Sprawl Repair: What It Is and Why We Need It

Sprawl repair should be pursued using a comprehensive method based on urban design, regulation, and strategies for funding and incentives – the same instruments that made sprawl the prevalent form of development, says Galina Tachieva, director of town planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company.
Photo: Galina Tachieva.

Sprawl is malfunctioning. It has underperformed for decades, but its collapse has become obvious with the recent mortgage meltdown and economic crisis, and its abundance magnifies the problems of its failure.

Let us be clear that sprawl and suburbia are not synonymous. There are many first-generation suburbs, most of them built before WWII, that function well, primarily because they are compact, walkable, and have a mix of uses. Sprawl, on the other hand, is characterized by auto-dependence and separation of uses. It is typically found in suburban areas, but it also affects the urban parts of our cities and towns.

Sprawl's defects are not limited to economics. Sprawl is central to our inefficient use of land, energy, and water, and to increased air and water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and the loss of open space and natural habitats. Because it requires a car to reach every destination, it is also to blame for time wasted in traffic, the exponential increase in new infrastructure costs, and health problems such as obesity. Social problems have also been linked to sprawl's isolation and lack of diversity.

Sprawl developments, particularly those in the far-flung exurbs, have recently suffered some of the highest rates of foreclosure. Many homes, and even entire subdivisions, have been abandoned.

Sprawl's future, if current patterns continue, appears no better. Its built form does not serve new and developing markets, providing neither the diversity and stimulation desired by the younger Millennial generation nor the convenience needed by their parents, the Baby Boomers. As Christopher Leinberger has written, many of the car-dependent suburbs on the fringes, unwalkable and poorly served by public transit, "will become magnets for poverty, crime, and social dysfunction."

The party is over.

But we need to house the additional 100 million souls expected to populate this country by 2050.

So what do we do?

Rendering: a standard mall, surrounded by parking lots.
A mall as it exists today.
Rendering: the same mall as before, but transformed.
A proposal for turning the mall into a Main Street.

The options

The first option is to continue building greenfield sprawl, but that is how we got ourselves into this predicament, and one would hope we have now learned our lesson.

The second option is to abandon existing sprawl. This will not be possible either, as the expanse of sprawl represents a vast investment (of money, of course, but also of infrastructure, time, human energy, and dreams). It also offers opportunities for reuse, and cannot be simply discarded or demolished.

The only valid option is to repair sprawl – to deal with it straight on, by finding ways to reuse and reorganize as much of it as possible into complete, livable, robust communities. Pragmatism calls for the repair of sprawl through redevelopment that creates viable human settlements, places that are walkable, with mixed uses and transportation options. Pragmatism also demands we acknowledge, however, that portions of sprawl may remain in their current state, while others may devolve, reverting to agriculture or nature.

Rendering: a block full of oversized houses on large lots.
A block of McMansions on large lots.
Rendering: the same block, with backyards turned into buildings.
Underused backyards are transformed into infill.

Why sprawl repair is imperative

We need sprawl repair because change will not happen on its own. Sprawl is extremely inflexible in its physical form, and will not naturally mature into walkable environments. Without precise design and policy interventions, sprawl might morph somewhat – a strip shopping center might be scrapped and replaced with a lifestyle center when the next owner comes along – but it is unlikely to produce diverse, sustainable urbanism. It is imperative that we repair sprawl consciously and methodically, through design, policy, and incentives.
We need sprawl repair because, in spite of the endless challenges, many opportunities exist. The time is right to deal with sprawl now. Energy costs are rising, meaning long commutes are becoming unaffordable. A changing climate compels us to pollute less. We need to increase physical activity to overcome the epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases. Entire residential and commercial developments are failing. These are the obvious justifications for sprawl repair. But there are other reasons that, while less obvious are equally compelling.

Some of these reasons are economic. For decades, the common wisdom was that exurban residential and commercial development was good for municipalities because of increased property tax revenues. The truth, however, is that municipalities spend much more to expand and maintain suburban infrastructure than they receive in increased revenues. Walkable urbanism, on the other hand, is a much better deal for municipalities. A study in Sarasota, Florida, shows that the county tax yield per acre from an urban mixed-use project is a staggering 3,500 percent more than the tax yield from a suburban mall.

The development industry also has few incentives to continue exurban expansion with lending stalled, property values plummeting, and commuting costs increasing. The market, fortunately, is heading in another direction.

The Baby Boomers and Millenials are creating a major shift in the housing market. Together they represent more than 135 million people, many of them with an orientation toward diverse, compact urbanism.

The population of 21st-century suburbia is very different from the stereotype of 50 years ago that depicted the suburbs as populated by predominantly white, middle-class families with children. The growing presence of ethnic minorities accustomed to driving less and living and working in less space, will contribute to new opportunities for sprawl repair through the engagement of a diverse, multiethnic citizenry.

Sprawl repair also provides the opportunity for economic development. Employment decentralization is a fact, and most businesses are located outside of city limits. Existing single-use, auto-oriented employment and commercial hubs can be redeveloped into complete communities with balanced uses and transportation options. Existing jobs can be saved, and new jobs, many of them green, can be created in the process of – and as a result of – transforming sprawl.

In addition to economic reasons for sprawl repair, the regulatory environment that supports sprawl has already begun to change. Form-based codes have been approved in hundreds of municipalities around the U.S. This shift in the regulatory framework makes smart growth development legal again and assists sprawl repair initiatives.

Regional and statewide planning practices can provide discipline and coordination on a large scale. Many counties, whole regions, and even entire states have already embraced policies that do not foster sprawl, making the repair of sprawling suburbs more feasible, as public resources are channeled to incentivize sustainable growth. In the six-county metropolitan region of Sacramento, California, an association of local governments completed a "Blueprint for the Future." The plan addresses growth through 2050, and encourages compact developments near mass transit, thus saving billions of dollars that would otherwise be needed for freeways, utilities, and other infrastructure. Statewide projects such as Louisiana Speaks endeavor to create coordinated solutions for growth and outline opportunities for infill and repair.

Even at the federal level, agencies have come together to address growth in a holistic, multi-disciplinary manner that should help with sprawl repair. The HUD-DOT-EPA interagency partnership for sustainable communities will coordinate federal housing, transportation, and other infrastructure investments to protect the environment, promote equitable development, and help address the challenges of climate change. This is an opportunity for sprawl repair initiatives to be combined with federal funding, and possibly legislation.

Market forces, policies, and incentives, however, will not be sufficient to achieve the regeneration of our unsustainable suburbs. We also need specific strategies and design techniques.

Rendering: a suburban drive-through restaurant.
A suburban drive-through restaurant.
Rendering: New buildings have surrounded the drive-through.
New building wraps the drive-through to meet the street.

How to Repair Sprawl

Sprawl has been aggressively promoted and encouraged, and the approach to repair must be the same. It should start soon, because despite the severity of the building industry meltdown, development has not stopped, and it is urgent that such activity be redirected to places that have potential for redevelopment – defunct malls, failing office parks and residential subdivisions, empty parking lots, abandoned golf courses – rather than to building more sprawl.

Sprawl repair should be pursued using a comprehensive method based on urban design, regulation, and strategies for funding and incentives – the same instruments that made sprawl the prevalent form of development. Repair should be addressed at all urban scales, from the region down to the community and the building. Strategies should range from identifying potential transportation networks and creating transit-connected urban cores to transforming dead malls into town centers, reconfiguring conventional suburban blocks into walkable fabric, and adapting and expanding of single structures. The sprawl repair method should identify deficiencies in typical elements of sprawl and determine the best remedial techniques for those deficiencies. Rather than the instant and total overhaul of communities, as promoted so destructively in American cities half a century ago, this should be a strategy for incremental and opportunistic improvement.

Sprawl must be fixed. The good news is that we have the tools to do it. Rather than focus on the problems, let's get to work.


Galina Tachieva is a partner and director of town planning at the central office of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, in Miami, Florida and the author of the Sprawl Repair Manual. For two decades, she has designed and implemented human-scale, sustainable communities around the world, from downtowns to retrofits.

Comments

Comments

Land value impacts really, really matter

Galina,

The one thing that is missing from your analysis here (I don't know about your book) is the effect of our various planning "tools" on land values. Land values are actually of all importance to people's decisions about where they will live, because potentially, higher priced land will become a very much higher cost than the actual house.

You are quite right that sprawl took a long time to happen, and was enabled, even encouraged by planning tools at the time. While we are concerned with health effects like obesity today, in the 1950's the planners main health concern was inner city living, its pollution and its psychological effects, especially on children. I think we have to accept that on balance, sprawl still represents some improvement over Dickensian gloom.

I like the fact that you have correctly identified rigid zoning as contributing to sprawl and auto-dependency. It is not entirely about people's "love affair with their car". Generally, people will choose efficient locations at which to live, if they have the best options available to them. Likewise, businesses will also locate efficiently relative to their customers and clients and employees and suppliers and freight providers if they have the best options available to them. Auto-dependent sprawl has a lot to do with these best options being withheld from people by planners of the past. In metros where planning enabled mixed uses of land, we would expect the problems to be much less. Also, forced "urban renewal" certainly contributed to what we see as a problem today (although the planners at the time regarded it as a success). One man's blight is another man's affordable accomodation in an efficient location.

Every metro is different in its problems, and the reasons for them, and the solutions. Sprawl is like a genie out of its bottle that we cannot force back in. You are quite right that it is impractical to abandon existing buildings and infrastructure. Have you read "Clearing the Air in Atlanta" by Alain Bertaud? Building new efficient buildings and infrastructure would use resources and emit carbon, too. Much more, in fact, than just keeping the status quo.

The desired changes in urban form are likely to take a century or more to achieve.

Certain urban planning tools are actually not having the desired effect because of the effect on land values. Here are some quick rules of thumb. (I am restricting my examples to dwellings, but similar economics apply to commercial land).
1) Urban fringe land is the denominator of value for all metro area land. The price of land is higher according to efficiency of location relative to the urban fringe land.
2) In a strictly monocentric metro, the factor of difference between fringe land prices and the suburbs closest to the CBD, is about 10. (values in the CBD itself rise still higher, often by another factor of 10)
3) In a NON monocentric metro, with mixed uses of land, the price "premium" for efficient location is much lower because there is simply so many more options for efficient location relative to employment, retail, education, sports and culture. The factor can often be seen to be about 3.
4) Strict limits to urban fringe growth, result in increases in value of all land. The price of unused fringe land for "other uses" like agriculture makes it possible to develop and sell lots for about $30,000. If lots are selling for a much higher price than this, then oligopoly and speculative effects are occurring. Unfortunately, this results in heightened land values right across the metro.
5) In a NON monocentric metro with no fringe development restrictions, fringe lots might be $30,000 and the most efficiently located lots might be only $90,000. In a monocentric metro with no fringe development restrictions, the most efficiently located lots might be $300,000. In a NON monocentric metro with fringe development restrictions, fringe lots might be $150,000 (which seems to be the price at which they "stabilise" for wider economic reasons, some quite consequential) and the most efficiently located lots might be $450,000. In a monocentric metro with fringe development restrictions, the fringe lots might be $150,000 and the most efficiently located lots might be $1,500,000. NOTE THIS.

Now we need to analyse, under which scenario will the most people CHOOSE to live where we want them to live, in the efficient locations? Even if we adopt infill development and higher density development, on land that is $1,500,000 instead of $90,000 (or even $300,000 or $450,000), obviously the number of people who can afford to choose that location will be drastically reduced.

In fact, it is easily observable that where metro areas have seriously overpriced land, an unusual amount of high density development and redevelopment takes place near the fringe, not in efficient locations at all. This is because households are desperately seeking the "least unaffordable" option for a home. Certain outcomes are starting to become easily observable. At one extreme we have a metro area without restrictions, where the fringes blend into the countryside with a few households living on very large parcels of land, and density gradually increases in an even, natural way, from there inwards. The other extreme is a highly regulated metro where there is an abrupt change at the fringe, from empty fields (which will inevitably be owned by speculators awaiting rezoning) to comparatively high density housing.

It is quite possible that the highly regulated area with a lot of higher density nearer the fringes and LESS high density closer to the CBD (because people simply cannot afford the prices) has forced HIGHER average commutes and VMT on the greater number of people.

The only recommendation I can come up with in the face of the evidence, is that we must abandon blunt instrument "restrictions" that force land values up, and concentrate instead on positive incentives. If land prices are kept low, incentives can also be cost-effective compared to the cost of incentives where land is expensive. The cost to the government, of public space, parks, cycle paths, public buildings, heritage areas, and so on, will be much lower.

I also wish to add that "impact fees" do not just push up the price of newly developed property - they too result in higher land values throughout the metro, although they alone will not provoke speculative bubbles in land values like urban growth boundaries do. Because impact fees, and indeed urban growth and the provision of infrastructure, have their greatest effect on the value of efficiently located land that is already high in value, it is perfectly equitable to pay for infrastructure through property taxes on all property. Impact fees, urban growth boundaries, and monocentric planning, have all contributed to the recent increased accumulation of wealth on the hands of the "already wealthy".

The following is painful to say, but many of the planning preferences today, such as preferences for monocentric metro development, are attempts to provide conditions of population density patterns and common destinations, that will make "Transit" economically viable. The resulting cost impositions on households in land costs, are inequitable as well as hindering the desired outcomes in any case. Meanwhile, Transit, if run at well below optimum loadings (awaiting densification), is actually an inefficient use of resources, and possibly no advantage over autos and roads.

I am afraid that the best policy in many of these areas is to "wait" until new regulations and incentives have had the desired effect; but most planning policy advocates do not like "waiting".

What a coincidence, you come

What a coincidence, you come to post your solutions to a problem a mere month after the publication of a book on same. How ironic that DPZ and its cohorts have thrown yet another "new" solution as a means to invest in expensive design-based solutions. When was the last time you came here and posted your opinions? Probably never, but like Duany and Speck, you'll do whatever it takes to sell, sell, sell. New urbanism is one giant marketing campaign to sell a fantasy, Disneyfied life for well-heeled Americans.

When do you guys find time to actually come up with locally perscriptive solutions to self-perceived problems? Seems like a lot of talking and publishing at DPZ. Who's doing the work?

The problem with New Urbanism and the "congress" (what a pretentious organization with a pretentious moniker) is that it self-stylizes the built environment based on it's own vision of what America should be and then replicates the same solutions in every community it works in. What it, that is NU, does to the landscape is merely a different form of design that presupposes everyone HAS to like it because a trained architect or designer came up with the design and not some capitalist developer. The reality is, the goals are on and the same by both new urbanists and developers.... maximize profit. The new urbanist proponents have created the illusion that everything is garbage and only they know how to fix it, with massive influxes of money (they are a business afterall, let's not confuse them with some grassroots, non-profit) and expenditure on their product. NU isn't ab out people, it's abtou development in a more expensive manner based on aesthetic fetishism. Sadly, planners have lost the ability to understand one shred of social geography and instead have focused on aesthicism and place, rather than people. NU is the poster child for this movement toward planning for capital and not planning for people.

Richard Sennett said it best, that new urbanism and "place making based on exclusion, sameness, and nostalgia is socially poisonous and psychologically useless."

CNU - Behavioral Cause and Effect.

coincidence, publication of a book ironic cohorts invest in expensive design-based solutions. do whatever it takes to sell, sell, sell. marketing campaign sell a fantasy, Disneyfied self-perceived problems? New Urbanism "congress" pretentious pretentious self-stylizes everyone HAS to like it capitalist maximize profit. illusion massive influxes of money expenditure more expensive aesthetic fetishism. lost the ability to understand aesthicism and place, planning for capital socially poisonous and psychologically useless.

I don't care for NU either, but it doesn't make me make up stuff after I go ballistic. Take a chill, big feller.

Best,

D

A load of horse manure.

bflo spews:

"The goals are one and the same by both new urbanists and developers.... maximize profit."

"What NU does to the landscape is merely a different form of design that presumes everyone has to like it because an architect came up with the design and not some capitalist developer."

"NU development in a more expensive manner is based on aesthetic fetishism."

"Planners have lost the ability to understand one shred of social geography and instead have focused on aesthicism and place, rather than people."

bflo's misguided fabrications and innuendo are the worst sort of political fodder. I hope everyone enjoyed watching tea party muckymucks flip-flop face down in the mud.

Your examples

The mall is an interesting example. The problems with the second and third example are similar in kind. The obvious issue with the suburban mcmansion infill idea is that it will literally be in the backyard of the traditional NIMBY crowd. And also, you may not be providing enough street visibility to self regulate the movement of new "strangers" in the neighborhood.

As far as the drive thru idea. You basically screwed the guy who owns the fast food joint out of his most valuable commodity, namely street frontage. Even if the restaurant is set back that far because of the queing lane, the landscape buffer would have allowed for large signage on the frontage. Hey, I don't like that kind of development either, but as someone who has worked in civil and arch design for these kinds of sprawl oriented projects, you can't ignore these things just because we want to be "progressive" or whatever. With franchise fees and overhead, the margin for running that ffast food restaurant is thin, and putting his store behind other stores will probably just put it out of business.

the last two options shown

It's hard to imagine the last two options happening as shown. Seems like it would be more advantageous for a developer to purchase, tear down and recycle the existing McMansions and drive-thru restaurant than build around them. Why keep the existing ugly and poorly located buildings? It's just as easy to imagine the buildings being torn down and the parcels being completed redeveloped with compact designs as it is to imagine townhouses being constructed in between McMansions or mixed use buildings being constructed around an ugly and characterless drive-thru restaurant.

Providing Options

I have once been a fan of this approach. But from the reality of professional practice and observations, I have found that this model has not always been workable.

This model could work well when the primary goal is to build a livable community from the old shopping mall area.

However, there have been many other ways to "fix" the adverse impact of shopping malls. With the right "fix", shopping malls can both contribute to the economy and be friendlier to the environment.

The role of planner/architect is not to give people only one choice, but many choices, in which the designer should help users make decision, based on the understanding that each choice implies its advantages and disadvantages.

__________
Dr. Ngo-Viet Nam-Son Planner & architect (North America & Asia)

A load of horse manure

bflo spews:

"The goals are one and the same by both new urbanists and developers.... maximize profit."

"What NU does to the landscape is merely a different form of design that presumes everyone has to like it because an architect came up with the design and not some capitalist developer."

"NU development in a more expensive manner is based on aesthetic fetishism."

"Planners have lost the ability to understand one shred of social geography and instead have focused on aesthicism and place, rather than people."

bflo's misguided fabrications and innuendo are the worst sort of political fodder. I hope everyone enjoyed watching tea party muckymucks flip-flop face down in the mud.

looks nice, but what's the point?

Some innovative and interesting ideas here but I fear that trying to "repair" sprawl will prove to be a futile and wasteful endeavor.

Why not work on redeveloping the millions upon millions of underutilized acres littering our older central cities? Such areas are close to already compact and walkable neighborhoods and within reach of existing mass transit infrastructure.

The mall retrofit concept above would suffer from the same sort of planning follies as all those isolated greenfield NU developments that have been built out in the middle of nowhere--basically we would end up with a nice little an island of bougie retro-urbanism swimming in a sea of disjointed auto-centric development. In other words, this would be yet another well-intentioned but context-poor development. If it doesn't even come close to feeding into a regional transit matrix, then what's the point of building it in the first place? You'll have a pleasant place to live and grab coffee occasionally on foot that still forces people to get in their cars for just about everything else.

Don't forget the cost to service sprawl

You ask a very important question - namely why would we want to repair sprawl instead of building on unused and underused suburban land? I think there are a couple of very important reasons:

1. Current sprawling areas still need to be serviced. Right now, sprawling suburbs are laid out in a way that prevent transit service from being efficient. This forces most people to drive, which adds to the constant political pressure to expand roadways. If we "repair" the sprawling areas, then better transit service can be provided, Origin-Destination travel patterns can change, and the need to build more roads can be substantially reduced or eliminated.

2. In Canada at least, there is still a substantial demand for new housing thanks to immigration and general population growth (most Canadian cities did not see a housing boom that even remotely resembled what happend in the US). Not everyone is like me and wants to live downtown, so you need to offer a variety of housing types in a variety of neighbourhoods. If the suburban development of housing and commercial space needs to continue, it must be more efficient and more cost-effective. I would rather see both the development of underused central land AND the redevelopment/repair of sprawled areas rather than the construction of new subdivisions on greenfield sites. If more housing is needed it should be built in existing areas, including existing low-density sprawl suburbs.

"Not everyone wants to live downtown," yes, but who pays?

LOL ConcernedAboutW...says, "Not everyone is like me and wants to live downtown, so you need to offer a variety of housing types in a variety of neighbourhoods."

Such a perfect example of the selfish, lazy, spoiled-rotten, entitlement mentality of so many American suburbanites. "To Hell with poor Third World children who are killed and displaced by American oil wars," they say, and "screw America's beautiful old downtowns, damn the struggling working class here in America who cannot afford the automotive and sprawl lifestyle and I don't need or want mass transit! I want my car, my freeway and my house in the low-density suburbs!"

Ah, yes, but why should others have to pay for it, namely the half of America that sees the econmic, cultural and environmental wisdom of living an urban, high-density, mass transit-rich, walkable lifestyle?

The fact of the matter is that suburban infrastructure costs American taxpayers 10 times the amount spent on urban infrastructure. Half of Americans who live in urban areas should not be expected, then, to foot the bill for the half that lives in the suburbs, when the bill is so much larger. To do so is a travesty of justice and precisely the reason this nation is in as big a pickle, economically and geopolitically, as it is.

People like ConcernedAboutW... need to wake up to this simple fact and accept that the days when they got to call the shots and hog all the money are gone.

Who pays indeed.

baycityroller,

you may think that everyone should be forced into living in dense cities, but that is not how things work on Planet Earth. Here in rich, free countries on planet earth, people actually are often able to make these things called choices. Welcome to the human condition and to living in human societies! Welcome, friend!

Best,

D

No one wants to force you to live in a high density urban core

No one wants to force you to live in a high density urban core, Dano.

Just be prepared to pay the true cost for living far outside of it, instead of expecting---demanding---subsidies from the rest of us.

Those demanding suburbs.

.
.
Here on our planet, most people are blissfully unaware of subsidies that affect them every day, so the ridiculous assertion that 'suburbanites demand subsidies to continue to live there' - along with the other ridiculous assertions upthread - is laughable at best, not even wrong at worst. Probably closer to 'not even wrong' than 'laughable', but YMMV.

HTH.

Best,

D

Did you actually read my post?

@baycityroller1: I do need to ask if you actually read my post. First of all, I live in a dense urban area, my house has a very small footprint, I take transit or walk every single day and I hardly drive at all, so please don't accuse me of being "selfish, lazy" etc. I was referring to the fact that I understand that many people don't want to live downtown, unlike me, who does actually live downtown. I think you completely misread the meaning of Not everyone is like me and wants to live downtown, so you need to offer a variety of housing types in a variety of neighbourhoods. Where exactly do you get me saying that shows a disregard for the Third World poor?

Secondly, I'll refer you back to my point no. 1:

1. Current sprawling areas still need to be serviced. Right now, sprawling suburbs are laid out in a way that prevent transit service from being efficient. This forces most people to drive, which adds to the constant political pressure to expand roadways. If we "repair" the sprawling areas, then better transit service can be provided, Origin-Destination travel patterns can change, and the need to build more roads can be substantially reduced or eliminated.

I specifically refer to the retrofitting of suburbs so that transit is a more attractive and viable option, and to make walking, cycling and shopping locally (i.e. changing O-D patterns) easier. If we can do that, then we can make it so that the environmental impact of suburban living is drastically reduced. Those who want to live in suburban areas will have to accept some substantial changes, but done properly, it will merely enhance the convenience and reduce the environmental impact of living where they do, all the while maintaining the things they like about living where they do. Houses with yards are not a problem. What is a problem is huge houses with huge yards in single land-use districts that have no good transit, pedestrian or bicycle connections that require people to drive long distances to do anything, whether its go to school, go to to work, shop or visit friends and family.

I don't live in the suburbs and I have no desire to live in the suburbs. However, because there are many who do, I think our best option is to retrofit existing suburbs and build new suburbs that don't carry the energy-guzzling inefficient land-use patterns that we currently see. At the same time, we need much more urban infill development that will increase the overall density (and therefore energy efficiency) of our cities. What I was trying to get at is that it is not an either/or situation - we need to repair the 'burbs while building on underused inner-city land.

You're right

You're right, Concerned, I jumped to a conclusion about you that I shouldn't have. You just touched a nerve. Given the direct correlation between sprawl, the housing bust and the collapse of the economy, I have had all I can stand of any kind of defense of the suburbs, as they now exist.

Perhaps it's easier to consider the arterial first ...

See my response to this article, here:

http://www.humantransit.org/2010/11/transits-role-in-sprawl-repair.html

Jarrett Walker
Principal Consultant
McCormick Rankin Cagney
www.HumanTransit.org

Backyards infilled

michiebwr
I've seen one case where a row of SF Res owners sold off and had infilled their backyards (8K sq. ft. lots) with a 2nd SF house behind the first: they were lots overlooking the Pacific Ocean north of San Diego, not far from Torre Pines GC. Why did they do it? Of course, because you could see the Pacific Ocean--from the living room of the original house in front, and from the 2nd infill house up the hill behind the 1st. THAT is when you get this sort of thing . . . and nothing short of it.

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