New Urbanism

Clustered, Mixed-Use, Multi-Modal Neighborhood Design


TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute


Updated 29 May 2015

This chapter describes ways to design and build more attractive, accessible, walkable, multi-modal, and livable neighborhoods. People who live and work in such areas tend to drive less and rely more on alternative modes than in more automobile-dependent locations.




New Urbanism (also called Smart Growth, New Community Design, Neotraditional Design, Traditional Neighborhood Development, Location Efficient Development and Transit Oriented Development) is a set of development practices to create more attractive, efficient and livable communities. These can significantly improve Accessibility and reduce per-capita automobile travel. Just as an automobile is a machine for mobility, a city is a machine for accessibility (Levinson, Krizek and Gillen 2005)


Specific New Urbanist design features are listed below. Of course, not all of these features are included in all New Urban developments.


New Urbanism Neighborhood Design Features (Peter Swift)

1.       The community has a discernible Activity Center. This is often a plaza, square or green, and sometimes a busy or memorable intersection. A transit stop should be located at this center.


2.       Special attention is paid to protecting the public realm and creating quality public spaces, including sidewalks and paths, parks, Streetscapes and public buildings. This helps create more community identity and cohesion, leading to stronger and healthier communities.


3.       Buildings at the center are placed close to the sidewalk and to each other, creating an urban sense of spatial definition. Buildings towards the edges are placed further away and further apart from each other, creating a more rural environment.   


4.       Most dwellings are within a five-minute walk (a quarter mile) from the center. Streets are designed for walking and cycling, with sidewalks on both sides, bike lanes where needed, good crossings, traffic calming features used to control motor vehicle traffic speeds, and other features to encourage non-motorized travel.


5.       There are a variety of dwelling types. These take the form of houses, row houses, and apartments, such that younger and older, singles and families, the poorer and the wealthier can find places to live. Density averages 6-7 units per acre or greater (Campoli and MacLean, 2002).


6.       There are places to work within and adjacent to the neighborhood, including shops, office buildings, and live-work units.


7.       There are shops sufficiently varied to meet common household needs, such as convenience stores, a post office, a bank machine, and a gym.


8.       A small ancillary building should be permitted within the backyard of houses. It may be used as a rental apartment, or as a place to work.


9.       There should be an elementary school close enough so that most children can walk from their dwelling. This distance should not be more than one mile.


10.   There are parks, trails and playgrounds near every dwelling. This distance should not be more than one-eighth of a mile.


11.   Networks of highly connected roads and paths provide multiple routes between destinations, increasing accessibility and reducing problems if one route is closed. Access points into neighborhoods may be highlighted with a gateway or signs.


12.   Thoroughfares are relatively narrow and shaded by rows of trees that slow traffic and create an appropriate environment for pedestrian and bicyclist.


13.   Parking lots and garage doors rarely end of front the thoroughfares. Parking is relegated to the rear of the buildings and usually accessed by alleys or lanes.


14.   Certain prominent sites are reserved for public buildings. A building must be provided at the center for neighborhood meetings.


15.   The neighborhood should be self governing, deciding on matters of maintenance, security, and physical evolution.



The land use reforms can be implemented at various geographic scales. New Urbanism and Transit Oriented Development reflect neighborhood and local level planning, while Complete Streets, Streetscaping and Access Management apply these concepts for specific roadways, Location-Efficient Development and Clustering reflect similar principles at the site and block level, and Smart Growth reflects these principles at the regional level. New Urbanism has gained increasing attention among development professionals and the general public, particularly in regions experiencing growth-related conflicts. Many see the New Urbanism as a way to accommodate growth while enhancing community and environmental objectives.


New Urbanism does not usually exclude automobile travel, but it increases Transportation Options, emphasizes high quality Transit services and Stations, and sometimes gives Priority to walking, cycling and transit (Gehl and Gemzoe 2003). New Urbanism supports development of a more Connected street network, often using a modified grid pattern. This provides multiple routes and more direct travel between destinations compared with a disconnected street network with many dead-end roads that result in more circuitous routes, and funnel traffic onto a few roadways. Increased street connectivity has been showed to reduce per capita vehicle travel, and reduce traffic volumes on major roads (Handy, Paterson and Butler 2004). It also reduces risks for emergency access if a particular route is blocked.


Some New Urbanist designers suggest that Streetscapes provide a sense of enclosure (Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck 2000). As a general rule they recommend that urban street be no more than six times as wide across as the height of the buildings that line it, from the building front or row of trees on one side of the street to those on the other. Urban buildings should be designed with details and amenities that are oriented to pedestrians, not just motorists.


Typical Population Thresholds for Public Facilities (McPherson and Haddow 2011)

Local shops/corner store                                                                                   800 – 1,000 dwellings

Neighborhood activity centre (small shops, community centre)                1,200 – 4,000 dwellings

Larger activity centre (small and large shops, offices)                                  4,000 – 10,000 dwellings

Community health centre                                                                                                  8,000 – 12,000 dwellings

Primary school                                                                                                     1,200 – 5,000 dwellings

Secondary school                                                                                                8,000 – 10,000 dwellings

Train station                                                                                                          10,000 – 12,000 dwellings

Civic centre                                                                                                           12,000 – 48,000 dwellings



How much difference do these factors make? Residents of Automobile Dependent neighborhoods rely almost entirely on automobile transportation. Residents of New Urban neighborhoods tend to walk and bicycle for a significant portion of trips to local services such as stores, schools, recreation centers, and Commercial Centers, and destinations are closer together so automobile trips are shorter. The result is an increase in Transportation Options and a reduction in total vehicle travel and associated costs.


New Urbanism can give people better options for where they live and work. For example, many people want to “age in place,” that is, they want to continuing living in their community as they become older, rather than moving to a specialized retirement community. For this to be possible their community must have Accessible land use patterns, with shops and other public services nearby, and diverse transportation services for people with various needs and abilities, including good Walking facilities that accommodate mobility aids and wheelchairs, and various types of Transit services.


New Urbanist features tend to increase the value and marketability of buildings. National market surveys indicate that about a third of home buyers would prefer to live in New Urbanist community if available (Hirschhorn and Souza 2001; Bohl 2003). A study by Eppli and Tu (2000) found that homes in New Urbanist communities sold for an average of $20,189 more than otherwise comparable homes in more conventional communities, an 11% increase in value. Song and Knaap (2003) also found that New Urban features increase property values, with 15.5% higher sale prices for houses in neighborhoods with new urbanist features, accounting for various other factors. Studies summarized by Smith and Gihring (2003) indicate that proximity to public transit services can significantly increase property values.


Although many well-known New Urbanist projects are “master planned communities,” meaning large urban-fringe developments design as a unit, these concepts can also be incorporated into existing urban communities (Otak 1999), and even in communities that have highways with heavy traffic through their Commercial Center (DEA 1999). Existing residential and commercial areas are incorporating New Urbanist design features as part of redevelopment efforts. For example, older neighborhoods can implement Traffic Calming and Pedestrian Improvements, Reallocate Road Space, use Parking Management, encourage Location Efficient Development, and work to create a design identity.


New Urbanist development may face various barriers. Many current planning regulations and development practices in North America conflict with New Urbanist principles (Smart Growth Policy Reforms). For example, zoning codes often require more parking and wider streets than considered appropriate by New Urbanists. Zoning codes also discourage commercial activities and secondary living units in residential areas, and require large setbacks for homes and businesses that reduce densities and land use mix.


Another barrier to New Urbanism is that the real estate industry is highly segmented by land use category (such as single-family housing, multi-family housing, retail, office and warehouse). Each category has its own practices, markets, trade associations, and financing sources. New Urbanists requires a more integrated approach to development that requires changing these practices and coordinating stakeholders (Leinberger, 2001).


Livable Neighborhoods (ERM Mitchell McCotter Pty, 2002)

Livable Neighborhoods are compact, well-designed, sustainable communities designed to enhance local identity, provide diverse housing options, increase land use efficiency, increase local employment and support alternative travel modes.


Livable Neighborhoods are defined by a convenient 5-minute (400 meter) walking area, totalling about 50 hectares, with a highly interconnected network of streets and compatible land use mix (such as shops within neighborhoods). Cul-de-sacs are less frequent, with paths that provide connections for walking and cycling. Where a site is of sufficient size, neighborhoods are clustered together around a town center.


Major roads, called neighborhood connectors form the spine of the neighborhoods and towns, rather than the edges. Neighborhood and town centers are located at the junctions of these streets. All streets, including arterials and neighborhood connectors, have an important role in the urban structure by accommodating all modes of travel, including walking, cycling, public transit and driving, and by supporting active land uses. The emphasis is on connectivity, amenity and integration to achieve a safe, efficient and attractive road network.


Streets are designed to comfortably accommodate non-vehicular users and support adjacent land uses, with generous footpaths and street trees. Buildings are located directly onto street fronts (rather than set back, behind parking. On busier streets, service roads and lanes are used to enable development to front onto arterials. This provides passive surveillance of public spaces that increases personal safety. Streets are provided with on-street parking to increase the amount of shared parking.



How it is Implemented

New Urbanist features can be designed into new development or implemented incrementally in existing neighborhoods. It usually requires changes to street design standards, and to zoning laws to allow higher densities and mixed land use. Urban renovation projects can incorporate New Urbanism features, including commercial infill and pedestrianization.


A new approach to building codes, called “form-based codes” is an important tool for implementing New Urbanist development. Form-based codes provide guidelines and building requirements that define a particular type of development desired in a particular area, such as low- or medium-density residential, or mixed-use urban village. It provides greater design flexibility and coordination than conventional, land use based codes.


Applying New Urbanism To Large Retail (Beaumont and Tucker 2002)

Conflicts often develop over development of “big box,” franchise, and other large-scale retailers, because they tend to be automobile-oriented, have large parking lots, locate on arterial strips at the urban fringe, use generic building designs, and reduce economic activity from traditional Commercial Center. Some communities choose to prohibit or discourage such retailers altogether. Others work to apply New Urbanist design principles to make them more acceptable. These include:


·         Location. Locate large volume retailers within existing urban areas, preferably within or close to existing commercial areas, or in industrial areas, often as brownfield redevelopment projects.


·         Size. Downsize such retailers so they fit better into urban areas.


·         Design. Require retailers to use more Context Sensitive Design, including building styles that reflect local traditions, and appropriate landscaping.


·         Transport and Parking Management. Encourage or require such retailers to implement Commute Trip Reduction programs, Parking Management, and other appropriate TDM strategies.


·         Impact Fees. Charge developers for costs they impose on communities, including stormwater management and increased vehicle traffic. Use variable fees that reward developers for reducing these costs (Smart Growth Reforms).



Travel Impacts

New Urbanism improves Accessibility, improves Transportation Choice, and reduces traffic speeds, which tend to reduce per capita automobile ownership and use, as discussed in the Land Use Impacts chapter. Although most individual design features have modest impacts on total travel, their effects are cumulative and synergistic, resulting in significant total reductions in vehicle use (NEW 2001). Residents in well-designed New Urbanist neighborhoods with good walkability, mixed land use, Connected streets, and local services tend to drive 20-35% less than residents in automobile dependent areas, and even greater vehicle travel reductions may be possible if New Urbanism is coordinated with other TDM strategies, such as Transit Improvements, Carsharing, Road Pricing, Parking Management and Commute Trip Reduction programs (CMHC 2010).


Tomalty, Haider and Fisher (2012) found substantial changes in travel activity between New Urbanist and conventional suburban neighborhoods: 51% of New Urban households reported walking and cycling to local services several times a week compared with 19% in conventional neighborhoods, and New Urban residents averaged 37.1 daily vehicle-kilometers compared with 46.0 in conventional neighborhoods. Nearly twice as many New Urbanist residents report that they walk much more and drive less than in their previous neighborhood, indicating that these differences reflect behavioral change rather than self-selection. Khattak and Rodriguez (2005) found that, controlling for demographic factors, residents of a neo-traditional community (Southern Village in Chapel Hill, NC) generate 22.1% fewer automobile trips and take 305.5% more walking trips than residents of conventional design communities. These include reductions in both commute and non-commute automobile travel. In the neo-traditional community, 17.2% of trips are by walking compared with 7.3% in the conventional community. Average per capita time spent in travel is similar between the two groups.


See Evaluating Nonmotorized Transport and PBQD (2000) for information on modeling travel impacts of New Urban design features.


Table 1          Travel Impact Summary




Reduces total traffic.


Reduces per capita vehicle travel.

Reduces peak period traffic.



Shifts peak to off-peak periods.



Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.


Improves travel alternatives.

Improves access, reduces the need for travel.


Increases land use access.

Increased ridesharing.


Can increase ridesharing to worksites.

Increased public transit.


Accommodates public transit.

Increased cycling.


Improves cycling conditions and access.

Increased walking.


Improves pedestrian conditions and access.

Increased Telework.



Reduced freight traffic.


Mixed impacts.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Benefits And Cost

New Urbanism can provide a variety of economic, social and environmental benefits (CMHC 2010).

·         More housing and commercial options for consumers.

·         Increased property values.

·         Improved transport and access for non-drivers, and support Universal Design.

·         More affordable housing (Location Efficient Development).

·         It can reduce automobile dependency and use, providing consumer cost savings and reductions in automobile travel that provide social benefits (such as reduced traffic congestion, parking costs, accident risk, pollution and urban sprawl).

·         Compact, mixed-use development in multi-modal locations can provide significant energy savings (JRC 2011).

·         It can significantly improve Community Livability, interaction and cohesion.

·         Increased traffic safety due to narrower streets and slower traffic (Traffic Calming).

·         Improved public Health due to increased walking and cycling.



Table 2 summarizes these impacts as identified in one major study. The actual benefits depend on conditions and design factors. Direct consumer benefits can be significant. McCann (2000) found that households living in communities with more diverse transportation systems save hundreds or thousands of dollars annually on transportation costs.


Table 2            Potential Smart Growth Benefits (Burchell, et al, 1998; PFBE, 2007)




Consumer transportation cost savings.

Economies of agglomeration (density).

More efficient transportation.

Traffic safety.

Increased property values.

More attractive communities.

Improved transportation choice, particularly for nondrivers.

Improved housing choices.

Community cohesion and interaction.

Greenspace and wildlife habitat preservation.

Reduced air pollution.

Reduce resource consumption.

Reduced water pollution.

Reduced “heat island” effect.



Costs include the additional expenses associated with more detailed planning, design and amenities (sidewalks, transit, public spaces), and extra development costs associated with construction within existing urban areas. Some critics argue that New Urbanism and Smart Growth reduce housing affordability, but while some features do increase housing costs (such as urban growth boundaries), others reduce these costs (such as reduced parking and setback requirements, and secondary suites), allowing housing to be more affordable overall (Litman 2000; Arigoni 2001).


Higher-density, infill development may increase local traffic congestion and exposure to noise and air pollution, although regional traffic and pollution tends to decline if residents drive less (see discussion in Land Use Impacts chapter, and in Litman 2000). Increased density often reduces the amount of greenspace within an urbanized area, although it can increase total regional greenspace by reducing per capita area of land development.


Table 3          Benefit Summary




Congestion Reduction


Fewer trips per capita and better access, offset at the local level by increased population density.

Road & Parking Savings


Reduces road and parking capacity requirements, but may increase costs for traffic calming, cycling and pedestrian facilities.

Consumer Savings


Can reduce vehicle and development costs, although housing costs may increase.

Transport Choice


Increases travel choices and access.

Road Safety


Reduces vehicle traffic volumes and speeds.

Environmental Protection


Reduces vehicle use and pavement.

Efficient Land Use


Encourages higher-density, infill development.

Community Livability


Reduces vehicle traffic volumes and speeds.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Equity Impacts

New Urbanism design features have a variety of equity impacts. Some impacts may affect certain groups more than others, such as the effects of infill on existing neighborhoods. It can reduce subsidies associated with lower-density, sprawl development and automobile dependency. It can increase consumer housing and transportation choices, providing benefits to lower-income households and non-drivers. As described above, some New Urban developments are relatively expensive, but many New Urban design features (such as small lots, clustered development, and reduced parking and road requirements) can reduce housing costs. Increased access and travel choice, and transportation cost savings tend to significantly benefit lower-income households and non-drivers. New Urban designs can reduce some externalities associated with lower-density, automobile-oriented development.


Table 4          Equity Summary




Treats everybody equally.


Can benefit most groups.

Individuals bear the costs they impose.


Reduces some external costs associated with dispersed land development and automobile dependency.

Progressive with respect to income.


Can make transportation and housing more affordable.

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.


Can improve access and travel choices for non-drivers.

Improves basic mobility.


Can improve basic mobility and access.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.




New Urbanism design features are appropriate in any urban or suburban area, particularly those experiencing high levels of growth and problems associated with housing inaffordability and sprawl. They are implemented primarily by regional and local governments, and developers.


Table 5          Application Summary





Large urban region.


Federal government.


High-density, urban.


State/provincial government.


Medium-density, urban/suburban.


Regional government.




Municipal/local government.


Low-density, rural.


Business Associations/TMA.


Commercial center.


Individual business.


Residential neighborhood.




Resort/recreation area.


Neighborhood association.






Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).




Land Use Management



Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

New Urbanism is similar to Smart Growth, Transit-Oriented Development, Context Sensitive Design, Clustering and Location-Efficient Development. It supports and is supported by most other TDM strategies, particularly Complete Streets, Streetscaping, Traffic Calming, Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements, Universal Design, Road Space Reallocation, Carsharing, Road Pricing, Parking Pricing, Parking Management, Transit Improvements, and Commute Trip Reduction programs. It is one of the most effective TDM strategies for improving Community Livability.




New Urbanism is generally implemented by local governments and developers. Neighborhood associations, business associations and developers are also important stakeholders with regard to many specific New Urbanist policies and projects.



Barriers To Implementation

Existing zoning laws and development policies often discourage or prohibit New Urbanism designs. There is sometimes local resistance to higher density, infill development.



Best Practices

The Congress for the New Urbanism and Ewing (1996) provide guidelines for New Urban best practices. Homburger (1989) and Burden (1998) describe recommended street design features. Carley (2000) and Carley, Kirk and McIntosh (2001) describe ways to apply New Urbanist principle to encourage downtown redevelopment. Smart Growth Fiscal Reforms describes policy changes to support New Urbanism. Best practices for New Urban development are listed below.


·         Educate planners and developers about New Urbanist strategies.

·         Implement comprehensive New Urbanist policies, rather than just one of two strategies.

·         Encourage cooperation between public and private decision makers to facilitate New Urbanism.

·         Promote distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place, including the rehabilitation and use of historic buildings.

·         Strengthen and encourage growth in existing communities.

·         Mix land uses.

·         Create a range of housing opportunities and choices.

·         Provide a variety of transportation choices.

·         Foster “walkable” close-knit neighborhoods.



The guidelines listed below are based on the National Governor’s Association development criteria (Hirschhorn and Souza, 2001):


·         Strengthen and encourage growth in existing communities. Locate development in areas with existing infrastructure.


·         Include mixed land uses. Mixed-use projects should include residential housing, significant employment opportunities from office or light industrial facilities, retail shopping, outdoor recreation and open spaces. Larger projects should also include schools and entertainment facilities.


·         Create a range of housing opportunities. Residential development should be mixed-income and offer a range of single- and multi-family units, with special attention to affordable housing.


·         Preserve Open Space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas. Projects should consume a minimum of greenspace and avoid fragmenting habitat. Compact design should minimize the amount of land used per capita.


·         Provide a variety of transportation choice. Locate projects along transit lines. Communities should support walking and cycling transportation. A connected street patterns should provide multiple routes, maximizing accessibility. Telecommuting should be encouraged.


·         Foster walkable, closeknit neighborhoods. Pedestrian-friendly design employs clustered and mixed land uses, and good walking facilities. Neighborhood design and layout should promote interactions among residents.


·         Take advantage of existing community assets. New projects should take advantage of existing transit facilities, greenspace, schools, retail areas and cultural amenities. Brownfield sites should be seen as opportunities for land recycling.


·         Promote distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place, including the rehabilitation and use of historic buildings. Whenever historic and older buildings are present, their rehabilitation and reuse should be part of the new design. Architectural criteria and community layout should maximize a sense of local community in harmony with the natural setting.


·         Encourage citizen and stakeholder participation in development decisions. Provide opportunities for all stakeholders to participate in decision makers.


·         Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective. Local governments with zoning code responsibilities should facilitate innovative community designs consistent with Smart Growth principles, and they should not impose obstacles and delays that may place such designs at a competitive disadvantage to more common “sprawl” projects.



Wit and Humor

What if we fail to stop the erosion of cities by automobiles?…In that case we Americans will hardly need to ponder a mystery that has troubled men for millenia: What is the purpose of life? For us, the answer will be clear, established and for all practical purposes indisputable: The purpose of life is to produce and consume automobiles.

(Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961, p. 370.)



Healthy Community Design Index

Below is a list of specific planning practices that help create healthier communities:


·         Strategic planning. Is there a comprehensive community vision which individual land use and transportation decisions should support?


·         Self-contained community. Are common services such as shops, medical services, transit service, schools and recreation facilities located within convenient walking distance of houses and each other? Is there a good jobs/housing ratio within a 2-mile radius?


·         Walkability. Do streets have sidewalks? Are sidewalks well designed, maintained and connected, and suitable for people using wheelchairs and pushing strollers and carts? Are streets easy to cross, even by people with disabilities?


·         Cycling. Are there adequate bike paths, lanes and routes? Are there cycling skills training and law enforcement programs? Are there bike racks and changing facilities at worksites?


·         School access. Are most children able to walk or bicycle to school? Are walking and cycling condition around the school adequate. Are there programs to improve walking and cycling, and encourage use of alternative modes for travel to school?


·         Mixed income communities. Are there a mix of housing types and prices, allowing lower income and disabled people to live in the community? Are there programs to insure affordable housing is located in accessible, multi-modal areas where residents can easily walk to public services such as stores, medical clinics and transit stops?


·         Sense of place. Does the community have a strong sense of identity and pride? Does the neighborhood have a name?


·         Transit service quality. Does the neighborhood have high quality public transit, with more than 20 buses or trains a day (less than half-hour headways) and little crowding during peak periods?


·         Parking management. Are parking requirements flexible, so developers and building managers can reduce their parking supply in exchange for implementing a parking management program?


·         Roadway and walkway connectivity. Are streets and paths well-connected, with short blocks and minimal cul-de-sacs. Are streets as narrow as possible, particularly in residential areas and commercial centers. Are traffic management and traffic calming to control vehicle impacts.


·         Complete streets. Are streets designed to accommodate walking, cycling and public transit, and comfortable and convenient for activities such as strolling, playing, shopping, sightseeing, eating and special events?


·         Site design and building orientation. Are buildings to be oriented toward city streets, rather than set back behind large parking lots?


·         Transportation demand management. Are TDM strategies and programs implemented to the degree that they are cost effective? Do employers have incentives to implement commute trip reduction programs? Is there a local transportation management association?


·         Greenspace. Are there efforts to preserve greenspace, particularly wild areas such as streams, shorelines and forests?



To help consumers, real estate professionals and planning practitioners apply these concepts the Healthy Location Index below indicates the degree to which a particular site or neighborhood reflects healthy community planning principles.


Table 3            Healthy Community Index Calculations


How to Calculate


Sidewalks on block

No (0 points) Yes (10 points)


Portion of local streets with sidewalks.

Range from 0 points for no street within ½ kilometer have sidewalks up to 10 points for all streets have sidewalks.


Portion of local streets and paths that accommodate wheelchairs.

Range from 0 points for no street within ½ kilometer with sidewalks that accommodate wheelchairs, up to 10 points for all streets with sidewalks that accommodate wheelchairs.


School walkability

10 minus number of minutes required for a child to walk safety to school. 0 if walking to school is not feasible for a typical child.


Cycling conditions

Portion of streets within 1 kilometer that safely accommodate bicycles, rated from 0 to 10.


Neighborhood service destinations

One point for each of the following located within ½ kilometer convenient walking distance, up to 10 maximum: grocery store, restaurant, video rental shop, public park, recreation center, library.


Public transit service quantity

Number of peak period buses per hour within ½ kilometer, up to 10 maximum.


Public transit service quality

Portion of peak-period transit vehicles that are clean and comfortable from 0 (all vehicles are dirty or crowded) up to 10 (all vehicles are clean and have seats available).


Local traffic speeds

Portion of vehicle traffic within 1-kilometer that have speeds under 40 kilometers per hour, from 10 (100%) to 0 (virtually none).


Air Pollution

10 minus one for each exceedance of air quality standards.





This table summarizes the calculation of the Healthy Community Index, which can range from 0 (unhealthy location) to 100 (healthy location). It reflects various neighborhood design factors that affect residents’ health.



Examples and Case Studies


State and Local Policies (

Hirschhorn and Souza (2001) describe many successful examples of public policies that support New Urbanist development.


NCDOT New Subdivision Guidelines (

The N.C. Board of Transportation today approved Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) Street Design Guidelines that will improve safety by promoting low speeds and cautious driving while fully accommodating the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists.


"By approving these guidelines, our Board of Transportation is to be commended for making smart transportation planning a priority," said Gov. Hunt. "These guidelines will improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians by helping us build strong communities across the state."


The alternative guidelines were developed in response to increased interest in balancing growth and quality of life initiatives and to promote neighborhood development. They were created in consultation with citizens, developers, builders, architects, engineers, planners, local government officials, state agencies and environmental organizations.


The following criteria are established in the new guidelines for TND developments:

·         Streets will be designed to be only as wide as needed for low-speed traffic.

·         Narrow streets are part of a dense transportation network that also includes sidewalks, walking paths and bike lanes.

·         Sidewalks will line both sides of most neighborhood streets to encourage walking.

·         On lower traffic volume streets, bicyclists should be considered a normal part of traffic. On higher volume streets, bicyclists should be accommodated with six-feet-wide bike lanes, but separate routes for less experienced bicyclists may be considered as well.

·         On-street parking along major streets should have signs, markings or otherwise clearly be designated.

·         Planting strips, located between the curb and sidewalk, help create shaded streets, promote walking and slow traffic.

·         As a general rule, more and shorter street lights are preferred.



City Living Becoming Trendy (

From California to Florida, new mixed-use developments are attracting empty-nesters and yuppies alike, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. First emerging in the early 1990s, the “urban village” has now become a trendy lifestyle alternative, says the article. New Urban News recently reported that the number of mixed-use, New Urbanist developments completed or underway on 15 acres of land or more was up 37 in 2001. The publication counts 213 such projects in the 2001 pipeline compared to 155 last year, with more than 400 already in existence nationwide. The article says residents are drawn by the excitement that city living offers as well as reduced commutes to work. Developers and investors, meanwhile, find value in the fact that their future does not hinge on the success of just one component - whether it be the retail, residential, or office space.



Seaside (

Seaside, Florida was the first New Urbanist community, which has been a model and inspiration to most New Urbanist developments created since. “The little beach town that changed the world, by remembering how nice the world can be.”


Seaside is an 80-acre town developed in the early 1980’s by Robert and Daryl Davis based on concepts by Miami architects Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. Their inspiration was an image by urban designer Leon Krier, “...A sensibly laid out town or city would, in fact, have all of the necessities and pleasures of daily existence within walking distance of one's residence. You might have to use mechanical transportation to go to the opera, but you should not need to use a car to get a quart of milk, nor should you have to be a chauffeur for your children...”


Initial sales in 1982 were encouraging. Sales were also helped by early recognition, in both the architectural and popular press, that the Seaside idea was quite appealing and might be a model for changing the patterns of urban and suburban growth. The master plan and the Seaside Urban Code were drafted in the summer of 1982. While they continue to this day to evolve and to change, these documents still incorporate the original simple and cogent ideas. The Code is designed to work with the master plan to produce streets which are comfortable for pedestrians.


There are now more than 300 cottages in Seaside. The streets are designed to accommodate cars and parking but to make walking more convenient and pleasant than driving. From inception, downtown Seaside has been an important part of the plan. Seaside visitors and residents are able to walk to Central Square which contains a variety of public and commercial buildings. The quaint and cozy streets of Seaside received additional visibility in 1999 as the location for the movie The Truman Show. In 1982, Davis established The Seaside Institute (, which provides information about Seaside and New Urbanism.



NorthWest Landing (

Northwest Landing is a 3,000-acre mixed-use planned community developed by the Land Management Division of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company, located in the city of DuPont, Washington, midway between Tacoma and Olympia, about 50 miles south of Seattle. Land uses include industrial, office and commercial development, homes, schools, parks, places of worship, open space and trails. As of December 31, 1999, Northwest Landing had over 1400 residents living in approximately 680 single family, condominium and apartment homes. On completion, Northwest Landing will include homes for approximately 10,000 people and jobs for 8,600 people.


URBAN WARFARE: The Fight for Talent Among American Cities

Brain-Gain Cities Attract Educated Young

Blaine Harden, Washington Post, November 9, 2003; Page A01


SEATTLE. In a Darwinian fight for survival, American cities are scheming to steal each other’s young. They want ambitious young people with graduate degrees in such fields as genome science, bio-informatics and entrepreneurial management.


Sam Long was easy pickings. He was born, reared and very well educated in Cleveland. With a focus on early stage venture capital, he earned his MBA at Case Western Reserve University. Venture capital is in Long’s blood. His great-great-grandfather invested in Standard Oil of Ohio, the company that John D. Rockefeller built in Cleveland in the late 19th century.


In the early 21st century, Cleveland desperately needs entrepreneurs, but it never had a shot at keeping Long. He wanted to sail in Puget Sound, ski in the Cascades and swim in Seattle’s deep pool of money, ideas and risk-taking young investors. He now runs a small venture capital company. It sniffs out software ideas, many of them incubated in the computer science department at the University of Washington. “Birds of a feather, you know,” said Long, who arrived here in 1992, when he was 28. “There are more people like me in Seattle.”


Long is part of an elite intercity migration that is rapidly remaking the way American cities rise and fall. In the 2000 Census, demographers found what they describe as a new, brain-driven, winner-take-all pattern in urban growth. “A pack of cities is racing away from everybody else in terms of their ability to attract and retain an educated workforce,” said Bruce Katz, director of the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy at the Brookings Institution. “It is a sobering trend for cities left behind.”


In addition to Seattle, the largest brain-gain cities include Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis , San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, and Raleigh and Durham, N.C. The rising tide of well-schooled talent has created a self-reinforcing cycle. Newcomers such as Sam Long have made a handful of cities richer, more densely populated and more capable of squeezing wealth out of the next big thing that a knowledge-based economy might serve up.


The winner-take-all pattern of the past decade differs substantially from the Rust Belt decline and Sun Belt growth of the 1970s and ‘80s. Then, manufacturing companies moved south in search of a low-wage, nonunion workforce. Now, talented individuals are voting with their feet to live in cities where the work is smart, the culture is cool and the environment is clean.


Migrants on the move to winner-take-all-cities are most accurately identified by education and ambition, rather than by skin color or country of birth. They are part of a striving class of young Americans for whom race, ethnicity and geographic origin tend to be less meaningful than professional achievement, business connections and income. The Sun Belt is no sure winner in this migration. Such cities as Miami and El Paso are struggling to keep college graduates, who are flocking to such foul-weather havens as Minneapolis, Seattle and Ann Arbor, Mich.



Building Places for People, Not Cars: Challenges and Potential of Walkable Communities

LGC (2004) and various organizations such as the Congress for New Urbanism ( and the Smart Growth Network ( provide numerous case studies.


Urban Development Institute (, April 30, 2003

The development of pedestrian-friendly communities that promote walking and biking as a substitute for driving, rather than for purely recreational purposes, presents challenges that are formidable, but not impossible, to overcome, concluded participants in a recent land use forum hosted by the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

The pedestrian-oriented development forum was held as part of a ULI project funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to document and raise awareness of the value to real estate developers in creating communities that de-emphasize auto use as the primary means of transportation. As the first phase of the project, the forum aimed to clarify the specifics of pedestrian-friendly development, including connectivity features and appealing public spaces that encourage physical activity. The forum also explored how to build interest for such projects among the development community.

While there are a number of communities nationwide that cluster housing, recreational amenities, shopping, and, in some cases, office space in close proximity to each other, few of these developments are well connected to other neighborhoods and do little to curb driving within the surrounding community, participants noted. “A big challenge for this (walkable communities) movement is figuring out how to connect with the rest of the community,” said Gary Fenchuk, president of East West Partners of Virginia, Inc., in Midlothian, Va.

“What we are talking about is choice,” said Forum Chairman Nancy Graham, president of Urban Properties LLC in West Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “In so many places, there are no choices besides driving.” For instance, while Florida contains a high number of mixed-use communities, several cities in the state have been ranked by the Surface Transportation Policy Project’s “Mean Streets” study as being among the least conducive to safe walking, she noted.

With obesity rates in the United States reaching epidemic levels, traffic congestion paralyzing entire regions, and social interaction in communities severely limited by automobile-dependent development, there is little question that more pedestrian-friendly development is needed. However, an analysis of walkable communities should distinguish between those designed to permit walking or bicycling for just for exercise, and those that encourage “destination” walking or cycling to school, offices or shopping, forum participants pointed out.

Over the past 50 years, as development has become increasingly spread out, people have become accustomed to driving to complete even short-distance errands. The participants noted that even in development projects with exercise trails, developers have traditionally considered trail systems solely as a recreational amenity, rather than having a transportation purpose. As a result, such trails are seldom connected to outside destinations. Moreover, while there are health benefits achieved by walking purely for exercise, a large percentage of people do not make time for regular fitness activities. More people would be apt to reap the benefits of exercise if they were provided more opportunities to integrate walking or biking into daily tasks, participants said.

The high number of individuals driving from one dispersed location to another is reflected in transportation data showing a national average of 230 million solo-driver trips daily. In comparison, there are 98 million multiple-passenger car trips daily; 20 million trips involving walking; seven million public transit trips; and three million bicycle trips. Despite being a distant second to the automobile, walking is “the most common alternative to driving,” noted ULI Senior Resident Fellow Robert Dunphy, who specializes in transportation issues. “To promote walking, you need an attractive destination, attractive paths for connection, and a layout that promotes compact, multi-use development,” he said.

In addition to providing health benefits, pedestrian-oriented development can cost less to build, said Harrison Rue, executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization in Charlottesville, Va. Rue described an initiative launched by the commission to create an improved growth plan to coordinate region-wide mobility and better connect the urban and rural areas. The initiative focused on the types of community design that would ultimately provide the highest quality of life by 2050; the areas most suitable for urban development versus those that should not be developed; and the process of altering the current growth pattern to a better one.

Through the regional planning initiative, the commission determined that continuing to build in a conventional manner, emphasizing low-density, isolated uses and heavy auto dependence, would require $1 billion in transportation infrastructure improvements by 2050; the funds would be spent on bypasses and wider roads to serve dispersed areas on the fringe. However, under an alternative plan, development would be clustered strategically around community focal points, with an emphasis on pedestrian-friendly design as well as an expansion of the transit system. This plan would reduce the need for roadway investment by $500 million – half the cost of the “business as usual” plan, Rue noted. “Walkable communities supported by efficient transportation networks are viable, sustainable, and less expensive (to develop) than building freeways to accommodate dispersed growth…If all we care about is going through places, soon there will be nothing left to go to,” he said.

Two pedestrian-oriented projects highlighted during the forum were CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Fla., and the Market Commons in the Clarendon area of Arlington County, Va. Both developments have been financially successful and have many of the same physical characteristics: they are mixed-use in nature, have wide sidewalks and narrow streets, ample landscaping, and gathering areas around plazas and fountains. The Market Commons was developed by McCaffery Interests, Inc., in Arlington. According to Juan Cameron, vice president of development at McCaffery Interests, the project’s emphasis on destination walking is accepted by area residents. For instance, more than one-third of the shoppers in the development’s grocery store arrive on foot, he said. The project, which combines residential and retail uses, is fully leased.

CityPlace, built on an 80-acre, mostly-vacant parcel of land in the heart of West Palm Beach, is a mixed-use development combining retail, restaurant, entertainment, cultural and residential uses in a design that reflects the area’s Mediterranean-style architecture. (It received a ULI Award for Excellence in 2002.) Forum Chair Nancy Graham, who was mayor of West Palm Beach when CityPlace was built, actively pursued a pedestrian-oriented design. “The architecture was selected to fit with the character of the community, but it was geared toward how people would walk around,” she said. The residential units situated directly over the retail tend to be the most sought after and the most expensive, suggesting that “people enjoy being in the center of activity,” Graham said.

The success of both the Market Commons and CityPlace as walkable communities can be traced to the strong support they received from the public sector during planning and development. Forum participants noted that the public sector must be proactive in nature and that the charge for pedestrian-oriented development must be led by cooperative efforts of the public and private sectors.



Community Planning Rating System

The TND Design Rating Standards (Aurbach, 2005), provides a five-start rating system for evaluating Traditional Neighborhood Development, taking into account housing choice, land use mix (non-residential), connectivity, external connections, proximity (portion of homes within walking distance of a commercial center), location (relative to a regional center), streetscapes, civic space, and architectural aesthetics. This can be used to help planners and developers create communities, and households choose communities, that support strategic objectives, such as reduced automobile dependency and increased walking and cycling.



Charlotte (NC) Sacks Cul De Sac

According to an October 18th story in the Charlotte Observer, “The reign of the cul-de-sac ended Wednesday, with a unanimous vote of the Charlotte City Council.” Under a change in the subdivision ordinance, the dead-end circles so common in suburbia can be constructed only when geographic barriers prevent street connections. Though existing cul-de-sacs won’t be affected, the idea, city planners and politicians say, is to alleviate traffic by better linking future communities.


“Charlotte went cul-de-sac happy in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Mayor Pat McCrory. “We failed to develop a grid system of roads and now we have gridlock.” The case against cul-de-sacs is the way they limit access to and from neighborhoods. Frequently, subdivisions of cul-de-sacs have only one or two connections to an adjacent road. When cul-de-sac communities are lined up along that road, it clogs with drivers who have no alternative route. Planners note that traffic flows better in and around neighborhoods such as Myers Park, built in the early 20th century on a grid system that gives drivers more choices.”



New Urbanist Residents 'Walk the Walk’ (

A study of Orenco Station, a suburban New Urbanist community on Portland’s Westside MAX light rail line indicates high rates of transit use and other “smart growth” goals. Researcher Dr. Bruce Podobnik of Lewis and Clark College asked residents various questions about life in the community, five years after its founding. Twenty-two percent of residents reported using light rail or the bus to commute to work or school - far higher than the 5% average for the region. Sixty-nine percent of residents reported that they use public transit more often than they did in their previous community. G.B. Arrington, a public transit expert, describes these numbers as “totally off the charts for conventional suburban development,” and notes, “the fact that many residents can walk or take very short trips is very significant.”


Ninety-four percent said that they find the community’s New Urbanist design superior to typical suburban communities. Podobnik believes the Town Center is an important part of the community’s success. He notes that 70% of residents say they shop in the Town Center's grocery store or other businesses at least once a week. Orenco Station’s tree-lined streets and public spaces also seem to facilitate social interaction among neighbors. Seventy-eight percent of residents state that there is a higher sense of community than in their previous neighborhood, and 40% reported participating in neighborhood activities. Residents were asked to name up to three things they like and dislike about the community. Residents said they liked the “overall design’ (13%), greenspaces and parks (12%), Town Center (10%), garages on alleys (9%), pedestrian-friendly streets (6%), and access to light rail (5%). Features residents dislike included “none” (20%), “dog problems” (11%), and “traffic problems outside Orenco” (8%).



The Chattanooga Story (

Over the last 20 year, Chattanooga, Tennessee has redeveloped its once-depressed downtown to become a major commercial and tourist center that attracts millions of visitors a year. This evaluated out of three decades of community planning that emphasize citizen involvement, local environmental quality and strategic investments.


Concerned about the impacts that pollution was causing on local economy, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce created a Air Pollution Control Board in 1967. The board included a diversity group of business leaders and citizens. It established a 1972 deadline for all existing major sources of pollution to be in compliance with emission standards, which was met at a cost of $40 million. National and international attention was focused on a city that in three years had changed from the most polluted city in the United States to one of the cleanest. This inspired a new community challenge, revitalizing a dying city.


In the early 80’s, city officials established a goal that Chattanooga should become a leader in developing solutions to urban problems. In 1982, City and County governments appointed a task force to study and define the best way to develop the 22-mile Tennessee River corridor around Chattanooga. Through this process thousands of citizens attended hundreds of meetings to focus on the riverfront. The Task Force drafted the Tennessee Riverfront Master Plan covered 20 years and involved $750 million in commercial, residential and recreational development.


This led to creation of the RiverCity Corporation, a private, nonprofit organization with a mandate to implement the Riverfront Master Plan and 40 community development goals. Among other achievements, it developed the Tennessee Aquarium, the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, which opened in 1992. The structure has become a trademark for the city that in 10 years transformed itself from a dying city to one of growth and sustainable development.


A second "structure" that defines Chattanooga was also introduced in 1992. The Electric Shuttle was implemented by the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority. With free five minute service between the Tennessee Aquarium and the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel, the Electric Shuttle provided the transportation link that had been identified as one of the top goals identified during Vision 2000. As a result of these efforts, Chattanooga is now one of America's most livable cities.



Transact Planning Code

Metro planners get new tool for New Urbanism projects By Judith R. Tackett,
June 04, 2004
Nashville Metro ( planning agency has a new tool to help create traditional neighborhoods following the New Urbanism style. The Planning Commission adopted the new tool called the Transect - a guidance and analysis tool for creating a vibrant neighborhood. Transect was created in cooperation with developers, Metro Council members and neighborhood groups.

“Our goal is to proved housing, transportation and development choices for different needs and life stages,” says Planning Director Rick Bernhardt. “To do so fairly and equitably, we must level the regulatory playing field and make it just as easy to develop a community with mixture of retail, restaurants, town homes and single-family homes as it is to build the conventional, single-use subdivision.”

Until now, it usually took up to six months longer to plan for a development incorporating New Urbanism than for conventional developments.

“It’s common to think of each community as having an urban core in the center with each of the subsequent zones around it, like a fried egg,” Bernhardt said. “But in fact, the zones are usually mixed throughout a community. The key is that the zones must be internally consistent for a successful town.”

Transect consists of six zones (T1-T6) — natural zone, rural zone, suburban zone, neighborhood zone, urban center zone and urban core zone – and a district zone that serves for a specific single use such as industries, universities and airports. The Transect is a guidance and analysis tool, which identifies the necessary elements for a vibrant neighborhood.


A transect approach was used to implement goals of specific neighborhoods in the Davidson County Strategic Plan for Sidewalks and Bikeways and the Parks and Greenways Master Plan. Sidewalks are sized and parks are located according to Transect zones. The zones are also used in community planning efforts, where the Transect gives the basis for developing more detailed plans. The principle of New Urbanism is to build entire neighborhoods and the 45-50 zoning districts planners had to use so far have provided little flexibility for mixed land use.


GreenTRIP (

GreenTRIP is a Traffic Reduction + Innovative Parking certification program for new residential and mixed use developments. It rewards projects that reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. GreenTRIP expands the definition of green building to include robust transportation standards for how people get to and from green buildings. Each certified project receives a Project Evaluation Report which describes the project location, details and inventories how the project meets GreenTRIP standards. This typically includes features such as an Accessible and multi-modal location (near shops and other services, good neighborhood walkability, near public transit), unbundled parking (parking spaces rented separately from building space), Carshare services, discounted Public Transit passes, and Affordable housing.


The GreenTRIP program provides the following support:


As of March 2010 the following projects were certified:

The Crossings (

Parker Place (

Station Park Green (

The Ohlone (



Walkability Health Impacts (Giles-Corti, et al. 2013)

A ten-year study found that the overall health of residents of new housing developments in Western Australia, improved when their daily walking increased as a result of more access to parks, public transport, shops and services. Lead researcher Professor Billie Giles-Corti, Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne said the study provided long-term evidence that residents' walking increased with greater availability and diversity of local transport and recreational destinations. “The study demonstrates the potential of local infrastructure to support health-enhancing behaviours,” she said.


The study examined the impact of urban planning on active living in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. More than 1,400 participants building homes in new housing developments were surveyed before relocation to new homes and approximately 12 months later. It found that for every local shop, residents' physical activity increased an extra 5-6 minutes of walking per week. For every recreational facility available such as a park or beach, residents' physical activity increased by an extra 21 minutes per week. These findings could inform public health and urban design policy demonstrating that people respond to an environment that is supportive of physical activity.

“Given that being physically active reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, which are both huge costs to the health system, these results could have huge implications for government policy such,” Professor Giles-Corti said.



Traditional Neighborhood Development Handbook

The Florida Department of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance for Streets and Highways ( now includes a “Traditional Neighborhood Development Handbook” chapter which provides guidance for applying compact urban planning and design principles to greenfield (new), brownfield or urban infill and redevelopment projects. It also clearly differentiates between conventional suburban development (CSD) and Traditional Neighborhood Development TND, including differences in street geometry, adjacent land use, and other

elements that affect transit, pedestrian, and bicycle activity. It applies Transact zones, which define the land use development practices and roadway design features suitable for different types of land use development.



Palo Alto Zoning Code Update (

The city of Palo Alto, California, has implemented an extensive process to develop a new city zoning code that encourages the type of development a community wants, including more flexible, design-oriented, form-based codes. The city hired leading planners, published several discussion papers,  and involved numerous stakeholders. The result is a new approach to zoning, which allows and supports many New Urbanist design features.



Green Trip Program (

GreenTRIP is the Traffic Reduction + Innovative Parking certification program for new residential and mixed use developments. GreenTRIP certification rewards projects that apply strategies to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. GreenTRIP expands the definition of green building to include robust transportation standards for how people get to and from green buildings.  TransForm uses tailored traffic reduction programs that apply the most appropriate strategies to help make projects more financially feasible.



Smart Growth Scorecard (LCC, 2008)

The Livable Communities Coalition developed a score card for evaluating proposed developments on smart growth criteria. It asks 50 questions that exhaustively probe plans for new developments. The questions touch on 50 separate criteria in eight categories, including location and availability of basic services; density and compactness; diverse mix of land uses; housing choice; accessibility, mobility, and connectivity; pedestrian safety, streetscapes, and parking; environmental protection; and community needs. Judgments are made by a team of volunteer experts. Each criterion is rated by the team. Answers include poor, good, very good, and excellent, with each answer earning points – 3 points for excellent, two for very good, one for good, and none for poor. All answers are then averaged. Projects must earn an overall average score of 2 points (very good) to win recommendation for approval.



Residential Garage Conversions (

Santa Cruz, CA has a special program to encourage development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs, also known as mother-in-law or granny units) to increase housing affordability and urban infill. These often consist of converted garages. The city has ordinances, design guidelines and information materials for such conversions. Smallworks ( is a Vancouver, BC construction firm that specializes in small lane-way (alley) housing, which are often converted garages.



Sustainable Community Advice For Consumers (

The Your Next Move: Choosing a Neighbourhood with Sustainable Features, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, ( helps consumers evaluate community sustainability when selecting a home. It describes features that create safe, convenient, environmentally-friendly and affordable neighborhoods.



Short Street Village (

The Short Street Village is mixed-use urban infill project with multi-family and commercial retail in Saanich, British Columbia. It is located near existing commercial centers and has good walking and cycling facilities, and good public transit service. The program includes various features to encourages use of alternative transportation in order to minimize traffic impacts and protect the pedestrian environment with urban intensification. Implementing these features is a condition of the development permit.



Smart Codes (

The American Planning Association has developed various types of model ordinances and regulations that reflect smart growth principles and objectives. These objectives include encouraging mixed uses, preserving open space and environmentally sensitive areas, providing a choice of housing types and transportation modes, including affordable housing, and making the development review process more predictable. Communities based on these principles tend to encourage walking and bicycling, and increase human interaction, leading to more active, socially engaged lifestyles that result in better public physical and mental health. The Phase I report contains the following 11 model smart growth ordinances with commentary:



Celebration (

Celebration, Florida is a 4,900-acre masterplan development built just a few miles from Walt Disney World by the Disney Corporation. As the Corporation describes it,


“Celebration takes the best of what made small towns great in our past and adds a vision of the future. All the conveniences and technology of modern life will be hidden in timeless architecture. There will also be a sense of community. Hence the lakeside town center, complete with town hall, post office, library, deli, restaurants, bookstore-cafe, grocery store, dry cleaner, and movie theater. It is meant to be a sociable place, with people living above the shops and streets designed for pedestrians. In addition, the town will have a Health Campus with a fitness center and “healthcare edutainment”


Celebration first opened in 1996. It currently has 700+ residences with a population of 2,000+, with plans to expand to about 8,000 residential units and 20,000 people. It includes a downtown, health center, school, post office, town hall, golf course, single family homes, townhouses and apartments. The town has restrictive covenants that limit what property owners can and cannot do, including strict building design standards.


A survey of Celebration residents shows that 43% said they drive significantly less, while the rest said they use their cars somewhat less. Ninety percent fell that the physical characteristics of New Urbanist planning contribute to and improve the quality of their lives, and 98% said the feeling of community in Celebration has met their expectations. With the central village containing essentially all community activities, including schools, one respondent reported that his two-and-a-half-year-old car only had 13,000 miles on it, and another said his son was disturbed that he hadn’t been in a car in over a month.



References And Resources For More Information


AARP (2009), Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America, American Association for Retired Persons Public Policy Institute (; at


Christopher Alexander, et al. (1977), A Pattern Language, Oxford Press, Center for Environmental Structure (


APA (2006), Smart Codes, American Planning Association ( These model ordinances and regulations reflect New Urbanist principles.


Danielle Arigoni (2001), Affordable Housing and Smart Growth: Making the Connections, Subgroup on Affordable Housing, Smart Growth Network ( and National Neighborhood Coalition (; at


ARC (2002), Community Choices Quality Growth Toolkit - Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) Implementation, Atlanta Regional Commission ( This document provides information on Traditional Neighborhood Development, including case studies and TND model ordinances.


Laurence Aurbach (2005), TND Design Rating Standards, US Environmental Protection Agency (


Constance Beaumont and Leslie Tucker (2002), Big-Box Sprawl (And How to Control It), National Trust for Historic Preservation (


Better Towns and Cities (  is dedicated to providing news and analysis about compact, mixed-use growth and development.


Charles C. Bohl (2003), “To What Extent And In What Way Should Government Bodies Regulate Urban Planning,” Journal of Markets & Morality, Vol. 6, No. 1, Action Institute (, Spring, pp. 213-226.


Geoffrey Booth, et al (2001), Transforming Suburban Business Districts, Urban Development Institute (


Building Green ( publishes information resources for designing more resource efficient and environmentally friendly building.


CALTRANS (2004), California Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Searchable Database, California Department of Transportation (


Julie Campoli and Alex MacLean (2002), Visualing Density: A Catalog Illustrating the Density of Residential Neighborhoods, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (; at


Michael Carley (2000), Sustainable Transport and Retail Vitality: State of the Art for Towns & Cities, Donaldsons, National Trust for Scotland (


Michael Carley, Karryn Kirk and Sarah McIntosh (2001), Retailing, Sustainability And Neighbourhood Regeneration, (ISBN 1 84263 49 0) Joseph Roundtree Foundation (


CCAP (2005), Transportation Emissions Guidebook: Land Use, Transit & Transportation Demand Management, Center of Clean Air Policy ( This Guidebook provides information on various smart growth and mobility management strategies, including rules-of-thumb estimates of VMT and emission reductions.


Center for Applied Transect Studies ( promotes use of the SmartCode based on the rural-to-urban transect.


Center of Excellence for Sustainable Development ( is a US Department of Energy program that supports more resource efficient development.


Center for Livable Communities ( helps local governments and community leaders be proactive in their land use and transportation planning.


Center for Urban Transportation Research ( provides TDM materials and classes, and publishes TMA Clearinghouse Quarterly.


Center for Watershed Protection ( provides analysis and resources for minimizing hydrologic impacts and pollution.


Cities For Mobility ( is a global network of cities that promotes the development of sustainable and efficient transportation systems.


Citizen Planner Institute ( trains average citizens, public officials, business people, and kids in the basics of neighborhood and town design.


CIVITAS ( is a European Commission supported initiative to help introduce sustainable urban transport strategies.


The City on the Move Institute ( supports the development of the cultures of urban mobility and of civilities, with particular attention to streetscape design and management.


CMHC (2006), Your Next Move: Choosing a Neighbourhood with Sustainable Features, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (; at


CMHC (2010), Comparing Canadian New Urbanist and Conventional Suburban Neighbourhoods, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (; at


CNU (2003), Civilizing Downtown Highways: Putting New Urbanism To Work On California’s Highways, Congress for the New Urbanism (


Complete Streets ( is a campaign to promote roadway designs that effectively accommodate multiple modes and support local planning objectives.


Congress for the New Urbanism (, provides a variety of information on innovative urban design. The CNU Narrow Streets Database ( describes more flexible zoning codes being implemented in various communities.


J.H. Crawford, Carfree Design Manual, International Books (


CTOD and CC&S (2012), TOD 205 - Families and Transit-Oriented Development: Creating Complete Communities for All, Center for Transit-Oriented Development ( and the Center for Cities & Schools (; at


DCE, et al (2006), Understanding The Relationship Between Public Health And The Built Environment: A Report Prepared For The LEED-ND Core Committee, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to assist with the preparation of a rating system for neighborhoods called LEED-ND (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development) (


DEA & Associates (1999), Main Street…When a Highway Runs Through It, Transportation and Growth Management Program, Oregon DOT and Dept. of Environmental Quality (


DfT (2006), Manual for Streets, Department for Transport ( Provides guidance to practitioners on effective street design.


DfT (2011), Shared Space, Local Transport Note 1/11, Department For Transport (; at


Marie Demers (2006), Walk For Your Life! Restoring Neighborhood Walkways To Enhance Community Life, Improve Street Safety and Reduce Obesity, Vital Health Publishing (


DPZ (2003), SmartCode, Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company ( Also see Smart Code Central (


Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck (2000), Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, North Point Press (


DVTPC (2008), Smart Transportation Guidebook: Planning and Designing Highways and Streets that Support Sustainable and Livable Communities, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (; at


ERM Mitchell McCotter Pty (2000), Livable Neighborhoods: Street Layout, Design and Traffic Management Guidelines, Department for Planning and Infrastructure and the Western Australian Planning Commission (


Mark Eppli and Charles C. Tu (2000), Valuing the New Urbanism; The Impact of New Urbanism on Prices of Single-Family Homes, Urban Land Institute (


Reid Ewing (1996), Best Development Practices; Doing the Right Thing and Making Money at the Same Time, Planners Press (; at


Reid Ewing, Richard A. Schieber, Charles V. Zegeer (2003), “Urban Sprawl As A Risk Factor In Motor Vehicle Occupant And Pedestrian Fatalities,” American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 93, No. 9 (, September, pp. 1541-1545; at


FDOT (2012), “Traditional Neighborhood Development Handbook,” Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance for Streets and Highways (“Florida Greenbook”), Florida Department of Transportation (; at


Fix The City Blog ( provides information on urban transportation improvements, particularly in developing countries.


Jan Gehl (2010), Cities for People, Island Press (


Gehl Architects (2010), Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life (; at


Robert Gibbs (2012), Principles of Urban Retail, John Wiley; summary at


Billie Giles-Corti, et al. (2013), “The Influence Of Urban Design On Neighbourhood Walking Following Residential Relocation: Longitudinal Results from the RESIDE Study,” Journal of Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 77, January, Pages 20–30 (; summary at


Fanis Grammenos and Gordon Lovegrove (2015), Remaking the City Street Grid – A Model for Urban and Suburban Development, McFarland Publishers (


GreenTRIP ( is a certification program for new residential and mixed use developments that implement transportation and parking management strategies, similar to LEED building certification.


Susan Handy, Robert G. Paterson and Kent Butler (2004), Planning for Street Connectivity: Getting From Here to There, Planning Advisory Service Report 515, American Planning Association (


Koh Ee Huei and Jon D. Fricker (2005), Evaluating the Feasibility of New Urbanism in an Existing Neighborhood, TRB 84th Annual Meeting, TRB (, 2005.


Joel Hirschhorn and Paul Souza (2001), New Community Design to the Rescue; Fulfilling Another American Dream, National Governor’s Association, Center for Best Practices (


Wolfgang Homburger (1989), Residential Street Design and Traffic Control, Institute of Transportation Engineers (


ITE (2010), Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context-Sensitive Approach, An ITE Recommended Practice, Institute of Transportation Engineers ( and Congress for New Urbanism (; at


JRC (2011), Location Efficiency and Housing Type—Boiling it Down to BTUs, Jonathan Rose Companies for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (; at


Asad J. Khattak and Daniel Rodriguez (2005), “Travel Behavior in Neo-Traditional Neighborhood Developments: A Case Study In USA,” Transportation Research A, Vol. 39, No. 6 (, July 2005, pp. 481-500.


JTC (2003), Sustainable Urban Landscapes: Site Design Manual, James Taylor Chair, Landscape Architecture Program, University of British Columbia, (


LACDPH (2011), Model Design Manual for Living Streets, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (


LCC (2008), Smart Growth Scorecard, Livable Communities Coalition (; at


Christopher B. Leinberger (2001), Financing Progressive Development, Capital Xchange, Brookings Institute (


David Levinson, Kevin Krizek and David Gillen(2005), “Machine for Access,” in Access to Destinations (ed. David Levinson and Kevin Krizek) Elsevier Publishers; at


Michael Lewyn (2006), New Urbanist Zoning for Dummies, George Washington University Law School, Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 183, (


LGC (2003), Smart Growth Zoning Codes: A Resource Guide, Local Government Commission ( This document includes a CD that contains examples of progressive building codes.


LGC (2004), Creating Great Neighborhoods: Density in Your Community, Local Government Commission (, US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Association of Realtors; at


Todd Litman (2003), Evaluating Criticism of Smart Growth, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2004), Evaluating Transportation Land Use Impacts, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2005), Land Use Impacts on Transport, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2006), Smart Growth Policy Reforms, VTPI (; at  


Todd Litman (2006), Community Cohesion As A Transport Planning Objective, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; available at


Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management: Strategies, Evaluation and Planning, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2007), Pavement Buster’s Guide: Why and How to Reduce the Amount of Land Paved for Roads and Parking Facilities, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2008), Recommendations for Improving LEED Transportation and Parking Credits, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2009), Where We Want To Be: Household Location Preferences And Their Implications For Smart Growth, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2010), Affordable-Accessible Housing In A Dynamic City: Why and How To Support Development of More Affordable Housing In Accessible Locations, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Living Streets ( (previously the Pedestrians Association) campaigns for urban redevelopment and pedestrian welfare. It provides a variety of information on ways of making streets and urban neighborhoods more livable.


Market Urbanism ( is a website concerned with “Urbanism for Capitalists / Capitalism for Urbanists”.


Barbara McCann (2000), Driven to Spend; The Impact of Sprawl on Household Transportation Expenses, STPP (


Simon McPherson and Adam Haddow (2011), Shall We Dense? Policy Potentials, SJB Urban (; at


Sue Mitchell and Ben Hamilton-Baillie (2011), Traffic in Villages – Safety and Civility for Rural Roads: A Toolkit for Communities, Dorset AONB Partnership (; at


Mixed-Income Transit-Oriented Development Action Guide (, developed by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, is a comprehensive website providing information on ways to create mixed-income housing in transit-oriented development, in order to create more affordable-accessible housing.


Zaki Mustafa and Michelle Birdsall (2014) “The Great Streets Movement: Identifying How To Make Our Streets Great," ITE Journal (, March, pp. 27-32; at


NACTO (2012), The Urban Street Design Guide, National Association of City Transportation Officials (; at


NAHB (various years), Smart Growth Case Studies, National Association of Home Builders (


National Association of Realtors ( provides many resources that support New Urbanism, particularly the magazine On Common Ground (


National Charrette Institute ( supports collaborative community planning activities.


National Trust Mainstreet Center ( is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation which supports innovative commercial district revitalization that combines historic preservation with economic development to restore prosperity and vitality to downtowns and neighborhood business districts.


Nelson\Nygaard (2009), Abu Dhabi Urban Street Design Manual, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (; at


New Colonist (, a web magazine about urban living, provides information on New Urbanist and Smart Growth issues.


New Urban News ( is a professional newsletter covering the new urbanism, smart growth and traditional neighborhood development.


NewUrbanism.Org ( provides a variety of information on New Urbanism.


NEW (2001), This Place On Earth 2001, Signline Institute (


NYDOT (2009), New York City Street Design Manual, New York City Department of Transportation  ( at


Otak Inc (1999), Infill and Redevelopment Code Handbook, Transportation and Growth Management Program, Oregon DOT and Dept. of Environmental Quality (


Palo Alto (2003), Zoning Ordinance Update, City of Palo Alto (


PBQD (2000), Data Collection and Modeling Requirements for Assessing Transportation Impacts of Micro-Scale Design, Transportation Model Improvement Program, USDOT (


Bruce Podobnik (2002), The Social and Environmental Achievements of New Urbanism: Evidence from Orenco Station, Department of Sociology Lewis and Clark College (


PFBE (2007), Valuing Sustainable Urbanism: Measuring & Valuing New Approaches to Residentially Led Mixed Use Growth, The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment (


Project for Public Spaces ( works to create and sustain public places that build communities. It provides a variety of resources for developing more livable communities.


Reconnecting America ( is a national organization that works to coordinate transportation networks and the communities they serve


Resource for Urban Design Information (RUDI) ( supports urban design, transport, architecture and planning professionals involved in placemaking.


Harrison Bright Rue (2000), Real Towns: Making Your Neighborhood Work, Local Government Commission ( and Citizen Planner Institute (


RMLUI (2008), Sustainable Community Development Code, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, Strum College of Law (; at


San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association ( is an organization working to improve urban planning practices in the San Francisco region.


Karen E. Seggerman, Sara J. Hendricks and E. Spencer Fleury (2005), Incorporating TDM into the Land Development Process, National Center for Transportation Research, Center for Urban Transportation Research (


SFLCV (2003), This View of Density Calculator, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters ( This website illustrates various land use patterns, predicts their effects on travel behavior, and discusses various issues related to New Urbanist development.


The Smart Code ( is a planning implementation tool based on Smart Growth principles.


The Smart Growth Network ( includes planners, govt. officials, lenders, community developers, architects, environmentalists and activists.


Jeffery J. Smith and Thomas A. Gihring (2003), Financing Transit Systems Through Value Capture: An Annotated Bibliography (Previously titled: Does Public Transit Service Raise Nearby Property Values Enough To Pay For Itself Were The Value Captured?), Geonomy Society (; at


Yan Song and Gerrit-Jan Knaap (2003), The Effects of New Urbanism on Housing Values: A Quantitative Assessment, National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, University of Maryland (


Robert Steuteville and Phillip Langdon (2008), New Urbanism: Best Practices Guide, New Urban News (


Galina Tachieva (2010), Sprawl Repair Manual, Island Press ( 


Ray Tomalty, Murtaza Haider and Susan Fisher (2012), “Comparing Canadian New Urbanist and Conventional Suburban Neighborhoods,” Plan Canada, Canadian Institute of Planners (, Vol. 51, No. 1, Spring, pp. 21-25.


The Town Paper ( provides information on new urbanism and traditional town design, including numerous examples and case studies.


Urban Land Institute ( is a professional organization for developers that provides practical information on innovative development practices, including infill and sustainable community planning.


Urban Renaissance Institute ( works to help cities and their regions flourish by applying innovative market-based policies.


USEPA (2009), Examples of Codes That Support Smart Growth Development, USEPA (; at


USEPA (2009), Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (; at


US Green Building Council ( promotes the design and construction of buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. It is developing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.


Walkable and Livable Communities Institute ( provides training in building healthy communities and a range of topics related to integrating urban design and transportation planning to create more livable places.


WalkScore ( calculates the walkability of a location based on proximity to public services such as stores, schools and parks.


WCEL (2004), Smart Bylaws Guide, West Coast Environmental Law Foundation ( This comprehensive guide describes smart growth practices, provides technical standards and model bylaws that can be tailored to specific municipal circumstances, and includes numerous case studies.


Wim Wiewel and Gerrit-Jan Knaap (2005), Partnerships for Smart Growth: University-Community Collaboration for Better Public Spaces, Smart Growth, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (


Alex Wilson (2007), “Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of Building,” Environmental Building News (, Vol. 16, No. 9, Sept. 2007; at


WSDOT (2010), Community Planning And Development, Washington State Department of Transportation (; at


WSDOT (2011), Washington’s Complete Streets and Main Street Highways: Case Study Resource, Community Planning and Development, Washington State Department of Transportation ( at

This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.




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