Urban Schmurban

According to the Des Moines Register, Hubbell Realty has purchased the mixed-use Fox Prairie development out of foreclosure for just over $10 million. Because Hubbell purchased the project at a discounted rate, they believe they will be able to offer the residential condo units at a competitive price. It is certainly not odd or surprising that suburban commercial and residential developments are feeling the pinch now, particularly with the tightening of the financial markets.

But that's not what I want to talk about here. The real shocker in the article was a quote by Rick Tollakson, Hubbell's chief executive:

"It's very convenient to everything," said Tollakson, who described the lofts as urban living in a suburban setting.

It is impossible to have urban living in a suburban setting.

"Urban living" is not defined by the building itself. It is not an open floor plan, stainless steel appliances, bright yellow painted walls, or even by the fact that the building is mixed-use building with residential over commercial! Ironically, Hubble has demonstrated without a doubt that they know what urban living really is.

Urban living is defined by its setting: by connections, by multiple modes of available transportation, by variety of use and ownership, by human diversity, by density, by proximity.

This is not urban.
Fox Prairie Development (Google Streetview)Fox Prairie Development (Google Streetview)

And the development's name, "Fox Prairie," could never ever ever be urban.


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