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Railroad Abandonment: A Catalyst for Urban Renewal in the San Fernando Valley, California

Railroad Abandonment: A Catalyst for Urban Renewal in the San Fernando Valley, California Abstract: Since the 1980s, railroad abandonment rates have escalated in the United States. Of greater significance, public officials and community leaders have often associated its occurrence with urban blight, de-industrialization, and depressed commercial activity. While some academic research has forecasted these effects, other studies have concluded that their severity was far less pronounced, and some areas exhibited urban renewal. Given the absence of a clear academic consensus on the effects of urban railroad abandonment, this study tested an argument that it stimulates urban renewal by releasing urban property for new development, and influences redevelopment in adjacent areas, thus contributing to revitalization. The Burbank Branch line, located in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles, was examined as a case study. In two out of three regional cities, compelling spatial and statistical evidence was found to conclude that railroad abandonment served as a catalyst to accelerate already-occurring urban renewal adjacent to that right-of-way. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers University of Hawai'I Press

Railroad Abandonment: A Catalyst for Urban Renewal in the San Fernando Valley, California

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'I Press
ISSN
1551-3211
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Since the 1980s, railroad abandonment rates have escalated in the United States. Of greater significance, public officials and community leaders have often associated its occurrence with urban blight, de-industrialization, and depressed commercial activity. While some academic research has forecasted these effects, other studies have concluded that their severity was far less pronounced, and some areas exhibited urban renewal. Given the absence of a clear academic consensus on the effects of urban railroad abandonment, this study tested an argument that it stimulates urban renewal by releasing urban property for new development, and influences redevelopment in adjacent areas, thus contributing to revitalization. The Burbank Branch line, located in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles, was examined as a case study. In two out of three regional cities, compelling spatial and statistical evidence was found to conclude that railroad abandonment served as a catalyst to accelerate already-occurring urban renewal adjacent to that right-of-way.

Journal

Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast GeographersUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 10, 2009

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