Thoughts on a Walking City

Although the Oranges are, like many older East Coast commuting suburbs, well served by regional rail, they still have high rates of foreclosure and unemployment. For the last several years, the township of the Oranges (which includes East, South, and West Orange, as well as the City of Orange) has been seeking to create three "Transit Villages," consisting of mixed-use development within a walkable, half-mile radius from existing rail stations.

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TEMPLE TERRACE, FLA. • Visible Weather

Simultaneous City

Temple Terrace was founded in the 1920s with the transformation of a ranch into a hybrid city and corporate orange grove. Today the suburb is pursuing the development of a downtown through a public/private partnership, with plans to redevelop 225 acres at the intersection of two major roads adjacent to its southwestern border with the fast-growing city of Tampa.

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CICERO, ILL. • Studio Gang Architects

The Garden in the Machine

Located along freight rail lines predicted to increase in capacity, Cicero is an aging, inner-ring suburb of Chicago. In recent decades it has been a point of arrival for immigrants, overwhelmingly Mexican and Central American, and it is experiencing a high rate of foreclosure, both in its fabric of tightly spaced brick bungalows and on industrial sites.

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Nature City

The team headed by Amale Andraos and Dan Wood of WORKac asked, "What if we could live sustainably and close to nature?" Their proposal, Nature City, reinvents British urbanist Ebenezer Howard's 1899 concept of the Town-Country, a classic feature of the Garden City that combines the conveniences of urban life with the health benefits and access to agriculture of country living.

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RIALTO, CALIF. • Zago Architecture

Property with Properties

Rialto has long been a nodal point in Southern California's "Inland Empire"—once a heartland of agribusiness and today one of the largest metropolitan regions in the country, part of the fabric of development that spreads between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Yet this site—Rosena Ranch, just outside Rialto's city limits—is the youngest of the five studied in Foreclosed.

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In the summer of 2011, New York's Museum of Modern Art invited five teams of architects, planners, ecologists, engineers, landscape designers, and other specialists in the urban and suburban condition to develop proposals for housing that would open new routes through the mortgage-foreclosure crisis that continues to afflict the United States.

Establishing studios at MoMA PS1, MoMA's Long Island City affiliate, the teams set out to imagine new models of housing, thinking not only of its physical form but of the systems of infrastructure and finance that support it. Their focus was not the inner city, but rather the suburbs, which are often passed over in the push of development toward an ever-more-distant periphery.

Working with the findings of The Buell Hypothesis, a research report prepared by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University, each team focused on a specific town in one of five regions—the Northeast, the Southeast, the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest—and each developed an inventive proposal that reimagined existing patterns of living, working, and home ownership. Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream lays out their ideas, through detailed illustrations of their projects and through essays by Barry Bergdoll, MoMA's Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, and Reinhold Martin, Director of the Buell Center.

Note: 1.1% is more than double the highest national foreclosure rate prior to 2006. The previous highest rate was .5%.