November 09 2012

10 Ways to Change Urban Sprawl in the City of Richmond, Virginia

http://www.southeastdiscovery.com/blog/34By all accounts, urban sprawl is a problem that has plagued many metropolitan cities throughout the United States. Like many of these cities, Richmond, Virginia has struggled with the concept of how to control the growing population while still possessing the ability to attract new residents to the area.

Recently, many of the city’s efforts to change sprawl have focused on urban design or landscape architecture. These and other steps have lead to sustainable urban planning projects in neighborhoods like Carver, Oregon Hill, and Church Hill. But while many urban planners have expected these projects to change sprawl in Richmond, what they have done, in fact, is the opposite.

Thus, much of the city’s efforts have led to an increase in problems such as poor health, low household incomes, limited housing, educational inequalities, and poorly developed land.

But, while no one could ever be certain that contemporary plans like these will ever change sprawl in the city, what is certain is that there are other steps that could be taken to make Richmond communities more sustainable.

1. Develop better land-use planning programs in places where vacant lots and blighted buildings still exist;

2. Reduce car usage by creating more projects that encourage public transportation travel;

3. Collaborate regionally on community revitalization projects;

4. Develop more open space policies to protect valuable open space in neighborhoods like Rockets Landing;

5. Invest more into Smart Growth plans that will specifically combat sprawl in downtown communities;

6. Create more community action programs that will get Richmonders more involved in public projects;

7. Better educate the public by collaborating on projects with local universities and public schools;

8. Create more employment opportunities in other neighboring localities like Chesterfield County, Henrico County, and the City of Petersburg;

9. Use more creative architecture to redevelop brownfield sites in places Shockoe Bottom and Church Hill;

10. Create New Urbanism projects that will help to better preserve Richmond’s neighborhoods and protect its’ rich history.

Do you think sprawl is affecting your city?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources

Jamaal Davis

Jamaal Davis has lived in Richmond, Virginia for over 37 years, where he was born and raised. He studied Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Commonwealth University. His interests in urban planning began in the low-income neighborhoods of Southside Richmond, Virginia. As a result of those years, he has made it his goal to affect change in his community by changing its surroundings. His passion for planning lies in his desire to understand and change the housing conditions in low-income neighborhoods. He is currently working for a private consulting firm, but he plans on obtaining a planning position within a local government. His ultimate goal is to work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 9th, 2012 at 11:14 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environment, Government/Politics, History/Preservation, Infrastructure, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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