Slow Urbanism as a Sprawl Antidote Winning the Race on Foot Borrowing from Slow Urbanism's Place-Based Sustainable Practices
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America’s suburban development patterns that have contributed to the proliferation of sprawl have had many adverse effects on the quality of life able to be realized by many communities in urban metropolitan areas. Development that is automobile-focused, separates land uses, occurs on a rapid timetable, and is increasingly homogenous has been the result of new technologies and policies coupled with the removal of the circumstatial constraints that were present in ancient civilization formation. Moreover, the human predisposition and preference for speed over slowness reinforces fast development and the loss of a local, place-based character. In order to pursue a higher quality of life, particularly in suburban contexts, this paper proposes Slow Urbanism as a sprawl antidote and leans on six key components of the Charter of Slow Urbanism to guide policy reform and design goals as it is applied through the lens of retrofitting our existing autocentric suburbs. At the most basic level, this framework is applied to an area of recent reinvestment in one of Atlanta’s inner-metropolitan suburbs, the City of Smyrna near the I-75/I-285 interchange. Through a systematic process of assessing the current “speed” of this locale, particularly the means of transportation available, the character of its urban form, and land use patterns, specific interventions will be proposed that incrementally incorporate the philosophy of Slow Urbanism and improve the livability, equity, and place-based identity of this area to better establish it as a compact, walkable district.