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The Efficacy of Transit-Oriented Development

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is one of the most contentious topics in modern urban planning.  The basic concept of TOD is that local governments can and should encourage decreased dependence on automobiles by creating convenient public transit nodes and supporting high-density development in the immediate vicinity of these points.  This often comes in the form of new rail-transit investments and is lauded as an important tool in the fight against urban sprawl.  New Urbanists see in TOD an opportunity to encourage high-density, mixed-use development like never before.  More conservative purists, however, argue that these TOD neighborhoods represent unwanted and inefficient market distortions that cater only to upper-class snobs too pretentious to ride a bus.  The outcome of this debate will have critical implications on the built landscape of our urban environments for decades to come.

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Chen, Joyce, Mark Hamilton, Nick Kindel, Ian Macek, and Meghan Pinch. “Transit Oriented Development and Cluster Developments.” 1-11. Web. 23 Sept. 2010. <http://courses.washington.edu>.

Niles, John, and Dick Nelson. “Measuring the Success of Transit-Oriented Development: Retail Market Dynamics and Other Key Determinants.” Proc. of American Planning Association National Planning Conference. 31 Aug. 2006. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.< www.community-wealth.org/_pdfs/articles-publications/tod/paper-niles-http://nelson.pdf>

O’Toole, Randal. “Defining Success: The Case Against Rail Transit.” Policy Analysis 663 (2010). Cato Institute, 22 May 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? abstract_id=1612782>.

By: Brian Simel

Northgate Mall: Serving A Wide Demographic Well?

Northgate Mall first and foremost appears to be the most generic type of mall found almost anywhere in America. It does however have some interesting features that appear specific to its location. First, there is both a Sears Auto Repair and a Macy’s, which seems to illustrate the wide range of people who shop at Northgate. In addition there is a store called “Caroline’s Plus Sizes” as well as several national chain fast food, and casual dining restaurants like Champps and Boston Market. This seems to imply something about what these shoppers eat, and what they look like, and by extension something about their economic situation. The mall itself is beginning to look old and run down, is completely indoors and seems somewhat impenetrable from the outside. In addition, poor traffic flow directions on the outside of the mall make it difficult to navigate around.