green streets
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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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A Collective Approach to Local Entrepreneurship

A Collective Approach to Local Entrepreneurship | green streets | Scoop.it

Locally owned shops were once cornerstones for products, services, employment and social networks in urban neighborhoods. The rise of automobiles, franchises and Internet shopping has forced many out of business or into niches that don't correspond with the needs of their local communities. However, in some cities they're seeing a resurgence due to creative initiatives that link grassroots activism with public- and private-sector resources.


In February, a special kind of shop opened in Amsterdam's Van der Pek neighborhood. It is called the Wisselwinkel, meaning "shift shop," because it hosts a new local entrepreneur every six months. If this trial period goes well, the entrepreneur receives assistance in setting up a more permanent location in the neighborhood.

Designed and constructed by MOS Collectief, the Wisselwinkel interior is flexible so that different startups can use it according to their needs. Along with the storefront, entrepreneurs receive practical guidance in connecting with support organizations, fulfilling legal requirements and attracting customers...

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The Resurrection of the Corner Store

The Resurrection of the Corner Store | green streets | Scoop.it
Can clever zoning bring neighborhood stores back?

At its peak (1950), Washington was home to 800,000 people, around 30 percent more than its current population. So there is no question that the city can accommodate significant growth without a departure from its traditional character. That’s why allowing accessory dwellings and alley-facing homes makes so much sense. As Alpert notes, households today are smaller, so that in today’s market the way to add capacity is with more units, particularly small ones.

I love the idea of bringing back corner stores and other small retail outlets in residential areas. Where legacy stores still exist today, they are much loved. The proposed rules governing what kinds, and when and where they are allowed, are apparently complex. There seems to be an attempt to favor existing clusters and corridors of retail establishments, for example; new ones would be allowed only at a certain distance from existing ones...

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Making Pittsburgh New by Keeping it Old

Making Pittsburgh New by Keeping it Old | green streets | Scoop.it
In 1997, Arthur Ziegler, founder and head of Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, was vigorously leading the opposition to a plan by then-Mayor Tom Murphy to demolish 64 historic buildings in five square blocks of the city’s downtown in order to build a standard enclosed shopping mall.

Eventually, the proposed mall fell under the weight of its own ill-conceived vision when Nordstrom pulled out as a potential anchor. Ziegler’s PHLF had offered an alternative proposal that would have demolished three blocks of mostly nondescript buildings, leaving the rest to be restored by individual owners with retail on the ground floor and apartments or offices above. Murphy rejected this idea.

Now, two mayors, two governors and 15 years later, Ziegler and PHLF have been hired by the city to oversee the redevelopment of those 64 buildings in an effort to advance economic revitalization of the downtown.

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Designing Walkable Urban Throughfares

Designing Walkable Urban Throughfares | green streets | Scoop.it

Communities are all about connection. The bond between families, neighbors, business owners, and public servants is shaped by the way a community's streets are situated. Traditional Main Streets, with their vibrant mix of commerce and culture — where mom-and-pop shops line the sidewalks, cars and trucks slow down to share the road with pedestrians and bikes, and people congregate in great gathering spaces — are the most outward expression of the strength of communal ties.

As the structure of our streets help pave the way in which our communities connect on a physical, social, and economic level, designing livable, walkable urban thoroughfares is one of the utmost priorities for any city or town.

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Retaining Sustainable Storefronts in the Urban Realm | Sustainable Cities Collective

Retaining Sustainable Storefronts in the Urban Realm | Sustainable Cities Collective | green streets | Scoop.it
Vital storefronts are an indicator of urban success, while empty businesses are akin to the ruins of Pompeii.
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San Francisco Embraces the Pop-Up for Neighborhood Revitalization

San Francisco Embraces the Pop-Up for Neighborhood Revitalization | green streets | Scoop.it

In San Francisco, pop-up incubator SQFT attempts to showcase the potential of temporary business for economic development.

Once a strategy for retailers to build brand awareness and coolness cred in a flashy spectacle (now you see us, now you don't), the pop-up shop has transformed into a tool of urban revitilization. In San Francisco, the city government has partnered with a pop-up incubator called SQFT to help activate a downtrodden neighborhood's potential with a jolt of temporary business inserted into retail deadspace. Today, SQFT celebrates its launch by bringing a slice of life to a string of blocks in San Francisco's Mid-Market with a pop-up library, yoga studio, and cafe, among other temporary businesses...

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Upper West Side Mom & Pops Get Boost from Planning

Upper West Side Mom & Pops Get Boost from Planning | green streets | Scoop.it

While the city has kept Walmart at bay—for now—banks and/or drugstores continue to consume two, three, and sometimes four or five consecutive storefronts in many parts of the city. The Upper West Side has been particularly hard hit because most of its side streets are residential. The neighborhood primarily relies on the north/south corridors of Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus for its shopping needs. After hearing citywide complaints about the problem, City Planning has begun to address the issue through the West Side Neighborhood Retail Streets Initiative.

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Transforming Historic Urban Space Into A Vibrant Cultural District

Transforming Historic Urban Space Into A Vibrant Cultural District | green streets | Scoop.it

As the needs of cities change, older buildings can find themselves a bit redundant. The challenge for urban areas is to find a new purpose for these buildings, one which is historically respectful but at the same time creates a space that meets the modern needs of a city. This is exactly what has happened in Toronto, where a former distillery has been transformed into a varied, vibrant, and immensely popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

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Rediscovering the Road to the Sustainable City

Rediscovering the Road to the Sustainable City | green streets | Scoop.it
Those of us who write about cities should be students of history and experience, and with some humility listen to scholars and the legacy of urban development from from around the world.
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The end of Borders and the importance of third places in the city

The end of Borders and the importance of third places in the city | green streets | Scoop.it
The liquidation of Borders bookstores in American cities raises the question of how to preserve the social value of spaces in prime downtown real estate.
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