Southside

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Location: Greensboro, NC. Historic Neighborhood Affected by Highway Construction

Winner of the American Planning Association Outstanding Planning Implementation Award in 2003; Winner of the National Award for Smart GrowthAchievement in 2004; Listed as one of the nation’s twelve best developments by the Sierra Club in 2005. In 1999, the City of Greensboro, North Carolina, requested proposals for the redevelopment of a 10-acre brownfield/greyfield downtown site known as Southside. Just a few minutes’ walk from the city’s central business district, this once genteel neighborhood of Victorian homes had suffered from highway construction and subsequent decades of blight and abandonment. Tom Low, Director of DPZ’s Charlotte office, teamed up with Nate Bowman of Bowman Development Group to design a new master plan for the site that would repair and revitalize Greensboro’s urban fabric. The project consists of 30 single-family homes, 10 two-family homes, 50 townhomes, 20 live- work (shopfront) buildings, 10 restored historic homes, and a number of garage apartments. The town square is carved from an existing block and lined with mixed-use buildings, townhouses, two historic houses, and an existing church. This central gathering space features a donated fountain and installations of public art. Less formal, smaller-scale open spaces are provided in a neighborhood common and a small pocket park that was created from an existing cul-de-sac.

One of the major hurdles to making Southside a vibrant, walkable community was Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, which runs through the center of the neighborhood. The road’s high-speed, suburban geometries were effectively cutting Southside in half, creating an undesirable “dead zone” at the center. Using traffic-calming measures, such as shortening the building setbacks along the road and including on-street parking, the plan reclaims this main street as a grand urban boulevard, with a distinctive, pedestrian-friendly streetscape design that sets Southside apart from the surrounding neighborhoods. As the first TND to be constructed in Greensboro, the project faced many obstacles at every stage of approval and implementation. However, it has emerged as a great success, selling out completely as of September 2004 and winning several prominent awards. Now a thriving neighborhood, Southside brings in greatly increased tax revenues and has helped to spur redevelopment initiatives across the city.

Transect Zone(s): T5 center.
Status: Complete
Project or Plan's Scale: Neighborhood
Features: Mixed uses.
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Residential types: Low-rise flats, Townhouse/rowhouse/maisonette, Semi-detached, Small lot detached, Live/work.
Project team designers: Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company
Project team developers: Bowman Development Group

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Starting/Ending date of construction/implementation: -