Community redeveloped

Material Information

Community redeveloped redeveloping suburban downtowns for a sustainable future
Portion of title:
Redeveloping suburban downtowns for a sustainable future
Buntin, Simmons B
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 volume (various pagings) : illustrations ; 22 x 30 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( Master of Urban and Regional Planning)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
College of Architecture and Planning, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Urban and Regional Planning
Committee Chair:
MacDonald, Marianne
Committee Co-Chair:
Hollerman, Michael
Committee Members:
Chiras, Daniel D.


Subjects / Keywords:
Central business districts -- United States ( lcsh )
Suburbs -- United States ( lcsh )
Sustainable development -- United States ( lcsh )
City planning -- California -- Suisun City ( lcsh )
City planning -- Oregon -- Tualatin ( lcsh )
Central business districts ( fast )
City planning ( fast )
Suburbs ( fast )
Sustainable development ( fast )
California -- Suisun City ( fast )
Oregon -- Tualatin ( fast )
United States ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Urban and Regional Planning.
General Note:
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
Simmons B. Buntin.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
37775138 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A78 1997m B853 ( lcc )

Full Text
Community Redeveloped
Simmons B. B uni in
Masters Thesis
University of Colorado at Denver
May 1997

Community /^developed
Redeveloping Suburban Downtowns
for a Sustainable Future
Simmons R. Buntin
Masters Thesis
Urban and Regional Planning Program, College of Architecture and Planning
University of Colorado at Denver
Thesis Committee
Marianne MacDonald, IJRP Assistant Professor, "Thesis Advisor
Michael Holleran, IJRP Assistant Professor
Daniel D. Chiras, President, Sustainable Futures Society

Copyright 1997 by Simmons B. Buntin. All rights reserved.
Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program
College of Architecture and Planning
University of Colorado at Denver
Masters Thesis, URP 6950 and 6951
May 12, 1997
For information:, (305) 275-1739

I would like to thank
the U.S. Department of Energy -
a vital player in Americas efforts
toward a sustainable future

Community Redeveloped
Executive Summary ES-1
Chapter 1. Introduction: The Good Suburb Chapter 1
The Good Suburb: A Theory Getting to Good: Redeveloping Suburban Downtowns for a Sustainable Future 1-1 1-5
Chapter 2. Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl Chapter 2
Why Focus on Suburban Communities? Suburban Sprawl The Causes of Sprawl The Costs of Sprawl The Unsustainable Outcomes of Sprawl 2-1 2-6 2-7 2-13 2-21
Chapter 3. Sustainable Redevelopment Chapter 3
Definitions Principles of Sustainable Redevelopment Properties of Sustainable Redevelopment Indicators of Sustainability 3-2 3-7 3-11 3-19
Chapter 4. Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment Chapter 4
Redevelopment in the Regional Context Advantages of Redeveloping Suburban Downtowns Other Sustainable Redevelopment Projects Other Projects Sustainable Suburban Redevelopment Matrix Suisun City and Tualatin Commons as Case Studies 4-2 4-3 4-5 4-12 4-13

Community Redeveloped ______________ii
Chapter 5. Case Study No. 1: Downtown Redevelopment in Suisun City, California Chapter 5
Community History and Demographics Political and Regulatory System Initiative for Redevelopment Fostering Sustainability through Redevelopment Summary of Redevelopment Redevelopment Process Barriers to Implementation Measuring Success Suisun City Downtown Sustainable Redevelopment Matrix 5-1 5-3 5-4 5-5 5-9 5-17 5-24 5-26 5-30
Chapter 6. Case Study No. 2: Tualatin Commons in Tualatin, Oregon Chapter 6
Community History and Demographics Political and Regulatory System Initiative for Redevelopment Fostering Sustainability through Redevelopment Summary of Redevelopment Redevelopment Process Barriers to Implementation Measuring Success Tualatin Commons Sustainable Redevelopment Matrix 6-1 6-2 6-3 6-5 6-10 6-19 6-24 6-26 6-30
Chapter 7. Lessons Learned Chapter 7
The Economic Context The Environmental Context The Social Context The Political Context 7-2 74 7-6 7-8

Community Redeveloped iii
Chapter 8. Methodology: A Prescription for Redeveloping Suburban Downtowns for Chapter 8
a Sustainable Future
Step 1. Recognize the need for redevelopment by evaluating the values of a strong suburban core 8-2
Step 2. Develop a vision of the community itself and a redeveloped downtown specifically 8-5
Step 3. Develop a comprehensive community involvement approach 8-7
Step 4. Develop a set of community principles and goals for redevelopment, including indicators 8-10
Step 5. Recognize responsibility as a public developer and act on that 8-13
Steps. Develop a specific redevelopment plan 8-16
Step 7. Develop a comprehensive financing scheme 8-17
Step 8. Hire a quality design team 8-19
Step 9. Conduct an environmental review 8-19
Step 10. Develop stringent but workable design guidelines 8-21
Step 11. Develop a marketing plan 8-23
Step 12. Work with private developers in an efficient public-private partnership 8-25
Step 13. Develop and implement an evaluation mechanism 8-28
Step 14. Promote the redeveloped downtown as the place to be 8-31
Barriers to Suburban Downtown Redevelopment 8-32
Chapter 9. Conclusion: Next Steps Chapter 9
Next Steps 9-2
Appendices Appendices
Appendix A: Downtown Boulder Vitality Index and Adequate Facilities Monitoring Plan A-1
Appendix B: Jacksonville and Duval County, Florida, Quality of Life Indicators B-1
Appendix C: Community Indicators Reference List C-1
Appendix D: Case Study Contact List D-1

Executive Summary

Community Redeveloped
What is needed now is not a new tdl-purpose city-design concept, hut new ways of integrating city design
with the process of economic and social change. Then, and only then, will the design of our cities live
up to the promise to he found in a few special neighborhoods, and in the best individual buildings.
-- Jonathan Harnett1
The purpose of the thesis research presented in this report is
to evaluate three aspects of physical planning: (1) conventional low-
density development, or sprawl, (2) the goal of long-term economic,
environmental, and social sustainability manifested through physical
design, and (3) processes for community redevelopment, as reviewed
biieily in a number of examples and detailed specifically in two case
studies. Its aim is to present a methodology, based upon these
aspects, which can help American suburban communities redevelop
their downtowns, or city centers, for a viable future.
A Theory of the Good Suburb
file report begins by asking the question, What is a good
suburb? And it responds with a theory:
Primarily the good suburb is not the result of sprawl, as so
many suburban communities are today. It is, however, self-sustaining
in a regional context That is, it does not deplete resources from the
surrounding region without a mechanism for replenishing them, and
it works collaboralively with other communities to ensure long-term
regional viability.
The good suburb is pedestrian-oriented, with a mixed-use
core comprised of public, civic, and other spaces, as well as
accessible transit. It offers a wide variety of housing types and
prices, with architecture of buildings and places respectful of the
communitys history. Buildings and infrastructure are integrated with
the natural environment, utilizing the prevailing climate, topography,
and vegetation to enhance user comfort and reduce resource
Pedestrian and mass transit routes connect all parts of the
good suburb, and then connect it with other parts of the region, as
well. Open space in the form of parks, plazas, trails, and natural
landscapes are preserved and enhanced. Resources are conserved,
including energy, water, and materials. Buildings are preserved and
Ultimately, the good suburb encourages physical (and social
and economic) diversity even while community identity is enhanced.
Emphasizing Suburbs
Rather than focusing on large city centers, single cities, or
Executive Summary

Community Redeveloped
rural settings, the research focuses on suburban settings It does so
primarily for three reasons. First, the majority of Americans live in
suburbs, and the percentage of suburban residents continues to
increase. Second, suburban development patterns have, for the most
part, been anything but sustainable Most suburbs are automobile-
oriented, low-density places with segregated land uses that have
completely altered the natural landscape Third, in reviewing the
literature on sustainability and sustainable development patterns, the
author discovered that relatively little research has been conducted on
sustainable development, and redevelopment, in the suburbs All
three of these reasons indicated the need for in-depth research on
sustainability as a practice in existing suburbia.
The report highlights the major causes and costs of suburban
sprawl in order to determine, in later sections, how best to offset such
sprawl. Causes include the decentralization of employment centers
from the central city, peripheral development due to the relatively
inexpensive costs of land on the metropolitan fringe, automobile
dependence, abandonment of older neighborhoods, highway and
automobile subsidies, local land use policies, federal mortgage
interest subsidies, and others.
Major costs of suburban development include increased
Executive Summary
expenses for implementing and maintaining additional infrastructure,
spatial mismatches between employers and the labor market,
abandoned investments in older neighborhoods, the necessary costs
of owning and operating automobiles, economic segregation and loss
of social stability in older neighborhoods, decline of government
services in older neighborhoods, permanent loss of prime agricultural
land, decline in crop productivity from pollution, loss of natural
landscapes and species, air and water pollution, and others.
Opportunities for Sustainability
If the causes and costs of suburban sprawl result in
economically, environmentally, and socially unsustainable
communities, then there must be opportunities for reversing sprawl
and increasing sustainability. In order to understand the concept of
sustainability and therefore sustainable redevelopment as a process,
the report first details a number of its definitions. Sustainability can
be fundamentally defined as the equitable preservation of the built and
natural environments, cultural heritages, and economic opportunities
In order to implement sustainable actions, principles of
sustainability generally need to be developed and adopted. These
serve as the guiding tenets for communities seeking to enhance
community viability through development and redevelopment.

Community Redeveloped
Sustainability principles can be put into action through the
properties ol' sustainability, which are specific aspects of physical
design that help ensure economic, environmental, and social viability
The report presents an author-created list of fourteen specific
properties of sustainable redevelopment which the case studies are
later evaluated against. These propeities include such physical
attributes as a high density, mixed-use core, pedestrian and transit
orientation, regionalized architecture, site design, and landscaping;
public spaces, building reuse and historic preservation, and others.
They were developed based on attributes of successful older
neighborhoods and properties demonstrated in neotraditional
developments, as well as fundamental economic, environmental, and
social principles such as resource conservation, preservation of the
natural landscape, and community interaction
Indicators of community sustainability are also discussed, for
their proper use appears to be the best method for actually measuring
progress toward sustainability goals. Examples of communities
implementing indicators are presented, as is a discussion of barriers
to their use.
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
Because many suburban communities are currently
Executive Summary
unsustainable, there is a need to redevelop them to counteract the
negative consequences of sprawl. The report shows that one such
way, which also serves to enhance regional growth management
goals, is to redevelop suburban downtowns There are a number of
advantages associated with redeveloping downtowns, including
creationor recreationof civic cores which instill a sense of pride in
the community, implementation of pedestrian- and transit-oriented
uses that benefit citizens and the built and natural environments; and
creation or recreation of mixed uses which provide a critical mass
of people to support downtown businesses.
The report details a number of redevelopment examples It
first briefly summarizes five redevelopment projects that were studied
in detail but not included as case studies. These projects are The
Crossings in Mountain View, California; Mizner Park in Boca Raton,
Florida, The Village at Shirlington in Arlington, Virginia; Uptown
District in San Diego, California, and RiverPlace in Portland,
Oregon. The first four are redevelopments of failed, auto-oriented
shopping centers, while the last is redevelopment of a freeway A
matrix of these projects compared to the fourteen properties of
sustainable redevelopment is also presented. Though they are not
downtown redevelopments, and in two cases are not suburban, they

Community Redeveloped
demonstrate the viability of redevelopment as an option for increasing
community sustainability.
The report then discusses the reasons for selectingand the
contrasts and similarities betweenthe two case studies discussed in
much greater detail in separate chapters: Suisun City, California, and
Tualatin, Oregon.
Downtown Redevelopment in Suisun City,
Downtown redevelopment efforts in Suisun City, California,
(pronounced suh-SOON) serve as the basis for the reports first case
study. Suisun City is a rapidly developing suburban city that is rich
in cultural and environmental history, located just south of the
Interstate 80 corridor between San Francisco and Sacramento. Rated
as the worst city for quality of life in the Bay Area in 1988, it has
completely turned itself around through downtown redevelopment
efforts that focus on physical measures, but which have consequential
economic, environmental, and social benefits, as well.
The report includes detailed discussions of Suisun Citys
history and demographics, political and regulatory system, initiative
for redevelopment, means for fostering sustainability through
redevelopment, summary of redevelopment projects, redevelopment
Executive Summary
process, barriers to implementation, and measures of redevelopment
success. The case study section concludes with a matrix of the
properties of sustainable redevelopment evaluated against Suisun
Citys redevelopment efforts.
Tualatin Commons in Tualatin, Oregon
The second case study is Tualatin Commons, a redevelopment
project which established a new downtown core for the City of
Tualatin (pronounced TWAH-luh-tin). Tualatin is also a rapidly
developing suburb, located south of Portland along Interstate 5 The
redevelopment project succeeded in creating an entirely new'
amenitya lakethat not only provides a central public space for
social gatherings and events, but which also adds economic and
environmental value to the renewed downtown.
The report includes detailed discussions of Tualatins history
and demographics, political and regulatory system, initiative for
redevelopment, means for fostering sustainability through
redevelopment, summary of redevelopment projects, redevelopment
process, barriers to implementation, and measures of redevelopment
success. The case study section concludes with a matrix of the
properties of sustainable redevelopment evaluated against Tualatins
redevelopment efforts.

Community Redeveloped
Lessons Learned
There is much to be learned from the case studies. The report
divides these lessons learned into economic, environmental, social,
and political contexts For example, though redevelopment is
expensive, long-term costs appear to be considerably less than with
typical sprawl development. Redevelopment efforts that enhance
environmental preservation often result in positive but previously
unforeseen consequences. Additionally, the use of public art and
recognizable symbols provide a sense of place, and serve to bring
residents and other visitors back to the redevelopment again and
again And strong city/suburban leadership and citizen involvement
are essential to achieving success.
The Methodology
The analysis of suburban sprawl, sustainability, and the case
studies leads to the main reason for conducting the thesis research:
creation by the author of a methodology to help suburbs redevelop
their downtowns for a sustainable future. The author acknowledges
that sustainable downtown redevelopment cannot be put into a rigidly
defined process or model. Yet redevelopment examples nationwide,
coupled with the two case studies presented in the report,
demonstrate that certain steps in the redevelopment process can help
Executive Summary
ensure success. The fourteen steps presented here are an outline, a
methodology, rather than an absolute formula. They are a logical
sequence of events in which many of the steps occur simultaneously.
They include developing a vision of the community itself and
a redeveloped downtown specifically, recognizing responsibility as a
public developer and acting on that, developing stringent but
workable design guidelines, developing and implementing an
evaluation mechanism, and ten others.
Because barriers to sustainable redevelopment can be quite
formidable, the report also discusses the largest barriers identified by
the author, providing suggestions for how these can be overcome.
Barriers include community opposition, developer resistance,
difficulties in securing financing, implementing green const! uction,
and the like.
Next Steps
Like redevelopment, the research presented in this report is
ongoing. The report concludes by identifying future research needs
that would test and refine the methodology, as well as provide other
examples of sustainable suburban downtown redevelopment efforts.
Specifically, community indicators should be developed to
actually measure the levels of redevelopment success in both Suisun

Community Redeveloped
City and Tualatin. Additional case studies should be identified, and
then evaluated and subsequently used to refine the methodology, if
necessary. These too would need community indicators, if not
already in place, to gauge their economic, environmental, and social
After further case study analysis, the methodology could be
tested by a suburb undergoing downtown redevelopment. In order
to determine the methodologys true value, it must logically be used
by redeveloping suburbs.
Ultimately, the thesis research and subsequent report
demonstrate that suburban downtown redevelopment can increase
community sustainability, often dramatically. By following the
fourteen-step- methodology presented by the author, suburban
communities should be able to redevelop their downtowns for an
economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable future.
Executive Summary

Community Redeveloped
Endnotes and References
1. Barnett, Jonathan. 1986. The Elusive City: Five Centuries
of Design, Ambition and Miscalculation. Harper & Row,
Publishers: New York. Pg. 193.
Executive Summary

The Good Suburb

Community Redeveloped
Creating accessible commercial centers from both local and arterial streets, placing an
emphasis on the needs of pedestrians, and integrating retail with civic and transit uses would
represent a considerable change from the current norm. These are clearly the most
challenging transformations... and ones that will take time, experimentation, and evolution.
-- Peter Calthorpe'
The Good Suburb: A Theory
Omnis civihts corpus est? Every city is a living body A
suburban city, or city as suburb, is no exception. As such, it has
needs like any organic creatureto feed, to grow, to dispose of
waste, and ultimately to flourish. In American metropolitan areas of
the postwar era, it apparently also has the need to reproduce,
spawning suburban forms like a den of overachieving rabbits, and
then perhaps even to die (though this is a feature seldom hoped for).
I he good suburb strives to be the sustainable suburb. That
is, it works to ensure the equitable preservation of built and natural
environments, cultural heritages, and economic opportunities for all
citizens. As part of a larger region, it does not deplete the varied
environmental, economic, and social resources from the surrounding
region without a mechanism for replenishing them, just as species do
not deplete the resources of their habitats without risk of death or the
ability to move on (which is, in a way, what suburban sprawl may be).
Suisun City, California, suburban downtown redevelopment.
S. Buntin.
Whether good or not, all suburbs share a dynamic
relationship with the central city or cities and other suburbs to form
the metropolitan region. The physical, economic, and social shape
of suburbs, then, affect and are affected by the shapes of the central
city and other suburbsas well as the people who live and work
Introduction: The Good Suburb

Community Redeveloped
within them and the surrounding landscapes
Historically, central cities has played the primary role as
dominant employment and cultural centers of regions. As suburbs
continue to grow, however, the monocentric makeup of many regions
has changed to a polycentric one, with suburbs themselves becoming
central employment and cultural locations. The relationships among
cities within regions, then, become more integrated and complex:
suburbs do not exist as singular entities, and in working toward a
sustainable future cannot act as such.
Yet the goo'd suburb retains its own organic natureits own
community identityin a regional context by integrating a variety of
environmental (built and natural), economic, and social factors,
providing options for citizens at all socioeconomic levels. The
primaiy way in which the good suburb manifests itself is through land
use, or urban form. 1 low a suburb is laid out, whether through a
master plan or in a less organized manner, determines everything
from protection of and integration with the natural landscape to
commuting patterns, citizen diversity to economic stability.
Primarily, the good suburb is pedestrian-oriented It does not
discriminate against the citizen who does not have access to an
automobile. That is not to say that the good suburb cannot
Introduction: The Good Suburb
accommodate the automobileindeed, it must if it is to be successful
in todays worldbut it places a higher priority on the safe and
enjoyable movement of people on foot (so to speak) or through mass
transit. The shapes of buildings, walkways, public spaces,
landscaping, and all other features of the city and its structure are,
then, oriented at eye-level. Such details make the suburb an
enjoyable place to be, and are recognized through building facades,
street furniture, sidewalk and building materials, diverse and usable
public spaces (plazas, courtyards, parks, etc ), and vistas of natural
areas and well-designed buildings.
Tualatin Commons, Tualatin, Oregon, suburban city center
redevelopment, s. Buntin.

Community Redeveloped
The good suburb has a downtown, or corea central location
symbolic, environmental, economic, and cultural. If large enough, it
has other, subordinate core areas (often referred to as urban villages
or neighborhood centers). These core areas are generally high-
density compared to development on the periphery of the
metropolitan edge, and oriented around public spaces, civic buildings,
and a mix of uses including residential, commercial retail, commercial
office, institutional, and perhaps even industrial. They thrive at many
hours of the day, on weekends as well as weekdays, offering physical
and cultural amenities which keep a critical mass of people who in
turn allow businesses to thrive. The best of these are also integrated
with the natural environment, so that the good suburb has indeed
grown from and is a part of its natural heritage.
A wide variety of housing for all family types and incomes is
provided throughout the good suburb, though will vary from one to
another. It is densest around the urban core, but throughout the
suburb always dense enough to make pedestrian access from housing
to places of employment, shopping, recreation, and others a viable
opportunity. Architecturenot only of housing, but of all buildings
is based in the history of the city, not mimicking but rather growing
logically from the earliest settlements, as applicable. Regional
Introduction: The Good Suburb
architecture is then coupled with site design and infrastructure
placement that is in agreement with the natural landscape. It does not
cut down hills, but uses them to create a unique setting. It does not
go against the elements, but rather uses them to enhance resource
efficiency and resident comfort.
Core centers, housing, and all parts of the good suburb are
interconnected locally and regionally through safe, enjoyable, and
usable transportation networks. Mass transit options such as light
rail, trolleys, and buses are fundamental, and have priority over
automobile use. These are coupled with pedestrian and bicycle paths,
which themselves are integrated into a variety of natural and
landscaped trails and greenspaces throughout the suburb and
metropolitan area. Movement is therefore not restricted by user type,
ability, or income.
Preservation of open space is of utmost importance, and is
accomplished by first protecting the unique natural areaswetlands,
rock outcroppings, streams, etc.and then by integrating
infrastructure and buildings with the land (and water) so as to protect
and utilize natural drainage patterns, climatic variations, forested
areas, and other aspects of the natural landscape. The good suburb
is ideally completely integrated into a regional open space system

Community Redeveloped
Uptown District, San Diego, California, regional shopping store
redevelopment, s. Buntin
natural and agriculturalto help prevent sprawl.
The good suburb and its structures, citizens, and systems
emphasize resource efficiency This means that both renewable and
non-renewable energy arc used wisely and efficiently through land
use and building design, that non-renewable resources such as water
are used efficiently and preserved, and that waste is reduced, reused,
and recycled in a variety of environmentally, economically, and
socially equitable manners.
Introduction: The Good Suburb
The good suburb learns from its past. As such, it builds upon
the good parts of its and the regions development through historic
preservation and adaptive reuse, ensuring initially that buildings and
man-made places have aging-in-place ability. New growth does not
compete with but rather complements existing buildings, and often
new technologies that make citizen quality of life better and more
efficient are integrated into historic sites. Citizens learn about the
history of their suburb and therefore come to respect it, knowing that
that is where community identity truly begins.
Overall, the good suburb is diverse. Its buildings and spaces
public and privateare diverse, just as the natural landscape from
which it grows is diverse. Its people are diverse in culture, race,
income, and profession But the diversity of place allows them to
interact and get along well, and also works toward mutual respect
and safety. And economic opportunities are diverse, so that people
with different education levels and work skills can participate at
varying levels, even while educational opportunities are encouraged
and abound.
Every suburb is a living body Based on human scale,
diversity, mutual respect, and a sense of place, the good suburb
thrives as its own entity within the context of the metropolitan region

Community Redeveloped
Getting to Good: Redeveloping Suburban
Downtowns for a Sustainable Future
Most suburbs today arc not representative of the good
suburb. Their land use patterns are primarily that of sprawl: they arc
low-density, have segregated land uses, are automobile-oriented, and
fail to protect the natural environment But what can suburbs that
want to pursue an economically, environmentally, and socially
successful future do? Moreover, how do suburbs existing in a
metropolitan climate enhance their own identity while at the same
time fostering local and regional sustainability?
For a number of suburbs, the answer more and more is to
redevelop their downtowns and city centers in ways that bring people
back. Indeed, the solution lies in a redevelopment process that begins
with acknowledgment of the need for redevelopment, grows from a
common community vision, and then works in a public-private
partnership to create new and revitalized uses for a sustainable future.
This thesis report asks, and answers, a number of questions
about sustainable suburban downtown redevelopment: I low and why
arent most suburbs sustainable today? What are the costs and causes
of suburban sprawl? Who pays?
What is sustainability and sustainable redevelopment? Ilow
Introduction: The Good Suburb
is sustainability measured in the community?
Why pursue suburban downtown redevelopment? 1 low does
it affect the regional
context9 What are some
Based on answers to
these questions, the report
then evaluates two case
studies in depth: Suisun
City, California, downtown
redevelopment, and the
creation of Tualatin
Commons in Tualatin,
Additionally, a
review is provided of the
economic, environmental,
social, and political lessons
learned from the case
(setting to Good...?
The practical comes first:
that land, energy, and
resources would he saved,
that traffic would he reduced,
that homes would he more
affordable, that children and
elderly would have more
access, that working people
would not he burdened with
long commutes. The social
consequences are less
quantitative, hut perhaps
equally compelling. They
have to do with the quality of
our shared world, our
Peter Calthorpe
The Pedestrian Pocket:
New Strategies for Suburban
Based on these and

Community Redeveloped
other examples of sustainable suburban redevelopment, a fourteen-
step methodology is then proposed. The methodology is a
comprehensive prescription for redeveloping suburban downtowns
for a more sustainable future. It provides a flexible process for
suburban political leaders and citizens as they undertake large-scale
downtown revitalization and redevelopment efforts.
The report then discusses the barriers to redevelopment,
recognizing that the lessons of Suisun City and Tualatin can help
suburban communities across America overcome barriers they face
in their own large-scale downtown redevelopment efforts.
Ultimately, the report concludes that suburban downtown
redevelopment is essential for communities seeking a sustainable
future, especially in a regional context. While getting to good
poses considerable challenges, the rewards are well worth the efforts.
Introduction: The Good Suburb

Community Redeveloped
Endnotes and References
1. Calthorpe, Peter. 1993. The Next American Metropolis:
Ecology, Community, and the American Dream. Princeton
Architectural Press: New York. Pg. 53.
2. St. Augustine. City of God.
3. Calthorpe, Peter. 1992. The Pedestrian Pocket: New
Strategies for Suburban Growth, in Walter, Bob, Arkin, Lois,
and Crenshaw, Richard, Editors. Sustainable Cities:
Concepts and Strategies for Eco-City Development. Eco-
Home Media: Los Angeles. Pg. 34.
Introduction: The Good Suburb

Chapter 2
Suburbs and Suburban Spra wl

Community Redeveloped
There is no more important community design problem than the redesign
and adaptation of the American suburbthe symbol and logos of
American affluence and technology and growth in the past forty years.
Sim Van dcr Ryu1
In the United States, more than one million acres of farmland
are lost annually to development.2 Between 1969 and 1983,
population in the U.S. grew 16 percent, while vehicle miles traveled
grew 56 percent.1 Between 1970 and 1990, the Los Angeles
metropolitan area grew 45 percent in population, but 300 percent in
Low-density development in a foothills suburb west of Denver,
Colorado, s. Buntin.
land area. These are just some of the legacies of suburbanization
since World War II
Suburban communities demand careful evaluation because
many are unsustainablethey use resources without a mechanism for
adequately replenishing them, they are low-density in nature,
replacing wilderness with grass lawns, farmland with strip malls, they
give priority to the automobile over the pedestrian; they lack
economic and cultural diversity; and the list goes on. But to say that
many suburbs are unsustainable is not enough. What is unsustainable
about them? How did they get that way? What are the economic,
environmental, and social costs associated with a sprawl existence?
Why Focus on Suburban Communities?
Suburban communities warrant focus not because they are
suburbs per se, but because of their common postwar development
patterns. While central cities are generally high-density and often
based on a grid street pattern, and rural areas are very low density
and preservewhether intended or notagricultural and natural open
space, suburbs are often neither city nor country. And they are
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl

Community Redeveloped
generally not a happy medium somewhere in between. Rather,
postwar suburbs especially are low-density settlements comprised of
commercial strip and enclosed mall retail centers, landscaped office
parks, and relatively large-lot residential subdivisions, predominantly
Perhaps suburban trends would not be so significant if
suburbia werent home to so many people. Today, over half of
Americas population lives in suburban settings.5 Moreover,
suburban populations and geographic boundaries in many
metropolitan areas are growing at an alarming rate, especially in the
Western U S. Here, thirteen states make up the most urbanized
region in America.6 The Seattle metropolitan area, for example, has
grown from just over one million people in 1950, to nearly
three million in 1995.7 In that same time span, the Phoenix
metropolitan area surged from 350,000 people to 2.5 million.8 And
the growth does not appear to be slowing, at least not on the
suburban fringe
In fact, many metropolitan areas have grown precisely at the
expense of the central city. In Detroit, the metropolitan population
increased from 3,246,000 in 1950 to 4,382,000 in 1990, but the City
of Detroit itself decreased from 1,850,000 to 1,028,000 in that same
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
time span.9 Similar proportions of metropolitan area increases with
central city decreases occurred from 1950 to 1990 in Cleveland;
Syracuse; Louisville, Kentucky, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.10
Suburban Growth
Metropolitan Areas in the Western U.S.
3,000,000 --
2,000,000 - - '-^/0**0**0*1*^* *£**
1,500,000 - ^*****\*~
1,000,000 - - =.-**-*=^
0 ...wmm mom ^
1910 1930 1950 1970 1990
- ~ Seattle
Salt Lake City
Las Vegas
The Denver Post.
Why are these statistics important? As later sections will
show, most suburban growth is unsustainable: it does not provide for
the equitable preservation of the built and natural environments,
cultural heritages, and economic opportunities. While many residents

Community Redeveloped
moved out of the central cities to avoid congestion, find better
schools, feci safer, and purchase single-family homes, they also
encouraged pollution, destroyed natural habitat, increased traffic
congestion, and directly and indirectly contributed to a host of other
The fact that suburban areas are so large and growing so
rapidly, imposing a variety of adverse affects on society and the built
and natural environments, demands that suburban development be
reevaluated. Further, it demands that many core suburban areas be
redeveloped with sustainability in mindand in action. Unsustainable
land use activities must be stopped and then reversed precisely at the
locat ions where they are most prevalent
While suburbs come in all shapes and sizes, they are also
distinguished from other communities because of their relationship to
larger, and usually older, central cities, and because of their
interrelationships (acknowledged or not) between other suburbs of
those same central cities. Such geographically, economically, and
even politically linked cities directly affect their metropolitan
neighbors through land use and other decisions Being a suburb, or
part of a suburban setting, means being a member of a metropolitan
region. And sustainability of the suburb or related community can
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
A typical suburban land use pattern: arterial street bounded by strip
retail and residential subdivisions with curvilinear street patterns.
S. Buntin.
only be found ultimately in the context of regional sustainability.
Individual efforts must go hand-in-hand with regional collaboration
Postwar suburban areas are largely unsustainable for two
reasons. First, they are based on sprawl, and have numerous costs
associated with that orientation. This will be discussed in detail in the
next section. Second, they are based on an entrenched vision of the
American Dream, which itself leads to sprawl.

Community Redeveloped
Denver, Colorado: An Example of Unconstrained Suburban Growth
"Smart growth, says Colorado Governor Roy
Romcr, "is about developing visions for tire future of
communities, regions and the state and developing
strategics to accomplish these visions.*11 And the
challenge is certainly real, especially in the Metropolitan
Denver region. But Denvers growth-while perhaps
economically strategic for developers-has been anything
but strategic for the entire region. Huge master planned
communities like Highlands Ranch to the south and Rock
Creek to the northwest contribute to residential sprawl,
quickly replacing what was once agricultural land and high
plains brush with house after identical house, Kentucky
blucgrass lawns, and overly wide streets that mandate use
of the automobile. Smaller, piecemeal residential
developments do the same, and large business parks and
big box retail round off the threesome of contemporary
suburban development.
The Denver Regional Council of Governments
estimates that another 750.000 people will move into the
metro area by the year 2020.12 That would bring the
population to 2,800,000. up from just 1,000,000 in I960.13
Such population growth is almost expected given Denvers
proximity to die mountains, the new Denver International
Airport, the temperate climate, and a renewed Lower
Downtown, flic hows and wheres of that growth are
cause for the greatest concern
DRCOG, in its Metro Vision 2020 framework,
has identified four possible alternatives for future
development: compact, corridor, satellite, and dispersed.14
Dispersed development is growth under current local and
regional trends and policies. In this scenario, low-density
residential development continues on the edges of existing
suburban areas, adding an additional 350 square miles of
urban area to the existing 530, which itself is up from 300
in 1970.15 Yet if the metro area cities and counties were to
actually build out their current comprehensive plans for
grotyth, the urbanized area would swell to 1,150 square
miles, an area larger than the cities of Los Angeles, San
Diego. San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Long Beach,
California, combined.16
By 2020, metro area dispersed growth would look
like this:
Denver metro area, 1990 (dark) to 2020 (light).
Denver Regional Council of Governments.
The Metro Vision 2020 plan hopes to effectively
manage such sprawling development through regional
collaboration, but the future is uncertain.
Suburban growth in
select Denver suburbs.
1950- 11,421
1970 74,974
1950 19,999
1970 66,870
1950 176
1990 24.636
Castle Rock
1970 1,531
1990 8,708
1950 5,238
1970 9,817
1970 92,787
1990 126,481
1950 2,322
1970 19,432
1990 74.623

Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl

Community Redeveloped
According to Anthony Downs, author of New Visions for
Metropolitan America, this vision is based on five elements:18
Ownership of detached single-family homes on spacious lots
Ownership of automotive vehicles
Working in low-rise workplacesoffices or industrial
buildings or shopping centersin attractively landscaped parklike
Residence in small communities with strong local governments
An environment free from the signs of poverty
A pre-World War II Denver suburbs street is pedestrian-oriented
and walkahle. s. Buntin.
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
Combined, these add to a society which promotes
unconstrained individualism,19 yet ironically a lack of diversity in
the built suburban form. They also add to economic, environmental,
and social costs that can be devastating to the community and its
Kenneth T. Jackson, in Grahgrass Frontier, similarly
identifies five characteristics of postwar suburbs: peripheral
locations, low density, architectural similarity in housing, available
and affordable housing, and economical and racial homogeneity 70
A post-World War II Denver suburbs street is auto-oriented and
uninviting to pedestrians, s Buntin.

Community Redeveloped
It is worth asking whether the vision of the American Dream
promotes the characteristics, or whether the characteristics promote
the American Dream. Undoubtedly, they are inextricably linked:
single-family homes on spacious lots and low-rise workplaces in
attractively landscaped parking settings are built in peripheral
locations and at low densities. Available and affordable housing that
is architecturally similar results in ownership, while the large-scale
desire for ownership at an affordable price dictates peripheral
locations and similarity in architectural styles. The desire for
residence in small communities with strong local governments
manifests itself in peripheral locations at low densities, converting
one-time small towns to suburbs on the periphery of metropolitan
areas. Economical and racial homogeneity stem from the vision of an
environment free from the signs of poverty. Yet as economical and
racial segregation continue, the vision appeal s to be more firmly
Suburban Sprawl
Sprawl is the manifestation of unchecked suburban growth.
It is, in many ways, the antithesis of sustainable suburbanization, for
eventually it places too large a burden on the natural, economic, and
cultural environments. And while sustainable suburbanization may
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
seem like an oxymoron, it is so only because so much suburban
growth has been unplanned, ineffectively planned, or uncontrollable.
The case studies reviewed later demonstrate that suburbs can be far
more sustainable than they are today.
Sprawl can be difficult to define because it takes many shapes
over many periods of time. Still, it is easy to identify. It may include
street after curvilinear street of non-unique, non-localized housing,
miles of single-story strip malls surrounded by vast parking lots; or
clusters of low-story office and industrial buildings on the edge of
townmost accessible only by automobile.
The Causes of Sprawl
As a process, sprawl is based fundamentally on land
developmentconverting agricultural, natural, or otherwise vacant
land to other uses, often residential. As values rise in a citys central
business district, the incentive for a commercial enterprise to remain
is low because the value of land just outside the city is significantly
less.21 As businesses move to the periphery of urban areas to take
advantage of low costs, residential subdivisions and other real estate
developments follow, and so do people.
But sprawl also occurs because transportation access has
enabled it to. Even in late 19th Century cities, streetcar lines went

Community Redeveloped
beyond the city center and into adjacent land deemed ripe for
residcntialat least upper-class residentialdevelopment22
Commercial facilities and services to meet the needs of new
residences logically followed, as they do today thanks in part to
federally and state subsidized highways. In fact, residential
bedroom communities are the suburb types which have pioneered
the most remote corners of metropolitan regions, especially in the
1970s and 1980s.
American urban development has not always taken the shape
of spi awl, however. While all metropolitan areas have grown, it was
not until after World War II that suburbanization as we know it today
took hold Prior to the war, many Americans lived in small towns
and villages, either far from or fairly close to larger cities. America
was still largely niral. But at the end of the war, a number of factors
rapidly changed development patterns.
First, jobs were readily available in factories that had been
expanded to supply the war effort, and these factories were located
in central cities. Residents from farms and small towns moved to
the cities to fill the jobs, and they needed housing. Low-density
peripheral housing provided proximity to the city without actually
being in the hustle and the bustle of the city.
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
Suburban tract housing encroaches upon prime agricultural land in
California. J. Clark, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Second, high marriage and birth rates after soldiers returned
home increased the need for housing. The desire for single-family
housing itself was promulgated in part by architects who developed
single-family house plan books; and by developers who constructed
new subdivisions. Additionally, family magazines such as ladies'
Home Journal promoted a suburban life style in which each new
family had the opportunity to live in a quiet neighborhood, plant a
garden reminiscent of the country, and still commute easily to the city

Community Redeveloped
for work.25
Third, the federal government, through the Federal Housing
Administration, approved billions of dollars worth of mortgage
insurance for new tract housing on the outskirts of cities.26
Moreover, the F1IA not only underwrote mortgage loans, but it
dictated neighborhood design through the issuance of standards
which maximized lending security.27 These designs advocated large
yards; curving streets without grids and without through access; and
segregated land uses, keeping industrial from commercial from
residential. Because builders were eager for businessmore than 33
percent of the
mortgages were
backed by FI IA at
the timethey
accepted the
standards, which
became the basis
for national
building and
engineering codes
evident in
U.S. Population Distribution
Suburban Growth v. Central Cities & Rural Areas
-------- Central Cities
_. $Uburbs
........ Rural Areas
The Denver Post.
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
suburban settings
Fourth, the
mortgage interest
deduction allowed on
federal income taxes
has greatly promoted
the opportunity for the
average family to
own a home. With the
deduction, home-
owners can actually make less money and yet qualify for a higher
priced home because, over a year, the money that would go to taxes
instead goes to pay for the home. The majority of those homes have
been single-family, relatively large lot, on the periphery of cities in
which the owners generally work.
Fifth, federal and state governments invested heavily
in highways and streets, most notably through the 1956 Interstate
Highway Act which provided for a 42,500-mile interstate system of
which 90 percent was paid by the federal government.28 New loads
enabled families to move to newly created subdivisions, next door or
The iconography of suburbia, p. Katz

Community Redeveloped
in the next state. Additionally, private transportation received ample
taxpayer subsidies because it was considered a public good, while
mass transit alternatives such as streetcars were forced to pay their
own way. Ultimately, suburbanites came to depend on the
automobile, which in turn required more and more infrastructure 79
Finally, technology and economies of scale allowed
builders to create huge new subdivisions in a fraction of the time and
cost it took before the war. Developers such as the father and son
team of Abraham, William, and Alfred Levitt could now build
affordable homes away from larger cities, as they did with Levittown
on former potato fields on New Yorks Long Island. In a
construction process divided into 27 distinct steps, the Levitts built
up to 36 homes a day, eventually constructing 17,400 single-family
homes for a population of 82,000 residents in the late 1940s and early
A report released in 1996 and sponsored by the Bank of
America, California Resources Agency, Greenbelt Alliance, and The
Low Income Housing Fund analyzes growth patterns in California
and finds that while suburban sprawl has both helped to fuel
Californias unparalleled economic and population boom, and that
it has enabled millions of Californians to realize the enduring dream
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
of home ownership, it has also created a full menu of significant
costs which the state and its citizens can no longer afford.31
I he current rate of suburban growth appears that it cannot be
sustained, especially from an environmental perspective. The report
finds that rapid suburban growth has increased even in the last
decade, raising two questions: How, and why?
If growth has occurred despite these costs, what has enabled
it continued? There are three main factors. First, many of the costs
have either been ignored or are unknown. In many economic models,
for example, societal costs that include depletion of resources and air
pollution are not adequately assessed against the product or process
that causes the environmental damage. Without the higher cost,
consumers arc less likely to understand that the additional costs even
exist. The costs are not paid by the responsible party and fall to
society at large, though society is not fully aware.
Second, the mechanisms in favor of sprawl-oriented
development are large and not easily steered in other directions.
Moreover, initial costs of residential development, for example, are
relatively low and they do provide opportunities for families to own
homes. The combination of large industries oriented toward low-
density development, and people who are willing to buy into such

Community Redeveloped
development because it is convenient and initially inexpensive and
provides lots of personal space, has much momentum.
And third, American society has become accustomed to a
seemingly limitless ability to expand. This pioneering mentality-
based on the vision of the American Dream discussed earlieroften
results in development that is land-consuming by right.
Fundamentally, many Americans want large yards and wide-open
spaces, and believe it is within their rights to have it. While some
Americans are moving back into cities and older suburbs, the urge to
move away from urban centers and people and farther into the
frontier is strong, perhaps even innate. Yet when everyone pushes
on, no one really escapes for long
There are also several factors for why sprawl development
The decentralization of employment centers has led to new
development on the periphery of metropolitan areas. While central
cities were the predominant employment centers for many years, they
are now challenged by edge cities like Denvers Tech Center.
New subdivisionspredominantly housing-have pushed
further and further into agricultural and environmentally sensitive
areas, seemingly without end. In Golden, Colorado, for example,
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
A typical suburban strip commercial center, s. Biintin.
new single- and multifamily housing tracts climb higher and higher
into the once-pristine foothills.
Americans have become increasingly dependent on the
automobile for commuting to work, going on shopping trips, taking
children to school and recreational activities, and for other reasons
In the metropolitan Denver area, for example, vehicle miles traveled
increased from 15 million miles per weekday in 1970 to 45 million in
1995. At current trend levels, VMTs will be at 73 million in 2020.55
Many older communities, including central cities and first-ring

Community Redeveloped ___________________
suburbs, have become isolated. Middle-class mobility in housing and
employment, as well as via the automobile, has allowed residents to
live closer to recreation which may mean living farther from work.
Alternatively, they live closer to work, which is now in newer
suburbs. Hither way, older neighborhoods have become abandoned,
leading to disrupted social stability, increased economic disparity
between older communities and newer suburbs, and inaccessibility of
jobs to the poor and working class residents.
There is a general perception that new suburbs are safer and
more desirable than existing communities, with special emphasis
placed on streets, schools, and a small town atmosphere. Fear of
crime is a great motivator for development, says Joe Verdoorn, a
Phoenix planner. F.verybody wants to be on the far side of the
I,and is often less expensive on the metropolitan fringe.
People move where housing costs are seemingly less expensive, and
starter homes especially are still within the financial reach of a typical
family, at least initially
There is a belief that suburban communities give businesses
more flexibility to grow, especially as tax incentives and freedom
from additional regulation are guaranteed by suburbs trying to
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
Issaquah, Washington, 1961... ... and 1995.
Redevelopment for l ivable Communities. Redevelopment for Livable Communities.
develop a strong business base. Similarly, many businesses feel
suburban residents are better educated, leading to a more effective
Technological changes have allowed employment centers to
decentralize. The age of the telecommunication super-highway, via
the Internet, may facilitate this trend.
Highway and automobile subsidies by federal and state
governments, discussed previously, ensure that development is
dispersed and automobile-based. While individuals are responsible
for paying direct costs associated with owning automobilessuch as
the vehicle itself, gasoline, insurance, and perhaps parkingthey often
do not pay the true costs laid upon society as a whole, including air
pollution, traffic congestion, road damage, and expansion of

Community Redeveloped
Sprawl leads directly to air pollution: Denvers infamous brown
cloud. S. Buntin.
.Local land use policies, promulgated either by segregated
zoning districts or no- or slow-growth practices, ensure that uses are
separated from each other, and that new development is on the
periphery of a city. A limit on the number of residential building
permits in the City of Boulder, Colorado, for instance, has
inadvertently resulted in residential sprawl just outside of Boulders
surrounding open space buffer, where adjacent cities have not
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
adopted similar measures.
In a number of communities, fiscal incentives have allowed
local governments either to pick among land uses based on tax
considerations, or not to recover the true costs of development
through taxes. Accommodating affordable housing will not provide
high tax revenues and is not given other fiscal incentives, for
example, so is overlooked. However, strip-style retail does and is
thus given priority. In Utah a law was passed which stipulated that
as property values rise, the overall tax rate of a given area must fall,
this then is coupled with language that limits the amount local
governments can charge developers for new services, including roads
and sewers.35 Similarly, the Colorado tax stiucture indirectly
promotes sprawl because local governments cannot raise property
taxes beyond a certain ceiling In order to raise revenue, then, these
communities are forced to accommodate shopping malls and other
retail structures.
We were losing all our sales lax dollars to these big regional
malls, said Steven Boand, former mayor of Castle Rocka suburb
south of Denver. To compensate, we were forced to let a big outlet
mall come in here. We were roundly criticized for that, but our town
was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.36

Community Redeveloped
The Costs of Sprawl
Suburban sprawl is expensive. While it may appear to be less
expensive for businesses moving to new greenfield sites, for
developers to build on undeveloped land on a citys periphery, or for
a family to buy a new home in a new subdivisionat least initially
sprawl is certainly costly to society as a whole. These costs fall into
six general categories: costs to taxpayers, costs to business, costs to
residents of new suburbs, costs to residents of central cities and older
suburbs, costs to farmers, and costs to the environment.37
Costs to Taxpayers
The major cost to taxpayers is of increased infrastructure
needed to support new growth. In Ventura County, California, for
example, it is estimated that over the next eight years, the county will
need to spend $1.35 billion to widen roads and build interchanges to
maintain and slightly improve the current level of service.38 The cost
would be much lower, but the county continues to grow as sprawl
encroaches from Los Angeles. In the 1980s, the Minneapolis-St.
Paul metropolitan area spent over $1 billion adding capacity to its
roadway system; 85 percent of that, however, was spent on its most
affluent suburbs in the southwestern part of the metro area.39
According to a report released recently by the U S. Office of
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
Office park development halfway between Boulder and Denver is
not ecologically integrated into the site and ruins the view of the
mountains, s. Buntin.
Technology Assistance, low-density suburban development costs on
average 25 percent more for roads, 15 percent more for utilities, and
five percent more for schools than do planned higher-density
Recent research also demonstrates the differences in cost per
single-family dwelling unit between San Fraudsco-area suburban and
urban infill housing.41 Streets and roads in suburbs cost $3,000 per
unit, while for infill sites cost $800. Utility extensions cost $5,000 in
suburbs, but only $950 for infill. While the average suburban

Community Redeveloped
household uses 400 gallons of water per day, the average infill
household uses only 200. Similarly, while a suburban house uses 150
therms of natural gas, an infill house uses only 60 therms. And
finally, a suburban house uses on average about 10,000 kilowatthours
of electricity per year, while an infill house uses only 6,000 kWh per
Hut there are other costs to taxpayers, as well They pay the
costs of attempting to solve environmental problems associated with
development of virgin land on the metropolitan fringe. Large,
government-funded task groups, for example, may be necessary to
tackle regional issues such as air pollution and water quality directly
resulting from sprawl
There are also costs associated with dealing with social
problems that develop in the central city and older neighborhoods
when they become neglected or abandoned as a result of development
on the periphery. As older neighborhoods are left behind by middle-
income residents for newer suburban sites, for instance, the poverty
level rises and crime intensifies in these areas. In fact, as
concentrations of poverty increase beyond ten percent in a
neighborhood, violent crime rates appear to increase exponentially.12
Violent crime rates in Minneapoliss poorest neighborhoods between
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
1987 and 1989 were ten times greater than the metropolitan average,
and thirty times greater than the suburban average.45 Taxpayers
across the metropolitan region, however, pay for efforts to decrease
the crimeeither directly through taxes or personal income for
protection services, or indirectly through fear.
Costs to Business
Sprawl is costly to business,
as well. Because it reduces the
quality of life in a community,
businesses often move away from
or bypass communities with high
traffic congestion, high housing
costs, and other negative
consequences of sprawl when
relocating. Additionally, the effects
of sprawl can cause taxes and
development costs to rise
throughout the metropolitan area,
resulting in a regional rise in the
costs of both residing in the area
and doing business.44 These costs
Moving outward from
a dated or inconvenient
core is the easiest
individual solution and
provides what
consumers seek in most
marketplaces. The
larger societal costs or
impacts of these
development patterns
are not considered
when the firms or
individuals choices are
Robert W. Burcbell
Understanding Spi n wl*s

Community Redeveloped
are a large reason that many companies are choosing to move out ol'
California, for instance, and into neighboring states like Nevada,
l Jtali, and Arizona.
Businesses can also be asked to foot a large portion of the bill
to help pay for sprawls consequences. For example, businesses in
metro Denver often pay for carpooling and mass transit programs for
employees to help meet the regions ambient air quality standards.16
Sprawl creates a spatial mismatch between employers and the
labor market, both for low-wage jobs and low-skilled workers who
live in the central city, and for white-collar jobs and middle-income
workers who live in the
suburbs.47 While
opportunities may exist for
workers outside of their
current neighborhoods, it
may be difficult or
impossible for them to
commute, effectively
removing them from
portions of the job market.
In the Chicago metropolitan
Once concentration of
poverty, disinvestment,
middle-class flight, and
sprawl occur, they become
more costly and detrimental
than any other set of
problems facing American
society today.
Myron Orfield
Social amt Economic Polarization
Vs. Community and Stability4H
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
area, for example, it is estimated that the spatial mismatch cost of
working in a peripheral suburban location versus a central city
location is between $300 and $900 per employee.49 Spatial
mismatches tend to result in higher labor costs and reduced worker
Abandoned investments in older neighborhoods may also
result as the neighborhoods themselves face decline. Businesses
oriented specifically toward providing infrastructureincluding gas,
electric, water, telephone, and cable utilitiesmay be hit the hardest
as they are no longer able to collect revenue for capital that has
already been invested
Costs to Residents of New Suburbs
Residents of new suburbs, while initially spending less by
moving into a peripheral location, face costs as well. These include
the necessary costs of owning automobiles The average two-car
family, for instance, spends nearly $9,000 annuallyor 25 percent of
the households income after federal taxeson owning and operating
fime and money arc also lost by extended commute times due
either to a longer commute or to increased traffic congestion, or
both. According to the Federal 1 fighway Administration, two billion

Community Redeveloped
hours a year are lost to traffic delays above and beyond normal
commuting time, with a projected yearly cost of $34 billion.51
Commuting by automobile is necessary in many areas because
suburbs generally have poorly developed public transit systems, and
because there is a jobs-to-population imbalance among suburbs.
Various studies, shown in the chart below, demonstrate the unpaid
costsi.c., costs imposed on other drivers by individual commuting
decisionsof peak hour and congestion auto travel (for the U S.
generally, for the United Kingdom and North America generally, for
Minneapolis, and for San Francisco).52 Additionally, congestion in
the Chicago metro area costs society an estimated $150 to $500 per
year for each
employee of a new
suburban commercial
or industrial facility.53
Studies have
also shown that
suburban residents
earn lower wages at
suburban workplaces
than at central city
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
workplacesperhaps the largest reason businesses move to greenfield
sites to begin with. These studies conclude that while men earn 2.5
percent less in newer suburbs, women earn 10 percent less, based on
the theory that suburban residents are willing to accept lower wages
in exchange for a reduction in commuting times.51
Residents of new suburbs may also be asked to pay the costs
of new infrastructure, either through impact fees passed the
developer, or through increased property taxes. Property taxes on a
new home in a new subdivision in Jeffersonville, Indianaa suburb of
Louisville, Kentuckywere nearly three times the amount for a
similarly valued house in an older, adjacent neighborhood.55
Finally, new suburbanites pay social costs, as well Suburbs
cause a sense of fragmentation and physical and social disconnection
for many residents.56 Peripheral settlements rarely provide social
gathering points for neighbors, and if they do most are so tar away
that they require an auto to get to them, leading to social isolation
and loss of identity.
Costs to Residents of Central Cities and Older
While wages may be lower in suburban areas, U S. Census
data shows that per capita income is actually higher in many suburban

Community Redeveloped
City-Suburb Per Capita Income Gaps, 198957
Metro area Per capita income -1989 City-suburb ratio
Metro area City Suburb.
Detroit, Michigan $15,694 $9,443 $17,874 53%
Cleveland, Ohio 15,092 9,258 17,317 53
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 14,785 11,106 17,868 62
I larrisburg, Pennsylvania 14,659 11,037 15,251 72
Syracuse, New York 13,918 11,351 17,868 77
Louisville, Kentucky 13,600 11,527 14,564 79
Columbus, Ohio 14,516 13,151 16,169 81
Richmond, Virginia 15,848 13,993 16,777 83
Houston, Texas 15,091 14,261 16,012 89
Indianapolis, Indiana 15,159 14,478 16,120 90
Madison, Wisconsin 15,542 15,143 15,976 95
Nashville, Tennessee 14,567 14,490 14,808 98
Raleigh, North Carolina 16,170 16,896 16,377 103
Albuquerque, New Mexico 13,954 14,018 11,892 118
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl

Community Redeveloped
neighborhoods. According to David Rusk, The city-suburb per
capita income ratio is the single most important indicator of an urban
areas social health.58 He argues that those metropolitan areas with
the highest central city incomes compared to their suburban
counterparts are the most healthy. Those with the lowest central city
per income capitasee table on previous pageare the most adverse
to residents of central cities and older suburbs.
Residents of central cities and older suburbs lose jobs and
access to jobs as employment becomes decentralized. Especially hard
hit arc the low-income citizens who rely predominantly on public
mass transit, tor without a car it is difficult or impossible to commute
to suburban work locations.
Sprawl also results in economic segregation and loss of social
stability for older neighborhood residents, as middle-class residents
move farther and farther from the central city. Subsequently, jobs are
no longer created in older neighborhoods but rather in developing
suburbs. Between 1980 and 1990, for example, jobs declined in
Minneapolis and St. Raul and their inner suburbs, but increased
greatly in their southwestern developing suburbs. In fact, though the
suburbs represent only 27 percent of the metropolitan regions
population, they gained 61 percent of the new jobs.59
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
Additionally, individual homeowners and small businesses
may see a decline in property value and business volume as middle-
income residents leave. While the corner grocery store in an older,
mixed-use neighborhood was economically viable when
neighborhood vacancy rates were low, before sprawl, as middle-
income residents move out and vacancy rates increase, the grocery
store no longer has a critical mass of local residents and shoppers for
it to remain economically viable. As residents leave, the owners
likelihood of remaining in business is greatly diminished. Even if the
store does stay in business, decreased visibility is manifested in higher
prices and reduced selection.
Finally, as middle-income residents shift to the suburbs, so too
do government services and political power. A lack of services and
political support equate to physical, economic, social, and political
under representation for residents of older, declining communities.
Costs to Farmers
Sprawl results in a permanent loss of agricultural land. In
fact, because metropolitan areas are often situated along historically
strategic locations, the agricultural land which is lost is usually of
the highest valuethe prime land.60 It cannot simply be exchanged
for other land, as the soil, nutrient levels, precipitation, and climate

Community Redeveloped
Farmland is easily converted to suburban uses once the roads are
in place, s. Buntin.
are all likely of different compositions than they were before.
The rate of agricultural land lost to suburbanization is
alarming In the Puget Sound Basin of Washingtonhome to Seattle
and its suburbs200,000 acres of farmland were lost between 1967
and 1984, meanwhile, 200,000 acres of intense suburban and
150.000 acres of streets and highways were added 61 In Californias
Central Valleythe nations leading agricultural regionnearly
500.000 acres of productive farmland were lost between 1982 and
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
1987 alone 62 Overall, more than one million acres of farmland are
lost to development annually in the IJ S.
Crop productivity declines as pollution directly attributable to
sprawl increases, as well Ozone pollution alone can reduce crop
yields by up to 30 percent, lending to agricultural losses from
pollution estimated at over $200 million per year, according to the
Agricultural Issues (enter at the University of California-Davis 64
Traditional farm communities can also lose their rural identity
as sprawl encroaches and, like Colorado towns Franktown and
Parker, they become bedroom suburbs Similarly, sprawl may seem
like an inevitable outcome to owners of agricultural land. As such,
it creates uncertainty for landowners, who fail to continue investing
in their land as they wait to sell out to developers willing to pay
considerably more for land than it is wort h under current agricultural
Costs to the Environment
The largest costs of all are to the natural environment
Natural areas, including unique and sensitive lands such as wetlands,
are lost forever to the low-density ways of sprawl: a new 5()~mile
stretch of freeway in Phoenix has result ed in the loss of 25,000 acres
of Sonoran Deseit in just three years,64 between 42,000 and 60,000

Community Redeveloped
acres of forestland and other wildlife habitat are lost annually to
suburbanization in Washington state;65 eighty percent of the original
coastal marshes in the San Francisco Bay arearoughly 200,000
acreshave been lost to development.66 In fact, between 1982 and
1992, 5,154,000 acres of forestland alone were converted to urban
uses in the [J.S.67 In metropolitan areas across the country,
tremendous amounts of undeveloped land are lost to new
subdivisions annually
Development not only reduces critical habitat for plants, fish,
and wildlife, but it changes drainage patterns and microclimates
which can lead to devastating floods and damage from high winds.
Recent flooding in suburban areas of California and the Pacific
Northwest demonstrate all too well that streets and concrete gutters
are not an adequate replacement for the drainage patterns and erosion
control inherent in natural landscapes
Air pollution is another major outcome of sprawl. Because
the automobile is essential for most residents of suburbia, and
because vehicle miles traveled are steadily increasing, air quality is
significantly hindered. Air pollution, of which 33 percent is
attributable directly to private automobile use, is not only
aesthetically unappealing, but is hazardous to human and
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
-oss of critical wildlife habitat is one of the largest environmental
costs Of suburban sprawl. Western Area Power Administration.
environmental health, as well.68 The American Lung Association
estimates that lung diseases, including respiratory tract infections,
asthma, and lung cancer stemming in large part from air pollution, are
responsible for more than 300,000 deaths in America every year.69
Additionally, air pollution is expensive: in Southern
Californiawhere the South Coast Air Quality Management District

Community Redeveloped
mandates the strictest air pollution regulations in the countryair
pollution costs $7.4 billion per year, or about $600 per resident.70
Suburban commuters in the metropolitan Chicago area are likewise
responsible for up to $650 each in indirect costs resulting from air
pollution annually.71
Traffic congestion between auto-oriented suburbs leads to air
pollution from auto emissions. Center for l ivable Communities
Water quality and quantity are also adversely affected. While
irrigation for agriculture is the largest use of water across Colorado,
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
for example, localized areas under heavy development pressures
such as Douglas County just south of Denverthreaten to deplete
groundwater sources. Ten years ago Douglas County had a
population of 20,000; it now has a population of 110,000, and is
zoned for half a million people Yet, the life span of the aquifers
supplying water to most of the countys residents is well under 100
years and falling rapidly.72 Meanwhile, in the Minncapolis-St. Paul
metropolitan area, the Praite Du Chien aquifer has become severely
polluted and depleted due in large part to sprawl in the southwestern
quadrant of the region.72 Water quantity and quality are inextricably
linked to development pressures on the metropolitan fringe.
The Unsustainable Outcomes of Sprawl
Whether evaluated at specific suburban levels, or on the scale
of entire metropolitan regions, sprawl is economically,
environmentally, and socially costly. These costs result in inequities
that predominantly favor residents of the newer suburbs. Yet even
these residents pay as the entire metropolitan region suffers. And
sprawl seems to feed upon itself like a parasite intent on devouring its
host: My rule of thumb is that the faster the rate of sprawl, the
faster the rate of abandonment, says David Rusk, former mayor of
Albuquerque. You look at Detroit, which has lost a million or so

Community Redeveloped
people. It consumed land at thirteen times the rate of population
Contemporary, postwar development patterns that are low-
density, land consuming, and auto-oriented cannot be sustained over
the long term. Their costs are too high economically,
environmentally, and socially. While low-density development
appears to be the most cost-effective approach in the short term, that
is only because it does not account for its full costs to society. When
the true costs discussed earlier in this chapter are factored in, sprawl
development falls far short of paying its own way.
But sprawl is unsustainable for more than economic reasons
liven if a fair price could be placed on lost natural ecosystems, the
varied habitats and species that once inhabited them can never fully
be replaced, either in number or in quality. Views lost to miles of
similar rootlines could perhaps be returned, but the natural drainage
patterns and slopes in all likelihood never could be. Likewise, prime
agricultural land now developed cannot be returned to its former
state. Once natural and agricultural lands are lost, so are open spaces
and the recreational opportunities that come with them, plant and
animal species, the environments natural ability to filter many
pollutants, the regions ability to produce food, community identity
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
which comes with greenways and other open space buffers, the
regions ability to preserve its natural heritage, and a wealth of other
Because sprawl leads to segregation of race, income, and
physical uses, as well as social isolation and a lack of community
cohesion, it is socially unsustainable, as well
Only in redeveloping the suburbs can regions and their
communities secure a more sustainable future

Community Redeveloped
Endnotes and References
1. Van der Ryn, Sim. 1986. The Suburban Context,
Sustainable Communities: A New Design Synthesis for
Cities, Suburbs, and Towns by Sim Van der Ryn and Peter
Calthorpe. Sierra Club Books. San Francisco. Pg. 34.
2. American Farmland Trust figures provided by the National
Center for Appropriate Technologys Act Locally Slide Show.
1996. The slide show is available through the Center of
Excellence for Sustainable Development Home Page, U.S.
Department of Energy, at
3. Corbett, Judith, and Velasquez, Joe. September 1994. "The
Ahwahnee Principles: Toward More Livable Communities,"
Western City. Article copy made available by the Center for
l ivable Communities, Local Government Commission:
Sacramento, CA. Pg. 3.
4. Los Angeles population and geographic area size growth
data is provided by Chris Leimberger of Robert Charles
Lesser & Co. 1996. Reprinted on the Periferia: New
Urbanism Quotations Home Page, Internet Resources for
Architecture and Urban Design in the Caribbean, URL
5. Langdon, Philip. 1994. A Better Place to Live: Reshaping
the American Suburb. The University of Massachusetts
Press: Amherst, MA. Pg. 1.
6. Egan, Timothy. December 29, 1996. Urban sprawl strains
Western states." The New York Times. Edited and reprinted
as Sprawl a dirty word for Western mega-cities, The Denver
Post. February 9, 1997. Pg. 14A.
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
7. Sprawl a dirty word... Pg. 14A.
8. "Sprawl a dirty word... Pg. 14A
9. Rusk, David. 1995. Cities without Suburbs, Second Edition.
The Woodrow Wilson Center Press: Washington, DC. Pg.
10. Rusk. Pg. 14.
11. Romer, Roy. July 1996. Introductory L.etter to Fellow
Coloradans," Smart Growth & Development: A Work in
Progress. Smart Growth and Development Action Center,
Department of Local Affairs: Denver, CO. Pg. 2.
12. Denver Regional Council of Governments. November 1995.
Metro Vision 2020 Insert. Metro Vision 2020: Vision
Framework for the Denver Metropolitan Region. Pg. 1.
13. Metro Vision 2020 Insert. Pg. 1.
14. Denver Regional Council of Governments. November 1995.
Metro Vision 2020: Vision Framework for the Denver
Metropolitan Region. Pg. 8.
15. DRCOG. Pg. 8. And, Katz, Alan. February 9, 1997.
Building the Future, The Denver Post. Pg. 12A.
16. Katz. Pg. 13A.

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17. 1990 Census of Population and Housing: Summary Social,
Economic, and Housing Characteristics Colorado. LJ.S.
Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics
Administration, Bureau of the Census. 1990. 1990CPH-5-7;
and A Century of the Colorado Census, compiled by
Suzanne Schulze, University of North Colorado: Greeley,
CO. 1976.
18. Downs, Anthony. 1994. New Visions for a Metropolitan
America. The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC; and
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA. Pg. 6.
19. Downs. Pg. 6.
20. Jackson, Kenneth T. 1985. Crabgrass Frontier: The
Suburbanization of the United States. Oxford University
Press, Inc.: New York. Pp. 238-241.
21. Jackson. Pp. 133.
22. For an in-depth discussion of early suburban expansion
based on streetcars and other mass transit, see Warner,
Sam Bass, Jr. 1978. Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of
Growth in Boston (1870-1900), Second Edition. Harvard
University Press: Cambridge, MA 208 Pages.
23. Calthorpe, Peter. 1994. The Region, an essay in Katz,
Peter. 1994. The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture
of Community. McGraw- Hill, Inc.: New York. Pg. xii.
24. Smyth, Joseph. 1992. The Economic Power of Sustainable
Development: Building the New American Dream, a chapter
in Walter, Bob, Arkin, Lois, and Crenshaw, Richard, Editors.
Sustainable City Development: Concepts and Strategies for
Eco-City Development. Eco-Home Media: Los Angeles.
Pg. 212.
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
25. Jackson. Pg. 232.
26. Jackson. Pp. 232-233.
27. The FHAs role in suburban development and layout was
discussed in URP 6635, A History of American City-Building,
taught by Assistant Professor Michael Holleran. Urban and
Regional Planning Program, College of Architecture and
Planning, University of Colorado at Denver: Denver, CO.
Spring Semester 1996.
28. Jackson. Pg. 249.
29. Jackson. Pp. 168 and 171.
30. Jackson, Pp. 234-235.
31. Bank of America, California Resources Agency, Greenbelt
Alliance, and The Low Income Housing Fund. 1996. Beyond
Sprawl: New Patterns of Growth to Fit the New California.
BankAmerica Corporation: San Francisco. Pg. 1.
32. The following discussion is based largely on the findings for
the factors causing sprawl in Beyond Sprawl.
33. DRCOG. Pg. 20.
34. Malone, Maggie, and Rogers, Patrick, Archer Biddle, Nina,
Reiss, Spencer, Gordon, Jeanne, Kandell, Paul, and Glick,
Daniel. May 15, 1996. Paved Paradise, Newsweek. Pg.
35. Egan. Pg. 14A.
36. Egan. Pg. 14A.

Community Redeveloped
37. The following discussion is based in part on the findings for
the costs of sprawl in Beyond Sprawl.
38. Smyth. Pg. 212.
39. Orfield. Pg. 16.
40. IJ.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assistance. 1995. The
Technological Reshaping of Metropolitan America. U.S.
Government Printing Office: Washington, DC. OTA-ETI-
41. Research conducted by the consulting firm M.Cubed,
reprinted in The Urban Ecologist: The Journal of Urban
Ecology. 1996 Number 4. Urban Ecology: Oakland, CA.
Pg. 6.
42. Orfield, Myron. April 1996. Metropolitics: Social and
Economic Polarization Vs. Community and Stability,
Northwest Report. Number 20. Northwest Area Foundation:
St. Paul, MN. Pg. 11.
43. Orfield. Pg. 11.
44. Burchell, Robert W. 1996. Understanding Sprawl, On the
Ground: The Multimedia Journal on Community, Design &
Environment. Volume 2, Number 2. Thousand Words:
Seattle, WA. Pg. 13.
45. Burchell. Pg. 13.
56. The Denver Regional Council of Governments The Pollution
Solution is an example of a program in which metropolitan
businesses employees can volunteer to take an alternative
mode of transportation to work during the winter months to
reduce air pollution. The businesses are often asked to
provide funding for DRCOGs RideArrangers Free Ride
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
Flome program to encourage employees to participate.
47. Persky, Joseph, and Wiewel, Wim. May 1996. Central City
and Suburban Development: Who Pays and Who Benefits?
Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago:
Chicago. Pp. 6-7.
48. Orfield. Pg. 11.
49. Persky and Wiewel. Pg. 7.
50. Langdon. Pg. 11.
51. The Federal Highways Administration data is available at
Smyth. Pg. 212.
52. Persky and Wiewel. Pg. 3.
53. Persky and Wiewel. Pg. 10.
54. Persky and Wiewel. Pg. 10.
55. Personal communication with David Buntin, resident of
Jeffersonville, Indiana.
56. Langdon. Pp. 23-26.
57. Rusk. Pg. 31.
58. Rusk. Pg. 33.
59. Orfield. Pg. 13.

Community Redeveloped
60. The loss of prime agricultural land to development was
discussed in URP 6656, Regional Land Use Planning and
Analysis, taught by Professor Thomas Clark. Urban and
Regional Planning Program, College of Architecture and
Planning, University of Colorado at Denver: Denver, CO.
Fall Semester 1996.
61. Washington State Energy Office, Washington State
Department of Transportation, Department of Ecology, and
Energy Outreach Center. June 1996. Redevelopment for
Livable Communities. Energy Outreach Center: Olympia,
WA. Pg. 12.
62. Beyond Sprawl. Pg. 9.
63. Beyond Sprawl. Pg. 9.
64. Katz. Pg. 14A.
65. Redevelopment for Livable Communities. Pg. 19.
66. Salvesen, David. 1994. Wetlands: Mitigating and
Regulating Development Impacts, Second Edition. The
Urban Land Institute: Washington, DC. Pg. 2.
67. Data from the 1992 National Resources Inventory, U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service.
Washington, DC. 1995.
68. Beyond Sprawl. Pg. 10,
69. American Lung Association Fact Sheet Outdoor Air
Pollution. 1996. American Lung Association: Washington,
DC. Available through 1-800-LUNG-USA.
70. Beyond Sprawl. Pg. 10.
Suburbs and Suburban Sprawl
71. Perskey and Wiewel. Pg. 4.
72. Johnson, Dave. Summer 1996. The Politics of Water
Planning: State Legislature Defeats Depleting Aquifer
Information Amendment, The New Colorado Planner.
Urban and Regional Planning Program, College of
Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado at Denver:
Denver, CO. Pp. 11-12.
73. Orfield. Pg. 18.
74. Egan. Pg. 14A.

Community Redeveloped
Social, economic, and environmental trends unfolding today make it imperative that we
find ways to re-establish sustainable patterns of living. This does not mean a return to the
lifestyle of our ancestors.... Rather, it necessitates efforts to create a global sustainable
consciousness, a way of life, and an economic system respectful of limits and the dominant
role of natural systems in all aspects of human society. The goal of sustainable development
is to create a new synthesis that works as well for the planet as it does for people.
Daniel D. Chiras1
Sustainable redevelopment is the process by which new
sustainable practices are implemented on lands already developed,
whether residential, commercial, industrial, or other. Proponents of
such redevelopment strive to counteract the negative effects of
sprawled communities It is therefore an attempt to secure the long-
term economic, environmental, and social viability of a community by
reversing land use patterns and activities so common since the end of
World War If These conventional development patterns have not
conserved resources, effectively controlled air, water, and soil
pollution, or properly eliminated or recycled wastes. They have,
however, destroyed natural landscapes and the species dependent
upon them, favored the automobile over the pedestrian, and taxed all
for the benefit of only a portion. Ultimately, postwar suburban
sprawl has opposedwhether intentionally or notthe creation and
maintenance of community and a culture of place.
By its nature, sustainable redevelopment aims to reverse these
disturbing trends by
principles and
properties of
sustainability, and
by recreating a
community which is
secure in its own
identity yet which
functions as an
effective part of the
region. It is no
small task, but the
case studies
discussed later demonstrate that calculated, community-involved
redevelopment can work. Moreover, they show that redevelopment
Sustainability requires protection of the
natural environment, such as this land
adjacent to an estuarine marsh in Northern
California, s. Buntin
Sustainable Redevelopment

Community Redeveloped
can reverse downward-spiral trends andwith effective leadership,
citizen participation, and continuing effortspropel a community
toward economic, environmental, and social sustainability.
Sustainability, sustainable development, and sustainable
redevelopment can mean ten different things to ten different people.
Yet a review of published definitions demonstrates that while
grammar and syntax may vary, sustainability is fundamentally the
equitable preservation of (1) built and natural environments, (2)
cultural heritages, and (3) economic opportunities Each part is
inextricably linked to the other.
For example, in downtown redevelopment, retrofitting an
older building may seem like an appropriate action to take primarily
for cultural purposes. If the building, for instance, is historically
meaningfulit is a symbol of the citys development embodied in
architecture and locationand citizens associate intrinsic value in not
only saving but also restoring it, then its cultural significance can
hardly be denied. But historic preservation and adaptive building
reuse have economic and environmental benefits, as well.
Economically, costs may be lower to restore than to completely
rebuild, restoration work will provide jobs, the building owner may
Sustainable Redevelopment
receive tax credits, reduced development costs may result in the
availability of additional low-income housing (a social goal, as well),
and so on. Environmentally, less resourceswood, steel, energy-
may be used than in new development, new land is not built upon,
and the physical fabric of community is preserved.
Actions that are seemingly unsustainable demonstrate a
similar interconnectedness among economic, environmental, and
social outcomes. The decision to develop a low-density greenfield
site has the obvious adverse environmental effects of, for example,
destroying natural landscapes and therefore wildlife migration routes,
natural drainage patterns, and permeable surfaces. But such
development also has negative economic and social consequences.
These include such expenses as underutilized or abandoned
infrastructure, high costs of automobile ownership, and social
While these costs may not be high for all residents, they are
nonetheless legitimate costs, ultimately paid by society as a whole
That is, in part, where equity comes in Certain sectors of society
the poor and immobile, most notablycannot afford to pay the costs
of unsustainable development. Yet many must pay by being denied
adequate access to jobs, mobility, housing, and health care While

Community Redeveloped
these costs are not inflicted on purpose (hopefully), they still result
in societal inequity.
Equity, in fact, is the central tenet of sustainability. And
predominantly it is intergenerational equity: ensuring future
generations have the same or better resources and opportunities as
current generations. It goes almost without saying that in order for
society to sustain itself, it must ensure that tomorrows environment
and systems are healthy.
Equity, however, does not mean equal rations for every
personthat is impossible. Rather, it means a reasonable balance
among constituencies in which preservation of the natural
environment and cultures has value in and of itself. Economic
factors, then, are not the lead driver in decision-making.
Use of natural resources provides a prime example. In the
Pacific Northwest, many would argue that the rivers are an overused
resource currently on an unsustainable course (no pun intended).
They are used historically by salmon for spawning habitat, Native
Americans who fish for the salmon, and commercial fishery
operations that also fish for the salmon. Additionally, the rivers are
also tapped by large hydroelectric dams that provide electricity to
industrial facilities, agricultural users, and municipalities. In a
Sustainable Redevelopment
sustainable setting, what is
the equitable use of the
river? Each stakeholder
would likely provide a
different answer. The goal
of sustainability is to ensure
that whatever the balance is,
it is one that preserves the
environment, economy, and
society for the long term.
Such a balance is impossible
No one will ever agree on
when we will have an ecocity
because ecoeities are a
direction, not a destination.
No city stands still. Each is a
dynamic dance of stone,
wood, flesh, and shimmering
energy flows, an interplay of
the ancient f orces of nature
and history upon the volatile
spirit of humanity.
Richard Register
Ecological Community Design*
without equity among the
players, especially future generations which cannot speak for
themselves. As later sections demonstrate, finding an equitable
balance requires careful evaluation of decisions impacts, a task
perhaps best performed by the use of community indicators.
Published definitions of sustainability often include local and
regional self-reliance and adaptability as essential elements. And it
may indeed appear that adaptability is sustainabilitys most
fundamental part. Like a living organism, a community which has the
highest level of adaptabilitya generalist species with the ability to

Community Redeveloped
evolve under a wide variety of environmental conditionswould
appear to be the most sustainable. Yet that is sustainability in its
rawest sense, for to survive is not enough The community must also
preserve the natural environment upon which it is built, provide
effectively for its citizens in culturally satisfying ways, and ensure the
economy is viable and open to all Therefore, sustainability is more
than the communitys ability to adapt. It must thrive as well as adapt.
Self-reliance, on the other hand, may not be as much a
fundamental part of sustainability as a reaction to the
unsustainability of depleting resources. That is, a self-reliant
community in theory does not overuse resources from surrounding
areas, and so does not unduly deplete those resources. A truly
sustainable community would also regenerate its own resources at the
same or better rate as it uses them Resource use would, at worst, be
But complete self-reliance may not be practical, or possible,
in the world today and in the future. Worldwide telecommunications,
for example, will only continue to grow. While on one hand the
growth will allow many locally oriented businesses to flourish, on the
other it necessitates the transfer of information, using at least some
energy, around the globe. Additionally, self-reliance is largely
Sustainable Redevelopment
extrinsic to the fundamental concept of sustainability If the
economic, environmental, and social future is preserved for future
generations, the geographic sphere of resource useor ecological
footprint, as William Rees terms it3becomes a moot point because
resources will not be over depleted at any location That is,
resources will be regenerated so that all people and systems have
adequate supplies: they will be in balance. In attempting to reach
sustainability, however, both local and global measures to reduce
resource depletion are essential.
Based on a definition of sustainability as the equitable
preservation of built and natural environments, cultural heritages, and
economic opportunities, the concept can be represented graphically
as a triangle. At one corner is environment, at another is society,
and at the third is economy. Sustainability is a dynamic location
somewhere between these corners in which the environment is
protected and enhanced, society as community flourishes, and the
economy is viable. Hquity, as discussed earlier, is also intrinsic to
sustainability. Sustainable redevelopment is an attempt to physically
rebuild a place so that environment, society, and economy are all
enhancedso that, moreover, each is equitably linked to the others in
manners which most suit the individual community.

Community Redeveloped
In Redevelopment for Livable ('ommiinitiesn collaborative
report developed by the Washington State Hnergy Office anti other
organizations-sustainable /'(development is defined as the art of
building in already developed areas so that neighborhoods grow more
livable and the costs of public infrastructure and services are kept under
control.' Indeed, redevelopment that is sustainable in nature will keep
costs to all parts of the community-economy, environment, and society
within reasonable limits.
Ultimately, sustainable development and redevelopment involve
The triaxial model of sustainability'1 s. Buntin.
Sustainable Redevelopment
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporations triaxial
model of sustainability. Canada Mortgage and Housing
two key concepts, according to the Center for Sustainable
Communities, thinking holistically about the entire system in which we
are operating, and thinking long-term about the impacts our decisions
could or do have on future generations 6

Community Redeveloped
Definitions of Sustainability...
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the
present generation without compromising the ability o f future
generations to meet their own needs.
The World Commission on Environment and Development, United
Nations, Our Common Future7
Sustainability is the relationship between dynamic human economic
systems and larger dynamic ecological systems in which: (1) human
life can continue indefinitely; (2) human individuals can flourish;
(3) human cultures can develop; but in which (4) the effects of
human activities remain within bounds, so as not to destroy the
diversity, complexity, and function of the ecological support system.
Robert Costanza, Economist8
A sustainable [place] supports and improves the quality of life of all
its residents and recognizes the interdependence of its people,
culture, economy, and urbanized and natural environments.
Urban Ecology, Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area9
Sustainability refers to the ability of a society, ecosystem, or any such
ongoing system to continue functioning into the indefinite future
without being forced into decline through exhaustion... of key
Robert Gilman, Context Institute10
Actions are sustainable if: (1) There is a balance between resources
used and resources generated. (2) Resources are as clean (or
cleaner) at end use as at beginning. (3) The viability, integrity, and
diversity of natural systems are restored and maintained. (4) They
lead to enhanced local and regional self-reliance. (5) They help
create and maintain community and a culture of place. (6) Each
generation preserves the legacies of future generations.
David McGoskey, Seattle University"
Sustainable development... is an attempt to find a way for people to
live a healthy and secure life in harmony with nature.
The Province of Manitoba, Capital Region Strategy: Partners for
the Future1-
Sustainability is the task of finding alternatives to the practices that
got us into trouble in the first place; it is necessary to rethink
agriculture, shelter, energy use, urban design, transportation,
economics, community patterns, resource use, f orestry, the
importance of wilderness, and our central values.
David W. Orr, Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to
a Postmodern World'3
Sustainability is the ability to supply in perpetuity all life forms with
the necessities of life.
Helen Kolff, Beyond War14
Sustainable development is positive socioeconomic change that does
not undermine the ecological and social systems upon which
communities and society are dependent.
William Rees, University of British Columbia18
A more sustainable way of life [is] one that safeguards and enhances
our resources, prevents harm to the natural environment and human
health, and sustains and benefits the community and local economy
for the sake of current and future generations.
City of Santa Monica, California, Sustainable City Progress Report16
Sustainable Redevelopment

Community Redeveloped
Definitions of Sustainability, Continued...
A sustainable society is one that can persist over generations, one
that is farseeing enough, flexible enough, and wise enough not to
undermine either its physical or its social systems of support.
Donclla II. Meadows, Beyond the Limits17
Sustainability thinking seeks prosperitynot just economic
growthin a way that draws together economic, social equity, and
environmental considerations, striving always to sustain the
Earth \ resources and its people.
Presidents Council on Sustainable Development, Sustainable
America: A New Consensusl>
A sustainable society would not undermine its resource base, the
assimilative capacity of its surroundings, or the biotic stocks on
which its future prosperity depends. Sustainability means living on
interest, not drawing down the capital.
Paul Wilson, Changing Direction: Toward Sustainable Culture9
The primary goal of sustainable design is to lessen the harm poorly
designed buildings cause by using the best of ancient building
approaches in logical combination with the best of new
technological advances. Its ultimate goal is to make possible
offices, homes, even entire subdivisions, that are net producers of
energy, food, dean water and air, beauty, and healthy human and
biological communities.
Dianna Lopez Barnett and William D. Browning,/! Primer on
Sustainable Building20
Sustainable Redevelopment
Principles of Sustainable Redevelopment
Principles of sustainable redevelopment serve as the guiding
tenets for communities in their efforts to redevelop for an
economically, environmentally, and socially viable future. For
example, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has
Wind energy is an economically viable renewable resource that can
in part lead to a sustainable energy future. Western Area Power

Community Redeveloped
developed a list of seven principles of sustainable development with
which it evaluates alternative planning approaches utilized in the
development of a number of new sustainable communities,
including the Cardiff Place cohousing project in Victoria, British
Columbia, the Cerro Gordo eco-village in Dorena Lake, Oregon,
and the McKenzie Towne New Urbanism project in Calgary,
Alberta.21 The principles are listed below:22
Resource conservation, including land, materials, water, and
Environmental impact, including greenhouse gases, ozone
impact, and air, water, and soil quality.
Economic viability, including infrastructure, marketability,
and stability.
Equity, including access and opportunity, fulfillment of basic
needs, and services and amenities.
Livability, including services and facilities, public open space,
convenience of movement, private open space, climate and
weather, and delight.
Community, including inclusiveness, participation, heritage,
identity, and gathering places.
Health and safety, including health protection, health
promotion, and health care and safety.
Sustainable Redevelopment
Other principles, such as the Province of Manitobas, are a bit
more global in scope, lake others, however, they form the basis of
overall goals from which a vision of community stems, and from
which sustainability evaluation mechanisms can be drafted. The
Manitoba government lias developed ten principles of sustainability:21
Integration of environmental and economic decisions.
Stewardship of the environment and economy for present and future
Shared responsibility for sustaining the environment and economy
in a spirit of partnership and open cooperation.
Prevention of adverse environmental and economic impacts.
Conservation of renewable and non-rencwablc resources.
Waste minimization through reduction, reuse, recycling, and
recovery of the products of society.
Enhancement of the long-term productive capability, quantity, and
capacity of natural ecosystems.
Rehabilitation and reclamation of damaged and degraded
Scientific and technological innovation to further environmental
quality, including human health and economic growth.
Global responsibility to accelerate the merger of environment and
economics in decision-making and to develop comprehensive and
equitable solutions to problems.

Community Redeveloped
Urban Hcology, Inc., which developed the Blueprint for a
Sustainable Bay Area, uses principles of sustainability as a broad,
inclusive vision for tbe [San Francisco] Bay Area against which
actions toward sustainability can ultimately be measured:24
Choice: A sustainable Bay Area will provide residents the opportunity
to choose from among different types of housing, neighborhoods,
transportation options, employment, and recreational activities.
Nature: A sustainable Bay Area will bring all residents closer to natural
systems and honor the interrelationships between the health of its
environment, people, and economy
Justice: A sustainable Bay Area will provide convenient and affordable
housing, safe and clean neighborhoods, and an equitable distribution of
jobs, public transportation, services, and amenities to all the regions
Accessibility: A sustainable Bay Area will promote development and
transportation alternatives that connect the region.
('onscrvation: A sustainable Bay Area will use land, energy, water, and
other resources efficiently and responsibly.
Context: A sustainable Bay Area will preserve and enhance the special
characteristics and culture of the region through the design of buildings,
streets, parks, neighborhoods, and cities.
Community: A sustainable Bay Area will enable residents to nurture a
strong sense of place, community, and responsibility.
Sustainable Redevelopment

With a population of over 6 million people, the San Francisco
metropolitan area is a large and complex canvas for Urban
Ecologys Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area. s. Buntin.
A group of concerned citizens and professionals involved with
uiban design, planning, and other aspects of the built environment-
through the Citizens Planners Project of Ventura Countyhave
developed a set of eight principles to help guide development irt the
Southern California county The group offers these principles as
sustainable building blocks whose specifics can be customized to lit
any community or county:25

Community Redeveloped
Protect, preserve, and restore the natural environment.
Establish true-cost pricing as the basis of economic vitality.
Support local agriculture and local business, products, and
Develop cluster ed, mixed- use, pedestrian-oriented ecological
Utilize advanced transportation, communication, and
production systems.
Maximize conservation and develop renewable resources.
Establish recycling programs and recycled materials
Support broad-based education for participatory governance.
And still other principles of sustainability, though not
necessarily termed as such, sculpt the more general principles into
specific objectives. In the fall of 1991, for example, some of the
leading professionals in community designincluding Andres Duany,
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Stefanos Polyzoides, Elizabeth Moule, Peter
Calthorpe, and Michael Corbettmet at the Ahwahnee Hotel outside
of Yosemite National Park, California, to develop a set of principles
based on new and emerging ideas in community design and
Sustainable Redevelopment
planning.26 These ideas
include neotraditional
development, transit-
oriented development, and
eco-village design, and are
aimed at what urban
designer Michael Freeman
has called space-making
rather than space-occupying
development.27 The
working group developed a
Preamble and set of
Community Principles and
Regional Principles, as well as an Implementation Strategy, which
combined form The Ahwahnee Principles. Though considerably
more detailed than the principles discussed above, the Community
Principles provide an excellent link between urban design and
sustainable redevelopment.
Biological Principles of
1. Conservation (efficiency)
2. Recycling
3. Renewable resources
4. Population control
5. Restoration
Daniel D. Chi ras
Lessons from Nature

Community Redeveloped 3-11
The Ahwahnee Principles: ( (immunity Principles29
1. All planning should be in (he form of complete and integrated communities containing housing, shops, work places, schools, parks, and civic
facilities essential to the daily life of the residents.
2. Community size should be designed so that housing, jobs, daily needs, and other activities arc within easy walking distance of each other .
3. As many activities as possible should be located within easy walking distance of transit stops.
4. A community should contain a diversity of housing types to enable citizens from a wide range of economic levels and age groups to live within
its boundaries.
5. Businesses within the community should provide a range of job types for the communitys residents.
6. The location and character of the community should be consistent with a larger transit network.
7. The community should have a center focus that combines commercial, civic, cultural, and recreational uses.
8. The community should contain an ample supply of specialized open space in the form of squares, greens, and parks whose frequent use is
encouraged through placement and design.
9 Public spaces should be designed to encourage the attention and presence of people at all hours of the day and night.
10. Each community or cluster of communities should have a well-defined edge, such as agricultural greenbclts or w ildlife corridors, permanently
protected from development.
11 Streets, pedestrian paths, and bike paths should contribute to a system of fully connected and interesting routes to all destinations. 'Their design
should encourage pedestrian and bicycle use by being small and spatially defined by buildings, trees, and lighting; and by discouraging high
speed traffic.
12. Wherever possible, the natural terrain, drainage, and vegetation of the community should be preserved with superior examples contained within
parks or greenbclts.
13. The community design should help conserve resources and minimize waste.
14. Communities should provide for the efficient use of water through the use of natural drainage, drought tolerant landscaping, and recycling.
15. The street orientation, the placement of buildings, and the use of shading should contribute to the energy efficiency of the community.
Properties of Sustainable Redevelopment
Redevelopment must integrate the appropriate principles of
sustainability into actions which most lit the communitys situation.
Any redevelopment effort should therefore be as unique as the
community it will affect and the land upon which that community is
built While general principles may be adopted, they should make
sense for the community and the specific redevelopment project,
keeping in mind regional goals and impacts.
Sustainable Redevelopment

Community Redeveloped
There are, however, fourteen general properties of sustainable
redevelopment upon which all projects can he evaluated. While these
may be sought in part or in sum, a large combination applied to the
individual circumstances will ensurealong with effective leadership,
Community involvement, and long-term implementation and
evaluationthat the project is successful from many different
The list of fourteen properties was developed by the author
based on extensive review of (1) those aspects of postwar
development that attribute to sprawl, such as low-density segregated
land uses, and (2) those aspects of older communities and
neotraditional developments that appear to enhance economic,
environmental, and social viability, such as regionalized architecture
and pedestrian orientation. For example, the negative costs of sprawl
documented in the previous chapter include harm to the natural
environment from destructive site design. The property that
counteracts this, and which therefore enhances sustainability, is
regionalized site design-site design which respects natural drainage
patterns, topography, vegetation, climate, and other biogeographical
features. The properties are fundamentally based on physical factors
influencing overall community sustainability, and specifically those
Sustainable Redevelopment
J Properties of Sustainable Redevelopment
High-density, mixed-use core
e/ Pedestrian orientation
iS;; Transit orientation
, Regionalized architecture, site design, and landscaping
Public spaces
^ Protection, restoration, and enhancement of the
natural environment
t/ Energy efficiency and renewable energy use in
:"" Green construction"|| dlllk
Integrated solid and toxic waste minimization
t/ Water and wastewater reduction ad reuse
Local production of goods, including food
vf Affordable housing ,,,
^ Building reuse and historic preservation
Integration with surrounding neighborhoods

Community Redeveloped
affecting /^development as opposed to new development (though
there is much overlap).
A number of these also stem from principles developed by
others, such as Dan Chirass five biological principles of
sustainability, the Ahwahnee Community Principles, and Peter
Calthorpes guiding principles for transit-oriented development.,0
Mostly, however, the properties of sustainable redevelopment
are common sense, though unfortunately not commonly adhered to
f or instance, high densities allow more land area to remain in natural
and agricultural uses, transit orientation reduces energy used for
transportation and provides greater access for all citizens, and
protection, restoration, and enhancement of the natural environment
ensure that the natural landscape and its species are safeguarded
These properties form the basis for evaluation of the case
studies detailed in later chapters Furthermore, communities can use
the fourteen basic properties as a rough checklist to measure overall
community and project sustainability. A numerical scale can be
established which assigns point values to each property the project
contains, or will contain. A basic point scheme, for example, would
give 2 points for a yes it is included response, 1 for a it is
somewhat included, and zero points for a not included. The
Sustainable Redevelopment
Checklist of Sustainable Redevelopment Properties
Is the Property Included: 2 for yes, 1 for somewhat," 0 for no
Property Project A Project B Project C
High-density, mixed-use core 1 2 0
Pedestrian orientation 2 2 1
Transit orientation 1 2 0
Regionalized architecture... 2 1 1
Public spaces 1 2 1
Protection, restoration... 1 2 0
Energy efficiency... 2 2 1
Green" construction 1 2 1
Integrated solid and toxic... 2 2 0
Water and wastewater... 2 2 0
Local production of goods... 1 1 2
Affordable housing 2 2 1
Building reuse... 1 2 0
Integration with surrounding... 2 2 1
TOTAL 21 26 9
higher the scoreout of a possible 28 in this casethe more
sustainable the project should be.
It makes sense that as more properties are integrated

Community Redeveloped
Single-family home density in The Crossings neotraditional
redevelopment in Mountain View, California, is much higher than
normal suburban densities, s. Buntin
effectively into the redevelopment, and the score or other
measurement increases, the closer that project then comes to an
economically, environmentally, and socially viable future. In the
hypothetical projects provided in the checklist on the previous page,
Project B would be the most sustainable, Project A the second most,
and Project C a distant third. Yet these properties do not guarantee
success, for the case studies demonstrate that success also lies in
political leadership and other factors, as well as in physical design.
Sustainable Redevelopment
However, we also know from patterns of current sprawl
development that development properties such as low density,
primary automobile orientation, and use of nonrenewable resources
are not sustainable. These properties are a direct response to that:
an integration of economy, environment, and society which reduces
sprawlindeed, reversing it in the case studies discussed in the next
chapterswhile enhancing other beneficial factors.
High-Density, Mixed-Use Core
High-density, mixed-use cores are sustainable because they
create a civic and cultural center of the community while allowing
land that might otherwise be developed on the suburban fringe to
remain in its natural stateor as agricultural land for food production
A relatively high density is also critical for ensuring economic success
of local neighborhood shops
by fostering a critical mass
of resident shoppers.
Additionally, high density
settings allow neighbors to
shop, dine, and participate
in many other activities,
including general
Light rail transit in Portland. Portland

Community Redeveloped
Streetscaping includes a well-used bicycle lane
in Boulder, Colorado, s. Buntin.
without having
to leave the
This reduces the
need for auto
travel and
subsequent air
pollution, traffic
congestion, the
expenses of
owning and
operating a car,
and the amount
of t i me
necessary to travel between places. Iligh-density, mixed-use cores
also reduce the need for additional, extended infrastructure,
decreasing taxes and conserving natural resources
Pedestrian Orientation
Pedestrian orientation allows walkers, runners, bicyclists,
Sustainable Redevelopment
children, the elderly, and the disabled to move safely, comfortably,
and with interest between buildings and locations. Need for the
automobile is reduced, and a sense of place is fostered. Additionally,
when people walk, they are likely to interact, creating greater social
integration and community cohesion
Transit Orientation
Transit orientation allows citizens to walk to transit, and (hen
use mass transit to commute, reducing the use and costs of the
automobile and all of its adverse side effects Transit stops can also
serve as anchors for retail and residential uses, acting as a
community center.
Regionalized Architecture, Site Design, and
Regionalized architecture, site design, and landscaping
combine to make the site and its structures as integrated into the
natural landscape as possible They allow communities to grow from
their pastand know what that past is, to build with local and
therefore more energy-efficient and generally less resource damaging
materials, to build to suit the local climate, and to create community
identity. Additionally, they avoid disruption of natural processes
such as drainage, vegetation growth, erosion control, and others.

Community Redeveloped
The properties also ensure that the natural landscape is
preserved where most fragile, that buildings are physically and
emotionally linked to the natural landscape, and that plants provide
shade and shelter. Ecological landscaping can also act as a link
between the city and the natural environment, help clean the air by
removing carbon dioxide, filter other pollutants from the air or water,
provide for a sense of place, serve as wildlife habitat, act as wind
breaks, provide privacy, and provide food
Public Spaces
Public spaces are sustainable because they help create a sense
of place and community identity, serve as locations for political and
festive events, allow residents to interact, and provide other social,
recreational, and even economic opportunities, such as with an open
air market in a public plaza.
Protection, Restoration, and Enhancement of
the Natural Environment
Protection, restoration, and enhancement of the natural
environment arc essential for pollution control, recreational
opportunities, wildlife preservation, aesthetics, buffers against sprawl,
community identity, integration with the natural landscape, and a
variety of other benefits.
Sustainable Redevelopment
Denvers Larimer Square is a prime example of the integration of
commercial and public spaces, s. Biintin.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Use in
Energy efficiency and renewable energy use reduces the need
for natural resources in heating, cooling, and performing other energy
functions. They also reduce pollution caused by fossil fuel-burning
power plants, and allow users to remain comfortable at a lower cost
Renewable energy, additionally, is less expensive when considering
fuel costs and environmental externalities, does not result

Community Redeveloped _________________________________
in environmental destruction due to mining and siting and
transmission, and does not require large amounts of energy to
transport Harnessed properly, it can last forever.
"Green Construction
Green construction ensures that recycled materials are used
in the building process-conserving natural resources and moneyand
that waste is itself recycled back into other building materials.
Integrated Solid and Toxic Waste Minimization
Integrated solid and toxic waste minimization includes the
reuse, reduction, recycling, and recovery of wastes in order to save
natural resources, reduce pollution, create jobs through
environmentally beneficial recycling and associated industries, spur
economic development through the profit from recyclables, and
reduce the need for and costs of using landfills
Water and Wastewater Reduction and Reuse
Onsite water and wastewater reduction and reuse ensure that
water is conserved and used efficiently; the environment, and
especially sensitive aquatic ecosystems and groundwater supplies, are
not polluted, and that overall water quality for human health and
safety is enhanced.

Sustainable Redevelopment
Concrete from a demolished shopping mall and its parking lots was
reused onsite for foundations and porches in The Crossings.
S. Buntin.
Local Production of Goods, Including Food
Local production of goods is sustainable because citizens
enhance their economic opportunities, ensuring that money spent on
goods generated in the local economy does not leave and therefore
bolsters the entire community economy. Additionally, local
production that takes into account economic, environmental, and
social limits ensures that local and regional resources are not
overused and that employment opportunities abound for local
residents. Onsite food production also provides food to residents as

Community Redeveloped
needed and without the costs, time, and energy involved with
transporting it long distances.
Affordable Housing
Affordable housing allows the least wealthy of a communitys
citizens to nonetheless have an opportunity to live in and therefore
participate in the community. Low-cost housing may be the only
opportunity for entry-level residents to own and maintain homes.
Fundamentally, it ensures that all citizens are provided decent shelter.
The Hotel Don in Richmond, California, was restored and converted
to the low-income Carquinez Apartments for senior residents.
S. Buntin.
Sustainable Redevelopment
Building Reuse and Historic Preservation
Building adaptive reuse and historic preservation enable a
community to grow from its past by preserving unique, interesting,
educational, and other buildings and sites. The properties may reduce
costs through tax credits and decreased resources for construction,
infrastructure, and others. Adequate preservation also contributes to
community identity and a sense of place.
Integration with Surrounding Neighborhoods
Successfiil integration with neighbors is necessary so that the
redevelopment fits into the existing urban fabric while still pushing
the entire area toward a more sustainable future. Effective
integration ensures that people are willing to live in the
redevelopment wliile moving freely between adjacent neighborhoods,
increasing opportunities for social interaction and community
involvement. A redeveloped site is not just for those new residents
living within its planned areas, however, it is for all residents,
including those in adjacent neighborhoods. They should enjoy its
open spaces, socialize with its residents, and frequent its businesses,
as well.

Community Redeveloped
Natural open space preservation ensures the Flatirons to the west
of Boulder are protected indefinitely, s. Buntin
Indicators of Sustainability
Indicators of community sustainability, often referred to as
healthy community indicators or community benchmarks, allow a
community to gauge the quality of life through measurements of
economic, environmental, and social factors They can be used to
measure the success of both regional progress and local
redevelopment efforts toward sustainability. Moreover, they provide
an avenue for communities to take action to reach a more sustainable
Sustainable Redevelopment
The role of the indicator, according to the IJ.S. Department
of Energys (enter of Excellence for Sustainable Development, is to
make complex systems more perceptible: An effective indicator or
set of indicators helps a community determine where it is, where it is
going, and how far it is from chosen goals Indicators of
sustainability examine a communitys long-term viability based on the
degree to which its economic, environmental, and social systems are
efficient and integrated.32 A set of indicators, then, measures the
efficiency and integration between those systems.
According to Maureen
Hart, a consultant who helped
develop community indicators
for the City of Cambridge,
Massachusetts, Indicators of
sustainable community are
useful to different
communities for different
reasons. For a healthy,
vibrant community, indicators
help monitor the health so that
negative trends are caught and
We need to design
indicators into the
community which visibly
express sustainable values.
It would he nice if you had
an electric meter you could
really read, somewhere you
could really see it. Maybe
there should he a big
thermometer on City Hall
which says, Iley folks, this
is how we're doing this
Sim Van tier Ryu
Building a Sustainable Future11

Community Redeveloped
Xeriscaping is a low-water approach to landscaping which uses
native plants and low-maintenance materials in an attractive and
functional manner, s. Buntin.
dealt with before Ihey become a problem For communities with
economic, social, or environmental problems, indicators can point the
way to a better future. For all communities, indicators can generate
discussion among people with different backgrounds and viewpoints,
and, in the process, help create a shared vision of what the
community should be.31 In addition, they help communities evaluate
the success of redevelopment projects
Sustainable Redevelopment
Quite often, indicators are tied to regional goals, and
therefore are not based directly on the success of a specific project.
For example, the South Puget Sound Region comprised of Olympia
and other Washington communities south of Seattle formed a
community roundtable to develop indicators of sustainability in
1993.34 Economic indicators resulting from the two-year process
include the number and percent of people working for the five largest
employers, and sales of locally produced food. Environmental
indicators include per capita water and energy consumption from
non-renewable resources, waste generation, percent of commuters
driving alone, annual bird count, and returning salmon in local
streams. And social indicators include the number and percent of
people living below the poverty level, the high school graduation rate,
the number and percent of babies born with low birth weight, and the
total population
Other indicators serve specific municipalities beneath the
regional context. In Noblesville, Indiana, for example, the
Indianapolis suburb formed community indicators in a benchmarking
process for development of its Comprehensive Land Use Plan and
supporting zoning ordinance.35 The indicators are based on the
communitys three Overarching Goals:36

Community Redeveloped
Land Retain and enhance Noblesvillcs distinctive small-town
People: A compassionate and diverse people striving for community
and family excellence.
Economy: Expand and support a diverse business community.
Within each of these, subgoals were drafted upon which the
indicators gauge success. For example, within Land, one subgoal is
to reduce the risk of flooding Community indicators include the
number of permanent structures located in the flood fringe and
floodway, the amount of public land located in the flood plain, and
the amount of tree cover in the flood plain Another Land subgoal is
to protect and improve the environment. Community indicators
include the number of septic failures, tons of material landfilled
annually per capita, and occurrences of construction-related erosion
on sites five acres or greater.
Within the People goal, a subgoal is to reduce the number of
families and persons at risk starting with education and awareness
(liasic Skills) Indicators include the high school dropout rate,
literacy rate, and unemployment rate Another People subgoal is to
reduce the number of families and persons at risk starting with
education and awareness (Health ('are) Indicators include
Sustainable Redevelopment
percentage of kindergartners with full immunizations by age .two,
total confirmed AIDS cases, mortality rate (per 100,000 population)
from heart disease, and percent of women who give birth and who
receive prenatal care in the first trimester
The F.conomy goal also has a numbei of subgoals, including
one that states that business attraction and support shall center upon
business which increases assessed value and makes minimum
demands on public services. Community indicators include business
to residential gross assessed valuation, gross assessed valuation per
capita, and net levy per capita (total and city) Another subgoal is
that the community direction for expanding business in Noblesville
should focus upon attracting tourism-related industries that support
the image of Noblesville. Indicators include the vacancy rate for
hotel and bed and breakfast rooms, number of site visits by tourism-
related industries, and number of specialty shops, traditional retail,
and restaurants downtown
Since indicators of sustainability can be used effectively at the
regional and community scales, it seems logicaland even
mandatorythat they be applied to the redevelopment project and
downtown levels, as well. At the 4,700-acre redevelopment of
Denvers Stapleton International Airport into a mixed-use community

Community Redeveloped
eventually supporting 30,000 jobs and 25,000 residents (indeed larger
than many municipalities, let alone specific redevelopment projects),
community indicators will be crafted based on the Stapleton
Development Plan's three guiding principles: environmental
responsibility, social equity, and economic opportunity 37 So far,
however, none have been developed
l'be City of Boulder, Colorado, however, is using its
Downtown Boulder Vitality Index and Adequate Facilities
Monitoring Plan to track and effectively act upon four categories of
downtown viability: economy, development, transportation, and
utilities 18 Indicators (or elements, as they are called in the Index) of
the economy category, for example, include sales tax receipts,
vacancy rate, number of employees, and the number of crimes and
incidents downtown. Indicators of development include total square
footage by use and district, building permits, and total assessed
valuation. Within the transportation category, the elements of
pedestrian access, bicycle access, transit access, aggregate alternative
mode access to downtown, automobile parking supply, roadway
access, and service vehicle access are further defined through such
indicators as percentage of employee access by walking, bicycles
using specific bike lanes during certain times of the day, percentage
Sustainable Redevelopment
of non-employee user access by transit, average daily utilization of
parking, daily volume to capacity ratios at various intersections, and
adequate loading zones in alleys. And utilities indicators include

Community Redeveloped
analysis of adequate amounts of water, electricity, natural gas,
sanitary sewers, telecommunications, and trash service.
A baseline for each element is established on a one-year
analysis (1996) and a five-year average (1991 to 1996), and then
performance objectives are developed for each element.19 These
objectives are phased in over various periods of time, but are
documented in single-year increments for a span of twenty years. A
hypothetical performance objective for the number of downtown
employees using the Rapid Transit Districts EcoPass (which allows
a rider to access transit for free), for instance, is ridership at 80
percent of capacity. For daily volume to capacity ratio on Canyon
Road and 17th Street, the performance objective is a ratio of less than
Boulder is still in the process of developing and implementing
the Matrix. See Appendix A for a recent draff copy.
Additionally, a list of the specific indicators used by the City
of Jacksonville and Duval County, Florida, as an example of a full set
of indicators, can be found in Appendix B. Appendix C contains a
comprehensive list of regions and communities which have
established or are in the process of establishing indicators of
Sustainable Redevelopment
Public art livens an otherwise blank wall next to a community
garden in Richmond, CA. s. Buntin
With the exception of Boulder (which does not currently use
social indicators) and a few other communities, indicators of
sustainability appear to be non-existent at the project or downtown
level. This may be the case for several reasons. First, data is
challenging and expensive to collect Even when a seemingly
appropriate indicator is chosen, data which is reliable, accessible,
timely, and accurateas well as affordable-may be difficult lo find,
sort, and mold into a cohesive evaluation plan There are, however,
a number of different data sources, and a thorough review of possible

Community Redeveloped
The seven themes of the
sustainability transformation:
1. Problems are multifaceted
and interrelated.
2. Solutions are multifaceted.
3. Crises offer both risk and
4. Equity is essential.
5. Bigger (or smaller) is not
inevitably better.
6. Place matters.
7. Both the individual and
the community have crucial
Paul Wilson
Changing Direction: Toward
Sustainable Culture411
sources will help the
community in either finding
the data or determining that
other indicators should be
Second, projects are
considerably smaller in
scale than the community
and its region. Many
indicators would simply be
too large to accurately
measure against the
projects Additionally,
adjacent areas may have
impacts on those items
being measured, and so
measurements could
become skewed. Caution is
necessary in using
indicators at small
redevelopment project
Sustainable Redevelopment
Third, in many communities that have undertaken
redevelopment efforts, resources are not available to develop and
then implement indicators and subsequent measurement programs.
Resources include community funding, labor, and time, and are
limited from the communitys, developers, and residents
perspectives. Any indicators endeavor at this level would require a
collaborative effort between the municipality, the developers, and
Fourth, evaluation of any type is generally limited to
economic indicators, often performed by the businesses located
within the redevelopment. Such indicators include leased space, sales
and property tax revenues, vacancy rates, and sales volume. Only
rarely are other statistics-such as crime levelsmaintained, especially
if the project is smaller than U S. Census tract size. A thorough
evaluation before completion of the redevelopment would be
necessary to determine data needs for performing measurements.
Fifth, many measures of success are not quantifiable on
such small scales. While pedestrian and traffic counts, auto emissions
levels, and even impervious surface percentages can be measured
onsite, social indicators such as cultural integration and user

Community Redeveloped
pleasure could be considerably harder to gauge. New indicators
which apply specifically to the project anti at smaller scales than the
indicators mentioned previously would have to be developed, and
calibrated so that the qualitative aspects could be effectively
converted to quantitative measurements.
And sixth, the community may not be able to define an
agreed-upon goal of sustainability and where it wants the
redevelopment project to be in the long-term Without a vision and
goals, indicators cannot elfectively provide for policy and program
recommendations because an appropriate direction is not chosen.
Community involvement beginning with initiation of the project
appears to be essential in determining community vision and goals,
and then in choosing the appropriate indicators Additionally,
indicators can and likely should change over time. If an indicator is
not adequately measuring community viability, either the indicator
should be changed or the vision and goals should be.
Some smaller projects have been evaluated through post-
occupancy evaluation, an architectural tool that allows corrections to
be made to physical structures and places after development or
redevelopment is completed." It still needs to be determined,
however, how such evaluation relates to specific measures of
Sustainable Redevelopment
The next chapter and those following it will discuss in further
detail the indicators of sustainabilityor lack thereofas they apply
to specific redevelopment projects.
Redevelopment for sustainable communities is no easy task,
but can be greatly facilitated by the use of principles, or goals, and
properties of sustainability. These then lead directly to indicators
which can provide a mechanism for measuring the projects and the
communitys progress toward sustainability, as well as provide
recommendations for project enhancement.

Community Redeveloped
16. Kubani, Dean. December 1996. Sustainable City Progress
Report: Initial Progress Report on Santa Monica's
Sustainable City Program. City of Santa Monica, Task Force
on the Environment: Santa Monica, CA. Pg. S1.
17. Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., and Randers, J. 1992.
Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning
a Sustainable Future. Chelsea Green: Post Mills, VT.
Reprinted in Hubbard, Alice. 1996. What are Sustainable
Communities?" Rocky Mountain Institute: Old Snowmass,
CO. Pg. 1.
18. Sustainable America: A New Consensus. 1996. Presidents
Council on Sustainable Development. Pg. 1. Located at
19. Wilson, Paul. No. 19, January 1996. Changing Direction:
Toward Sustainable Culture, Northwest Report. Northwest
Area Foundation: St. Paul, MN. Pg. 6.
20. Barnett, Dianna Lopez and Browning, William D. 1995. A
Primer on Sustainable Building. Rocky Mountain Institute,
Green Development Services: Old Snowmass, CO. Pg. 2.
21. Hygeia Consulting Services and REIC, Ltd. January 31,
1995. Changing Values Changing Communities: A Guide to
the Development of Healthy, Sustainable Communities.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Research
Division: Ottawa, Ontario. 103 Pp.
22. Hygeia Consulting. Pg. 7.
23. Capital Region Strategy. Pg. 3.
24. McNally, Marcia. Number 4, 1996. Sustainability Principles
for the Bay Area, Urban Ecologist. Urban Ecology, Inc.:
Sustainable Redevelopment
Oakland, CA. Pg. 5.
25. Walter, Bob, Arkin, Lois, and Crenshaw, Richard. 1992.
Ecological Planning Principles for Sustainable
Development, in Sustainable Cities: Concepts and
Strategies for Eco-City Development. Eco Home Media:
Los Angeles. Pg. 19.
26. Corbett, Judith, and Joe Velasquez. September 1994. The
Ahwahnee Principles: Toward More Livable Communities,
Western City. Reprinted by Center for Livable Communities,
Local Government Commission: Sacramento, CA. Pg. 3.
27. Corbett and Velasquez. Pg. 3.
28. Chiras, Daniel D. 1992. Lessons from Nature: Learning to
Live Sustainably on the Earth. Island Press: Washington,
DC. Pp. 31-35
29. Corbett and Velasquez. Pg. 7.
30. See Chiras. 289 Pp.; Corbett and Velasquez. Pg. 7.;
Calthorpe, Peter. 1993. The Next American Metropolis:
Ecology, Community, and the American Dream. Princeton
Architectural Press, Inc.: New York. 175 Pp.; and, Katz,
Peter. 1994. The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture
of Community. McGraw- Hill, Inc.: New York. 245 Pp.; for
further information about sustainable and related
31. Van der Ryn, Sim. 1992. Building a Sustainable Future, in
Sustainable Cities. Pg. 68.

Community Redeveloped
32. Indicators of Sustainability. 1997. Center of Excellence for
Sustainable Development, Denver Regional Support Office,
U.S. Department of Energy: Denver, CO. Pg. 2. Available
on the Internet at
33. Hart, Maureen. 1996. What is an Indicator of
Sustainability? Hart Environmental Data. Pg. 2. Available
on the Internet at
34. Editors. No. 19, January 1996. Indicators of Sustainability,
Northwest Report. Northwest Area Foundation: St. Paul,
MN. Pg. 13.
35. Palmer, Jamie, McCarthy, Catherine, and Klacik, Drew.
September 1994. Final Benchmarking Report: Noblesville,
Indiana. Center for Urban Policy and the Environment,
School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana
University: Indianapolis, IN. 177 Pp. plus Appendices.
36. Palmer, McCarthy, and Klacik. Pg. 9.
37. Stapleton Development Plan. 1996. Stapleton Development
Corporation, City and County of Denver: Denver, CO.
38. Downtown Boulder Vitality Index and Adequate Facilities
Monitoring Plan. 1996. RRC Associates and Transplan
Associates. Downtown Alliance Planning Project: Boulder,
39. Downtown Boulder Vitality Index and Adequate Facilities
Monitoring Plan.
40. Wilson. Pg. 9.

Sustainable Redevelopment
41. Personal communication with Michael Holleran, Assistant
Professor, Urban and Regional Planning Program, College
of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado at
Denver: Denver, CO. May 1997.

Downtown Redevelopment

Community Redeveloped
Redevelopment should always he a centra!part of a region .v growth
policy. It represents the best utilization of our existing
infrastructure and the best opportunity to preserve open space.
Peter Calthorpe1
Metros Region 2040 map shows the central city of Portland plus
Milwaukie, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tualatin, and others. Metro
A number of comprehensive, large-scale redevelopment
activities are occurring or are planned for suburban areas across the
United States These include redevelopment of failed shopping malls
and retail centers, abandoned infrastructure such as airports and
freeways, outdated amusement parks and other public facilities,
closed defense bases, and areas stricken by natural disasters such as
hurricanes and floods. Perhaps the most important redevelopment
efforts, however, are those that center on the suburban corethe
downtown or city center.
This chapter discusses suburban downtown redevelopment by
first detailing the need for and value of such redevelopment;
presenting a brief summary of other redevelopment activities (both
city and suburban) that were initially evaluated; and finally
discussing similarities and differences between two downtown
redevelopment efforts discussed in detail in the next two chapters,
Suisun City, California (pronounced suh-SOON), and Tualatin,
Oregon (pronounced TWAH-luh-tin). These case studies
demonstrate that redevelopment of suburban downtown areas can
accomplish a number of economic, environmental, and social goals,
which combined lead to a sustainable community.
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment

Community Redeveloped
Redevelopment in the Regional Context
Regional collaboration and decision-making can be a viable
tool for counteracting the negative effects of sprawl. Fortunately, its
use is becoming more and more evident, for local city and suburban
government decisions greatly affect municipal neighbors and adjacent
unincorporated areas Efforts to control sprawl by developing and
redeveloping in a sustainable manner in fact can be effectively
thwarted if neighboring entities do not subscribe to similar growth
philosophies. Taxation policies in Massachusetts have driven many
workers to set up residence in New Hampshire, where residential
sprawl is subsequently flourishing. Restrictions on extending
infrastructure in the Portland metropolitan area have caused the
suburban Vancouver, Washingtonwith considerably fewer
development restrictionsto mushroom. And limits on the number
of building permits in Boulder, Colorado, have in part resulted in the
virtual overnight creation of bedroom communities like Rock Creek.
In an effort to combat these adverse side effects, regional
governmental units such as the Denver Regional Council of
Governments (DRCOG) and Portlands Metro have developed long-
range plans which call for one central city (or perhaps two in cases
such as Minncapolis-St. Paul and San Francisco-Oakland) with
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
supporting regional and town centers: suburban downtowns
DRCOGs recently finalized Metro Vision 2020, for example,
calls for regional development that densities both the city of Denver
and particular satellite centersthe cities of Boulder, Longmont,
Brighton, and Castle Rockand urban centers, which have yet to be
determined 2 Planners hope that the Vision will allow metropolitan
communities to preserve more natural and agricultural open space
between urbanized areas and provide distinct community cores linked
by viable transit
Street-level retail is pedestrian-scaled in San Diegos Uptown
District, s. Buntin.

Community Redeveloped
Similarly, Metros Region 2040 growth concept calls for a
more compact form of growth based on a municipal hierarchy which
provides that downtown Poitland serve as the hub of business and
cultural activity in the metropolitan region... | with] the most intensive
form of development for both housing and employment, while
regional centers (including downtown Hillsboro and downtown
Oregon City) and town centers (such as Lake Oswego and Tualatin)
are characterized by compact employment and housing development
served by high-quality transit, (and have] a strong sense of
community identity [while providing] localized services to residents
within a two- to three-mile radius....3
The largest question facing these urban cores and town
centers may well be: I low do we redevelop our suburban centers so
as to promote effective regional growth? In other words, how do
suburbs physically redevelop for a viable future?
Advantages of Redeveloping Suburban
There should be little question thatin order to counteract
sprawls often devastating effectssuburban communities need to
redevelop land uses that are economically, environmentally, and
socially costly. The areas to focus on first and foremostto achieve
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
both local and regional goalsare the downtowns.
Downtowns earn priority for several reasons. First, growth
is most appropriately channeled into city centers. In order to
effectively accept population growth while preserving surrounding
natural and agricultural lands, urban densities must be increased.
Existing downtowns and city centers are historically, structurally, and
symbolically the best recipients of higher densities. While other parts
of suburbs will likely increase density, as well, growth can generally
be more accommodated at city centers, where infrastructure such as
utilities, streets, parks, and emergency services is already in place.
Second, downtowns provide the urban hub that is necessary
to support transit, large employment centers, and civic, cultural, and
other activities. Businesses, for example, historically congregate at
city centers. Though metropolitan areas have become increasingly
ploycentric, they generally still retain a monocentric core that
provides the opportunity for a high level of economic and social
interaction. But even in polycentric metropolitan areas, where
suburban cores tend to be of a higher density than surrounding areas,
the opportunity to further densify suburban centers is present.
Third, suburbs need a sense of community identity. 'The best
way to develop the sense appears to be through redevelopment of

Community Redeveloped
downtownsestablishing a renewed core While redeveloping
peripheral suburban locations may provide a sense of place at the
neighborhood, for example, redeveloping downtowns will provide a
sense of place for the entire community.
And fourth, viable downtowns are necessary for the
establishment of municipal hierarchies in regional growth
management schemes Regional plans in Portland, Denver, and other
metropolitan areas call for regional hierarchies to effectively support
new growth, as mentioned previously Redeveloping shopping
centers or other areas cannot provide the central focus that comes
with strong suburban downtowns, which logically fit into the
There are a number of advantages associated with the
redevelopment of suburban downtowns, and these fall into four
categories: centrality, economic viability, environmental
preservation, and social suppoi t
* Suburban downtown redevelopment provides a central public space,
or spaces, where citizens of all orientations can congregate for
pleasure, business, and political reasons, anti where events of
community significance, such as festivals, can take place.
It allows suburbs to link the core to other areas of the city-built and
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
naturalthrough pathways and transit systems that arc affordable
and available to all residents and visitors.
It provides the opportunity for the suburb to become a regional
drawespecially when regional transit systems arc linked to the
renew ed center-and therefore increase use and income.
Economic Viability
Suburban dow ntow n redevelopment integrates a mix of uses during
the day and night in the citys center, providing a critical mass of
residents to support local businesses and other uses.
It provides a new mix of recreational, housing, and business
opportunities in the city center.
It provides increased tax base and other economic benefits for the
suburb itself as residential and business opportunities increase.
Environmental Preservation
Suburban downtown redevelopment enables the suburb to restore
and enhance the natural landscape, cither onsite or on adjacent areas,
when densities in the core itself are increased.
It allows communities to conserve resources by implementing
historically proven and/or technologically advanced resource
reduction and reuse systems
Social Support
Suburban downtown redevelopment allows the community to
increase its sense of pride and civic well-being, especially in a
regional context, when a distinguishable core is created.

Community Redeveloped
It provides the opportunity for suburbs to build-archilccturally and
symbolicallyupon their history, or create a new identity for what
the suburb wants to be.
It allows the suburb to place people over automobiles, reducing
pcdcslrian-auto conflicts, decreasing the need to own autos, and
eliminating associated adverse side effects.
It allows the suburb to provide safe, adequate, and aesthetically
pleasing (or hidden) infrastructure for new and planned uses
Geographic locations of Suisun City, Tualatin, and other
redevelopment project cities, s. Buntin.
Other Sustainable Redevelopment Projects
Redevelopment should be applied wherever possible, not
solely in downtown areas. Though suburban downtowns should have
priority given the regional context, a number of factors will affect
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
which sites actually are redeveloped. These include ease of
redevelopment, cost, timing, community involvement or resistance,
and others.
Five redevelopment projects were evaluated in addition to
Suisun City and Tualatin Commons. Though they were not chosen
for inclusion as case studies, they too demonstrate that
redevelopment is a viable option for suburban communities
The Crossings
The Crossings in Mountain View, Californiaa suburban city
located between San Francisco and San Joseis a neotraditional
redevelopment of a 1960s auto-oriented shopping mall which failed
in the early 1990s. Designed by Calthorpe Associates, it is an 18-acre
project comprised primarily of high-density, single-family homes and
townhomes with narrow streets, pocket parks, and orientation
around a planned Call'rain commuter station.4 While the original
plans called for 52,000 square feet of retail, the developer has
requested a reductionbased on preliminary evaluations of residential
usage and the fact that The Crossings is adjacent to many retail sites
to 2,000 square teet.5
The Crossings is unique for many reasons. First, the citys
role in redevelopment was limited primarily to creation of a precise

Community Redeveloped
The Crossings site plans, before (top) and after (bottom). Caithorpe
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
plan for the area (San Antonio Station Precise Plan), its version of
a specific plan. The plan sets forth criteria for the mails
redevelopment, calling for medium- to high-density development to
be master planned as a single entity, primary residential use, transit
and pedestrian orientation, and a distinctive neighborhood center.6
Second, the developer reused concrete and asphalt from the malls
structure and parking lots as fill for the site and in the concrete used
for front porches and foundations.7 And third, it is an example of
neotraditional design criteria applied to a redeveloped site. Such
criteria include front porches, garages set back from the front of the
house or hidden in the back of the townhome, narrow streets and
wide sidewalks, lush landscaping, street furniture, a modified street
grid pattern, design around a mass transit stop, and high density. At
buildout, density will fall between 25 and 30 homes per acre 7
Mizner Park
Mizner Park is a high-density, mixed-use redevelopment of
the Boca Raton Mall in the suburban town of Boca Raton, f lorida
located between Miami and West Palm Beach. The mall failed in the
mid-1980s, replaced by the 28-acre project which is comprised of 272
housing units, 236,000 square feet of retail, 262,000 square feet of
office space, and a linear public plaza anchored on one end by a park

Community Redeveloped
and amphitheater, and on the other by the 1/Atelier DArt bell tower
and the International Museum of Cartoon Art9
Mizner Park is unii|ue for many reasons. It is perhaps first
and foremost the epitome of how redevelopment can be economically
successful During the first few weeks afier opening, shops sold out
of inventory and restaurants ran out of food; since then, the
restaurants and AMC theater have become among the most
successful in the nation, retail sales continue to increase, retail and
office space is continually leased to capacity, and apartments and
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
Mizner Parks International Museum of Cartoon Art. center for Livable
condominiums have long waiting lists of prospective residents.'0
Mizner Park is also an example of how good physical design and
architecture can create livable places: the design of the public plaza
and Southern Florida-style architecture are inviting and well-used
Finally, the city and developer worked hand in hand. The city held a
referendum at the developers request to invite community input on
its proposal for Mizner Park, and the city leases land back to the
developer." Additionally, tax increment financing in the amount of
$58 million was used for site improvements and construction.12
The Village at Shirlington
The Village at Shirlington is a high-density 25-acre
redevelopment of a 1940s community shopping center in Arlington,
Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. The project centers around

Community Redeveloped
a new Main Street adorned with awnings, arcades, landscaping,
streetscaping, and other pedestrian-scaled details, and includes 490
residential units (primarily apartments); five office buildings;
280,000 square feet of retail including a theater, department store,
grocery store, and boutique retail space, and parking structures.13
It is unique for several reasons. First, Arlington Countys
commercial zoning allows mixed-use development, so rezoning and
The Village at Shirlingtons Phase I site plan. Urban Land institute.
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
The Village at Shirlington-before (left) and after (right). Urban Land
plan amendments were not necessary before or during construction *1
Second, the project reuses the structure of much of the previous mall
building itself, restoring original limestone and granite facades while
building up from the main structure.15 Third, the developer
incorporated and is subsidizing a grocery store on the plaza level at
the request of the community.16 And finally, the Main Street and
surrounding T he Village at Shirlingtonthe first phase of which was
completed in 1987has spurred additional residential development
around it, securing it as the true neighborhood center for a rapidly
growing area.17

Community Redeveloped
Uptown District
San Diegos Uptown District is a redevelopment of a 14-acre
Sears store and adjacent parking lots into a mixed-use, high-density
neighborhood that includes a large grocery store; 100,000 square
feet of specially, street-oriented retail uses and restaurants; a
community center, parks, courtyards, and green space, and 318
residential units that include townhomes, flats, and artists lofts.18
Uptown District is unique in many ways Located in the
Ilillcrest neighborhood, the project placed all residential parking
Uptown District site plan. Center for Livable Communities.
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
Uptown Districts pedestrian-only residential level, s. Buntin
underground, and laid out a network of pedestrian-only streets
around a central park 19 The redevelopment is anchored by Southern
Californias largest grossing Ralphs grocery store, yet the
supermarket has only a minimal sign on the arterial road, is not
adjacent to a large parking lot (most parking is below ground), and
is designed to be inconspicuous.30 The community was involved
extensively in the redevelopment process, using a workshop approach
called Project Head Start hosted by the developer to craft ideas that
helped the developer win the bid 21 And because home ownership is
a goal of interested community groups, residents who rented during

Community Redeveloped
the first two phases were given right of first refusal when the units
came up for sale.22
Portlands RiverPlace is an on-going mixed-use
redevelopment on the site of a freeway that was demolished in the
1970s, adjacent to the Willamette River and the citys Waterfront
Park The first two phases cover nearly eleven acres and include 480
units of housingcondominiums, apartments, and townhomes,
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
26,000 square feet of retail, 41,600 square feet of office space, a
luxury hotel, marina with floating restaurant, athletic club, esplanade,
and open space along the river.23 Recently, a super-efficient
corporate headquarters building utilizing green construction
techniques such as recycled materials and reduced waste, as well as
reduced water and wastewater onsite, was constructed adjacent to
the residential units.24
Among RiverPlaces many notable facets is that it is primarily
high-level housing, but in Phase 1IB includes a number of low-income
Phases IIA and IIB of RiverPlace-retail on first level, and residential
above. Center for Livable Communities.

Community Redeveloped
units as required by Portlands Downtown Development Plan 25
Additionally, the spaces between buildings are woven with pedestrian
paths, lush landscaping, detailed architecture that hides items such as
parking structures and trash receptacles, and street furniture.
RiverPlace is a prime example of Portlands Sustainable City
Principles, developed in late 1994. The goal of these principles is to
promote a sustainable future that meets todays needs without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs,
and accepts its responsibility to: (1) Support a stable, diverse, and
equitable economy, (2) Protect the quality of the air, water, and
other natural resources, (3) Conserve native vegetation, fish, wildlife
habitat, and other ecosystems, and, 4) Minimize human impacts on
local and worldwide systems."6
The table on the following page shows a matrix of the five
redevelopment projects compared to the fourteen properties of
sustainable redevelopment presented in the previous chapter
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
Portland, Oregon, uses principles of sustainability to ensure
that new and redevelopment projects, such as RiverPlace,
are viable. Portland Chamber of Commerce.

Community Redeveloped
4 12
Other Projects Sustainable Redevelopment Matrix
The Crossings, Mizner Park, The Village at Shirlington, Uptown District, and RiverPlace
Proi oerties The Crossings Mizner Park The Village at Shirlington Uptown District... RiverPlace
High-density, mixed-use core Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pedestrian orientation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Transit orientation Yes2 Yes5 Yes6 Yes5 Yes8
Regionalized architecture, site design, and landscaping Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Public spaces Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Protection, restoration, and enhancement of the natural environment Yes6 Yes6 No Yes8 Yes
Energy efficiency and renewable energy use in buildings Yes11 Yes11 Yes'1 Yes Yes
"Green construction Yes No No Yes Yes
Integrated solid and toxic waste minimization Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3 Yes3
Water and wastewater reduction and reuse Yes No No No Yes
Local production of goods, including food No No7 No No7 No7
Affordable housing Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Building reuse and historic preservation No10 No Yes No No9
Integration with surrounding neighborhoods No4 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment

Community Redeveloped
Notes from Matrix
1. No retail is yet onsite.
2. The transit stop still needs to be constructed.
3. Through the citys solid waste recycling program
4. The Crossings is surrounded by a high wall with
no pedestrian passageways between the site and
adjacent retail except along auto entrances.
5. Bus service only.
6. Asphalt has been replaced with landscaping and
7. Only minor production of arts and crafts-no food
or manufacturing.
8. RiverPlace only has bus service so far, but a
multiple person water ferry/taxi is planned, as is a
new light rail line that will have a stop within
9. Since a multiple lane freeway was onsite before
RiverPlace, historic preservation and building
reuse do not apply.
10. Though building structures were not saved,
concrete from the mall buildings and parking lots
was reused onsite.
11. No renewable energy use, but all buildings meet or
exceed state efficiency standards, which are
generally quite high.
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
Suisun City and Tualatin Commons as Case
In addition to the advantages listed earlier, communities may
benefit in dozens of other community-specific ways by redeveloping
their downtowns. For example, Suisun Citys downtown
redevelopment allowed it to implement an effective dredge and fill
process while enhancing the adjacent wetlands. Tualatins
development of Tualatin Commons allowed the city to safely and
cost-effectively raise the core area above the l()()-year floodplain.
The contrast and similarities between Suisun City, located
halfway between Sacramento and San Francisco, and Tualatin,
located just south of Portland, is in fact primarily why these two
redevelopment projects were chosen
Both cities have exper ienced rampant population growth since
the 1970s, when residential developments mushroomed at their
edges. Suisun City grew from just over 2,900 residents in 1970 to
27,000 today, while 'Tualatin swelled from under 1,000 to 19,000 in
the same period. The resulting land uses are predominantly typical
sprawl: subdivisions comprised of curvilinear streets and single-
family homes oriented primarily for the automobile, and strip retail
centers along arterial roads. Suisun City and Tualatin both

Community Redeveloped
experienced a fair amount of industrial growth, but in Suisun Citys
case it resulted in limited access to Suisun Channel and a polluted
harbor, while in Tualatins case it resulted in additional low-density
Both case studies show a demonstrated commitment by city
leadership and citizens in creating a pedestrian-friendly, economically
viable, and unique core. In Suisun City, a number of historic
buildings and environmental amenitiesspecifically, Old Town,
Main Street, Suisun Channel and the harbor, and the Suisun Marsh
were already in place, allowing the citys Redevelopment Agency to
Suisun City waterfront promenade, channel, and new Civic Center.
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
emphasize historic preservation, building adaptive reuse, and
environmental restoration. In Tualatin, however, the area of
redevelopment offered little worth savingand in fact the site was
between three and six feet below the 100-year floodplain, requiring
all new or renovated buildings to be raised to higher ground. The
emphasis in Tualatins case, then, was developing a city center
around a new amenitythe manmade Lake of the Commonswhich
had beneficial impacts on the environment while giving the city a real
and usable core
Suisun City was able to pull together $58 million in financing
for city-funded activities such as purchase of property, new
infrastructure, dredging the harbor, facade renovation incentives,
streetscaping and landscaping, and others, using tax increment bonds
that achieve success in part by including the entire city limits within
the boundaries of official redevelopment. Tualatin, on the other
hand, decided not to issue bonds to raise funds due to the political
climate. Instead, it was forced to rely upon urban renewal funds it
had already collected from previous tax increment financing. Though
the city had already purchased the land, it was paid in full by the time
construction on Tualatin Commons began in 1993. The city limited
itself to an additional $4.8 million for public funding of such items as

Community Redeveloped
the lake, promenade, public plaza, and new infrastructure. The
amount was chosen based on estimates of construction costs and the
amount available on hand in the citys general account reserves
There is also an interesting difference between marketing
approaches. Suisun City has undertaken relatively extensive
marketing efforts on its own, utilizing the Redevelopment Agency.
Tualatin, however, hired a marketing firm to work with citizens and
prospective developers alike during creation of the Commons plan.
Now, Suisun City wishes it had a marketing entity to promote the
available parcels, while Tualatin wishes it had funding for its own
marketing efforts to promote increased use by local citizens. Both
cities used rcquest-for-proposals processes to solicit bids from
prospective developers.
Additionally, both initially tried to find developers who would
undertake the redevelopment process for the bill areas in their
entirety When those efforts failedas in Tualatins caseor never
came aboutas in Suisun Citys casethey both decided to play a
major role as public developer. To facilitate that, they divided the
redevelopment into a number of separate parcels for sale to private
And finally, both redevelopment efforts have been successful,
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
Tualatin Commonss promenade, office building, restaurants, and
resulting in increased economic, environmental, and social viability.
While redevelopment is not complete in either case, the projects have
already brought people and money back into their downtowns while
creating a better environmentbuilt and natural

Community Redeveloped
Endnotes and References
1. Calthorpe, Peter. 1993. The Next American Metropolis:
Ecology, Community, and the American Dream. Princeton
Architectural Press: New York. Pg. 31.
2. Metro Vision 2020. 1996. Denver Regional Council of
Governments: Denver, CO. Pp. 7-0.
3. Framework 2040 Update. Fall 1995/Winter 1996. Metro:
Portland, OR. Foldout centerpiece.
4. Calthorpe Associates. 1991. The Crossings Project Book.
Calthorpe Associates: Berkeley, CA. Pg. 1.
5. Personal communication with Michael Percy, Project
Manager, City of Mountain View, CA. February 27, 1997.
6. San Antonio Station Precise Plan. 1991. City of Mountain
View, CA, Planning Department. Pp. 2-3.
7. Washington State Energy Office, Washington State
Department of Transportation, Department of Ecology, and
Energy Outreach Center. June 1996. Redevelopment for
Livable Communities. Olympia, WA. Pg. 61.
8. Washington State Energy Office. Pg. 59.
9. Model Projects: Mizner Park. 1995. Center for Livable
Communities, Local Government Commission: Sacramento,
CA. Pp. 1-3.
10. Model Projects: Mizner Park. Pg. 2.
11. Washington State Energy Office. Pg. 53.
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment
12. Model Projects: Mizner Park. Pg. 2.
13. Washington State Energy Office. Pp. 57-58.
14. Project Reference File: The Village at Shirlington. 1989.
ULI-the Urban Land Institute: Washington, DC. Pg. 2.
15. Washington State Energy Office. Pg. 57.
16. Washington State Energy Office. Pg. 57.
17. Personal communication with Tom Miller, Planner, Arlington
County Planning Department. February 18, 1997.
18. Model Projects: Uptown District. 1995. Center for Livable
Communities, Local Government Commission: Sacramento,
CA. Pp. 1-4.
19. Washington State Energy Office. Pg. 44.
20. Washington State Energy Office. Pg. 44.
21. Washington State Energy Office. Pg. 45.
22. Washington State Energy Office. Pg. 45.
23. Model Projects: RiverPlace. 1995. Center for Livable
Communities, Local Government Commission: Sacramento,
CA. Pp. 1-4.
24. Personal communication with Steve Sanders, Project
Manager, Portland Development Commission. March 4,

Community Redeveloped
25. Personal communication with Sanders.
26. Portlands Sustainable City Principles. November 1994. City
of Portland, OR. Available at
Sustainable Suburban Downtown Redevelopment

Downtown Redevelopment in
Suisun City, California

Community Redeveloped
In a sense, there's no miracle to Suisnn City. All it shows is that an American town,
however dilapidated and besieged, can revive. Hut it has to build on its strengths and shake
up major parts of local government to reflect new realities. Government and citizens need
to remember that physical design is critical, and insist that it fit their city's special character.
Neal It. Peirce1
History and
Suisun City is located
midway between San
Francisco and Sacramento in
Salano County, just south of
Interstate 80 and noitli of
Suisun Marsh. The Suisun
Channel, which has been
incorporated into the
redeveloped downtown, winds through the Suisun Marsh and then
opens to Suisun and Grizzly Bays, where the Sacramento River meets
the San Francisco Bay
The settlement called Suisun, which means west wind in the
language of the Patwan Indians, was founded in 1848 and
incorporated in 1868 because of its proximity to water. It was a
ndustrial warehouses and other structures along the Suisun City
harbor before redevelopment. Suisun City Redevelopment Agency.
jumping off point for miners heading for the Gold Rush, as well as
a trans-shipment point for mining provisions arriving by ship from
San Francisco 2 After the Gold Rush, the town continued to be a
Case Study No. 1: Suisun City

Community Redeveloped
break of bulk point,
where goods were
moved from ship to
land for inland settlers,
and where agricultural
products were moved
to ships for It ay Area
By 1869, one of
Californias oldest
towns hosted a stop on
the transcontinental
New higher density single-family railroad, wooden
development next to Victorian Harbor
complements traditional residences with sidewalks, streetlights,
attention to detail, s. Buntin.
steam-powered flour
and lumber mills, canneries, and a busy waterfront. Main Street was
lined with shops, restaurants, banks, and other commercial
businesses, including hotels.
Suisun Citys prosperity lasted through World War 11, but
was severely hindered with the opening of Interstate 80 in Fairfield
two miles north of the city in 1963. From then on, commercial
Case Study No. 1: Suisun City
development centered around the Interstate and Fairfield, and
because the city was already geographically limited by Fairfield,
Suisun Marsh, and Travis Air Force Base (to the east), it could not
expand its boundaries to capture the growth and associated economic
Though typical sprawled bedroom community development
occurred on Suisun Citys edges in the 1970s and 1980sand in fact
the population exploded 333 percent during those two decadesthe
Old Town center and harbor became areas of disinvestment.
Suisun City Population Percentage by Race
Race Population
White 48.9%
Asian American 16.0%
Hispanic 14.5%
African American 12.5%
American Indian 1.0%
Other 7.1%
Today, the city finds itself in the Bay Areas fastest growing
county. In the next twenty years, population is projected to increase
40 percent, jobs increase 68 percent, households increase 46 percent,

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