Three developments were studied in the Nashville area: New urban infill and greenfield neighborhoods and a 1990s conventional suburban development. The infill development far outdistanced the others in net revenue, according to a report by Smart Growth America. The Gulch neighborhood in Downtown Nashville, a redevelopment of a 76-acre brownfield site originally designed by Looney Ricks Kiss, generated $115,720 in net revenue per acre — almost 1,150 times the net revenue generated by Bradford Hills (conventional suburban) and 148 times the net revenue of Lenox Village (new urban greenfield). The Gulch cost less per unit to provide services than the greenfield projects. The lesson: Investments required for infill revitalization generate a higher return on investment (ROI) than building in far-flung suburbs — in this case at least. When building does take place in distant suburbs, it appears that a new urban design performs better. The Gulch has additional advantages: It appeals to the young and educated workforce that is a key market segment this decade, and it supports transit. The Gulch — and to an extent, Lenox Village — also offers strong placemaking, which creates a distinctive identity for an urban neighborhood.
Michael Bloomberg has added or extended more historic districts than any previous New York City mayor, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. This policy has provided a counterpoint to an otherwise aggressive development approach, the Journal notes. Eyeballing the Journal's graphic, it appears that perhaps 10 percent of Manhattan is designated, but no more than 2 percent of the entire city. Preservation has played a key role in neighborhoods that have revitalized from Greenwich Village to SoHo to the Meatpacking District, according to the report. For a long time, the designations focused on Manhattan. But most of the designations in recent years have been in the other boroughs. While there is plenty of room for unrestricted new development, the historic designations are helping to preserve an aspect of the city that is appealing to residents and visitors alike.