Washburn

#OccupySprawl: Easier, Faster and More Productive

Inspired by the recent popular discontent expressed so colorfully on Wall Street, I offer this proposal: Occupy Sprawl! People are not happy with the economy, with politics, with the government. Consider the physical surrounding of the protesters: the streets and squares in lower Manhattan where there are plenty of places to gather. Good urbanism provides good spaces for assembling and protesting. Our sprawling suburbs are devoid of such places. Where can people get together to show frustration (or to celebrate)? Are people happy with their physical environment in sprawl? Why not revolt against the system of sprawl, which is responsible for some of the most serious environmental, economic, social and health problems in recent history? Sprawl has been central to our economic troubles: the mortgage meltdown, dependence on cars and oil, pollution and waste of resources to mention just a few. Sprawl has even been blamed for the death of the American dream itself. How about taking on sprawl in the passionate way the protesters are taking on Wall Street? The metaphor of occupation can serve us well in the quest to reform sprawl because we will need a dramatic overhaul – of the physical pattern, of the law, of the financing mechanism that created, supported and encouraged sprawl for decades. The whole system must be shaken from its foundations, in the same way the occupiers demand systemic changes on Wall Street. Read entire post here. ____________________________________________________ Galina Tachieva is a partner and director of town planning at the central office of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, in Miami, Florida. She is originally from Bulgaria, and received a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Sofia and a master’s in urban design from the University of Miami, Florida. Galina submitted a “Sprawl Repair Kit,” which contains some of the ideas and drawings from her book, to the 2009 Re-Burbia competition sponsored by the blog Inhabitat and DWELL magazine, where it won the People’s Choice Award. She is the author of The Sprawl Repair Manual.