Planning Implications and Conclusion

The Central Ohio region is experiencing growth and is projected to continue growing. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Central Ohio’s metropolitan planning organization, commissioned a collaborative study released in 2015 called insight2050 that projected an addition of “more than 500,000 people [to the region] by 2050” (Calthorpe Associates, 2015, p. 6). This would mean a 28% increase in population for the seven-county region from 2010 to 2050. Even now, the Columbus region’s growth has outpaced peer regional cities. Net migration for the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in 2015 was negative in both Pittsburgh and Cleveland, while the Columbus MSA added 24,324 people. Moreover, relatively healthy regions like Cincinnati and Louisville added just 9,269 and 7,241 respectively.

It is not only the region that has experience population growth. From 2002 to 2016, the residential population of downtown increased from 3,619 to 8,100, an increase of about 124% in 14 years. The downtown population is not likely to rebound to its previous height of 35,049 in 1950, but the demand for units is likely to continue. To keep up with population growth, developers in Central Ohio have been building housing at a fast clip. In downtown alone, there was $357 million worth of residential investment underway at the end of 2016, representing 1,360 units (Capital Crossroads & Discovery Special Improvement Districts, 2017, p. 10; Capital Crossroads & Discovery Special Improvement Districts, 2017). Downtown Columbus has $137 million in proposed residential investment and a 97% apartment occupancy rate (Capital Crossroads, 2017). Public infrastructure investments in the downtown area total $388 million since 2011, which city officials claim has generated nearly $2 billion in private investment (Schneider, 2016). The renewed interest in downtown and urban living in Columbus is undeniable.

Figure 31: Downtown Columbus Population, 1940-2015
Based on approximate area south of I-670, north of I-70, west of I-71, and east of the Scioto River.

The Central Ohio region has experienced strong growth in housing sales to keep up with population growth. New home sales in 2016 were higher than they have been since 2007 and the average price of a lot rose from $65,000 to $83,000 from 2011 to 2016 (Weiker, 2017). Considering the demand, buyers are paying a premium for new and existing homes. Last year, Central Ohio experienced the lowest supply of homes on record with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and 48% of homes sold in about a month (Buchanan, 2017). This points to a strong demand for residential construction in the region across the market of new and existing homes.

Renewed interest in urban living.

Much of this development reflects a renewed interest in urban living. A number of Columbus’s historic urban neighborhoods are similarly enjoying healthy real estate markets. The near north side neighborhoods, composed of Italian Village, Victorian Village, and Harrison West, have become trendy locations over the past couple of decades and have rapidly increased in price. The average sale price of a single-family home through 2005 and 2006 was $222,404. Ten years later, the average price increased 34.14% to $334,678. As a comparison, the traditionally middle-class Northland neighborhood between Morse Rd. and S.R. 161 experienced a decline of 11.28% in sales prices from 2005-2006 to 2015-2016. The near north side neighborhoods demonstrate the market strength of urban neighborhoods in Columbus relative to the decline or stagnation of newer areas of the city.

Table 11: Residential Transactions in Harrison West, Victorian Village, and Italian Village Source: Franklin County Auditor

Figure 32: Map of Select Inner-City Neighborhoods

Part of the success of the near north side neighborhoods has been their ability to add more housing units than previously existed. In the mid-20th century, many single-family homeowners left these neighborhoods for the suburbs. This encouraged the creation of multi- family housing out of single-family homes, and a spurred a reduction in owner-occupancy.
For example, from 1960 to 1980, the homeowner occupancy rate in Italian Village declined by 11.7% while the vacancy rate nearly doubled. As reinvestment occurred from the late 1970s through today, many homes have been restored to their original single-family use— though unlikely to be inhabited by a household of more than two.

In addition, there has been much new construction of multi-family apartment and condo buildings on vacant or underutilized sites. Once home to industrial uses, the Harrison West and Italian Village neighborhoods both offered large parcels of land for redevelopment at higher densities. Examples of this include the Harrison Park and Jeffrey Place projects, both of which feature four-story apartments and condominiums. In Victorian Village, home construction has been largely in-fill, on single parcels of demolished homes. Despite efforts at building more densely, the population of the neighborhood has not increased to pre-decline levels. One census tract in Victorian Village, a neighborhood that experienced gentrification in the 1980s and 1990s, counted 7,526 people in 1960, and in 2015 that number was down to 3,174. It seems that even with intense reinvestment and so-called gentrification over decades, the population of the core urban neighborhoods is not approaching pre-revitalization levels.

This is relevant when we consider the German Village context. German Village is a historic district just south of Downtown Columbus where the built environment is relatively fixed due to historic preservation regulations and lack of vacant land. Unlike the neighborhoods of Italian Village, for instance, there is not an abundance of vacant land to build on. The neighborhood is considered “built-out,” a term indicating a very limited potential for additional construction. The area experienced revitalization earlier than the near north side neighborhoods, with the movement crystallizing in 1960 at the establishment of the German Village Society. Today, the district is regarded as a desirable residence in the city and enjoys a positive reputation for visitors as well.

German Village is hailed as a national success in both historic preservation and urban revitalization. Formerly derelict homes and businesses have been transformed into lavish displays of craftsmanship and affluence, attracting visitors from around the country. In other neighborhoods without historic regulations or with developable land, supply can increase with demand through the development of additional housing units at higher densities. In German Village, historic designation largely prevents the addition of new units.

Not only is supply strictly limited, but the increasing market desirability of German Village has increased the real estate value of homes. When buyers pay steep prices for homes in the district, they expect a certain level of comfort. If the current structure does not meet those expectations, homeowners with financial means do not hesitate to adapt the space to their desires. Pressure to live in the district is so high that buyers consistently purchase non- residential structures and convert them to residential use. Structures that once housed shops and groceries now are private residences. This type of conversion is detrimental to the mixed- use fabric that contributes to the charm of the neighborhood. Living in a retail-designed structure also presents pragmatic obstacles. For example, buildings designed to showcase the goods for sale often have full-length windows along the street to encourage window- shopping. When these structures become residences, the full-length windows are invariable shuttered or blocks with window treatments to prevent prying eyes. The figure below show three structures converted from retail to residential use. The commercial architecture is apparent.

Figure 33: Examples of business to residential conversions

This leads to the question of how much an urban neighborhood can change before it loses some of its urbanity. If revitalizing historic neighborhoods leads to larger homes, a loss of retail structures, an embrace of garages, fenced in backyards, and swimming pools, how much different is the urban area from the suburbs? In the case of German Village, there is the added characteristic of architectural and demographic homogeneity—a common feature of wealthy suburbs.

In German Village, however, evidence shows a concerted effort to construct a residential- only enclave. Since the establishment of the commission in 1963, many neighborhood residents have expressed dismay toward increasing retail activity in the neighborhood, citing the importance of a "balance" in the neighborhood between residential and retail. While a balance is certainly necessary, there are different interpretations of the right balance. Architects of the revitalization were largely from suburban backgrounds, where separation of land uses was standard. They may have believed this land use strategy superior to integrated residential and retail, which was the model that prevailed during the neighborhood's decline.

Perhaps part of German Village’s success is due to the many ways in which it mimics suburbia. Attracting well-to-do suburbanites requires effort. For many, leaving the manicured lawns and perceived safety of suburban communities represents a significant risk. This risk could be in the form of financial security of real estate investment or in perception of security from crime. In order to be attractive to people who have means to live wherever they choose, German Village must offer considerable advantages. Just like in the suburbs, there is a boundary that distinguishes the community from others. Just like in the suburbs, the neighborhood offers aesthetic policing of exterior materials and the built environment. Many homes, like suburbs, offer protected parking for multiple cars, fenced in yards, and other amenities. Census data show that the population is largely high-income and highly educated. The similarities between this historic enclave and the popular perception of suburbs are many.

Urban Land Institute

There are other acknowledgements that German Village possesses suburban characteristics. In 2016, the Urban Land Institute published Housing in the Evolving American Suburb in conjunction with RCLCO Real Estate Advisors. The report applied a framework to census tracts in the largest U.S. metropolitan areas and groups them into one of five suburban paradigms “to reflect the impact of land value and availability on development trends and to group locations that are likely to have similar existing conditions, supply and demand dynamics, property values, and types of available development sites among suburban areas. Those paradigms are (a) established high-end suburbs, (b) stable middle-income suburbs, (c) economically challenged suburbs, (d) greenfield suburbs, and (e) greenfield value suburbs” (Urban Land Institute, 2016).

The report was complemented by the development of an interactive web map called the RCLCO Suburb Atlas (rclco.com/suburb-atlas). This atlas visualizes the five paradigms of suburbia by census tract and classifies Census Tract 57 in German Village as an established high-end suburb. This classification is defined by “high home values and established development patterns that likely offer the best opportunities for market-based development but also tend to have strident community objection to new growth” (Urban Land Institute, 2016, p. 5).

This specific criterion for inclusion are not detailed in the research, so it is difficult to determine the exact combination of attributes that put Census Tract 57 into this category. German Village is the only central urban neighborhood in Columbus in the established high- end suburb category. The next closest tracts in the category are the inner-ring suburbs of Grandview Heights and Bexley, followed by the Berwick neighborhood of suburban Columbus.

The ULI report also referenced a 2015 survey that found “63 percent of millennials prefer living in a ‘car-optional’ neighborhood, which is hard to find in most suburbs. Yet when respondents were asked to look five years into the future, the share of millennials preferring urban housing dropped nine percentage points, to 37 percent overall, and 71 percent said they expect to live in a single-family home” (Urban Land Institute, 2016, p. 28). German Village can offer both of these amenities, considering the preponderance of single-family dwelling units in the neighborhood. Over 1,000 of the neighborhood’s 1,600-some structures are single-family homes.

The inclusion of German Village in the ULI categorization of suburbs speaks to the unique social and spatial attributes of the neighborhood, further indicating its identity as a suburb in the shadow of downtown Columbus.

Figure 34: RCLCO Suburb Atlas, German Village outlined in green

Another “German Village”

The appeal of German Village is so strong that one Cleveland-area developer chose to mimic the neighborhood in a New Urbanist development in Avon Lake, OH. The development, called Currant Village, began construction in the early 2000s and bills itself as offering "unique cluster-style homes...that echo a lifestyle of traditional values and turn-of-the-century charm." The Lorain County neighborhood is bold about its replication of the Columbus historic district, using street names like Jaeger and Shiller Court, Brust and Kossuth Drive, and Handford Boulevard. All are names of German Village roads, save for the alternate spelling of Hanford Street which is just three blocks from the district’s southern boundary. Currant Village is also situated directly off Lear Road, a name identical to German Village’s Lear Street.

Figure 35: Aerial view of Currant Village, a development in Avon Lake, Ohio

In addition to road names, the built environment of Currant Village is also based on the aesthetics of German Village. Houses are tightly spaced onto small lots and the street layout uses rear alleyways for detached garage access, a rare feature in the post-war suburbs of Cleveland. Likewise, the houses have no driveways or street-facing garages. Every home in the development uses brick as a building material, whether for the entire structure or just a façade veneer. A low-rise decorative black wrought iron fence runs along the front of every homes, just behind the sidewalk.

Figure 36: Brick cottages on Kossuth Dr. in Avon Lake, Ohio

The developer, Gamellia Homes, writes that Currant Village offers “unique cluster-style homes that reflect a New Urbanism that echo a lifestyle of traditional values and turn-of-the- century charm” (Gamellia Construction Company, n.d.) While new urbanism is now a thoroughly established development model, using a historic urban neighborhood as the model for new suburban construction is certainly unique. The old-world charm comes at a price, however. The most recent sale in the neighborhood was for $399,000 for a 1705 square foot home. Most home values are between $350,000 and $500,000. This is well above the median owner-occupied home value for the census tract, which was $271,800 for the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau (Social Explorer, 2017). Median values for Lorain County are even lower, at $137,400.

Given the high price of living there, Currant Village has achieved a recognizable level of prestige in the area. Billing itself as unique and charming, the German Village-inspired suburban development is an example of the strength of traditional urban planning principles. It also illustrates that traditional principles are attractive to high-income suburban residents in a controlled environment. Even more, Currant Village is a census tract that is 94% white. This comes as no surprise, considering the well-known success of New Urbanist developments across the U.S. From Kentlands, Maryland to Seaside, Florida, New Urbanism has proved an extremely attractive lifestyle for the well-to-do. Prices in Kentlands are topping $1 million, while Seaside has sales over $5 million for single-family homes.

The physical concepts of urbanity—the streets, the density, the mixed-uses and pedestrian- friendly infrastructure—are modeled in developments like Currant Village. But the social aspects of urbanity—the diversity of backgrounds, income, race, religion—are often ignored in these replications. The success of New Urbanism among the elite demonstrates that a neighborhood like German Village had the physical attributes to appeal to this demographic, but lacked a suitable demographic composition prior to revitalization in beginning in 1960.

In this way, German Village can be understood as a project to rectify the social state of the neighborhood with the physical assets.

This research shows that German Village has transformed into a suburban environment, despite its adjacency to Downtown Columbus. In the field of urban planning, we should strive to maintain the legacy and heritage of our urban neighborhoods. This case study illustrates that the urban quality of the environment has degraded since the period of revitalization. This is not a diatribe against gentrification or displacement, but a proposal to consider the built environment more closely when redeveloping.

What does it matter is German Village is becoming suburban?

German Village is one of the most desirable communities of choice in Central Ohio. Clearly it is enjoying an unprecedented measure of success in terms of real estate and perception as a high- quality area of residence. Then, why does it necessarily matter that it mimics suburbia in the ways expressed throughout this research?

Negative impact of physical changes toward smaller households and larger houses.

Smaller households and larger houses has led to reduced population density in the neighborhood. Less population density means less opportunity for local businesses to serve area customers, and as such, many businesses have a more tourism-oriented customer base. While from an economic standpoint businesses may benefit from such an orientation, the resulting effect is a sort of ‘German Village as spectacle’ situation in which the neighborhood is a quaint backdrop for gourmet businesses like the Pistacia Vera bakery or Lindey’s fine dining restaurant.

Larger homes also mean that less people can live in the neighborhood and enjoy the attractive qualities that define German Village. When people purchase two and three adjacent structures to combine for their personal urban compound, they have removed those structures from the housing stock. A childless couple living across multiple combined cottages is inherently contrary to the design of urban life. Altering structures by connecting them to other structures or substantially enlarging them also makes those structures difficult to retro- fit for smaller home sizes and reduces the potential that they “filter down” to lower socio- economic strata in the future. So many homes in German Village have received substantial renovations that the idea that they may later become available to lower-income buyers no longer applies. Furthermore, real estate values are appreciating as a rule, removing the availability of properties for buyers with less resources than the current occupant.

Negative impact of auto-centric built environment.

The adaptations of German Village’s streetscape to accommodate cars has damaged the historic integrity of the neighborhood and has made personal vehicle storage an unnecessary priority.
Curb cuts into the historic limestone have removed the historic infrastructure, which is impossible to exactly replace. The construction of attached garages and even homes with two-bay garages facing the street with driveways has scarred the streetscape. Car-oriented infrastructure also compromises the pedestrian experience and creates safety hazards by creating conflict points between people walking on sidewalks and vehicles turning into driveways of homes or businesses.

Others have also noted the negative impact of car-oriented infrastructure. In his oral history interview with the German Village Society, attorney Scott Dewhirst discussed the contentious nature of parking: “Let’s face it, when German Village was established there were no cars. So, we would have carriage houses off the alleys, but you didn’t have curb cuts off the main streets where people would have their driveways. There was a lot of attempt to try to have people that were creating what we call ‘parking in the front yards.’ That was a big challenge … with people that you’re telling me I can’t park my car on my property. And it’s like, ‘Well, we’re not approving the curb cuts.’ It would not be appropriate to park your car in your front yard” (Oral History Interviews; Dewhirst, p. 9). Dewhirst provides the historical context that demonstrates how parking in the front yard of your home, cutting into the curb, and pouring concrete or laying brick is completely out of line with the development of the 19th-century neighborhood. Yet, parking demands persist and curb cuts abound throughout German Village. Off-street parking also shifts car storage from the shared public space onto private property, while removing at least one off-street parking space from public use through construction of the driveway and removing the curb.

Negative impact of social exclusivity and homogeneity

The lack of income and racial diversity in German Village demonstrates how exclusive the historic district, especially for home-owners. Economic and racial segregation are a problem in Central Ohio. Richard Florida’s recent book, The New Urban Crisis, ranks Columbus second in the nation for economic segregation out of metropolitan areas of more than 1 million people (Ferenchik & Price, 2017). Having concentrated pockets of high-income earners also contributes to pockets of concentrated poverty—a segregated society by wealth and class status. In a democratic society, neighbors of different incomes should be able to coexist. Instead, Columbus reflects the antiquated development practices of the past that defined housing developments by construction cost and used restrictive covenants to exclude populations and land uses considered undesirable (Burgess, 1994).

German Village residents have a history of opposing inclusive housing options, even outside of its borders. In 2001, the developer National Church Residences proposed a subsidized housing complex on S. Grant Avenue, just north of Interstate 70 at the intersection of Fulton Street. The site is just across the Grant Avenue bridge from German Village, but not within the boundary of the district. The German Village Society president at the time argued that Columbus needed “market-value rate housing downtown” and “said the notion that a 100- unit apartment complex with a mix of homeless and low-income tenants won't affect a neighborhood [was] ‘silly,’ according to a July 24, 2001 Columbus Dispatch article. The paper also reported that “Nearby residents want assurances that the property will be well- maintained and not spark crime or traffic problems (Ferenchik, 29 Sept. 2001). "We are the ones who have to live with your golden calf," is what Sallie Gibson, a Republican City Council candidate, said at the time. Al Waddell, of the Council of Historic Neighborhoods, “was concerned about what he called an ‘experimental mix’ of low- income and formerly homeless residents,” and a city council member said the project had elicited “e-mails…that were ‘borderline racist,’ according to a Columbus Dispatch article on July 31, 2001. At a public hearing, one German Village residents called the project a “recipe for disaster” (Dispatch, 24 July 2001).

The project was completed in 2003 despite the opposition. The amount of attention and emotions this project received is representative of exclusionary sentiment among some neighborhood residents. Having neighbors of a different economic status was perceived as a threat to some residents, who clearly appreciate the homogenous demographic composition of the historic district.

Privatism: a culture centered on home, not community

In his 2013 publication, “Suburbanism as a Way of Life, Slight Return,” Alan Walks identified a dialectic between urban publicity and suburban domesticity, in the ideal sense. He put the attributes of “public sphere, publicism, division of labour, politics, and exteriority” into the urban ideal, while including “Domestic sphere, privatism, family, neighbouring, and interiority” in the suburban ideal (Walks, 2013). In German Village there is a strong culture of domesticity, privatism, and interiority as demonstrated in Chapter 5. In turn, this points to a lack of publicism and exteriority, to select two applicable components of the Walks dialectic.

Practically speaking, this means that the majority of people’s activities, like socializing and neighboring, happen inside the private space of home. This dynamic discourages spontaneous contact and privileges existing social networks over potential social interactions. Consider backyard pools as an example. With summer recreation available behind a private and secure fence or wall, residents are less likely to engage in public-facing recreational activities in communal spaces. This has the impact of reducing vitality in public spaces, like community centers or public parks, and re-focusing recreation in controlled private spaces. An effect of this could potentially be reduced interaction with neighbors and a diminished potential for social relationships outside of existing circles. Another contributor to reduced social interaction is the lack of children in the neighborhood. Children are frequently a cause of social interaction with other families in a school environment. Without a large contingent of parents with school-aged children, families may be more insular than in other places.

Application of this research in other contexts

Is this research applicable in other contexts? Case studies present an obstacle for drawing out theories and concepts at a macro scale, as the conclusions reached here are context-specific to the case study. For German Village, the trend of suburbanization is indicative of wider trends toward smaller households and larger living spaces, to an extent. The growth in size of dwelling units is not exponential, but there will be a size the market is willing to bear at certain price points.

Planning regulations

Planning regulations at the municipal level, and the hyper-local level by the German Village Commission, have failed to consider the sum impacts of incremental changes on the built environment. Regulations have not tried to preserve or incentivize a revitalization of energy in historic neighborhoods. Instead, the regulation focuses on preserving structures and regulating the aesthetics of new structures. There is a need for regulation to preserve more than simply the aesthetic of place, but the characteristics that define them culturally. For German Village, this originally meant a sincere mix of land uses, with residential very often over retail establishments and a ratio of multi-family units that fostered higher population density. The approach to German Village was one that adapted to the desires of pioneering suburbanites rather than one that required a committed adaptation of newcomers to an existing urban way of life.

To address this, leaders could consider a planning approach that will restore the urban vitality and respect the heritage of this South End neighborhood. Former German Village Society executive director Mike Widner asked: ‘Some of the charm of German Village is its origination as a working-class neighborhood. Can we, should we, try to preserve that heritage?” (As cited in Stover, 2001, pg. 40). This question strikes directly at a major issue in historic preservation. Within the planning context, there is a potential to expand the focus of historic preservation to include the concept of heritage preservation planning, meaning not just structures but ways of life, or at least to the extent possible.

Harold Kalman, author of Heritage Planning: Principles and Process (2014) writes that heritage planning puts an “emphasis on retaining values, associations, and stories” of place, and that its goal is “to manage change wisely, not prevent change” (Kalman, 2014, p. 5). The perspective is not to create museums of neighborhoods, but to respect the values of the original inhabitants in a reasonable way.

For German Village, this could materialize through five policy approaches. The first is to restrict business to residential conversion, with a focus on promoting the use of commercially-designed structures for commercial enterprises. Furthermore, a preference should be given to uses that invite public interaction rather than by-appointment services like law offices and salons. Second, the neighborhood should seek to maintain a balance of single and multi-family housing by restricting the conversion of multi-family to single-family. This would mean disallowing the combination of duplex units into one single-family unit. The rationale for this is to increase the number of people who can live in the neighborhood without additional construction. The recent surge in interest around tiny homes justify the salability of units with low square footage. The third suggestion is to enact a permit parking plan to incentivize alternative transportation and reduce reliance on automobiles. This could take shape as a tiered system that charges progressively more for multi-car households to utilize on-street parking. Fourth, German Village should embrace accessory dwelling units as a valid exercise of an owner’s property rights and a way to increase the number of residents. Practically this could mean converting carriage houses or garages into dwelling units and concurrently not requiring parking for those accessory units. Lastly, the neighborhood should seek opportunities to incorporate affordable housing in and around the historic district as a nod to the area’s origin as a working-class immigrant enclave.

Opportunities for Future Research and Concluding Remarks

This research has demonstrated that German Village has been transformed from a lively and economically diverse neighborhood with a variety of retail and commercial offerings into a tamed suburban enclave of wealthy former suburbanites. The built environment has been dramatically altered to accommodate the lifestyle preferences of high-income earners amid a neighborhood constructed for working-class immigrant laborers in in the 19th century. Today’s neighborhood supports less than half the amount of people than the pre-restoration era and offers retail options that focus primarily on dining over more pragmatic offerings like pharmacies and hardware stores. This leaves one to wonder whether the neighborhood was truly “revitalized.”

Connecting the change in the built environment to the influx of suburbanites has been demonstrated through the physical and culture manifestations of the suburban ideal, and through archival research and survey results to illustrate the previous residential location of current German Village residents. There is a rich opportunity to further this line of thinking by illustrating the residential connection among German Village and key suburban areas of Columbus by analyzing parcel ownership records from the Franklin County Auditor’s office. Using this data, a link could be demonstrated, and an archetypal pathway illustrated. The premise would be that young professionals raised in higher-wealth suburbs like Upper Arlington and Bexley are drawn to live in German Village after college, whether as a single person or as a partnered couple. Once the couple has a school-aged child, they will leave German Village for a suburban school district. Again, when the children have graduated from the suburban school district, the couple may choose to move back to German Village as empty-nesters. While the pattern just described is common in anecdotal evidence, demonstrating this through parcel ownership data would be a positive contribution to the knowledge of urban and suburban population dynamics and life-cycle behaviors of people with financial means.

If German Village is to serve as an exemplar of revitalization, observers should take careful note to address the shortcomings of the district’s development. In any revitalization project, attention should be given to preserve housing affordability for existing and future residents in order to prevent economic isolation. The mix and type of retail establishments should also be considered, to avoid an oversaturation of one attraction and to preserve practical shopping options for residents. The German Village project, ultimately, was a physical restoration of a charming architectural district by suburban residents who were attracted to the unique homogeneity and convenient location of the district. The resulting district is a re-imagined suburb in the shadow of downtown, offering a suburban lifestyle that has attracted people for over 50 years and will continue to do so long into the future. If future revitalization and development efforts in the city resemble the German Village project, then our entire urban fabric will be transformed into something less than a city, or sub-urban.