51:50 minutes (24.88 MB)
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This weekend, Blue Back Square opens in West Hartford, Connecticut. It's been hailed as a model of new urban design, and panned as a cookie-cutter development.
The development project, just off the city's already bustling downtown center will bring in major national retailers, and lots of high-end housing. But it also looks remarkably like other, similar projects around the country.
And so, it sets up a conflict. The new urban model prescribes more Blue Back Squares, adding to the density of existing shopping districts and limiting suburban sprawl. These "walkable" communities place a Whole Foods right around the corner, for healthy, low-impact living.
But what happens when the New England town center starts to lose it's unique character? When new construction dwarfs the modest buildings of the past? When it's easier to find a "Cheesecake Factory" than a local bakery?
We'll talk with a developer of Blue Back Square and with experts in the new urban model.
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