Two weeks ago I posted about the importance of considering where in time a development occurs. Another key consideration is the overall rate at which development occurs.
In the Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs wrote about the necessity of varied building ages for a healthy neighborhood. The basis of her argument was that when an area is built up all at once, diversity is diminished because only economic enterprises that can afford the higher overhead associated with new construction can thrive, and they’re not the cool ones. Plus, if an area gets built up all at once, its future adaptability is reduced because there are fewer opportunities for development to reflect changes that continue to occur in demographics and social life.
“A new corpse is laid out,” she wrote. “It does not smell yet, but it is just as dead, just as incapable of the constant adjustments, adaptations, and permutations that make up the process of life.”
I work in stadium village, so I’ve noticed the speed and uniformity of the development there. I’ve been wondering if those luxury apartments are the organs of a fresh corpse.
Or maybe they’re just the requisite housing for all the extra people necessary to make for a lively and diverse neighborhood. But as anyone who’s familiar with the Leaky Condo Crisis knows, building a large portion of your housing all at once can have unintended consequences.
Photos by Andy Tucker via Flickr.
I’ve been wondering for awhile as to what is the average life expectancy for these new 5-6 story wood framed buildings. It’d be nice if someone with knowledge could chime in. I’m sure they’re plenty durable. Their replacement will likely be more economy driven than durability wise. I would expect most will be around for at least 50+ years, perhaps much longer.
The photos are interesting. The first one is, of course, not stadium village but Seven Corners, and you can just sneak a peak of the Seven Corners apartments, built in 1984, which for a long time was the only housing in the immediate area.
We can’t see the GrandMarc Seven Corners, which is immediately across the street from the pictured building, but that is “new” student housing that I think dates to somewhere around 2005.
And then we have the pictured building, the 7 West Apartments, which I think opened this year on a lot that had been vacant since 2008. And, in a turn of events that surprised me, involved tearing down a large part of a parking garage. Image that, replacing a parking structure with housing. Huh.
So in one photo (well, with a little neighborhood knowledge thrown in) we have housing built in three different decades.
In the other two photos we get a glimpse of the massive, gloomy and cheap looking (from the outside anyway) Stadium View Apartments. I’m not sure when those were built, but appearance and vague recollection of my college days (stadium village has changed a ton since then), was some time in the 1990s. As was the building at 900 Washington Ave (can’t find it’s name right now) and the one on Eerie between Delaware and Essex, if memory serves.
But I guess my point is that this isn’t the first housing boom in these areas, which seem to have survived the prior ones, and at least this time around the design seems to be largely improved (more appealing, and, importantly, more mixed use).
Great Jacobs’ quote. Yeah, at least there’s some ground floor retail in one (or two?) of these buildings.