How to save the suburbs: Solutions from the man who saw it coming


It’s not just just about the price of oil, it’s about people wanting to live in urban, walkable areas. It’s a generational and societal shift.

Infrastructurist interview with Christopher Leinberger

So you have a suburb full of flimsy houses in the middle of nowhere, with no incentive for upkeep. That’s an ugly situation.

Exactly. It fails. Good lord, I’m a great amateur student of ancient cities. At some point they’re just going to collapse upon themselves and blow away — unless there is some massive redevelopment agency steps in.

How do towns get on the right side of this multi-decade imbalance between supply and demand?

You need to get the right infrastructure in. Doing so is a three-step process. First, is getting a transit connection that can anchor a walkable urban core. Second, is putting in overlay zoning districts around the train stations that will allow for much greater density and mixed use development.The third step is to get in place an entity to manage the thing, which generally takes the form of a non-profit business improvement district.