Doral is a community that has been undergoing extensive sprawl repair in recent years. These improvements have already allowed it to grow as an urban center with family-friendly housing, public schools, and a general sense of place. The community has partnered with a developer to create a walkable downtown on the site of a former office park, following a 2006 master plan by DPZ CoDESIGN.
While only 120 acres in size, Downtown Doral creates a focus of activity and civic life for an entire suburban region.
“Much of the success of this project is due to the flexible regulating plan and urban/architectural guidelines based on massing and form rather than uses and quantities,” notes Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, CEO of Codina Partners.
OnlineEvent Type: Lecture, WorkshopParent Event: Rethinking Sprawl with Galina TachievaOrganizer: 1000 Friends of FloridaEvent Website Events
As a part of the Dr. John M. DeGrove webinar series, Galina Tachieva joined 1000 Friends of Florida to discuss the repair of sprawling communities. The structure of the webinar allows for over an hour of densely packed lecture, instruction, and Q&A to properly dissect the prevalent issue of sprawl in modern suburban communities across the country and around the world.
In this presentation, Galina Tachieva discussed strategies to enhance suburban communities as they exist today. Utilizing knowledge and methods found in the Sprawl Repair Manual, she explored ways to introduce connectivity, sense of place, mixed uses, and better, more diverse housing opportunities for communities. The webinar began with an overview of new urban principles and recent development trends and goes on to cover the retrofitting of large areas (shopping centers, office parks, etc.) and bringing smaller-scale, incremental change to neighborhoods with lean sprawl repair tools.
Many office parks beyond the Toys “R” campus have a standard look: “lots of curved surface parking and square buildings,” the Georgia Tech professor Ellen Dunham-Jones said.
Between the lack of sustainability and aggravation by the work-from-home lifestyle boosted during COVID-19, these office parks are becoming increasingly outdated and deserted.
As laid out in the Sprawl Repair Manual, a future life can still be revitalized in business parks through the construction of a mixed-use, walkable community that counters the original isolated nature of such developments.
OnlineEvent Type: Lecture, WorkshopParent Event: The Architecture of Place Conversation SeriesOrganizer: ICAAEvent Website Events
Over a three-part series, Galina Tachieva, Marianne Cusato, and Ben Bolgar had the chance to play the role of both interviewer and interviewee. In each installment, one of the architects was interviewed by one of the others about the influences, experiences, and projects that have led to their design perspective on the architecture of place. At the end of each session, students from partnering university departments posed additional questions to the speakers, followed by an open Q&A with attendees.
In this installment, Galina Tachieva was interviewed by Ben Bolgar, Senior Director at The Prince’s Foundation, on a number of topics, including the ever-pressing urgency to repair sprawling communities following the post-pandemic flight to the suburbs.
OnlineEvent Type: PublicationParent Event: РЪКОВОДСТВО ЗА РЕКОНСТРУКЦИЯ НА СПРОЛАOrganizer: Sofia Municipality / СТОЛИЧНА ОБЩИНАEvent Website Events
The Sprawl Repair Manual has been translated and published by one of the Bulgarian universities in architecture and design, Sofia Municipality, as an online edition. This is a major step in making universally vital information on urban planning and development accessible worldwide. The “Architecture and Town Planning” department, together with the publishing center of the VSU “Chernorizets Hrabar”, the city of Varna, has made this milestone not only possible but a reality.
The manual has been made available electronically and can be downloaded here.
CURBED capturesEIGHT IDEAS for rethinking suburbia, from eliminating single-family zoning to densifying sprawl to reducing carbon footprints. The results include undoing the long-term impacts of segregation and addressing the realities of rising poverty.
Louisville, KentuckyEvent Type: Lecture, WorkshopParent Event: CNU27 Organizer: Congress for the New UrbanismEvent Website Events
The member-led session reflected on the significant changes in urban real estate markets over the last two decades that have invigorated downtowns and urban neighborhoods. Many people are forgoing private subdivisions in favor of places with a sense of community. Responding to this shift of preferences, the participants considered how can we address the challenges of economically inefficient sprawl.
The lively interactive roundtable discussion focused on successional development as a way to respond to the risks and vulnerabilities of sprawl. Four themes were addressed:
importance of incremental retrofit in a suburban context;
ways to mitigate investment risk and other exposure;
ways to stem decline before it reaches collapse; and
first steps and ability to act quickly. Each roundtable participant will share their expertise, suggest practical tools and techniques, and field questions from delegates.
Editors Notes: The annual Congress for the New Urbanism, now in its twenty-seventh year, is the preeminent national event on building better places. Each year, more than 1,500 attendees convene to hear from speakers, participate in workshops, collaborate on projects, and engage with leaders in dozens of fields.
2019 July 9
An Introduction to Form-Based Coding
Naples, Collier County, FloridaEvent Type: LectureParent Event: The Dollars and Sense of Growth Organizer: A Collier County Organized Public Event Events
During an interactive presentation, Galina Tachieva highlighted the opportunities for creating better and healthier communities in Collier County using form-based planning and coding.
Collier County is a fast-growing region but the current Land Development Code is complicated and outdated. If done right, new planning strategies can be effective in creating dynamic, walkable communities. These area-specific Form Codes will benefit residents, economics and the environment. It is however important to assist developers and planners understand the importance of smart growth principles. Galina Tachieva, managing partner at DPZ CoDESIGN, and author of the Sprawl Repair Manual and the Smart Code shared her guidance and expertise on these topics.
The Dollars and Sense of Growth – A Collier County Organized Public Event
The latest ICSC research in 2019 found 78% of U.S. adults would consider residing in environments that have a variety of uses in close proximity to one another. The principal reasons include convenience, an efficient use of time, and more better experience. We wonder who are the remaining 22%?
The 20th Century family for whom suburban subdivisions were envisioned is no longer the statistical norm. In addition, young people are looking for an urban lifestyle, and so are many of the parents left behind. To build the cities and towns of the future, National Geographic explores the need to fix the recent mistakes and misconceptions of automobile focused suburbia.
Offering an alternative to wasteful suburban sprawl, the Greenbelt-Towns Program was a Government-led urban planning approach that began in the late 30’s. Although short-lived, lessons can be drawn from the goals, scope and reaction to the suburban demonstration towns that embodied a mix of housing, walkability, and a traditional downtown.
Author: Richard Vines, Neil Callanan, and Will MathisOutlet: BloombergPublished: January 5, 2019Link to ArticleArticles
With restaurants and bars now occupying upwards of 25 percent of space, mall owners are struggling to identify new opportunities to stem their decline. There is growing recognition that to compete with vibrant downtowns and online shopping, malls will also need to add hotels, apartments, and entertainment to create attractive mixed-use neighborhoods.
Developers have identified a desire by suburbanites for ‘experiences’ that provide them with activities and places to interact. Hence the rise of cooking demonstrations, outdoor yoga classes, smaller concert venues, farmers markets, and splashable fountains, among others. The more time spent together, the more likely people will also shop, dine, and hold a positive view of their community.
As the scale of testing increases, the potential of driverless cars to transform our lives is becoming clearer. Fewer parking spaces, reduced road space, deliveries on demand, demise of strip malls, longer commuting distances, and a need for flexible parking structures, among others, have major implications for our urban and suburban development patterns – not all are necessarily positive.
Much of suburban sprawl is vehicle-oriented, served by inadequate sidewalks, and inaccessible without a car. Highlighting Jeff Speck’s new book, Walkability City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Place, the article discusses how investing in walkability can enhance the appeal of places to a range of ages, increase home values and jobs numbers, and promote local expenditure on goods and services.
More than 60 percent of all development took place on farmland between 1992 and 2012 (American Farmland Trust). Of this, 11 million acres was land most suitable for intensive food and crop production. Sprawl is a recognized contributor and some Counties are responding with programs to conserve these strategic assets.
Author: Metropolitan Area Planning CouncilOutlet: CNU | Build a Better BurbPublished: October 26, 2018Link to ArticleArticles
Alongside unsustainable sprawl, unsightly strip malls are too often a feature of our suburban landscape. This article draws ideas from DeSoto Marketplace in DeSoto, Texas. The approach here was incremental and adaptive, introducing small cost-effective changes that, over time, transformed the underutilized shopping center into a pocket of walkability and a vibrant local business.
Galina’s opening keynote presentation positioned Sprawl Repair as a comprehensive and practical method to transform auto-dependent, single-use places into more complete, economically viable communities. It demonstrated how design, regulatory and implementation techniques derived from the “trenches” at all development scales: regional, community, block, building.
Strategies were identified to create economic and social value out of stranded real-estate assets as the demise of the industry that produced sprawl continues: Malls and office parks are dying; golf courses are closing; McMansions are losing their appeal to Millennials. The presentation not only highlighted why we should retrofit sprawl, but also showed a practical How, Who and When step-by-step path of action forward to a better burb.
Editors Notes: Retrofit Magazine held its second-annual one-day conference in October 2018 in Charlotte north Carolina. The conference brought together focused on retrofitting commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.
“Providence, which won a 2018 CNU Charter Award, is an example of how traditional neighborhood development can add to quality of life in a car-oriented suburban landscape.” explains Rob Steuteville, Public Square. The 305 acre Village of Providence intentionally rebalances the previously fragmented, single-use sprawl at the northwest city limits of Huntsville with infill, housing diversity, shared amenities, and useful commercial. By providing the region’s missing ingredients in a walkable environment, it has become a preferred place to live and a popular evening hang-out.
A new study confirms cross-sectional associations between urban sprawl and life expectancy. Sprawling counties have higher traffic speeds and longer emergency response times, lower quality and less accessible health care facilities, and/or less availability of healthy foods. Compactness affects mortality through less vehicle miles traveled, which is a contributor to traffic fatalities, and through improved body mass index, which is a contributor to many chronic diseases. Dr. Hamidi, who led the research, concludes “We found that the impact of sprawl amounts to about a 2.7‑year difference on average. Change won’t happen quickly, [but] we can make our cities more dense, walkable and accessible, and less car‑dependent, and ultimately improve our overall health.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, wants to spur construction of mixed-income, multifamily housing. With more built, the Department believes that housing will become affordable, and there would be more options of where to live. The approach is not without its challenges. The kind of housing described is often impractical, doesn’t accord with regulations, or simply too costly to build in suburbs and big cities alike. While many see rolling back regulations as a way to open up opportunities, nimbyism continues to provide reason for tightly regulated development. Further, its homeowners of both political parties that support restricting development around them and they do so often in spite of their own ideologies. The fear that such development threatens property values motivates homeowners as voters to protect them. The instinct may simply be too deeply ingrained and politically sensitive in America to change.
Millennials seek the live-work-play lifestyle, but evidence suggests they are no longer solely focused on compact, diverse urban centers. In an attempt to attract this valuable demographic “suburban villages” are being created in larger developments. Lakewood Ranch is sighted as an example, with its Main Street cluster of condos, shops, restaurants, theaters and employers nearby. The investment appears to be working as millennials are buying homes in large numbers, and their preference shifting towards mature and emerging suburbs.
A new technique called a pattern zone can be used by cities and towns to make good urbanism a natural outcome of their local real estate market. The concept itself isn’t necessarily new as Matthew Petty, a planner and developer in Fayetteville, AR, discusses.
Before zoning codes and land use lawyers, cities were built from pattern books containing construction plans for the building types in common use. However, a municipal pattern book with pre-approved plans is at the center of the latest pattern zone concept. It changes the market activity because it lowers those barriers in ways that are valuable to developers: time and money. Matthew explains “For a missing-middle project, the savings can equal thousands of dollars per unit, once again making middle-scaled buildings as economical as single-family subdivisions and large-scale developments.”
These fascinating maps challenge our perception of sprawling America – the urbanized area seems compact in comparison to all other uses, 3.6 percent of the total. However, the urban area is growing at an average rate of about 1 million acres a year and sprawl is still winning the numbers game.
Significant changes in urban real estate markets over the last two decades has invigorated downtowns and urban neighborhoods. People who have choices are forgoing private subdivisions and gated communities in favor of places with more authentic neighborhoods and a sense of community. They are finding these characteristics in historic cities and towns. This article discusses how Sprawl has constrained the expansion of urbanism, inflating the economic pressures in high-demand urban neighborhoods.
“The last time Americans fled the cities for the suburbs, from the 1950s to the 1980s, they were driven primarily by fear of crime. This time the migration is the consequence of the cities’ success, not their failure. Housing
and rental prices in many of the country’s largest metro areas have soared, inspiring residents to pack up and move out.
As more young people decamp from the cities to the suburbs, … a hybrid might develop, where people who leave cities—especially the most vibrant and expensive ones—will gravitate to places with similar amenities. Or transform them—as is happening in San Marcos. Though it has its fair share of cookie-cutter homes and strip malls, its well-preserved old downtown boasts a brewery and beer garden, a yoga studio and, now, a bootcamp boutique.”
In honor of the annual Congress to be held in Savannah May 15-19, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) developed a “Legacy Project” intended to leave an enduring mark on the host city and region. Retrofits of a suburban college campus and failing mall are key to creating a safer and more lively community.
“Consultants proposed a new town center for Southside Savannah that connects to the Georgia Southern University Armstrong (GSU-Armstrong) campus and transforms a busy, automobile-oriented thoroughfare into a boulevard. A failing mall could also be redeveloped into mixed-use urban blocks on the scale of Savannah’s historic district. Many tenants have left the mall, and broken escalators are signs of poor maintenance.
If the mall fails, the site could begin to redevelop incrementally. The mall site is rectangular, and so the design team applied the scale of blocks and a square that are similar to Savannah’s Oglethorpe grid plan. The redeveloped mall site would connect to the new town center and allow more urban residential development of townhouses and other “missing middle” housing types. If mixed-use development is to take place here, residential and university-related uses will likely prevail, with civic uses and limited retail and restaurants, Swartz says. The university expansion makes that vision feasible.
A large-scale suburban retrofit requires many moving parts—transformation of thoroughfares, new blocks and streets, mixed-use development, re-imagined green spaces, and revised development regulations. The plan covers all those elements, and city officials reacted positively.
Mayor Eddie DeLoach said, “Their approach to the area was dynamic and provides the City new ideas to spur redevelopment opportunities in a traditional suburban setting which would complement our National Landmark Historic District and pristine waterways.”
Authors of the new book Suburban Remix, by Jason Beske and David Dixon, describe the challenges we face as a result of sprawl growth patterns in effect since WWII. The book details examples of unique and successful sprawl repair in several communities through common themes and techniques.
“North America is in the midst of “suburban remix.” A perfect storm of challenges has broken apart a 70-year-old suburban growth model shaped around car-focused, relatively affluent, and dispersed development. But as this model falls apart, another far more resilient model is taking shape: walkable, dense, diverse, compact—and urban.
In a dramatic reversal, more people living in poverty now call suburbs home, while affluent households are relocating to cities. This has slowed tax-base growth, battering local budgets. Demographic and economic trends suggest that these dynamics will grow more disruptive over the next two decades.
[Several suburban case studies offer unique lessons, while utilizing common] process, policies, and placemaking. Each started with civic leadership—a local official, advocate, or organization that stepped forward and made the case for change. Each community launched a transformative planning process built around inclusive engagement that used education to build strong local support in places where terms like “dense” and “urban” had long been anathema. All market-driven, these initiatives also rely on innovative public/private partnerships to fund an “urban” infrastructure of streets, parks, and structured parking. They grow upward, not outward, creating a compact critical mass that supports the people (and disposable income) essential to bringing life to their new streets—without touching a single blade of grass on nearby residential lawns.”