Tuesdays at APA — September 2009

What to Do with 4,000 Surplus Lots in a Recession

September 22, 2009

Across the country, the foreclosure crisis and a decades long disinvestment trend have left urban centers with a staggering excess of housing and few jobs — their declining populations scattered over large tracts of land, punctuated by vacant lots and abandoned buildings. The very essence of what once made cities great — density and jobs — is now elusive in many urban centers. Yet, in one Detroit neighborhood, plans are complete to address the challenges of decreasing population and jobs, aging infrastructure, and surplus housing and land.

Phillip McKenna, AICP, and Amy Chesnut, AICP, of McKenna Associates, shared the strategy that is helping Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood maximize internally generated demand, bridge market gaps, and lay the groundwork for the city's revitalization. McKenna and Chesnut provided insight into tactics that can help right-size neighborhoods to meet the needs of a new era.


PowerPoint presentation (ppt)

PDF of PowerPoint presentation (pdf)

Brightmoor Neighborhood Plan (pdf)

About the Speakers

Phillip McKenna, AICPPhillip McKenna, AICP, is President of McKenna Associates, and he has spent more than three decades helping urban centers maximize their historical, social and economic assets while addressing the challenges of decreasing density, aging infrastructure and waning investment. McKenna has assisted hundreds of communities with innovative master plans, zoning, and economic development strategies. Named Michigan's Outstanding Professional Planner, McKenna has been honored for his work in urban and rural areas alike and was an early pioneer of strategies to help preserve open spaces and historic areas.

Amy Chesnut, AICPAmy Chesnut, AICP, is a Senior Principal Planner at McKenna Associates where she specializes in helping communities identify strategies to reinvent and reinvest in vacant space. Chesnut is the conference committee chair for the Michigan Association of Planning, and a frequent speaker on managing locally undesirable land uses, access management, and other challenging planning topics.