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The suburban dream of a single-family house with a white picket fence no longer describes how most North Americans want to live. The dynamics that powered sprawl have all but disappeared. Instead, new forces are transforming real estate markets, reinforced by new ideas of what constitutes healthy and environmentally responsible living. Investment has flooded back to cities because dense, walkable, mixed-use urban environments offer choices that support diverse dreams. Auto-oriented, single-use suburbs have a hard time competing.
Suburban Remix brings together experts in planning, urban design, real estate development, and urban policy to demonstrate how suburbs can use growing demand for urban living to renew their appeal as places to live, work, play, and invest. The case studies and analyses show how compact new urban places are already being created in suburbs to produce health, economic, and environmental benefits, and contribute to solving a growing equity crisis.
Above all, Suburban Remix shows that suburbs can evolve and thrive by investing in the methods and approaches used successfully in cities. Whether next-generation suburbs grow from historic village centers (Dublin, Ohio) or emerge de novo in communities with no historic center (Tysons, Virginia), the stage is set for a new chapter of development—suburbs whose proudest feature is not a new mall but a more human-scale feel and form.
"Key places within the suburbs are transforming, and Suburban Remix makes a strong case that suburban retrofit is a powerful force in the American landscape—backed by local political will and significant capital....Suburban Remix updates the story in a way that will be easy for nonprofessional public officials in suburban cities and towns to understand."
"Interspersed throughout a compendium of articles by some 16 contributing authors are facts, observations, and speculations that, on occasion, are eye-opening, jarring, and truly worthy of regard and concern...Individuals who have a new found interest in urbanism and the plight of the contemporary city and suburb will find Suburban Remix a useful read and good tool for recall and reference. It was delightful to see the topic presented in such a thoughtful and accessible way."
Nature of Cities
"Suburban Remix brings together leading experts to describe the dramatic market shifts away from drivable sub-urban development patterns toward walkable urban places, while its detailed redevelopment case studies provide priceless lessons in planning and implementation. Planners, developers, and citizen activists eager to position their suburbs for the next generation will deem this a precious resource."
Ellen Dunham-Jones, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology and coauthor of "Retrofitting Suburbia"
"In North America, most of our land and our people remain suburban, and their future is our future. Happily, the same principles and techniques that have been re-humanizing our city centers are now at work on sprawl, with some remarkable results. The suburban remix is on, and this wise and useful book tells how you can bring it home to your community."
Jeff Speck, City Planner and author of "Walkable City"
"Beske, Dixon, and the contributors to Suburban Remix have beautifully mapped a clear, inclusive, and exciting way forward for us all."
Mike Lydon, Principal, Street Plans and coauthor of "Tactical Urbanism"
"Dixon and Beske have put together a real-world guide to introducing walkable development in suburbs. I recommend Suburban Remix to anyone who lives, works, or invests in a suburb. It shows how lively, walkable urban places can thrive in suburbs. More to the point, it argues that suburbs no longer can thrive without walkable urban places."
Kaid Benfield, Senior Counsel, PlaceMakers, LLC and author of "People Habitat"
Table of Contents
Introduction by David Dixon
Part I: Setting the Stage
Chapter 1 – Urbanizing the Suburbs: The Major Development Trend of the Next Generation by Christopher Leinberger
Chapter 2 – From the Rise of Suburbs to the Great Reset by David Dixon
Part II: Suburban Markets
Chapter 3 – Housing by Laurie Volk, Todd Zimmerman, and Christopher Volk-Zimmerman
Chapter 4 – Office by Sarah Woodworth
Chapter 5 – Retail by Michael J. Berne
Part III Case Studies for Walkable Urban Places
Chapter 6 – Blueprint for a Better Region: Washington, DC by Stewart Schwartz
Chapter 7 – Tysons, Virginia by Linda Hollis and Sterling Wheeler
Chapter 8 – From Dayton Mall to Miami Crossing, Ohio by Chris Snyder
Chapter 9 – Shanghai’s Journey in Urbanizing Suburbia by Tianyao Sun
Chapter 10 – North York Center: An Example of Canada’s Urbanizing Suburbs by Harold Madi and Simon O’Byrne
Chapter 11 – Dublin, Ohio: Bridge Street Corridor by Terry Foegler
Chapter 12 – The Arlington Experiment in Urbanizing Suburbia by Christopher Zimmerman
Chapter 13 – From Village to City: Bellevue,Washington by Mark Hinshaw
Part IV: Bringing it All Together
Chapter 14 – Planning by David Dixon
Chapter 15 – Placemaking by Jason Beske
Conclusion by Jason Beske and David Dixon
About the Contributors
Date: Thursday, February 15, 2018
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Walk-in registration will begin at 11:30 am.
Hear Jason Beske, planner, and David Dixon, planner and urban designer, discuss ways that suburbs can evolve and thrive by investing in the design methods and approaches focused on a more human-scale, feel, and form. talk Following the talk, the authors sign copies of their book, Suburban Remix: Creating the Next Generation of Urban Places.
Free Museum Member & Student | $10 Non-member
Suburban Remix: Creating the Next Generation of Urban Places
Monday, March 26, 2018 12:00PM – 1:00PM EST
Join the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association and Island Press for a webinar conversation with the editors of Suburban Remix: Creating the Next Generation of Urban Places. Jason Beske and David Dixon will discuss planning for placemaking in suburban communities, and will examine Tysons, Virginia as a case study for implementing urban, walkable development.
The formulas that guided suburban growth for more than 60 years no longer work. How can suburbs adapt to increasingly complex social, economic, fiscal, and environmental demands? What new approaches can help them secure their futures?
In part one of this three-part webinar series on Saving Our Suburbs (S.O.S.), panelists will unpack data and share case studies that show how suburbs are preparing for—and succeeding in—a new demographic, cultural, and economic landscape. They’ll give perspective on how public officials and community leaders can rethink their approach to development and growth in response to changing tastes and markets. This webinar series is based off of the book Suburban Remix, Creating the Next Generation of Urban Places.
Join the conversation! After presentations, we’ll have a Q&A period.
Earn 1.5 AICP CM credits for attending.
In the first of three webinars, urbanist Chris Leinberger joined us to discuss how suburbs are building walkable urban places to become more Successful in response to dramatically shifting demographics, a growing knowledge economy, and disruptive technologies.
On January 29, join us to learn about how suburbs can cover the costs of creating walkable urbanism by being Opportunistic and developing innovative public/private partnerships to pay for streets, public spaces, art and culture, and, yes, even parking—in other words, the infrastructure that turns density into a tool for creating community. Sarah Woodworth of W-ZHA and Chris Zimmerman of Smart Growth America will join us. Both are nationally known for their success in helping suburbs create innovative financing strategies.
We conclude the series in March with a conversation on how suburbs can become "Smart" by harnessing rapidly emerging and disruptive technologies to make their communities more livable, equitable and resilient for everyone.
This conversation will be moderated by Jason Beske, AICP, Consultant and Adjunct Professor at Virginia Tech College of Architecture & Urban Studies.
- Sarah Woodworth, Managing Member/Owner, W-ZHA, LLC
- Chris Zimmerman, Vice President, Economic Development, Smart Growth America
- David Dixon, FAIA, Vice President, Stantec’s Urban Places
Your questions are welcomed!
The considerable social, economic, and environmental costs of suburban sprawl have been widely reported, but suburbs hold new potential for the 21st century. As ground zero for some of the most disruptive changes stemming from accelerating wealth inequities, a rapidly aging population, and growing racial and ethnic diversity, suburbs today face an era of unparalleled opportunity. Without damaging a blade of grass on a single lawn, suburbs across North America can transform tired strip malls and office parks into a new generation of compact, walkable places that support the dreams of an increasingly diverse population.
Suburban Remix shows an optimistic future for suburbia and explains how to get there, with case studies from a variety of suburban settings. Edited by Jason Beske and David Dixon, both highly seasoned thought leaders in urban planning and design, this contributed volume brings together experts in planning, urban design, real estate development, and urban policy. Their insights demonstrate how suburbs can renew their appeal as places to live, work, play, and invest by adopting methods used successfully in cities.
Check out Chapter 2 from the book below.
Katharine is the Publicity & Marketing Associate at Island Press.
A Changing Climate Means A Changing Society. The Island Press Urban Resilience Project, Supported By The Kresge Foundation And The JPB Foundation, Is Committed To A Greener, Fairer Future. This Excerpt Was Originally Published March 16, 2018 in Urban Land.
North America is in the midst of “suburban remix.” A perfect storm of challenges has broken apart a 70-year-old suburban growth model shaped around car-focused, relatively affluent, and dispersed development. But as this model falls apart, another far more resilient model is taking shape: walkable, dense, diverse, compact — and urban.
The storm’s disruptive power is real. The core market for suburban single-family houses — families with kids — represents roughly half the share of North America’s population that it did in 1970. This share will continue to shrink through the 2030s, just as the share represented by households over 65 — net sellers of single-family houses — grows rapidly. Meanwhile, younger, educated workers are moving into urban cores, and knowledge industry office demand and investment are following. (Downtowns and dense, walkable suburbs fill Amazon’s list of finalists for HQ2.)
Unsurprisingly, suburban housing and office values have lagged their urban counterparts since 2000. And, in a dramatic reversal, more people living in poverty now call suburbs home, while affluent households are relocating to cities. This has slowed tax-base growth, battering local budgets. Demographic and economic trends suggest that these dynamics will grow more disruptive over the next two decades — reinforced by the arrival of shared autonomous mobility (see sidebar below).
On the green fringes of Washington, D.C., Fairfax County, Virginia — long an archetype of affluent, prosperous suburbia dominated by single-family subdivisions — demonstrates the stresses these trends have unleashed. Since the Great Recession, poverty across the county has grown by more than 50 percent; county revenues have not kept pace with the accompanying costs; and residents have watched as housing values have risen 300 percent faster in nearby Washington.
Yet Fairfax County is anything but broken. Spurred by the region’s Metrorail transit system, Fairfax has emerged as an early leader in replacing sprawl with a new urban growth model. Over the past decade, the county has approved more than $20 billion in higher-density, walkable, mixed-use centers that replace millions of square feet of malls, strip retail centers, and office parks. More important, places like Tysons, Reston Town Center, and the Mosaic District aren’t emerging as “developments” but as lively new suburban downtowns and Main Streets that function as the heart of their increasingly diverse communities. Similar transformations are underway in other D.C. suburbs, such as Arlington County, Virginia, and Bethesda, Maryland.
Jason Beske, AICP, is an urban planner and urban designer with public and private experience and a frequent speaker and instructor at planning conferences.
David Dixon, FAIA, leads planning and urban design for Stantec's Urban Places, an interdisciplinary team that helps cities and suburbs alike thrive by harnessing the growing demand for urban life. His work has won national awards from the AIA, CNU, International Downtown Association, and ASLA. He is co-author of Urban Design for an Urban Century: Placemaking for People, which was first published by Wiley in 2009.