New from the old : integrating preservation for urban revitalization through GIS spatial analysis and assessment modeling

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Park, Hanbaek

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Many older cities in the Midwest and Northeast of the U.S. have faced decline from early as 1950s due to drastic decrease in population. This has led to many inner city neighborhoods once vibrant and active to fall into dilapidation and dereliction. In result, a vast number of buildings, in many cases characteristic to the greater urban context, were abandoned and left to decay. Philadelphia, one of these older cities, is known for its unique brick masonry row houses that were built mostly in the city’s founding era. Many of these row houses have been left untouched from urban renewal and similar redevelopments due to high demolition costs, and have endured time and weather by their resistant materiality. This unique urban condition has also kept open an opportunity for implementing revitalization through the existing. The study looks into inter city neighborhoods within Philadelphia that are facing decline to suggest integrating preservation interests for revitalization. Especially, it focuses on the neighborhood districts of Lower North, North, and Upper North Philadelphia where decline was observed and identified to be critical. The datasets used for GIS spatial analyses were from the American Community Survey's 5 year Estimate for 2012 through 2016 provided by the U.S. Census TIGER. To examine and understand finer conditions of the sample area, data at the block group level was chosen. Based on the analysis, an assessment model was proposed with preservation interests integrated as index variables. For reference to designing the assessment model, relevant literature regarding brownfield revitalization were mainly considered. In result, the assessment model recognized areas where reusing the existing could have positive impact for retaining historic urban character. Through utilizing easily accessible public data, the tool is aimed to provide preliminary screening to identify potential areas apt for reuse and rehabilitation outside the considerations of local designations and districts. While aiding stakeholders and decision-makers looking for alternative options at earlier planning phases, the model also seeks to invite preservation to engage more actively for urban development projects.



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