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Reparations for urbanity

David Beach  |  10/15/12 @ 7:00am  |  Posted in Vibrant cities

New center of gravity<br />Acorn Alley and other developments are drawing life back to the center of Kent. (Photo by Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer)

Around Northeast Ohio people are re-discovering the virtues of quality urbanism—the convenience and excitment of walkable places with lots of destinations within reach.

In a recent column, the PD's Steve Litt described how Kent State University and other local universities are leading the redevelopment of such places adjacent to campuses. And he makes a good argument for public support of these efforts to rebuild the region's town centers:

"In many ways, the infusion of government money in downtown Kent is an attempt to heal the damage caused by four decades of sprawl across Northeast Ohio that was unleashed by earlier federal investments in the interstate highway system. As new subdivisions and shopping centers popped up along freeway exits, older downtowns emptied out.

"Retrofitting blighted downtowns to encourage compact and economically efficient development makes excellent sense at a time when gas prices are rising and the market is demanding alternatives to the spread-out, automobile-centered lifestyles encouraged by the interstates.

"Kent's downtown revival is doing more than boosting the city’s livability and attractiveness. It’s showing how Northeast Ohio can remold its communities to create a smarter, greener, more economically productive future."

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