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Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs, Updated Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-02767-7
288 pages
March 2011
Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs, Updated Edition (1118027671) cover image
Updated with a new Introduction by the authors and a foreword by Richard Florida, this book is a comprehensive guide book for urban designers, planners, architects, developers, environmentalists, and community leaders that illustrates how existing suburban developments can be redesigned into more urban and more sustainable places. While there has been considerable attention by practitioners and academics to development in urban cores and new neighborhoods on the periphery of cities, there has been little attention to the redesign and redevelopment of existing suburbs. The authors, both architects and noted experts on the subject, show how development in existing suburbs can absorb new growth and evolve in relation to changed demographic, technological, and economic conditions.

Retrofitting Suburbia was named winner in the Architecture & Urban Planning category of the 2009 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (The PROSE Awards) awarded by The Professional and Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Division of the Association of American Publishers

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Preface vi

Introduction viii

Urban Versus Suburban Form viii

Why Retrofits? Why Now? xii

Organization of the Book xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Chapter 1 Instant Architecture, Instant Cities, and Incremental Metropolitanism 2

Instant Cities and Suburban Retrofits 2

Instant Architecture, Instant Public Space 6

Incremental Metropolitanism 9

How Sustainable? How Urban? 12

Chapter 2 Retrofitting Garden Apartments and Residential Subdivisions to Address Density and the New Demographics 16

Never Homogenous? The New Suburban History 17

Demographic Changes 18

Retrofitting Policy 20

Retrofitting Residential Subdivisions 22

Revising the Rules: Kansas City First Suburbs Coalition and DADUs in Seattle 23

Connect the Culs-de-sac: Apollo Beach and Laurel Bay 25

From Subdivision to Edge City: Greenway Plaza 27

From Subdivision to TOD: MetroWest 27

Reintegrating Garden Apartment Buffer Sites 29

Accommodating New Immigrants: Brookside Apartments and Gulfton 30

Market Devaluation: Park Forest Courts 32

Gentrification Infill: Gramercy and The Colony 34

Tomorrow’s Suburbanites 35

Chapter 3 Residential Case Study: Changes to “Levittown” 44

The Earliest Postwar Suburbs Are Sixty Years Old Demographic Diversity in Levittown, Willingboro, and Park
Forest 46

Failure and Redevelopment of Retail Properties 51

Resistance to Change in Residential Patterns 52

Diversifying Housing Choices 54

Paths Toward Further Change 56

Chapter 4 Retrofitting Social Life Along Commercial Strips 59

Third Places in Suburbia? 59

History of the Strip and Its Building Types 62

The Drive out of Town 62

Adaptive Reuse of Big Boxes and Strip Malls for Community-Serving Activities 67

Reviving Ghostboxes 67

From Strip Malls to Community Anchors: La Grande Orange and Camino Nuevo 70

Retrofitting Shopping Centers: The Middle Scale 72

Regreening: Phalen 72

Public Sector Strategies to Support Retrofitting 75

Santana Row’s Rough Road to Riches 78

From Strip Centers to New Downtown: Temple Terrace 80

Retrofitting the Corridors Themselves: Designing for Mobility or Access or Both 81

The Transit Boulevard and the Urban Network 82

Return of the Multiway Boulevard: Cathedral City 84

Rezoning Corridors: Three Examples in Atlanta 87

Inducing Transit on a Corridor Through Form-Based Codes: Columbia Pike 90

Retrofitting the Urban Structure of Commercial Strips 92

Social Infrastructure 9

Chapter 5 Strips Case Study: Mashpee Commons, Cape Cod, Massachusetts 95

Attaching to a Well-Established Fragment of Urbanism Site History 98

Morphological Analysis 102

From Strip to Downtown: Mashpee’s Third Place 105

Chapter 6 From Regional Malls to New Downtowns Through Mixed-Use and Public Space 108

The Significance of Public Space 110

A Brief History of Malls 112

Dead and Dying Malls 114

Changing Uses to Meet Local Needs 119

Downsizing: Park Forest and Willingboro 119

From Enclosed Malls to New Downtowns 123

From Dead Mall to New Downtown: Mizner Park 123

Turning a Mall Inside Out: Winter Park Village 126

Incremental Metropolitanism Around Denver: CityCenter Englewood 129

Infilling Around a Live Mall 134

You Can Save the Tree and Have Tiffany’s, Too: Walnut Creek 134

From Mall to Transit-Served University and Office Tower: Surrey Central City 136

The Role and Form of Mixed-Use and Public Space in Retrofitted Malls 138

Chapter 7 Mall Case Study: Cottonwood, Holladay, Utah 140

From Concept to Press Release

Repositioning Mall Properties 142

Market Study and Mini-Charrette 143

Charrette 146

Benefits of the Charrette 151

Chapter 8 Mall Case Study: Belmar, Lakewood, Colorado 154

“Enrich Your Life, Not Your Lawn” in Lakewood’s New Downtown “Greening”: Finding the Funding for Sustainable Urbanism 159

Morphological Analysis 162

From Bunkers to Streetscapes: Public Space 166

New Uses/New Users 170

Chapter 9 Edge City Infill: Improving Walkability and Interconnectivity 172

Redirecting Edge Cities 173

The Evolution of Edge and Edgeless Cities 177

Edgeless Cities 179

Infilling Edge Cities 180

Addison Circle 180

Legacy Town Center 182

Perimeter Place 183

How Effective Are the Infill Strategies? 186

Edge-City Retrofits Across Multiple Parcels 187

The Future of Edge Cities 191

Chapter 10 Edge City Case Study: Downtown Kendall/Dadeland, Miami-Dade County, Florida 192

Zoning the Creation of New Blocks and Squares over Multiple Parcels Regulating an Urbanizing Framework 196

Morphological Analysis 198

Demographic Analysis: Reaping the Benefits of Interconnectivity 201

Chapter 11 Suburban Office and Industrial Park Retrofits to Recruit the Creative Class 203

Suburban Industrial Parks, Office Parks, and Corporate Campuses 204

Nonconcentric Patterns of Commuting 206

Polycentric Atlanta: Bellsouth in Lenox Park, Midtown, and Lindbergh City Center 207

Recruiting the Creative Class 209

Creative Campus: SkySong 211

Retrofitting Suburban Workplaces 211

Glass Box Lofts: Cloud 9 Sky Flats 212

Lofts on the Interstate: Upper Rock 214

Retrofitting Industrial Parks 216

Instant Urbanism: Westwood Station 217

Chapter 12 Office Park Case Study: University Town Center, Prince George’s County, Maryland 219

Finishing a Job Started Almost Half a Century Ago Transit Provides Opportunity for Infilling with Mixed Use 222

Morphological Analysis 225

Demographic Analysis: Appeal to the Creative Class? 228

Epilogue: The Landscape of Incremental Metropolitanism in 2050 230

Notes 234

Image Credits 248

Index 249

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Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA, is professor of architecture and urban design in the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. An award-winning registered architect, she has published extensively on urban design and criticism and is on the board of directors of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

June Williamson, LEED AP, is associate professor of architecture at The City College of New York. A registered architect, she has contributed to numerous urban design projects. Her writing has been published in numerous journals and, in 2010, she conceived the design competition "Build a Better Burb."

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With hands-on lessons for architects and planners, this guide to redesigning suburbs provides those interested in sustainability and smart growth with alternatives to the norms of sprawl. The book:
  • Documents innovative case studies of prototypical American suburban developments (malls, commercial strips, office parks, cul-de-sac subdivisions) that have been retrofitted to new uses and forms.
  • Provides examples of how a dead mall can be transformed into a thriving mall and office park with transit-oriented downtown, how malls can incorporate housing and other mixed uses, and how a failed mall can be converted to wetland or public park.
  • Covers retrofits of office and industrial parks, residential subdivisions, and suburban apartment complexes.
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