Revitalizing Urban Living, New Town Concepts & Suburban Planning.

March 26, 2016

With this buzz about millennial populations driving the planning of housing design,  last week’s  blog introduced the concept of common denominators between the young and the aging. Much focus continues to be on valuable revitalization of urban centers – utilizing the density and existing structures to re-purpose for cost-effective housing in a convenient environment. New construction then inserts itself for in-fill and stimulating design opportunities and contrasts.

Historic and contemporary buildings, downtown. Portland, Oregon, USA

Other life-style communities include the experimental and often very successful “new towns” beginning with Reston, in Fairfax, Virginia. Reston IMG_1664It was, writes Tom Grubisich, “conceived as an alternative to ailing cities and sprawling suburbs.”  It was not intended to revitalize urban centers but to create idealized versions of the complete township out in the suburbs. Reston picture-1

To breathe life back into our cities we strive to resurrect the bones of the old buildings salvaging the character, texture and history – while adding new construction to mix contemporary architectural style and bringing modern features and efficiencies.  The results are exciting and stimulating. Melbourne_Collins_Street_Architecture

Pairing the concepts of both “new town” planning with revitalization of our urban centers speaks to the next phase in revitalizing our urban centers. Clustering people for convenience and cost-savings, might now focus on how to best bring families into this equation. How to provide more green spaces, multi-generational activities, schools, grocery markets and other shopping boutiques to the inner-cities. This is not new – but increasingly attractive to planners and designers.   Johnson_Figure_7aPortland

This swing to the city-centers will not devalue the suburban experience but is certainly causing a re-direction of planning for more clustered conveniences in those outer environs. Sharing the more attractive features of both will better meld and improve the lifestyle preferences for all locations.



Suburban planning where people find larger yards and detached living quarters, then mixed with condos and apartments results in the added attractions of township design becoming increasingly appealing. Mosaic_District_Web Here is Mosaic in Fairfax, Virginia – like other blooming pockets encircling our larger cities, this offers convenience with a new planned density located within the suburban surrounds.  Mosaic

Looking at all angles of lifestyle, quality of life and location, location, location…it is a fascinating study and the fast pace and accessibility of the internet is bringing the information to the investors at a blindingly rapid pace. Whether you are an investor in your own lifestyle desires and needs, a planner investing your career recognition and intending to design the right things, or a developer investing to make a smart, successful mark and  personal gain – the answers are in the dialogue – if everyone is listening.

Happy Easter Weekend Web-Mixed-Tulips-with-Cabs




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