Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Option of Urbanism: Favored Quarter

In real estate speak, there is such a thing as the favored quarter, where developers follow the infrastructure and investment. From The Option of Urbanism:
These housing and retail trends began to reveal a new and unexpected metropolitan development trend. Each metro area began to grow in a single predominant direction: the favored quarter, a ninety degree arc that starts in the traditional downtown of the major city in the region and fans outward in one direction.

The unlikely consequence of this pattern of infrastructure development is that the whole region pays for infrastructure that tends to be placed in the favored quarter; the poor pay the infrastructure of the rich.
Very interesting concept that I had never heard of before. Some examples would include northwest Austin and East Seattle towards Redmond. He mentions that 70% of Seattle's office space is in this quarter. Some cities such as San Francisco and New York have multiple favored quarters because they are such large regions.


Brian said...

In Denver, The favored quarter is the southeast quadrant of the city. South of Colfax and East of Broadway. The reason for this is that there are not any major water crossings or railroads to act as a barrier to the Downtown area. Interstate 25 provides access to this area and is 10-12 lanes wide in places. This area is so well developed that it never really experienced 'white flight' in the previous century. In the '70s, the Denver Tech Center was built on the southern city limits and is considered to be the second downtown.

Denver's industrial area is located north of downtown. This is a tangled mess or freeways, railroads, and gravel pits. There is a gap of several miles before the housing starts again in Adams county. As expected, homes are usually cheaper here and commercial space is less abundant.

Unknown said...

Exceptionally relevant in DC, where the east and south, predominantly African American, are definitely the Unfavored quarters. This pattern extends well into the suburbs.

Morgan Wick said...

Does the book speculate as to why there IS a "favored quarter" and why it's the quarter that it is?

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

From reading the text Morgan, it seems that the first reason for the favored quarter was allowing the rich people with cars to get to the malls. The mall mentioned in the book is the King of Prussia mall outside of Philly. The connection between housing for the rich and recently built freeways was the big reason for the expansion that direction and investment.

The second thing Chris mentions in the book is that offices were located where the boss lived. Think Bill Gates.