McCrory and Savage Join Architects for Discussion of Urban Stewardship
Key Conference of Mayors
leaders joined with the nation's architects for a discussion of urban
stewardship during the 2000 National Convention of the American Institute of
Architects (AIA) in Philadelphia.
Speaking at a plenary
session workshop May 4, Elizabeth, NJ Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Charlotte
Mayor Patrick McCrory, and Tulsa Mayor M. Susan Savage talked about local
strategies to promote the reuse of brownfields, transit-oriented
development, in-fill development and smart growth.
McCrory, Chair of the
Conference's Energy and Environment Committee, challenged the architects to
work with mayors and business leaders to focus on the long-term value of
development. "We should ask ourselves in everything we do together, will it
have a life span of a minimum of 50 years?" McCrory said.
Expressing his concern
about the short life expectancy of many buildings, shopping centers and
arenas, McCrory said, "One of our biggest challenges is: what do you do
with something that has such a short-term life?"
He told the architects
that "I need your help." McCrory added "we need your help to figure out
what our city needs to look like a hundred years from now so that the next
10-15 years of development can help get us there."
Discussing his region's
plans for a major transit investment of more than $1 billion, he said, "we
need design along these corridors that will make a difference. This will
determine whether these stations work."
Savage Touts Work of
Architects in Tulsa
Mayor Savage, who serves
as a Conference Trustee, discussed her many initiatives to promote in-fill
development, smart growth and improved quality of life, applauding the work
of architects in her area to help Tulsa "focus and refocus" its efforts.
She described the challenges before her city, stating, "How do we build,
and rebuild, neighborhoods where we think about transportation? Where we
think about amenities? Where we think about links to our trails system?
Where we think about bus stops and all of those things that make a community
a place to live?"
Savage explained further
that "we're not just looking at how to preserve and protect our tax base
and grow our community, but how to do it with quality and how to integrate
our transportation systems and to do it so people will want to chose to live
in our city."
Elizabeth Mayor J.
Christian Bollwage, a Conference of Mayors leader on brownfields, talked
about the challenge of brownfields. "As a society, we need to figure out a
way to reuse our land. This is a challenge not just for mayors but for the
nation," he said.
"We are tearing up land
at much faster rate than we should," Bollwage told the architects. He
challenged the audience to work with mayors to help recycle these
properties. "You need to be creative, and political and business community
need to stand up for economic growth in the inner city and re-creating urban
land," Bollwage said.
He also talked about the
many successes that the City of Elizabeth has had in reclaiming brownfields
sites, including development of the second biggest outlet mall on the East
Coast, which occurred on a former landfill site.
Also joining the panel
was the former U.N. Ambassador and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young. He
said, "One of the best things mayors can do is to listen to you
(architects) and pick out the things that you can take to the bank." He
continued that mayors then are in the position to "package these ideas,
make them politically credible and sell them to the private sector."
Former Louisville Mayor
and Past Conference President Jerry Abramson presided at the session. He
opened the session by stating that "there is a lot going on in American
cities and a lot has to do with design and with the vision of its leaders."
Abramson also serves as a member of the AIA Board of Directors.
More than 11,00
architects and other professionals attended the May 4-6 AIA National