Housing Infrastructure Cities: Hong Kong / Sydney How We’re Blinded To The Limitations Of Transit Oriented Development

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Conference Proceeding
AMPS Proceedings 7 Series, 2016, pp. 215 - 220
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Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is understood to be a solution to a broad range of issues in contemporary city building. From housing density and the focus of urban renewal back toward the center of cities and in response to the desire to intensify suburban centers in the provision of more housing, more amenity, more walkable neighborhoods, it is understood to be a success. It is argued as part of responses to questions of both social and environmental sustainability in terms of the reduction of resource use through the concentration of activity around existing and newly developed transport hubs. Equally it is also presented as a solution to governmental risk amelioration and the exposure of tax payer resources to new development through innovations in funding models for example away from public sector only provision of infrastructure and toward the transfer of construction and demand risk, in addition to strategies such as value capture as part of sophisticated new models of public private partnerships or private delivery of projects. Together, these clusters of arguments for TOD make it a powerful and compelling concept. However, what these blind us to is the strategic socio-political failures of TOD if it is situated on a trajectory of urban spatial reasoning through the twentieth century and particularly with reference to a history that includes the Neighborhood Unit. Building housing in cities has through the twentieth century been a more complex problem then simply building density over infrastructure. This paper will examine some of that history, its practice in both north America, Uk and Australian cities, but also in Asian cities, and argue that neighborhood has been a critical spatial mechanism for constituting cities and ourselves as urban and domestic subjects. The absence of that reasoning in TOD has profound consequences for city functioning and social and political resilience
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