Housing of the Future is Transit-Oriented

As transit oriented development gains ground in cities across the country, it is increasingly seen as the model for the future of multi-family housing.

"Clearly, promoting an environmental position enhances corporate social responsibility. One particular initiative – the transit-oriented development (TOD) – offers a clear vision of taking that responsibility beyond what is socially expected. The TOD is the model for what multi-family housing will look like in the years ahead. Many TOD projects are included in the USGBC's LEED-ND/Neighborhood Development pilot program, with 238 projects already registered, including: 108 N. State Street, Chicago; Atlantic Yards Development, Brooklyn, NY; City Creek Center, Salt Lake City, UT; Transit-Oriented Develop District, Irvine, CA; and MacArthur BART Transit Village, Oakland, CA."

"Many developers – along with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) – have embraced these initiatives, and have addressed their potential value as TODs have evolved. In a 2003 report addressing TODs' barriers and incentives, the ULI noted that TOD is an important component in a community's tool kit to achieve regional growth management goals and objectives. However, it is not a "silver bullet" for economic and other problems faced by jurisdictions. TOD operates in and is supported by a multimodal transit and land use environment, but TOD and transit do not by themselves create a successful market. The reverse is true: the market creates opportunities for TOD."

Full Story: INSIGHT: Transit-Oriented Design: An Evolution from Societal Convenience to Environmental Solution



Trianon Complex Is Transit-Oriented But Not Pedestrian-Oriented

The project illustrated in this article is near a transit station, but it is not pedestrian-oriented.

Look at the enlarged illustration of the Trianon Complex in Clayton, Missouri, at http://www.archnewsnow.com/features/images/Feature0243_01x.jpg and tell me if that looks like a street where people would want to walk.

The article says:
"Current trends in TOD are expanding to include more flexible concepts. Transit-Adjacent Developments (TAD) ... are adjacent to transit systems, but step away from traditional TOD mindsets like making public spaces the focus of building orientation and neighborhood activity; creating pedestrian-friendly street networks that directly connect local destinations; and providing a mix of housing types and densities."

This project certainly does succeed in stepping away from the traditional TOD mindset of creating pedestrian friendly streets.

Notice that the article is by a principle at DeStefano + Partners, who is acting as an apologist for this sort of transit-adjacent and pedestrian-unfriendly development.

If LEED-ND certifies this sort of thing because it is near transit, without even thinking about whether it is pedestrian-friendly, then something is wrong with LEED-ND.

Charles Siegel

something is wrong with LEED-ND

The project seems to be nothing but apartments with a large parking garage, surrounded by wide busy roads, hotels, and other parking lots. So it also lacks local destinations and mix of housing types. Residents will certainly be using their cars to get in and out.

There are some walkability criteria in LEED-ND, but these points are achieved through having a minimum building height close to the street and counting trees and doors. But we know there's more to walkability than the distance between doors. Connectivity of the streets is not required but it can get you one point.

LEED-ND gives a lot of points for density and only a few points for mix of housing types. To the point that if you have a lot of density you can get certified without the features that a liveable neighborhood should have.

Since having a mix of housing types almost automatically gives you higher than average density, LEED-ND should probably not give points for density at all, only points for diversity, and should subtract points for features that detract from liveable, walkable, human-scale neighborhoods. There is also no minimum project size, so a project of essentially a single building like this one can rack up artificial points without achieving the objectives. Luckily, LEED-ND is not final yet.

The idea of TOD trends that lead away from public spaces, pedestrian-friendliness, connections to local destinations, and housing choices is pretty shocking. Do some planners really think that focusing on human beings is outmoded?


If this is so transit oriented then why do I see a huge parking structure in this picture: http://www.archnewsnow.com/features/images/Feature0243_05x.jpg?

They don't trust that people will ride the train? I see red flags and greenwashing.

I foresee the automobiles becoming very unpopular in the near future. I'm personally fond of the bicycle. Replace the automobile parking structure with a bike parking structure. ;)


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