Back to The Future: Traditional Town Planning in the United States and Cuba

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    • 00:01


    • 00:12

      KARL BESEL: Hello.I'm Dr. Karl Besel, and I am the assistant dean and directorfor the School of Public and Environmental Affairsat Indiana University Northwest.And the case study for today is entitledBack to the Future-- Traditional Town Planningin the United States and Cuba.And the case study aligns with a book

    • 00:34

      KARL BESEL [continued]: that I had published a couple of years ago.The co-editor was Dr. Viviana Andreescu.And the learning objectives are as follows.Number one-- to develop an understandingof basic principles of traditional town planning.And secondly, to demonstrate a abilityto assess factors that impact business sustainability

    • 00:57

      KARL BESEL [continued]: within traditionally planned communities.And let me provide a quick overview of New Urbanism.And I wanted to contrast/compare suburbanwith inner-city development.Most articles published on suburban development--

    • 01:20

      KARL BESEL [continued]: and these would include articles such as [INAUDIBLE]--they really favor planning schemes as a alternativeto conventional planning.And recent publications have justbegun to examine inner-city development.And the whole irony here is that there's

    • 01:42

      KARL BESEL [continued]: nothing new about inner-city development with New Urbanism.The charter of New Urbanism was actuallysigned in 1996 by the HUD secretary Henry Cisneros.So there's a history going back a couple of decadeswith inner-city development, but most of the focushas been on suburban development.

    • 02:04

      KARL BESEL [continued]: And New Urbanism dues in 2002 identified472 neighborhood-scale projects that were either built,under construction, or in planning in the United States.Of those, 57%, or 269, were greenfield projectsand 43%, or 204, were infill developments,

    • 02:27

      KARL BESEL [continued]: including 25 brownfield reuses.And despite the fact that there hasbeen a acceleration in the number of infill developments,many urban planning experts and criticsseem to be pretty unaware of these initiatives.

    • 02:50

      KARL BESEL [continued]: And Richard Florida-- his book in 2002provided detailed examples of some of the changingdemographics that have lent themselvesto growth in New Urbanism.And what he found was in cities ranging from New York to Newarkhave experienced dramatic turnaroundsas a result of shifts.

    • 03:12

      KARL BESEL [continued]: And with fewer people living as married couplesand more staying single longer, urban areasserve as lifestyle centers for single people.And hence, you have more of a demandfor New Urbanism development and high-density development.In tandem with the shift, you have the agingof the baby boomers that has contributed

    • 03:33

      KARL BESEL [continued]: to a substantial influx in the number of empty nesterswho have moved from the suburbs to the inner cities.And one of the reasons behind thatis wanting to live close to areaswhere they could walk to-- being able to walkto stores, to the theater.So it's a type of building strategy

    • 03:55

      KARL BESEL [continued]: that lends itself to younger peopleas well as people that are empty nesters.And in addition to New Urbanist trends,historical preservation, which alsowould fall under high-density development,mirror this trend in Indiana as well as other partsof Midwest and South.

    • 04:17

      KARL BESEL [continued]: You have a considerable number of single adultsand older married couples that have relocatedto historical preservation neighborhoodsin places like Evansville, Indianapolis, and Elkhart.And this was taken by a study conducted by Rypkema in 1997.So this trend has been going on for over a decade.

    • 04:40

      KARL BESEL [continued]: While this trend is well-documentedwithin urban areas, few, if any, studieshave been published that examine this phenomena within NewUrbanism communities.Most do emphasize the residential aspectsover commercial development.

    • 05:02

      KARL BESEL [continued]: And that comes to the current case study.The current case study really is focusingon the commercial aspects of New Urbanism because of the dearthof research within this area.So what we did with this case studyis we looked at three suburban communities.First was Village of West Clay in Carmel, Indiana;

    • 05:24

      KARL BESEL [continued]: second was Norton Commons in Prospect, Kentucky, whichis right outside of Louisville; and the thirdwould be in Celebration, Florida, whichis very close to Disney World.We compared those three suburban communitieswith two redevelopment communities.One-- Park DuValle in Louisville, Kentucky,and the second one was Duneland Village in Gary, Indiana.

    • 05:49

      KARL BESEL [continued]: All the interviews were conductedbetween the summer of 2009 through the spring of 2011.And this slide shows the income databy Census Tract with each of these five communities.So as you can see, when you're lookingat median income-- substantially higher,

    • 06:10

      KARL BESEL [continued]: as you would probably expect within the threesuburban communities.Park DuValle, Duneland Village-- because they were formerhousing project sites, what they ended up doing is with the HUDstipulations, they had to have a certain number of people thatactually lived in the housing projects--

    • 06:30

      KARL BESEL [continued]: that number was 30%-- continue to reside there.So hence, the median family incomeis substantially lower than the suburban sites.But nonetheless, you did have a rise, a pretty big percentchange, in median family income from the timethose developments started to their complete development

    • 06:55

      KARL BESEL [continued]: a few years later.These demographics delineate the percent of minority populationwithin each of these communities.And also, as you would probably imagine,the percent minority is still relatively low within the threesuburban sites.I guess one exception to that would

    • 07:16

      KARL BESEL [continued]: be in Celebration, Florida.Minority percent was substantially higherthan what it is in Village of West Clay and Norton Commons.So it was 22%, almost 23%, in contrast to less than 10%.And this slide shows a picture of Village of West Clay.

    • 07:38

      KARL BESEL [continued]: So this is a New Urbanist community,and as you can see from this slide,you have homes that are very close together--high-density development-- and the focusis really more on the community than it is the actual house.Housing is-- I would say it's pretty attractive if youlike traditional town planning.

    • 07:59

      KARL BESEL [continued]: But, really, you are living here more for the communitythan you are the house.This slide shows you what the high-density developmentis-- high density in Village of West Clay, Carmel, Indiana,in comparison to other suburban communitieswithin the city of Carmel.

    • 08:19

      KARL BESEL [continued]: And putting this in a perspective, city of Carmelis right around 50,000, 55,000.And as you can see, Village of West Clay-- the density ratingis substantially higher than any other developmentwithin Carmel.One exception to that would be an area

    • 08:39

      KARL BESEL [continued]: that was nothing but townhomes-- that's Stanford Park.I want to move onto Park DuValle, whichis a redevelopment site in Louisville, Kentucky.And sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words,so this is a picture of Park DuValle

    • 09:01

      KARL BESEL [continued]: before redevelopment started.So this was when it was a housing project,and this is after Park DuValle was completely developed.So you could see night and day comparison.And Park DuValle, if you think about that slide of Villageof West Clay, the suburban site is

    • 09:23

      KARL BESEL [continued]: very comparable to this inner-city site-- very similararchitectural styles, both have big front porches,and you also look at the green-space development--very similar.I want to get into the actual study,so this shows you the number of open businessesover a five-year time period within all five

    • 09:45

      KARL BESEL [continued]: sites in this case study.And as you can see, there are some commonalitiesbetween businesses that stayed open.Health care businesses as well as finance sector-- thoseended up being very viable businesses no matter what typeof community you were in, inner city or suburban.

    • 10:07

      KARL BESEL [continued]: This slide shows you the number of closed businesseswithin each one of these sites.And you can also see a lot of commonalitiesbetween inner-city and suburban development.Restaurants, grocery stores were more likely to close no matterif you were in Village of West Clay or Park DuVallethan other types of businesses.

    • 10:29

      KARL BESEL [continued]: I want to go ahead and highlight some of those differencesagain.So what we saw as far as differencesbetween suburban areas and the inner-city sites with regardto New Urbanism development was the fact thatin the suburban sites-- a lot morelikely to have independent businesses instead of chains.

    • 10:53

      KARL BESEL [continued]: And in many ways, that was a part of their zoningand a part of their association standard.So they favored independently-owned businessesover chain-run businesses.And there was another aspect to thatwhen I interviewed the developerswith each one of these sites.The developers for the redevelopment sites

    • 11:16

      KARL BESEL [continued]: said that they really did not have the abilityto attract a lot of independent owners.And subsequently, the independently-owned businesses,whether they were restaurants, barber shops,were substantially more likely to go out of business.In contrast to that, the independent businesses

    • 11:37

      KARL BESEL [continued]: in the suburban sites had a lot more business viability.And this was almost counterintuitive.Density ratings for the suburban siteswere actually higher than what theywere for the inner-city sites.So even though one of the main tenets of New Urbanist planning

    • 11:59

      KARL BESEL [continued]: is high-density development-- well, in actuality,the density ratings actually went downwithin the two inner-city sites.A lot of that, when you think about it,does make sense because you are going from housing projectsto communities with single-family homes.So that in itself changed the density ratings quite a bit.

    • 12:22

      KARL BESEL [continued]: A lot more similarities between suburban sitesand inner city than differences.So first similarity that we noticedwas struggles with developing the commercial sector.So whether it was Carmel, Indiana, high-incomedevelopment, north side of Indianapolis,they struggled with developing that commercial sector

    • 12:44

      KARL BESEL [continued]: almost as much as what you saw in Duneland Village and ParkDuValle.Secondly, mixed-use development.Mixed-use development essentiallymeans that you have residential development that'sdone in tandem with commercial development.That is a main tenet of New Urbanism development,

    • 13:07

      KARL BESEL [continued]: and that's something that all of the developerswere committed to.They found that kind of housing attractive,and, subsequently, the people thatlive there like that ability to beable to get out of their house, walk down the street,go to the grocery store, go to the dentist-- wherever it was.They wanted to be able to walk to businesses.

    • 13:30

      KARL BESEL [continued]: Thirdly, architecture and neighborhood plan.So whether it's Duneland Village or Norton Commons,you see a layout that's very similar.So in both of these communities-- really,all of the communities-- you saw alleys thatwere in the back of the house.The focus was really on green-space development

    • 13:53

      KARL BESEL [continued]: in the front of the house insteadof having a garage or other aspectsthat people in the community probablywere viewed as being unsightly.And intergenerational development.In the interviews that I did with residents with allof these communities, what you found

    • 14:14

      KARL BESEL [continued]: was that often when a family moved in,they were moving in and telling their parents,and, in some cases, even their grandparents,you need to come to this community.We want you here, and I think this reallydoes fit your lifestyle.So in many cases, you had two generations

    • 14:35

      KARL BESEL [continued]: living within the same community,and it wasn't unusual to find three generationsin some cases living within the same New Urbanist community.And lastly, you found quite a range of income.So whether it was a inner-city site or a suburban one,you found a variety of different housing types, everything

    • 14:58

      KARL BESEL [continued]: from apartment-style living to larger single-family homes.And that lent itself to people from a wide rangeof incomes living within the same community.And I wanted to go ahead and highlight

    • 15:20

      KARL BESEL [continued]: some of what we saw with research that we'restarting in Cuba.So you may think that there's notmuch of a comparison between Carmel, Indiana-- soUnited States Midwest-- and Cuba,but when it comes to this style of development-- a lot

    • 15:40

      KARL BESEL [continued]: of commonalities.So whether it's Havana, Cuba, or Carmel, Indiana,you really do have a strong demand for traditional townplanning.And giving you a little bit of background informationon Cuba colonial history dating back to the early 1500s.

    • 16:01

      KARL BESEL [continued]: So the original settler would have been de Soto.In fact, the old de Soto fort is still there in Havanadating back to right around 1517, 1518.Cuba accounts for almost half of the land in the Antilles,which is the archipelago just south of Florida.

    • 16:23

      KARL BESEL [continued]: And that's followed by Hispaniola.Havana is the second-largest cityin the Caribbean at over two million.And the largest city in the Caribbeanwould be Santo Domingo at almost three million.So with Havana, you're talking about a city that wouldbe large even by US standards.

    • 16:47

      KARL BESEL [continued]: This slide delineates what you see in many parts of Havana.And as you can see, a lot of the homes--built 200, 300 years ago, beautiful facades, but verylittle restoration work has been done.And one of the reasons why I put this slide that's

    • 17:09

      KARL BESEL [continued]: right in the middle at the bottom-- itshows a lot of these buildings thatare in a state of disrepair-- in some cases, dilapidation.But you see a bulldozer there.So even though they've had decadeswith very little development, youdo see that hope is on the way.I think over the last decade in particular,

    • 17:31

      KARL BESEL [continued]: you see a lot of investment by European countries,especially the Spanish.And it's lent itself to what you seeon this slide, which is a Spanish cathedral whichhas been beautifully restored.I also wanted to show you the opera house.So this opera house-- great exampleof Baroque-style architecture, and I

    • 17:55

      KARL BESEL [continued]: think you would see a opera house similarto this in just about any European city whether it'sRome or Paris.But in this case, it has a Caribbean feel to it.So you really have a lot of contrast between areasthat still need to be redeveloped,but you do see that a lot of the places

    • 18:16

      KARL BESEL [continued]: that European tourists have been going to for decades--those have been restored and are in a pretty pristine state.The conclusions for this case study,and I'll do my best to try to summarize comparisons

    • 18:36

      KARL BESEL [continued]: between United States and Cuba.I think the first thing, no matter what partof North America you're in-- policies which reallydo foster more traditional town planning need to be encouraged.And I think a lot of that comes down to the factthat with demographic shifts, these are the type of homes,

    • 18:58

      KARL BESEL [continued]: and even bigger than that, these arethe type of communities where people will want to reside.So there's a lot of evidence-- Richard Florida's bookand a lot of studies that have followedhis book, Rise of the Creative Class,really highlight the fact that younger people, in additionto empty nesters-- there's more of a demand

    • 19:19

      KARL BESEL [continued]: for traditional town planning than conventional suburbandevelopment.Secondly, we need to have data-driven approaches thatconsider these demographic trends.So just to amplify that a little bit more,I think any type of development--there's only so much land that you have in the United States

    • 19:41

      KARL BESEL [continued]: that you're able to do a lot of development.And subsequently, a lot of that infrastructureis extremely expensive.So in a era where, even though we're, Iguess, technically out of a recession,that you still have somewhat weak housing demand.I think developers need to be very strategic in the way

    • 20:03

      KARL BESEL [continued]: that they use their resources.And lastly, greater use of market analysis.Even case-study data like what we're showing hereneeds to be done in order to plan commercial sectors.And I think a commonality that wefound in conducting interviews for these case studies had

    • 20:23

      KARL BESEL [continued]: to do with the fact that across the board,developers said that very little marketanalysis was done before they putin their commercial sectors.I wanted to go ahead and concludewith reflective questions.Number one, what demographic trendsare fueling the greater use of traditional town planning?

    • 20:46

      KARL BESEL [continued]: Secondly, contrast and compare differences and similaritiesthat impact business sustainabilityin both suburban and redevelopment sites.And lastly, discuss the challenges and opportunitiesfaced by Cuba in fostering greater levelsof historical preservation.

    • 21:07

      KARL BESEL [continued]: [MUSIC PLAYING]

Back to The Future: Traditional Town Planning in the United States and Cuba

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Dr. Karl Besel presents a case study on inner city and urban development in the United States, and urban decay in Cuba. Drawing on widespread demographic shifts, he argues that the United States has a real need for data-driven urban planning.

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Back to The Future: Traditional Town Planning in the United States and Cuba

Dr. Karl Besel presents a case study on inner city and urban development in the United States, and urban decay in Cuba. Drawing on widespread demographic shifts, he argues that the United States has a real need for data-driven urban planning.

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