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retrofitting suburban sprawl?

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Does anyone know of any research that has looked into the possibility of trying to create better spaces out of suburban developments. For example, instead of creating new developments like Ion etc., has anyone ever looked into ways to take a subdivision and do things like rezone, make sidewalks and make it more walkable and less car dependent?

Also, on a different topic, what is the name of that documentary on subdivisions?

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Good book to read: "The Next American Metropolis" and "The Regional City", both by Peter Calthorpe. Both excellent sources of good urban design, TOD, how to retrofit suburbs, etc.

The documentary about subdivisions, or at least the one I've seen is "Subdivide and Conquer" (talks a lot about Phoenix).

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  • 2 months later...

Well, a lot of older cities' first ring suburbs are beginning to create "down towns" that are very walkable.

For example, some suburbs of the Twin Cities are on a grid pattern. These are easily retrofitted because you can easily place public transport along the bigger streets/avenues. I know it's possible. The Hiawatha light rail line has a short stretch that runs along a suburban street. The traffic was reduced to one lane on each side with light rail in the middle.

For the "ribbon" developments of the newer sprawl, it would be harder. You could, however, redevelop the main streets to include less big box and more multi-use structures with public transportation running along them. Also, because ribbon developments tend to have bigger yards, the implementation of sidewalks and bus stops wouldn't be that hard.

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