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American Society of Landscape Architects

 

June 2006 Issue

From Base Closure to New Urbanism
Can an innovative urban reclamation project in South Carolina transform a run-down older suburb into a nationally acclaimed sustainable community?

By Catherine Fahey and John H. Tibbetts

From Base Closure to New Urbanism Courtesy Kirk Fromm

Driving eastward from Interstate 26 along Montague Avenue in North Charleston, South Carolina, you might wonder how the ramshackle bungalows and forlorn industrial buildings could ever fit into the New Urbanist “city within a city” planned here.

But keep driving. Once you enter a revitalized downtown district, another picture begins to emerge. Along this charming, four-block-long “main street” on either side of East Montague Avenue, brick storefront buildings that were 70 percent vacant only five years ago are filled with businesses that include a coffee shop, a deli, an Irish pub, and an organic garden store. Crumbling curbs are gone, and the streetscape is immaculate, inviting, and walkable.

You’ve just had a sneak peek at the first stage of Noisette, the infill development that is the largest urban reclamation project in the nation.

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