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Thread: High-density and high-end residential

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    High-density and high-end residential

    For a variety of reasons, I'm interested in creating higher-density residential products that are also high-end, which is to say attached homes that are as good or better than detached housing.

    What development standards, form-based codes, and/or housing typologies can achieve this goal? I know of some interesting and innovative examples, but Cybubia users, I'm sure, probably have their own great ideas about ways to make higher densities more desirable and marketable.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    For a variety of reasons, I'm interested in creating higher-density residential products that are also high-end, which is to say attached homes that are as good or better than detached housing.

    What development standards, form-based codes, and/or housing typologies can achieve this goal? I know of some interesting and innovative examples, but Cybubia users, I'm sure, probably have their own great ideas about ways to make higher densities more desirable and marketable.
    Go to Birmingham Michigan. There are several high-end condo developments that are also high density. A developer recently opened one up for sale, was above what the market can currently handle. High-end stuff is definitely a downward trend. People can no longer afford these sorts of things. With the real estate market no longer booming and the modest returns on other investments most people are no longer in the market for status.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    You might look at what San Jose did in it's downtown and Boston's guidelines for the Washington Street and Upper Boylston Street corridors. Most of the housing in these places is moderate, with prices about $500,000 to $1,000,000 planned for. That's moderate in these areas. The San Jose condos hit the market just as the economy tanked and selling has been slow, but steady. Some projects were turned into rental at rents still pretty pricey for the area or for what other cities get. While payback to the developers was slower than anticipated, they were successful enough that as soon as the economy recovers (years?) there will be another surge of development.

    Boston had the same experience on Upper Boyston, a building opened up just as the market seized. so all the units to date are rental. But the Washington Street corridor was better timed and now there are proposals to development new buildings. The city is looking to develop new similar types of housing on the next streets out, Harrison and Albany. That area is undergoing an extensive community planning process at this moment.

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    Cyburbian
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    I probably phrased my question in an unclear way. I'm seeking specific ways to make higher-density living appealing to people who might otherwise choose single-family residences.

    For example, specifying a certain amount of noise suppression between and among units can help ensure the residential products are desirable and will attract home-owners and home-renters with higher-incomes.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    This diagram illustrates a mixed-use building whose residential component is entirely composed of penthouses with private rooftop gardens:



    The building also creates an urban face for an urban thoroughfare and a sub-urban face for the sub-urban thoroughfare.




  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    This diagram illustrates a residential building that connects by a dual-sided and privately-accessible shared elevator the elevated portion of a unit with a portion on or near the ground that provides a "backyard" radiating from the base of the tower.



    The residential area of the block is, then, enclosed by one or more buildings that directly front the street and preserve its urban character.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    I probably phrased my question in an unclear way. I'm seeking specific ways to make higher-density living appealing to people who might otherwise choose single-family residences.

    For example, specifying a certain amount of noise suppression between and among units can help ensure the residential products are desirable and will attract home-owners and home-renters with higher-incomes.
    IMHO you'll have to do more than create depictions of unfamiliar buildings. You'll have to change the preferences of target people. I don't think depictions of new style buildings will change innate preferences. Making land and per sf costs in dense areas less expensive will do it. Making it easy for people trained only in auto transport will help. Getting people used to density is a good start. Slamming wallets with $6.00/gal gas and reducing benefits of low-density living will get you going.

    My 2.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Parking is always the rub. All of the higher-density residential products with which I'm concerned are connected to new high-quality transit systems, and, if I recall correctly, 20 units per acre generally translates to 10-minute headways, which, in turn, ensures that the service is able to attract higher-income passengers that have the discretionary income and appropriate skill-sets to not only afford the high-end/mixed-income residential but to also support the mix of uses, including the retail and the occupational.

    Writing into codes a requirement for parking to be rented separately would help. Instituting significant traffic-calming measures (20 m.p.h.), along with better facilities for pedestrians, cyclists, and N.E.V. users, is also necessary. And, finally, car sharing (subscription-based car rentals) and, to a lesser extent, taxis, especially those that may in the future drive themselves, have to complement the higher-quality and more comprehensive transit system.

    Shared parking facilities built by public agencies are often advanced as the appropriate way to incentivize infill development. And, I agree to an extent, but existing residents in adjacent low-density residential areas usually resist (and rightly so) the additional traffic congestion and air and noise pollution such auto-oriented facilities create.

    Most developers and builders find the parking to be the most complicated and expensive part of any such project, so preventing car ownership from being a requirement for new residents is certainly the most important factor to making transit-oriented development work.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 15 Oct 2010 at 6:01 PM.

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