Weitzman School of Design

The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design prepares students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good–both locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation. 

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 17
  • Publication
    The High Cost of Free Highways
    (2007-01-01) Weinberger, Rachel
    It is widely but not universally held that more roads mean more traffic. In spite of this evidence we are continually seduced by the notion that we can zone for low density to preclude traffic from occurring, that we can move far away from traffic that we can avoid it, and/or that we can build our way out of traffic. This low density race to the edge results in the ill-defined but expensive condition of sprawl. In a counter vein, New Urbanists, Advocates of Transit Oriented Development (TOD), and smart growth advocates have embraced the notion that traffic has always been with us and is here to stay, but we can make the most of our activity spaces by concentrating development, arresting the creation of new roads, and investing wisely in high capacity transportation systems.
  • Publication
    Building in Good Jobs: Linking Workforce Development with Real Estate-Led Economic Development
    (2006-12-01) Wolf-Powers, Laura; Reiss, Jeremy; Stix, Margaret
    Municipal governments in the U.S. are increasingly devoting public resources to the redevelopment of abandoned, contaminated or underutilized land. Private sector appetite for new development opportunities and public sector creativity have combined to create "building booms" in a number of central cities that only a few decades ago were in seemingly irreversible decline. In the midst of this government-supported revitalization, however, both working poverty and chronic unemployment in central cities remain disturbingly high. Without explicit efforts to link property redevelopment with efforts to put un- or underemployed people to work at family-supporting wages, the negative impacts of growth (displacement, housing cost appreciation) often affect the historically disadvantaged far more profoundly than its positive impacts do.
  • Publication
    The Planner and the Preservationist
    (1984-04-01) Birch, Eugenie L.; Roby, Douglas
    In many ways the planning and historic preservation movements have had similar but separate patterns of institutional development. Although the planning profession is older and more refined than the preservation effort, their shared concern for the quality of the built environment has made them natural allies in promoting conservation practices in American metropolitan areas. At times, differing objectives have marred their mutual cooperative endeavors; but on the whole, they have developed an important symbiotic relationship that has served to strengthen both professions.
  • Publication
    Reading rival union responses to the localization of technical work in the US telecommunications industry
    (2007-01-01) Wolf-Powers, Laura
    Between the early 1970s and the late 1990s, the market repercussions of state deregulation, combined with technological change, sparked profound changes for employees in the heretofore highly unionized US telecommunications sector. The wholesale restructuring of the AT&T Bell System and the growth of competitor firms' market share led to declines in union density, yawning wage disparities among people doing similar work, and increased casualization and insecurity for holders of both customer service and technical jobs in the industry. However, these trends have manifested themselves somewhat differently for customer service and technical workers. While employers have typically followed a strategy of consolidating and regionalizing customer service and clerical labor, a significant amount of technical work, specifically the installation and maintenance of telecommunications infrastructure on customers' premises, has grown more fragmented, structured by local labor market conditions and institutions (see Batt and Keefe 1999, Keefe and Batt 2002).
  • Publication
    Remaking New York City: Can Prosperity Be Shared and Sustainable?
    (2004-11-01) Lander, Brad; Wolf-Powers, Laura
    Changes in the organization of global economic activity – in particular, the ascendance of services over manufacturing in global cities – have had a profound impact on labor, consumer, and real estate markets in New York City. New growth in service sectors has generated spectacular new wealth, and the city has firmly re-established itself as a capital of commerce and culture, after being ravaged by disinvestment and fiscal crisis in the 1960s and 70s. New York City's contemporary economy is a vibrant one in many ways, but it is also a highly unequal one – one in which residents who are not part of the professional class (disproportionately immigrants and people of color) face increasing challenges. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration has wholeheartedly embraced the shift from an industrial to a post-industrial economy, launching ground-level redevelopment strategies in over 20 neighborhoods (many tied to the proposal for the 2012 Olympics), which add up to a transformation of the physical city. These plans seek to open the city up for new commercial office and luxury housing development – through a mix of rezonings, subsidies, and infrastructure investments in public transportation, open space, culture, and spectacle. The public sector resources on which these plans lay claim are substantial – an estimated $20 billion in capital spending. The development that would result from these plans offers many benefits for the city's future, including new jobs, a higher capture rate of high-end commercial and residential users, increased tax revenues, and enhanced public transportation and open space. The Bloomberg vision for New York City's future is compelling in many respects: its focus on livability and public space, its high design standards, its acknowledgement that adaptation to a largely post-industrial economy is needed in land use planning, workforce development and economic development policy. But the vision also implies several assumptions with which we disagree. First, it equates real estate development with economic development. Second, it posits a future city that exists primarily for its most privileged residents, with too few real benefits of growth reaching the less-wealthy 80% of the population. The plans emanating from the current administration's bold vision for New York are likely to amplify the inequalities embedded in the service-intensive economy and further drive up real estate values. As a result, they will displace additional low-income housing (thus increasing segregation) and additional viable manufacturing (thus reducing blue-collar job opportunities). Few corresponding gains (e.g. affordable housing, living wage jobs) are being offered for low- or moderate-income families. In addition, the environmental burdens of growth in an increasingly polarized city will continue to be borne disproportionately by low-income communities of color. Fortunately, the choice is not between inequitable growth and no growth. There are innovative strategies for utilizing planning and redevelopment tools – without abandoning most of the current plans – not only to generate prosperity, but to share it more equitably and to produce it more sustainably. Housing advocates, community organizations, labor unions, business groups, environmental/environmental justice groups, and advocacy/smart growth planners around the country are experimenting with new tools. Smartly applied, in combination, many of these tools could reshape proposed redevelopment plans to create more shared and sustainable prosperity in New York City.
  • Publication
    Imagining Land Use Futures: Applying the California Futures Model
    (1995-09-01) Landis, John D
    The California Urban Futures Model (or CUF Model) is the first of a new generation of metropolitan planning models designed to help planners, elected officials, and citizen groups create and compare alternative land-use policies. This article explains how the CUF Model works and then demonstrates its use in simulating realistic alternatives for regional and subregional growth policy/planning. Part One explains the design principles and logic of the CUF Model. Part Two presents CUF Model simulation results of three alternatives for growth policy/ land-use planning alternatives for the San Franciso Bay and Sacramento areas. Part Three demonstrates the use of the CUF Model for evaluating alternative agricultural protection and zoning policies at the county, or sub-regional, level.
  • Publication
    Planning in a World City: New York and its Communities
    (1996-10-01) Birch, Eugenie L.
    Planning in New York, a world city, is complicated, fragmented, layered, and project-oriented. The imperatives of a metropolis often dash with the goals of neighborhoods. The planning commission, working within a highly structured and legalistic environment, promotes compromise, balances the needs of different groups, and mediates conflicts, while ensuring that major projects get built. Case studies of Donald Trump's Riverside South, the United States Tennis Association's National Tennis Center and others illustrate the nature of large city planning. They also give rise to a set of governing principles.
  • Publication
    Men, Women, Job Sprawl and Journey to Work in the Philadelphia Region
    (2007-01-01) Weinberger, Rachel
    The observation that increasing dispersion of employment opportunities leads to decreased travel times is reflective of a short-rem/phenomenon. Census-reported journey-to-work travel time is examined for the greater Philadelphia region, showing that more people are commuting by automobile, a mode usually associated with shorter journey times, but are reporting longer trip times. The finding is counterintuitive as it coincides with a period when new jobs were established in outlying areas and the region experienced a net loss in jobs. The study concludes that as job opportunities disperse into lower density areas, Philadelphia's existing high-capacity systems are underutilized, and transportation systems throughout the region that were designed for relatively low demand are becoming overwhelmed in time. The net effect is a breakdown of both the urban mass transit systems and the suburban and rural highway networks, the latter because of overuse and the former because of underuse.
  • Publication
    Radburn and the American Planning Movement
    (1980-10-01) Birch, Eugenie L.
    Many intellectual streams have contributed to the ideology of the American planning movement. Radburn, a partially built, planned, New Jersey settlement, represents the influence of English garden city theories. Radburn's plan was so well designed and rationally organized that it has become a permanent resource for planners who in every generation examine and sometimes adapt it to solve contemporary problems. As a result, it has survived as testimony to the planners' vision of suburban growth. It also represents, however, a neglected promise unfulfilled because of larger currents in American culture.
  • Publication
    Classifying Opportunity Zones- A Model-Based Clustering Approach
    (2022-01-01) Green, Jamaal; Shi, Wei
    Objective: Opportunity Zones (OZs) are the first major place-based economic development policy from the federal government in nearly two decades. To date, confusion persists among planners and policymakers in some places as to what features of OZ tracts matter for their inclusion, and, secondly, what features of OZ tracts make them attractive targets for potential investment. The authors developed a typology of OZ tracts in order to offer planners and policymakers alternative ways of organizing a highly variable set of tracts. Methods: This study employs model-based clustering, also known as latent class analysis, to develop a typology OZ tracts from the population of all eligible tracts in the United States. The authors use publicly available data from the US Census Bureau and Urban Institute in developing the typology. Descriptive statistics and graphics are presented on the clusters. Using Portland, Oregon as an example city, the authors present a cartographic exploration of the resulting typology. Results: OZs present with immense variation across clusters. Some clusters, specifically cluster 3 and 9, are less poor, have a greater number of jobs and higher development potential than other clusters. Additionally, these exceptional clusters have disproportionate rates of final OZ designation compared to other clusters. In Portland, these less distressed clusters make up the majority of ultimately designated OZ tracts in the city and are concentrated in the downtown area compared to the more deprived eastern part of the city. Conclusions: We find that OZ designation is disproportionately seen in particular clusters that are relatively less deprived than the larger population of eligible tracts. Cluster analysis as well as other forms of exploratory or inductive analyses can offer planners and policymakers a better understanding of their local development context as well as offering a more coherent understanding of a widely variant set of tracts.