Suburbs 2.0

A review of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs by Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, from Residential Architect Online.

"Dunham-Jones and Williamson argue that retrofitting defunct or failing malls, parking lots, commercial strips, office parks, and cul-de-sac subdivisions from single-use, auto-dependent, low-density suburbs into vital and diverse higher-density, mixed-use urban centers is the best and most sustainable solution for accommodating evolving demographics, technological advances, and economic conditions. The projects highlighted were chosen for their real-world application of new trends in planning, development, economics, policy, and design.

Why are suburban retrofits such a good solution? As Dunham-Jones said in a discussion of the book, "There are benefits at several different scales."

At some point, the book contends, we'll have to accept that transportation costs aren't getting any lower. Household budgets would benefit from the reduced transportation costs that urbanized suburban neighborhoods provide through improved walkability and access to mass transit, as well as their ability to reduce the number and length of car trips needed to reach the more-plentiful services and retail allowed by redevelopment. "With good mixed-use development, you can capture between 25 and 45 percent of the trips internally," Dunham-Jones says."

Full Story: redesigning suburbia for a changing world

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95