Americans like to think ‘big.’ Urbanism is no exception. Ever since architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham uttered his maxim “Make no little plans,” nearly every urban plan continues to be modeled on it.
Despite a generation of planners brought up guided by Jane Jacobs and her crusade against the big urbanism of Robert Moses, large-scale redevelopment projects continue apace. Indeed, they appear to be regaining prominence. From Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn to CityCenter in Las Vegas to the various uber- developments in Dubai, city officials and developers continue to think ‘big’ when reshaping our cities.
However, as we previous learned in the post on adaptive urbanism, big urbanism is not necessarily a good thing. Indeed, these mega projects leave little room for flexibility, and as such are not responsive to shifting economic, environmental or political trends. As a result several big urbanism projects are viewed as relics even before their doors are open.