As Changing Gears kicks off its look at Empty property and places across the Midwest, here’s an assessment that may help put the problem in perspective.
According to AtlanticCities, 19 types of buildings dominated the post-war landscape, and share the blame for dragging the country into its recession. The list comes from University of Michigan professor Christopher Leinberger, an urban-use strategist.
They include supermarket anchored strip malls; shopping malls with big stores at the corners; suburban detached starter homes; and self-storage facilities. They’re all designed for suburban communities where driving is required — and don’t suit a nation whose population may be shifting back to cities.
Now, a number of those places are emptying out, leaving behind headaches for state and local governments. That’s a subject we’ll be exploring in our series, which starts tomorrow.
“We built the wrong product in the wrong location, and nobody wants it any more,” he says. “That’s the reason for the housing crisis, and therefore the mortgage crisis, and therefore the Great Recession.”
As construction picks back up once the recovery is under way, all those types need to be banished and replaced by more innovative solutions, Leinberger tells AtlanticCities. Read more about his recommendations here.