As an urban form, the metropolis is undergoing rapid changes, in particular at the edge of more established cities. The challenges of accommodating large scale infrastructure, while meeting the demands of contemporary economies, have yielded less than satisfactory results, especially when accounting for the toll on the environment. This issue examines projects and proposals that address these challenges, especially as they play themselves out at the edge of urban centers and in the suburbs. How, we ask, can we engage time as a means of redefining a transformed metropolis, one with a stronger and unique identity, closely tied to the dynamics of ecology, economy and place making?
Smart Growth advocates, environmentalists, and New Urbanists have all tried in their own ways to spread the message of reforming current land use patterns. Their solutions are often criticized for being overly prescriptive, opposed to growth, or nostalgic. Suburban Transformations offers an alternative to these practices while synthesizing many of the ideas and proposals that they put forth. Both a work of theory and a practical tool for suburban community planning, the book introduces the adaptive design process: a method that allows for the organic transformation of communities from siteless suburbs and edge cities into places with their own distinct identity and unique character.
Five case studies provide fully expressed examples of the process, beginning with a sophisticated system of mapping and culminating in computer projections of likely future outcomes, giving the designer the ability to project changes in the community fabric and adding that knowledge to the designer’s kit of place-making tools.