Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Spaces Inbetween

I think that for most people in the US, the choice between urban and suburban living is a stark contrast. It's either living in two bedroom condos in giant skyscrapers or the suburban dream of a nice big house and a nice big yard. What we've really done badly over the past several decades is the spaces inbetween, the urban living that isn't all about giant skyscrapers. Previous inbetween places were mostly tipped towards the suburbs, with roads widened and walkable retail corridors replaced with strip malls, and their urban counterparts often destroyed with "urban renewal" projects.

Anyway, the point is that walkable urban living doesn't require the density of midtown Manhattan, nor its form. Limit parking requirements, minimum lot sizes, and setbacks, and the population density allowed by 3-4 story buildings is sufficient to allow for nice walkable neighborhoods. See, for example, many European cities.