July 6, 2009

Recession leaves cities with holes to fill

U.S. cities need novel solutions to fill the empty parcels slated for development, but undeveloped due to the recession, a city planner from Seattle said.

This is the horizontal canvas we're playing with, said Urban Visions Chief Executive Officer Greg Smith, who recently allowed food vendors to take over a portion of a parking lot near the Pike Place Market, where a hotel project has been put on hold, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

Other cities have moved towards creative, albeit temporary, solutions to make use of space where projects have stalled. In Miami, the city rents lots from developers for $1, then transforms the lots into temporary parks. In New York, empty lots may end up as temporary art exhibition spaces.

In San Francisco, at least a dozen future projects sites sit unattended, waiting for the recession to recede, the Chronicle reported.

We are seeing a lull, said city planning director John Rahaim. There's the credit crunch as well as the housing slump, he said.