I have a thing for Main Street oriented towns….this is the natural commodity that developers attempt to capture but can never quite naturally duplicate in developments that reflect the theories of New Urbanism, and so forth. And why create Developer Disneylands when the real deal is all around us?
Adaptive reuse I think is a more productive key to the future. The National Trust for Historic Preservation seems to share my opinion too:
The National Trust for Historic Preservation believes that the strength of America’s historic and older neighborhoods is critical to the future of our communities, and that improving housing is a key element of any community revitalization strategy. Our goal is to prevent unnecessary demolition, and to restore, rehab, and reuse existing structures, while helping to ensure that needed new construction is compatible and complementary with the character of our older and historic resources
But to reuse an old structure, or series of old structures is not what most developers seem to want to do.
If we’re not careful, Main Street will disappear. And that will be a loss. I don’t know about you, but I like communities with individual identities. Not everything needs to be homogenous and Stepford wife situated.
The one thing that concerns me is that Chester County is still seeing a LOT of development. Lots and lots of strip malls, but I notice that every time one of those goes up, small crossroads town centers are forgotten more and more.
I would hate to see small Main Street oriented Chester County town centers become ghost towns and a thing of the past. And as I wander through the county, I notice it’s already happening….