Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Strategies for Urgent Challenges by June Williamson and Ellen Dunham-Jones

NEW YORK, Feb. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — June Williamson and Ellen Dunham-Jones, authors of the best-selling Retrofitting Suburbia series, today announced the publication of Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Strategies for Urgent Challenges.  The first in the series (2009) sparked a national dialogue on transforming and revitalizing our nation’s communities, including what to do with the plethora of America’s dying malls. The book was met with critical acclaim and was featured in The New York Times, CBS, NPR, TED, Time, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. The Chicago Tribune called it “the Bible of the retrofitting movement.”

“Our ambition [in writing this book] was to engage with a larger, continuing set of challenges, given that suburbia is the United States,” said author June Williamson in a recent article in The New York Times. “Suburbs are us. They’re where the majority of people work, where they live.”

The new volume presents detailed case studies that address six crucial challenges facing communities today: 1) improving public health, 2) increasing resilience in the face of climate change, 3) leveraging social capital for equity, 4) supporting an aging society, 5) competing for jobs, and 6) disrupting automobile dependence.

“There’s surprisingly little written that’s useful to aging suburban communities coping with how to evolve. And, the literature is often removed from what the suburbs actually are,” says Dunham-Jones. “It’s stuck in this old trope of suburbs versus city, when really it’s not a question of whether suburbs will stay the same or will be turned into something else. Change is occurring anyway.”

From modest interventions with big ripple effects to ambitious do-overs, examples of redevelopment, re-inhabitation, and re-greening of changing suburban places from coast to coast are described in depth in 32 brand new case studies. Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Strategies for Urgent Challenges is an indispensable book for professionals and students involved in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, development, civil engineering, public health, public policy, governance and  for anyone who seeks to inspire revitalization, justice, and shared prosperity in places they know and care about. 

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ABOUT JUNE WILLIAMSON: June Williamson is associate professor and department chair at the City College of New York’s Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture. She is the acclaimed author of Designing Urban Futures: New Models from Build a Better Burb (Island Press, 2013).

ABOUT ELLEN DUNHAM-JONES:  Ellen Dunham-Jones is professor of architecture and directs the urban design degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was voted one of the world’s 100 most influential urbanists by Planetizen and hosts the Redesigning Cities podcast.

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SOURCE June Williamson and Ellen Dunham-Jones