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Planning the Evolution of Our Suburbs Tuesdays at APA Chicago Mahender Vasandani President March 16, 2010 M Urban Design.

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Presentation on theme: "Planning the Evolution of Our Suburbs Tuesdays at APA Chicago Mahender Vasandani President March 16, 2010 M Urban Design."— Presentation transcript:

1 Planning the Evolution of Our Suburbs Tuesdays at APA Chicago Mahender Vasandani President March 16, 2010 M Urban Design

2 What I Will Talk About:  Where Are We Today in Terms of Regional Growth?  The Implications of the “Big Challenges” for the Suburbs  Why the Suburbs May Need to Evolve?  Any Preferred Growth Options?  What Can We Learn from the Cities?  New Urbanism Offers Some Key Answers Specific NU Examples Suitable For Suburbs Overview of Form-Based Codes  Can the Suburbs Stop Resisting Change?  Q & A M Urban Design 2

3 Chicago’s Outlying Suburbs M Urban Design 3

4 Acknowledgement: Ours Is A Suburban Nation  From 1950 to 2000: 90% of metropolitan growth in the Suburbs  By 2000:  60% of metro jobs in the Suburbs  Suburb-to-Suburb job commutes 2X Suburb-City commutes  From 1970 to 2000:  Total Housing Units Increased 9%  Suburban Housing Units Increased Almost 100% Question: Is This All Good or All Bad? Is this growth pattern sustainable? Where Are We Today? M Urban Design 4

5 Implications for the Future Response Depends on One’s Perspective on the Age-Old Debate: City living is good/betterSuburban living is good/better Living + working in City is the only way forward; More sustainable Living closer to suburban jobs keeps travel miles low Multiple transportation modes and route options Car-dependent travel; limited route options A mix of uses within walking distance Single, isolated uses force car travel for all needs Less car use = Less pollutionMore car use = More pollution; More congestion Many suburbs will not surviveSuburban demand will remain strong The “Leinbergers” The “Kotkins” vs. M Urban Design 5

6 For Their Survival, Suburbs Will Need to Evolve 1.Economic Challenges:  Housing Over-Supply  Commercial Oversupply Implications: Limited/Slow Short-term Growth Potential; Extended Growth Time-lines 2. Energy Security/Climate-Change Challenges:  Over-dependence on high-carbon fossil fuels/GHG Emissions  Over-dependence on cars as sole form of mobility Implications/Policy Questions: ”Re-Order” Growth Patterns? Reduce Total Car Travel? New Mobility Technologies? 3. Urban Form Challenges:  Sprawling growth patterns energy-intensive  Community character issues Implications: Better Urban From and Character Necessary M Urban Design 6

7 “Re-Order” Regional Growth Patterns (Climate and Urban Form Challenges)  Past growth => Slow Future Evolution  Past Recommendations: Create Growth Boundaries/ Stop Suburbanization Limit Infrastructure Spending  No real BOLD planning considerations (notwithstanding the legacy) “Re-ordering” Virtually Impossible for Historical / Political Reasons  New Regional Policies Necessary  Most New Strategies Possible at Local Level – If Suburbs Take the Challenge Chicago Metro: Over 100 Years of Growth Source: M Urban Design Benefits Time-Scale 7

8 Reduce Total Vehicle Miles Traveled (Climate and Urban Form Challenges) Regional Policies 1.Reduce Total Miles of Travel Trip-length shortening not as beneficial as cutting down on number of trips - Joe Cortright, Impresa Consulting for “CEOs for Cities” California SB 375 Example (did not include VMT reduction as a goal) 2.Extend Transit Service to Outlying Suburban Communities Local Strategies 1.Encourage Higher Density Living 2.Encourage Live-Work Units 3.Encourage People to Live Close to Work 4.Build TODs 5.Avoid Car Trips M Urban Design Benefits Time-Scale 8

9 New Mobility Technology Considerations Toyota FCHV in 2015 “Shockingly Low Price” Honda FCX Clarity: 2009 New Alternative Fuels; Zero-Emission Vehicle Technologies My Crystal Ball ?! In Another Generation: 1.NMT use wide-spread 2.Less serious concern with GHG emissions/pollution?? 3. Little change in locational decisions 4.More cars on limited capacity roads 5.More Traffic Congestion 6.More Need For Walkable Mixed-use 7.Communities With Transit Options: WHY Local Strategies Will Matter -Toyota Motors July 20, 2009 article NMT Evolution (in recent times)! ”Since VMT are not projected to decrease significantly in the near or long-term in the Chicago region, CMAP’s strategies to promote alternative fuels are important to help save energy and mitigate GHG and other pollutants” – Volpe Center, U.S. DOT -- October 2008 Action Strategy Paper on Climate Change and Energy M Urban Design Benefits Time-Scale 9

10 Local Strategies: Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism New Urbanism: A 20+ year old Planning and Urban Design Discipline NU learns from the virtues of existing and past cities. NU helps create:  Compact, Connected, Walkable, Diverse Neighborhoods with Mixed-Uses  Quality Public Realm and High Quality of Life  Distinct Transportation Solutions  New Codes and Tools for Implementation Examples from City of Chicago: Neighborhoods and Boulevards M Urban Design 10

11 NU Principles for Suburban Neighborhoods (Local Strategies)  Create Inter-connected Street Networks Between Neighborhoods  Create Neighborhoods with Mixed-Uses Centers within Walking Distance of Most Residents  Locate Neighborhood Centers with Exposure and Access to Major Arterials  Allow A Variety of Residential Types  Allow Moderately High Densities  Focus on Urban Design along with Land-use, Transportation, Finances and Services  Create Hierarchy of Streets/Reflected in Urban From  Create Quality Places  Evolve as a Suburban Community…Become More Urban – “New Urban” M Urban Design 11

12 Adopt not just a tax-revenue-based land-use and transportation policy… NU Principles for Roadway and Context Design (Local Strategies) But an “Urban Design Policy” to allow roadway hierarchy (Boulevards for example) with multiple transportation choices (GREEN TRAMWAYS!), mixed-uses and multiple residential types M Urban Design 12

13 NU Design Principles (Local Strategies) For better traffic circulation and less traffic congestion, avoid/minimize cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets as they promote greater car dependence Instead, allow well-connected network of streets that may or may not be rectilinear M Urban Design 13

14 Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism : Suburban Mixed-Use Community Harbor Town, Memphis, TN: Variety of Residential Types Mixed-Uses; Walkable and Connected Neighborhoods; Boulevard System; Strong Sense of Place M Urban Design 14

15 Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism : Suburban Community + Town Center New Town at St. Charles, MO: Innovative Variety of Residential Types; Mixed-Use Center/Civic Center; Integrated/Creative Stormwater System; High-quality Public Realm/Sense of Place M Urban Design 15

16 Legacy Center, Plano, Texas Town Center on street grid; Commercial, Office, Hotel, Restaurants Townhomes, Condominiums/Apartments; Central Civic Space Sense of Place M Urban Design Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism : New Suburban Downtown 16

17 Addison Circle, Addison, Texas: Close to suburban train station Primarily Residential with Townhomes and Apartments; Major Open Space Central to Plan Moderately High Density; High Quality of Space/Strong Sense of Place M Urban Design Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism : Residential + Mixed-Use TOD 17

18 Southlake Center, Southlake, Texas: Central Civic Space: Foreground to Village Hall Surrounded by Mixed-Use Shopping + Offices, Entertainment, Restaurants and Townhomes Major Innovation from Single-Use Shopping Center (as initially proposed) Highly Successful Community Destination/Community Pride M Urban Design Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism: Community Shopping + City Hall 18

19 Plano TOD, Texas: New downtown/TOD at a DART station Moderately dense Neighborhoods with Mixed-Use Shopping Economic Development/Transit Ridership Increase/Sustainable Model M Urban Design Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism : Residential + Mixed-Use TOD 19

20 Incidentally, Public Demand for Transit * Not Sure: 3% Maintain/ Repair Existing Roads, Highways, Bridges: 50% Improve Transit: 31% Expand/ Improve Roads: 16% Build New Roads: 20% Improve Public Transportation: 47% Build Walkable Communities: 25% Not Sure: 8% Build commuter rail, light rail and subways: 75% Build highways and freeways: 20% Not Sure: 5% Survey Questions*: 1. Transportation Priorities of Federal Government 2. Best Long-Term Solutions to Reduce Congestion 3. Transportation Approach to Accommodate Growth *January 2009 Growth and Transportation Survey by Hart Assoc. As reported in “Common Ground” Summer 2009, Published by National Association of Realtors M Urban Design 20

21 Also…Federal Livable Communities Act (Local Strategies Support) The new Livable Communities Act Provisions:  Create competitive planning GRANTS to establish long-term plans  Create challenge GRANTS to implement the long-term plans  Establish a Federal Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the HUD  Establish a Federal Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities to coordinate federal sustainable development policies and programs August 6, 2009: Senator Christopher Dodd introduced a new Livable Communities Act that should help communities: > Mitigate traffic congestion > Reduce greenhouse gas emissions > Cut down on fuel consumption > Protect open space > Build affordable housing > Revitalize existing main streets and urban centers M Urban Design 21

22 New Urbanism Implementation Tools: Form-Based Codes 1. Relatively New Regulation Tool in Illinois 2. Based on A Community Vision 3. Focus: Public Realm (Form and Quality of the Built Environment) 4. Place-specific to Retain/Create Character 5. Several Urban Standards 6. Graphic/More Comprehensible 7. Predictable Urban Form and Character 8. Different from Conventional Zoning Regulations  FBCs more concerned with Urban Form, Less with Use  FBCs facilitate mixing of uses  Not concerned with F.A.R.s, Densities and Lot Coverages  Allow administrative approval of projects M Urban Design 22

23 Focus on the Quality of Public Realm Project Credit: Dover Kohl & Partners Public Realm: Influenced by buildings architecture; the proportions of the size of public space to building height, and the amenities and materials in the public space Form-Based Codes/Regulations M Urban Design 23

24 Predictable Placement and Bulk of Buildings Predictable massing and bulk of future projects Benefits: Less public concern about bulk and other impacts Streamlined project review process Good for developers too Project Credit: Dover Kohl & Partners M Urban Design Form-Based Codes/Regulations 24

25  An Integrated Code with Standards for: Thoroughfares, Frontages, Building Types, Public Spaces, Landscaping – All Linked to a Regulating Plan  Typically Easier to Comprehend and Administer M Urban Design Form-Based Codes/Regulations 25

26  Conventional/Euclidian  FBCs  Based on Abstract Land Use and Zoning Categories  Segregated/Isolated Uses  Proscribes (What Is Not Allowed)  Unpredictable Building Bulk/Form (F.A.R.s and Densities by Lot Size)  Unpredictable Character  Rarely Any Sense of Place/Form-less  Based on Adopted Community Vision  Mixed Uses  Prescribe (What Is Desirable)  Predictable Building/Urban Form (Bulk Limits regardless of Lot Size )  Vision of Built Form Predetermined Site Development Capacity Analyses; Retain existing or create new character  Power of Place/Strong Urban Form M Urban Design Form-Based Codes/Regulations 26

27  Allow mixing of uses  Allow diversity of housing options/housing types  Allow moderately higher densities  Allow street connectivity  Allow multi-functional streets/boulevards  Create compact and walkable neighborhoods  Create great places Altogether…Become More Urban: “New Urban” M Urban Design Local Strategies for Suburban Communities (Summary) 27

28 Can the Suburbs Stop Resisting Change? M Urban Design  Stop Regarding Density as an Issue > Allow Creative Density for Making Better Communities  Stop Isolating Land Uses in Single Pods > Allow Creative Mix of Land Uses  Stop Treating Roadways as Only Transportation Routes > Allow Hierarchy of Roadways to Create Places  Stop Maximizing Revenues by Maximizing Commercial Uses > Allow Residential or Mixed-Uses Along Arterials  Stop Resisting Change > Become More Urban 28

29 Closing Remarks  Future of Suburbs Must Evolve Given Economic, Energy and Climate Challenges Evolution Will be Essential for Survival/Revival  New Urbanism Offers Key Answers for Suburban Evolution NU Principles Should be Part of Local Strategies and Policies Quality Places and Quality of Life Will Make Better Communities NU Provides Effective Tools for Implementation and Evolution M Urban Design 29

30 Thank You! Mahender Vasandani President M Square | Urban Design 0N262 Armstrong Geneva, Illinois T: F: C: M Urban Design 30


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