Infill

Infill, grayfield, and brownfield redevelopment

Making multifamily truly urban

The multifamily industry is building more in walkable locations, but developers still need instruction on the manners of placemaking. Here are some hints.

The plan that made a drab suburb cool

This video from urbanists Dover, Kohl & Partners offers instructions on the transformation of an inner suburb that was languishing. 

Traditional downtowns reconsidered: some further thoughts

If there is anything I don’t want to be misunderstood about, it’s my conviction that central and inner cities are making a pronounced and very exciting comeback in much of America.

Is the 'traditional' downtown a thing of the past? Is that OK?

Readers of a certain age may recall the hit song, “Downtown,” in 1965. We all know what happened next. GenXers and Millennials, who never experienced the loss, are more optimistic about cities.

Incremental urbanism is the key to California's future

The new frontier is within our existing towns, cities, and metropolitan areas. We need to grow inward and upward.

The ultimate ‘car city’ seeks change

Phoenix pins its hopes on transit-oriented development along the light rail line.

Retooling downtown for the next century

Corporations, institutions, non-profits, foundations, and individuals joined the City in envisioning how a 21st Century Pittsburgh might operate and live.

Philly land bank will target vacant properties

Philadelphia is setting up a citywide land bank that could become a model for other big cities, The New York Times reports. The city has 40,000 vacant or abandoned properties, the result of foreclosures, tax delinquencies, deindustrialization, and the like. They are controlled by four city agencies in a Byzantine bureaucratic system that often discourages reuse, the Times reports. The new land bank will set up rules that encourages sale of properties to private developers and landlords that immediate clean up and reuse sites, rather than hold them as investments. “If Philadelphia moves forward with this, it will be a very good model for Detroit,” which has an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 vacant properties, said Frank Alexander, a professor of real estate law at Emory University. Baltimore recently announced new efforts to deal with abandoned properties, the Baltimore Sun reports. “Over the next 21/2 years, the city is budgeted to spend nearly $22 million to tear down 1,500 abandoned houses — a move urban planners say could transform Baltimore visually and clear a path for struggling neighborhoods to attract future development. Previously, the city had been spending about $2.5 million a year on demolition.”

The case for unremarkable architecture

One of the great things starting to happen in cities of all sizes is the redevelopment of neighborhoods lot-by-lot. It’s a phenomenon indicative of a mature development market.

Lessons from Arlington, VA

I recently watched a documentary that chronicles the amazing transformation of Arlington, VA, a city that has been way ahead of its time in smart growth planning.

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