Ridgefield is one of the suburban New Jersey towns that are on the edge of developing an urban character. The first settlement in the area dates back to 1662. The town population increased dramatically in the 1920's and 30's and the positive population trend continued into the 1960ies. Over that period the town has grown into the meadowlands with a mix of housing and light commercial uses. Today most commercially attractive uses have moved on and left behind an area of vacant land interspersed with small commercial units, housing and even some culturally significant structures.
At this point there is no clear vision in which direction future development should go. Conversations with local stakeholders mentioned plans for additional housing but there were no definite proposals. In this situation the academic exercise of a design studio provides the opportunity to explore different possible solutions and urban designs for urban revitalization.
The Senior studio of 2008 studied the existing urban patterns and natural conditions of the western section of Ridgefield. The students developed proposals well worthy to be considered a significant contribution to the ongoing discussion, how to approach the modernization of New Jersey.