Monday, March 01, 2010

Suburban Town Centers

I don't have any experiences with the places in this article so won't comment on them specifically, but in general terms to support a variety of walkable urban retail outlets you need significant residential density. You can attempt to create that density by building up a lot of itin and near the retail development, but if it is, to some degree, an isolated island, that is a retail-office-housing-complex which is internally walkable but without quality pedestrian links to nearby dense residential areas, it's going to be very difficult to make it work.

People tend to think density is bad, and there are costs to it, but done right residential density can support economically a variety of local retail amenities. Still, it's difficult to graft such developments on top of car-centric places.