Bob Loeb joked about how he’d been a “new urbanist” now for two years during his Tuesday speech to the Memphis Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, where he prefaced to repopulate and invest inside the Parkways.
“I’ve have had a lot of fun doing it,” Loeb said. “I’m hoping the economics support it.”
Loeb said Memphis “has a lot of area for not many people,” echoing a sentiment that Downtown Memphis Commission president Paul Morris has shared on multiple occasions.
“Memphis starts on the Mississippi River with its development and somehow or another, like all cities, this sprawl kicks in,” Loeb said. “It’s 340 square miles of city to distribute fire, police and education services within and not enough people. What we need to do is get back into the urban core.”
And he ended his talk with a quote from George Kessler, widely regarded as one of the fathers of urban planning in America who designed Overton Park and the Parkway system:
Planning should be comprehensive. Even though a grand urban design could only be realized in bits and pieces, and over a long period of years, still we should always know where we are going. Each bit and piece should be understandable by reference to the great plan of which it is a part. Planning must also be relevant to the particular city: its geography, its economic character, all its local peculiarities.”