improves quality of life and attracts residents (both singles looking for the active life and parents looking for quality family amenities), especially as places become more dense, and without the equivalent private recreational space.

End message: now may be a horrible time for cities to walk away from investing in quality parks and public spaces.

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