Last summer, six teams of architects of architects, economists, public policy experts, and housing advocates started developing schemes for re-generating old suburbs in the face of the foreclosure crisis. And in February, an exhibition of elaborate models, videos and descriptions of their dramatic ideas opened at the Museum of Modern Art.
But during a panel on March 8 at the museum sponsored by the Forum for Urban Design, two developers, an architecture professor, and a real estate lawyer reacted soberly to the adventurous and optimistic schemes. Though the panelists agreed that the foreclosure crisis will lead to major changes in suburban development, they all thought new patterns are less likely to be brought about by a revised American dream than by economic and demographic factors. And all said it would be very difficult to change zoning laws to permit denser new development patterns, especially in existing “inner-ring” suburbs.