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Sprawl retrofit: sustainable urban form in unsustainable places


  • Emily Talen


This paper makes a contribution to the suburban retrofit/sprawl repair literature by suggesting a method that planners can use to evaluate the potential of some places to be catalysts for an improved—more sustainable—urban form. The strategy is aimed at evaluating and then promoting sustainable urban form in unsustainable places. The method puts sprawl retrofit projects into a larger planning framework, suggesting ways to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of places in relative terms, taking into account how different kinds of nodes—from light rail stops to parking lots—varying with respect to sustainable urban form characteristics. Overlaying data on accessibility, density, diversity, and connectivity reveals areas with varying levels of sustainable urban form. Intervention in potential retrofit locations consists of neighborhood and site-scale design, including suggestions for code reform, intensification of land use around nodes, public investment in civic space, traffic calming, and incentives for private development.

Suggested Citation

  • Emily Talen, 2011. "Sprawl retrofit: sustainable urban form in unsustainable places," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(6), pages 952-978, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:38:y:2011:i:6:p:952-978

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    Cited by:

    1. Tom Kauko, 2014. "Innovation in real estate and evolutionary agendas," ERES eres2014_15, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:406-:d:130211 is not listed on IDEAS

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