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By Project for Public Spaces on Mar 29, 2013 |
Future plans for Cadillac Square call for a lively marketplace / Image: PPS

 

You may have heard about downtown Detroit’s big comeback story. Campus Martius has become one of America’s great urban squares. Demand for housing has outstripped supply for months. Major tech firms like Twitter are opening up offices in refurbished historic buildings. The Motor City’s historic core is ascendant.

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The City of Lancaster, CA, converted a drab, automobile-oriented arterial at the heart of downtown into a lively pedestrian-friendly boulevard that has become a big regional draw and attracted significant economic development in just two years. In a dramatic demonstration of the value of smart streetscape investment at the right location, Lancaster spent $11.5 million for a nine-block makeover of Lancaster Boulevard. Five lanes of traffic, including a center turn lane, were reduced to two lanes, with a wide, tree-shaded, "ramblas," or public space, added in the center of the corridor. Trees and lighting fixtures were installed and on-street parking is provided. Street festivals have been held attracting crowds in the tens of thousands. Nearly $300 million in private investment has ensued, including 47 new businesses and more than 800 housing units built or rehabilitated. The lead urban design consultant was Moule & Polyzoides of Pasadena, CA. Better! Cities & Towns will cover this project in more detail in the January, 2013, issue.

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Central Park
 

 

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