“The big design and development project for the next 50 years is going to be retrofitting suburbia.”
This is the main idea that Ellen Dunham-Jones, a north American award-winning licensed architect and professor teaching contemporary architectural and urban design studios and theory, develops in her book “RETRO-FITTING SUBURBIA”. She analyzes the principal reasons to put the effort into re-densifying and re-greening the metropolitan suburban areas and spaces, underlining the following ones: Climate change, Health and lifestyle, Demographic shift and Under-performing asphalt.
Showing re-densification and re-greening as first generation of retrofits, the future challenges would be conformed by the following ideas:
– Plan retrofitting much more systematically at the metropolitan scale.
– Improve the arquitectural design quality of the retrofit: more democratic and according to the social and technical complexity of these spaces.
– Make suburban spaces more sustainable.
This very same idea is the motto for the new Master in Regenerating Intermediate Landscapes offered by the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC):
“The need to regenerate the large suburban growths, the shopping centers and commercial strips; or to preserve agricultural land and river banks, strongly arises in our metropolitan regions. All these episodes no longer respond to local government boundaries, but to ad hoc constraints of functional, morphological or environmental character. For this reason, intermediate approaches, those between the local and regional level, are therefore needed to resolve conflicts and develop new opportunities.”