Suburban Remix: A New Generation of Walkable Development

Kaid-BenfieldIn 2001, a new book came out with my name (and those of two colleagues) on the cover.  It was a book of case studies of smart-growth alternatives to suburban sprawl, divided into three categories:  urban development, suburban development, and conservation initiatives.  I mention the book here not (well, not just) because I’m an incorrigible self-promoter but because it had three photos on its cover, one of which was of a then-new, multi-building and mixed-use development called Bethesda Row, located in suburban Maryland just outside of Washington, DC.

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CNU 26: Gearing Up

In this week’s post, PlaceMaker Susan Henderson offers a deep dive into the instructive charms of Savannah, Georgia. Click below to launch.

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Livable Places Connect People

Tonight I was thinking back through all of the places I’ve lived, correlating the physical form of the places to the size of my circle of friends. While completely an anecdote of a sample size of one, I noticed that when I lived in more walkable locations, I certainly had a much more engaged urban tribe. Just out of university, I moved into a flat on High Street. Most every morning, I’d go for a run with a friend, then meet up at the coffee shop with three or four friends before work. Saturday mornings at the farmers’ market with a larger circle were a weekly standard. Some of those friends are still close today, despite the long distances between us. I had more social capital paid in before 8 a.m. than I did all day that time I lived in the suburbs, where I only lasted two and a quarter years. Continue Reading

Year End Reflections: Gratitude for Livable Places

As the year draws to a close, reflection is an important rite of passage: celebrating, mourning, learning, and letting go. 2017 has not been the sort of year in which gratitude is the obvious emotion of choice on many levels. Yet the act of searching for what is beneficial, transformative, and noteworthy helps process through troubling challenges. Year end is a time of accounting for profits and losses, and making sense of what went right and what didn’t. In the city and town planning realm that we discuss here, that often comes down to comparing if our words line up with our actions. Continue Reading

Happy Thanksgiving

As much as we’re grateful for our loved ones, we’re equally grateful for good places in which to share their company. Here’s to another year working towards a built environment as rewarding to the human spirit as the people who populate our lives.

See you next week.


Places that Pay: Benefits of placemaking v2

“Reconciliation is making peace with reality, our ideals, and the gap in between,” via Her Honour, Janice C. Filmon, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. Much of our work here at PlaceMakers is about redirecting the trajectory of where we are headed with the targets needed to ensure the wellness of our environment, equity, and economy, so that stopgap measures are kept to a minimum. The studies that quantify how the form of our cities, towns, villages, and hamlets effects this wellness is essential to building the political will to make change. Listed below are the 65 key works I’m most likely to quote, to make the case for developing the city and town planning tools we need to make a difference for the resilience of people, planet and profit. Continue Reading