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Place Recovery

Sprawl is an addiction fueled by cars. A century ago when there were few cars, they did little damage, like a person who has a couple drinks and calls it an evening. But we’ve been bingeing on cars since WWII and it might be fatal if we don’t recover from sprawl soon.

One of the first actions of #SprawlRecovery is building neighborhood centers composed at first of ephemeral #SingleCrewWorkplaces like #FoodCarts and #ShopSheds. Make it insanely easy to get started, not hard like it is now.

Recovery of a place begins with the thinnest of interventions: storefronts and shopfronts can be as little as 8’ deep. What seems weakest is actually strongest, as nothing is so interesting to people walking on the street as what happens in that first 8’.

Maker spaces are morning’s first light for the revitalization of a neighborhood. But when the neighborhood recovers, the space will be too expensive so the maker space must move elsewhere and start with another neighborhood. Encourage them!

Cool new restaurants are #SignsOfRecovery in a struggling #neighborhood. Restauranteurs are usually good cool-hunters because their success depends on it.

Count the number of food carts, grocery sheds, and other temporary business structures in a recovering town center. The more, the better. They are owned by those with lots of hope but little means. The latter will change. You should join them. #SimpleIndicatorComplexCondition

The highest standard of #PlaceRecovery techniques are those that do not depend on government funding. Work hard to think of things that can take on a life of their own and keep going profitably, no matter who gets elected.

If you have a great #PlaceRecovery idea, share it with a university. Many of them are looking for ideas to test, and may provide a lot of support to your initiative. But don’t count on that; be sure it stands on its own with no outside support. #SimpleIndicatorComplexCondition

The best thing a town can do is to foster the creation of more small businesses. The benefits are many and intertwining. The first step in doing so is giving people hope. Show them how easy it is to get started in your town.

Without saying as much, Walmart and other retailers to the poor have convinced millions that cheap is better than free, even though many homemade (free) things have far more value, charm, and meaning than cheap things. https://t.co/dOkUw5pHpl

Homemade things, town-made things and region-made things have good stories to tell. Even if something made in China has a good story, it’s one we likely will never hear.

Sprawl Recovery is America's greatest challenge. Most people #LivingInSprawl can't afford to walk away from their life's largest investment, but #SuburbanDecline has been sucking the value out of their homes in many places in the US since 2008. #ExtremeMakeover #DoTheMath

Human blubber (fat) and urban blubber (#sprawl) share many unhealthy characteristics, and both are often fatal. The human obesity epidemic is matched in deadliness only by the sprawl epidemic. And each feed on the other in a deadly spiral.

Sprawl, or cancer of he city, supplants the DNA, or living traditions of healthy tissue with its own unhealthy DNA of single-use zoning and industrial development processes, hijacking the healthy growth process. #LivingCity #SignsOfLife

Sprawl is a pattern, not a location.

Years ago while designing a new town, a billionaire friend of the developer quietly came up to me and said “if you design this place just for us, we won’t come. We bore each other senseless when it’s just us. But with most people not like us? That’s an interesting place.”

Of all the addiction battles behind which the #AMA could throw their weight, none is more important than the battle for #SprawlRecovery because the addiction of sprawl affects more Americans, and in more ways, than any other addiction. #WalkAppeal is a one of the keys.

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