Growth Issue: Development and Redevelopment
Over the last six decades, Huntsville grew extraordinarily fast – it’s currently the 29th largest city in the US by land area, with populations over 100,000 – and that’s presenting both opportunities and challenges as our community plans for the future.
Infrastructure. Every square mile we expand is more infrastructure we have to not only build, but maintain. Police and fire coverage, water and sewer service, landscape maintenance, traffic lights and signage – each bears a cost. Meanwhile, are we getting everything out of the development we already have?
Greyfields… and Blight. As new growth occurs on our edges, some of what’s left behind has fallen into decay. Older shopping centers – ‘greyfields’ – represent a challenge. How do we breathe new life into old, and often obsolete, structures? Without attention, they can become sources of blight, spreading disinvestment to the neighborhoods around them.
A Changing Market. As our demographics shift – increasingly dominated by retiring Boomers and new-workforce Millennials – the demand for more variety in housing, shopping, working and transportation has increased. Placemaking has become an important tool, as the market looks not just at ‘product’ but also ‘experience’.
Placemaking Tomorrow. A focus on creating unique, quality of life-oriented neighborhoods is not solely a consideration for Downtown. Mixed-use “new urbanist” projects are on the ground in northwest Huntsville and Jones Valley, and they illustrate the future of development throughout the city. By designing communities with an eye on livability – a characteristic driven by growing demand – future plans can encourage quality redevelopment throughout the city.
“Great cities are not static, they constantly change and take the world along with them.” – Edward Glaeser
(Almost) A Century of Annexations– Huntsville City Limits, 1920-2016
Last modified: April 20th, 2018 at 7:58 am