photo by flickr user mandus
I recently came across a great blog, Hyde Park Urbanist, which focuses on urbanism in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Hyde Park is located along Lake Michigan on the South Side and is the home of The University of Chicago as well as Frank LLoyd Wright’s famous Robie House and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
A recent article discusses how the area originally grew unhampered by zoning, with streets lined with businesses and shops. Then, urban renewal schemes disrupted the natural patterns of living. Presently, planners are seeing the folly of past ambitions. Unfortunately, we have to keep our eyes on the planners as they test out newfangled schemes for future generations to untangle.
Hyde Park Urbanist – Before Zoning:
this post is about what happened before zoning began to shape Hyde Park’s urban landscape.
“urban renewal”, when the commercial heart of Hyde Park was suddenly ripped out. Planning in the late 1950s was primarily about separating residential, commercial and industrial districts. A couple generations later, most planners believe that residential and commercial uses can be combined along one block. That’s a lesson in itself. Half of today’s planning notions will look terribly wrong 50 years from today; we just don’t know which half.
The commercial building patterns that Rossi describes occurred before zoning became mildly effective in the late 1920s. Those patterns can be seen as natural, in the sense that they were a response to the marketplace rather than the result of government fiat.
I recommend checking out the Hyde Park Urbanist’s blog, especially for you Chicagoans…