Some of the world’s best, most vibrant urban areas spring from partial developments and upgrades, not the “scrap and build” approach widely applied in urban regeneration, said Koichiro Aitani, Texas A&M associate professor of architecture, in his new book, “Urban Catalyst.”
In the book, Aitani includes a series of case studies that illustrate when upgrades to part of a vacant or industrial urban area spurred its transformation into a popular public space.
In one example, activists teamed with the city of New York to save an elevated railway in a Manhattan meatpacking district from demolition. The railway, turned into a public park called the High Line, helped upgrade the West Side of Manhattan into a popular destination.
Additional examples of urban catalytsts in Aitani's book include a new art center in a Japanese city that turned vacant downtown lots into a tourist destination, and more.
Aitani, who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2013, studies architecture, urban design, residential and retail developments, urban regeneration, and Japanese architecture theory and history.