Christopher Cabaldon Discusses Regenerating Cities and Transforming Communities in reSite Podcast

Christopher Cabaldon Discusses Regenerating Cities and Transforming Communities in reSite Podcast

Design and the City is a podcast by reSITE, raising questions and proposing solutions for the city of the future. In the seventh episode, Christopher Cabaldon, the longest-serving mayor in West Sacramento’s history, an LGBTQ+advocate, talks about the urban regeneration of his city, from a former industrial town to an urbanized, livable community.

Courtesy of Christopher CabaldonCourtesy of Christopher CabaldonCourtesy of Christopher CabaldonCourtesy of Christopher Cabaldon+ 8

West Sacramento, one of the most livable small towns in America, underwent an incredible transformation during mayor Cabaldon's on-going 20-year-long office. From a once-abandoned industrial city at the core of the California region, “West Sacramento has become a fascinating story of regeneration in the most fundamental way”. Originally a professor of public policy at Sacramento State University, Christopher Cabaldon has been behind the remaking project.

Courtesy of reSite
Courtesy of reSite

Considering the Regeneration process as “something that happens in a place, by a place”, Cabaldon discusses how unpredictable the whole procedure is. In fact, he states that “there is more of a sense of delightful surprise in regeneration, in an understanding that the forces that shape a place are more nuanced, more complex, more interesting than just the planners”.


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Talking about his city and his experience, the transformation put in place a mix of people, each contributing something. “It's a mix of people living together in ways that we didn't experience much. It's more urban than prior patterns in the Sacramento region have been. It's urban in a way where there's subsidized housing for low-income folks living right next door to a judge, to the mayor, to a university chancellor combined with art for the first time”.

Courtesy of Christopher Cabaldon
Courtesy of Christopher Cabaldon

Moreover, on California’s experience with placemaking, Cabaldon explains that the state invests not only in building subsidized affordable housing but also in creating a community for people to live in. With a fund just for public art, the city is a space of expression.

The biggest challenge faced in many cities around the world is affordable housing. For West Sacramento, the biggest task is dealing with affordability crisis not just in the city but also, with thousands of people coming from San-Francisco who cannot find a place to live there. The other challenge would be to reduce the cost of building. Finally, Cabaldon says that “part of our challenge is building a lot more and that's some part of that is on land use regulations and on financing but we're not going to crack that until we also deal with the cost of housing that we've created”.

© Tomas Princ
© Tomas Princ

ReSITE, a global non-profit acting to improve the urban environment, launched its first podcast, Design and the City, featuring nine speakers from the reSITE 2019 REGENERATE event. Revolving around how we can use design to make cities more livable and lovable, every week, a new episode is released, featuring a new guest.

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "Christopher Cabaldon Discusses Regenerating Cities and Transforming Communities in reSite Podcast" 27 Mar 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/936430/christopher-cabaldon-discusses-regenerating-cities-and-transforming-communities-in-resite-podcast> ISSN 0719-8884

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