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Why Do The Suburbs Still Matter?

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Future of Cities. Watch Ellen Dunham-Jones' full Talk -- Retrofitting Suburbia -- on TED.com.

A dead mall in St. Louis re-imagined as an arts space.
/ Courtesy of Ellen Dunham-Jones
/
Courtesy of Ellen Dunham-Jones
A dead mall in St. Louis re-imagined as an arts space.

About Ellen Dunham-Jones' Talk

In this Talk, Ellen Dunham-Jones takes an unblinking look at underperforming suburbs and makes a proposal that would transform them into livable, sustainable places. She offers the next big idea for sustainable design over the next 50 years: retrofitting suburbia. She shares her vision of dying malls rehabilitated, dead "big box" stores re-inhabited and parking lots transformed into thriving wetlands.

This neighborhood grocer and café in Phoenix was once a strip mall.
/ Courtesy of Ellen Dunham-Jones
/
Courtesy of Ellen Dunham-Jones
This neighborhood grocer and café in Phoenix was once a strip mall.

About Ellen Dunham-Jones

Ellen Dunham-Jones teaches architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is an award-winning architect and a board member of Congress for the New Urbanism. She shows how the design of where we live can impact some of the most pressing issues of our times: reducing our ecological footprint and energy consumption, improving our health and communities, and providing living options for all ages.

Dunham-Jones is widely recognized as a leader in finding solutions for aging suburbs. She is the co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs, showcasing more than 50 case studies across North America of "underperforming asphalt properties" that have been redesigned and redeveloped into walkable, sustainable vital centers of community.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR/TED Staff