Shifting Suburbs: Reinventing Infrastructure for Compact Development

Shifting Suburbs

Published 2012

As America’s suburbs grow in more compact ways—with higher-density development clustered in nodes or along corridors and with increasing options for getting around without a car—rethinking and reworking infrastructure can be essential.

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A new report from ULI, Shifting Suburbs: Reinventing Infrastructure for Compact Development, highlights how eight suburban redevelopment projects tackled infrastructure challenges, and takes a look at how infrastructure was planned, funded and financed. From these case studies, the report distills winning strategies, stumbling blocks, and other lessons learned. The report’s case studies include:

The report identifies the following Winning Strategies—successful strategies that have been employed to progress toward building more compact, pedestrian-friendly places:

  • Partnerships
  • Comprehensive approach to infrastructure and access
  • Programming and place management
  • Public space and plazas; trails and sidewalks
  • Proactive planning
  • Stakeholder engagement and buffering of existing neighborhoods
  • Riding the demographic wave
  • Many sources of funding

The report acknowledges Stumbling Blocks that impede additional progress which include:

  • Working across boundaries
  • Funding
  • Skill sets
  • Entitlements and zoning
  • Community resistance

The ULI Infrastructure Initiative has posted to our blog a series of eight in-depth summaries of each case study.

The ULI Infrastructure Initiative gratefully acknowledges the Rockefeller Foundation for its support of this report and related activities. We also extend our thanks to ULI Atlanta and ULI Minnesota for hosting programs exploring this topic, to the speakers and attendees who participated, and to the many contributors to this report.

Report Webinar

A webinar marking the release of Shifting Suburbs occurred on December 18, 2012. The audio and visual recording of the webinar are available here.

Read about the summer 2013 infrastructure report speaker series here.

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