CityPlace and the Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Placemaking

By Michael W. Seymour and Jason Walker.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Mixed-use town centers have become a development trend in the United States as a result of the New Urbanist movement. While most of these new towns have been built on undeveloped or underutilized suburban land, CityPlace in West Palm Beach Florida has been one of a few that attempts to create an entirely new city center within the heart of a major metropolitan area. As a seventy-two acre six hundred million dollar project, CityPlace is one of the largest and boldest urban redevelopments to be attempted in the United States in the past decade. Now that CityPlace is nearly ten years old, it is an appropriate time to take stock of its successes and shortfalls as both a revitalization effort and as a civic space.
CityPlace raises issues common to such urban renewal projects: the “blighted” urban site that CityPlace was built upon is not atypical of most major metropolitan areas, and the project was developed through the type of public-private partnership that has become popular-and some would say necessary—for large scale redevelopment. This article focuses upon two fundamental questions that should be asked of all such projects: 1. Does CityPlace complement or compete with the existing historic center of downtown? 2. On balance, does CityPlace serve the public interest, or primarily those of private developers? The discussion concludes with lessons learned from CityPlace in an effort to assist urban designers, planners, developers, and public officials undertaking similar urban redevelopment projects.

Keywords: Case Study, Urban Redevelopment, Public-Private Partnerships, New Urbanism

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.19-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.412MB).

Michael W. Seymour

Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS, USA

Michael W. Seymour is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University, where he teaches landscape graphics, history of landscape architecture and design studios. He has an undergraduate degree in fine art from Centenary College of Louisiana and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University. His research interests include design education and landscape history.

Prof. Jason Walker

Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, USA

Jason B. Walker is Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University. He is a registered landscape architect and member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). He holds an MLA (2001) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a BLA (1997) from Mississippi State University. Professor Walker’s research focuses on sustainability in the built environment and pedagogy – teaching and learning in the design studio.