The Residuals of Urban Planning

[cityscape collage]
©Jay Shuffield

by Jay Shuffield

Page Currently Under Development


1 : REMAINDER, RESIDUUM: as 2 : a payment (as to an actor or writer) for each rerun after an initial showing (as of a TV show)


Urban planning is an ongoing activity in virtually every community in the developed world. For the past century, urban planning has existed as a professional discipline and as an institutionalized governmental process. Much of the work that planners perform entails visioning exercises with communities to improve the places where they live, work, and play. Much of the work of planners involves the laborious technical tasks of documenting existing conditions, projecting trends, and trying to evaluate the full range of effects that would result from physical or policy changes. The work ultimately entails drafting and administering general regulations and advancing projects that shape the physical development of communities. As all this work is performed, urban planning creates its own residuals.

What does that mean, "residuals of urban planning"? I use it broadly to describe the overall effects left behind by the activity of planning, outside of the realization of the explicit plans that are adopted. This includes:

This website is meant to broadly consider the residuals of urban planning and inspire ways to leverage them.

Using Residual Roadway Space
Madison Square and Other Locations

The transformation of the Madison Square intersections in New York City, where Broadway and Fifth Avenue run together between 23rd and 25th Streets, is one of the finest examples of creating a public place from residual space.

Before and After Photos by the New York City Department of Transportation

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