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Post-Industrial Cities

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Re-populating Aging Post-Industrial Cities

In 2009, the School of Architecture hosted the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a program run by the National Endowment for the Arts. The School welcomed the mayors of Cranston, RI; Norwalk, CT; Lewiston, ME, Rutland, VT, Hempstead, NY, Brockton, MA, and Salem, MA, for a productive two and a half day workshop focused on urban design challenges in each of the mayor’s cities. Joining the mayors, the design resource panel included transportation specialists, urban designers, development experts, and a group of academics with expertise in the critical issues that will impact the post-industrial future of New England cities. The mayors engaged the design experts on issues including the re-invention of languishing downtowns, waterfront development opportunities, and essential transportation strategies by presenting the resource panel with case studies that were particularly relevant to ongoing initiatives in each of their cities.

In the Studio: 1960s Urbanism

One of the biggest design challenges facing many aging cities is how to build on, or adjacent to, the urban design mega-projects of the 1960s. Often composed of extra-large parcels and steel-reinforced concrete plazas and buildings that defy easy adaptation, these sites pose interesting dilemmas to designers. They are often particularly customized for a single use that may no longer be relevant. In an undergraduate studio unique to Northeastern, students work to better-integrate these buildings and urban landscapes into the city.