A new era of cities is on its way. After decades of post-war development spreading into suburbs and beyond, residents, businesses, tourism and arts & culture are moving back to urban centers across the country. Recently, Atlanta BeltLine creator Ryan Gravel shared an interview with The Atlantic CityLab. Revitalization projects like the BeltLine enhance sustainability by turning abandoned infrastructure into recreational opportunities for residents, minimizing sprawl and decreasing reliance on cars.
Atlanta’s BeltLine is now one of many efforts across Detroit, Chicago, Jersey City, New York City and Philadelphia to transform neglected areas into trails, parks and bike paths in the heart of inner-city districts. Sustainability initiatives such as the BeltLine connect neighborhoods using existing green space and turn older cities into welcoming places for residents, businesses, tourists and artists. These approaches are a crucial step in working toward the UN Sustainable Development Goal for Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Beyond the creation of greenways, blending infrastructure between new and retrofitted buildings is critical to the long-term success of redevelopment projects. The National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab found neighborhoods with “mixed-vintage” buildings supported a higher percentage of youth, creative jobs and high-quality restaurants. Local, regional and state efforts are supporting public-private collaborations and preservation organizations, and are encouraging developers to upgrade existing real estate.
In Center City Philadelphia, 45 percent of construction from a $6.7 billion investment consists of retrofitting, upgrading or redesigning old structures to modernize spaces and enhance energy efficiency. Modern city-dwellers demand healthier and greener buildings that preserve the character of old architecture. As communities invest in modernizing their cities, opportunities for innovative redevelopment are invigorating urban centers around the country. The increase in redevelopment also provides opportunities for Southwire’s products to be part of this exciting movement.
To learn about Southwire’s sustainability initiatives, visit southwiresustainability.com.