Colonial Williamsburg- This Williamsburg, Virginia living history museum immerses visitors in colonial life. Tour historic buildings (some original and some reconstructions) like a blacksmith’s shop, Governor’s Palace, and apothecary. Costumed actors portray colonists in this unique educational experience.
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Jane Jacobs (1961) argues that modernist urban planning destroyed communities and decimated their economies by creating isolated, inefficient, and unnatural urban spaces as well as car-dependent urban growth. The capital and operational costs of sprawled suburban developments, she argues, outweigh the costs of inner-city redevelopment. Although these costs are area specific, the evidence suggests that the cost difference between the two development forms can be 50 percent (SGS Economics & Planning, 2003). A study done on Australian cities by Roman Trubka, Peter Newman, and Darren Bilsborough (2010, p. 1) concludes that ‘the savings in transport and infrastructure for 1000 dwellings are in the order of $86 million up-front for infrastructure and $250 million for annualised transportation costs over 50 years’. The most significant cost is road transport, followed by water and sewerage infrastructure. The higher-density inner city consumes between four and ten times less transport energy than the lower-density outer suburbs (Newman, 2014). Moreover, the socioeconomic toll of living in suburban areas is sometimes increased by poor access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities (NSW Parliamentary Library, 2014).
The New Climate Economy Project of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate suggests that by 2030 the world’s 724 largest cities could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through more compact urban growth (Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, 2014, p. 30).
Local governments, urban practitioners, and academics have recognized a need for a twofold strategy for compact urban growth: the need to focus on reinvesting in and regenerating inner cities; and the need to make connections to the suburbs stronger and more affordable while making them attractive and livable.
Redeveloping inner cities according to the concept of connecting places means managed re-densification or strategic residential infill by first rebuilding the physical fabric and eventually rebuilding lost social diversity and the local economic base. This process invites higher-density, proximate development with functionally and socially diverse neighborhoods, walkable streets, public transport, and human-scale local urban environments (OECD, 2012). The result is a heightened sense of community.