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Regional and Neighborhood Development: Planning the Evolution of Our Suburbs. A Special Presentation to the USGBC Fox Valley Chapter Mahender Vasandani Chairman. Education and Outreach Committee, CNU-Illinois August 27, 2009. What I Will Talk About:

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slide1

Regional and Neighborhood Development:

Planning the Evolution of Our Suburbs

A Special Presentation to the

USGBC Fox Valley Chapter

Mahender Vasandani

Chairman. Education and Outreach Committee, CNU-Illinois

August 27, 2009

slide2

What I Will Talk About:

  • Where Are We Today in Terms of Regional Growth?
  • What Are the Implications of the “Big Challenges” for

Evolution of Suburbs?

  • Why the Suburbs May Need to Evolve?
  • Are There 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/A NU Implementation Tool
  • Q & A
slide4

Where Are We Today?

  • Acknowledgement: Ours Is A Suburban Nation
  • (In A Capitalist Democracy)
  • 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%
  • Questions:
  • Is This All Good? All Bad? Or, Are There Pros And Cons?
  • What Are the Implications for Future Regional Growth?
slide5

The “Leinbergers”

vs.

The “Kotkins”

Implications for the Future…

Response Depends on One’s Perspective on the Age-Old Debate:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-kotkin6-2008jul06,0,1038461.story

slide6

Implications for the Future…

  • My view: To survive/thrive in the future:
  • Suburban regions will need to:
  • Provide for all transportation options:

Cars, Trains, Buses, Bicycles and Pedestrian-ways

  • Extend Existing Commuter Service to Outlying Suburbs
  • Start the new Metra “STAR” Line
  • Suburbs will need to:
  • 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
  • ……Become More Urban (“New Urban”)
slide7

Why Do the Suburbs Need to Evolve?

  • I. Economic Challenges:
  • Housing Over-Supply
  • Commercial Oversupply
  • Implications:
  • Limited/Slow Short-term Growth Potential; Extended Growth Time-lines
  • II. 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?
  • III. Community Character Challenge:
  • Little Attention to the Public Realm/Urban Form

Implication:

  • Better Character and Quality of Life Can Provide Key Market Advantages
slide8

Chicago Metro: Over 100 Years of Growth

  • “Re-Order” Growth Patterns

2020

2030

2040

2010

Source:

Climate Change: “Re-Order” Regional Growth Patterns

  • Recommendations from
  • the Past and other States:
  • Create Growth Boundaries/
  • Stop Suburbanization
  • Limit Infrastructure Spending
  • In Chicago Metro Area:
  • “Re-ordering” Virtually
  • Impossible for Historical
  • and Political Reasons
  • Most Strategies and
  • Benefits Possible at
  • Local Level
  • LEED-ND
slide9

Reduce Total Travel Miles

2020

2030

2040

2010

Climate Change: Reduce Total Vehicle Miles Travelled

Typical Recommendations:

1. Reduce Total Miles of Travel, 2. Encourage Higher Density Living

3. Encourage Live-Work Units 4. Encourage People to Live Close to Work

5. Build TODs 6. Avoid Car Trips

  • 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
  • STAR LINE and TODs will cut down on auto trips
  • By increasing walkability New Urbanism will help achieve Trip Avoidance.
slide10

Climate Change: New Mobility Technology

New Alternate Zero-Emission Fuels and Alternate Vehicle Technologies*

(*”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 criteria pollutions” –

Volpe Center, U.S. DOT -- October 2008

Action Strategy Paper on Climate Change and Energy)

My Crystal Ball ???!!!

Image source:

www.discoveryresources.com

  • In Another Generation:
  • NMT use wide-spread
  • Less serious concern with GHG
  • emissions/pollution
  • 3. Little change in locational decisions
  • 4. More cars on limited capacity roads
  • MORE TRAFFIC CONGESTION
  • MORE NEED FOR WALKABLE,MIXED-USE COMMUNITIES with
  • TRANSIT OPTIONS

NMT Evolution!

Toyota FCHV in 2015

“Shockingly Low Price”

-Toyota Motors

www.autobloggreen.com

July 20, 2009 article

Honda FCX

Clarity: 2009

2020

2030

2040

2010

  • New Mobility Technology
slide11

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

slide12

NU Design Principles for Suburban Neighborhoods

  • Create Inter-connected Street Network Between Neighborhoods
  • Create Neighborhoods with Centers with Mixed-Uses 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 concerns with land-use, transportation, finances and services
  • Help Create Quality Places/Stay competitive in market place
  • Evolve as a Suburban Community…Become More Urban – “New Urban”
slide13

Key NU Design Principles

Adopt not just a tax-revenue-based land-use policy…

But also an Urban Design Policy...Allow Boulevards with Multiple Transportation Modes,

Mixed-Uses and/or Multiple Residential Types (maybe not this dense) along Boulevards

slide14

Key NU Design Principles

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 in rectilinear grids

slide15

Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism: Example 1

Harbor Town, Memphis, TN:

Variety of Residential Types

Mixed-Uses

Connected Neighborhoods

Boulevard System

Strong Sense of Place

slide16

Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism: Example 2

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

slide17

Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism: Example 3

Legacy Center, Plano, Texas

Town Center on street grid

Commercial, Office, Hotel, Restaurants, Townhomes, Condominiums/Apartments

Central Civic Space/Sense of Place

slide18

Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism: Example 4

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

slide19

Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism: Example 5

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

slide20

Suburban Evolution with New Urbanism: Example 6

Plano TOD, Texas:

New downtown/TOD at a DART station

Moderately dense Neighborhoods with Mixed-Use Shopping

Economic Development/Transit Ridership Increase/Sustainable Model

slide21

Public Support for Transit

Maintain/Repair

Existing Roads,

Highways,

Bridges:

50%

Build Walkable

Communities:

25%

Improve Public

Transportation:

47%

Improve

Transit:

31%

Not Sure:

8%

Expand/Improve

Roads:

16%

Build New

Roads:

20%

Not Sure: 3%

1

2

Not Sure: 5%

  • Survey Questions*:
  • Transportation Priorities of Federal Government
  • Best Long-Term Solutions to Reduce Congestion
  • 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

Build highways

and freeways:

20%

Build commuter

rail, light rail and

subways:

75%

3

slide22

Federal Legislative Initiatives: Livable Communities Act

  • August 6, 2009: Senator Christopher Dodd introduced a
  • Livable Communities Act that will 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
  • The Livable Communities Act will:
  • Create competitive planning grants to create long-term plans
  • Create challenge grants that towns and regions can use to implement these long-term plans
  • Establish a federal Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the HUD and oversee

the Livable Communities grant programs;

  • Establish a federal Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities to coordinate federal
  • sustainable development policies.
slide23

New Urbanism Regulations: Form-Based Codes

  • Relatively New Regulation Tool in Illinois
  • Based on A Community Vision
  • Focus is the Public Realm (Form and Quality of the Outside Built Environment)
  • Place-specific to Retain Existing Character
  • Several Urban Standards
  • Graphic/More Comprehensible
  • Predictable Urban Form and Character
  • 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
slide24

Form-Based Codes/Regulations

  • Focus on Quality of the Built Environment for Public Realm

Public realm

influenced by the

architecture of

buildings;

the proportions of the

size of public places

to building heights

and the amenities

in the public places

Project Credit: Dover Kohl & Partners

slide25

Form-Based Codes/Regulations

  • Predictable Placement and Bulk of Buildings
  • PREDICTABILITY of massing
  • and bulk of future projects
  • Less public concern about
  • bulk and other impacts
  • Potential benefit:
  • Streamlined project review
  • process
  • Good for developers too

Project Credit: Dover Kohl & Partners

slide26

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

Form-Based Codes/Regulations

slide28

Closing Remarks

  • Future of Suburbs:

Assumed to Evolve Given Economic, Energy and Climate Challenges

  • Evolution Will be Essential for Survival/Revival/”Thrival”
  • New Urbanism Offers Key Answers for Suburban Evolution
  • NU Design Principles Should be Part of a Suburban Community’s Policy
  • Quality Places and Quality of Life Will be Market Advantages
  • Form-Based Codes/Regulations Provide an Effective Tool
  • to Create Mixed-Use Centers and Achieve Community Vision
slide29

Thank You!

Mahender Vasandani

Chairman, Education and Outreach Committee

CNU-Illinois

President

M Square | Urban Design

Phone: 630.845.1202

Email: mgv@msqre.com