Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Building a town centre in suburbia

  1. #1

    Building a town centre in suburbia

    A local alderman here wanted to build a "european style" town centre in his ward which is manly suburban and industrial uses.
    A total of 3 landowners showed interest in becoming part of this new community and submitted development applications for a total of 22 mixed-use buildings with 2.1 m sqft of residential condominiums, 610 thousand sqft of commercial space and 50 social housing units.

    Everything was going great until city planning issues a report saying the density was too high and should drop by a thrid. The developers got upset and revised their plans, cutting most of the commercial space and really just submitting a horrible horrible plan, as bad as you can possibly get following under the zoning bylaws.

    That's just my rant for today, hopefully the city will be able to talk some sense into the developers.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,236

    Re: Building a town centre in suburbia

    Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    A local alderman here wanted to build a "european style" town centre in his ward which is manly suburban and industrial uses.
    So he wants it to be 800 years old?

    Everything was going great until city planning issues a report saying the density was too high and should drop by a thrid. The developers got upset and revised their plans, cutting most of the commercial space and really just submitting a horrible horrible plan, as bad as you can possibly get following under the zoning bylaws.

    That's just my rant for today, hopefully the city will be able to talk some sense into the developers.
    It sounds like the developers have the right idea and the city needs some sense talked into it. Have you noticed that those european town centers tend to be pretty high density? My guess is that they came up with a realistic plan, it didn't fit the euclidean bulls---- the city makes its citizens suffer under, so they made the plan as good as it could get under zoning.

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  3. #3
    Personally I don't think there should be height and density limits in town centres (or areas trying to build a town centre), just have a set of urban form-base zoning rules and let developers respond to the market demands.

    But I disagree with you suggesting it not being dense, 2.8 million sqft of development was planned in a area of only 860,000 sqft. this includes a small park and a public square. Around 110 residential units an acre.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,979
    Surprisingly, my first reaction was not unlike Jordanb's. I would still like to know the planner's reasons for claimin that the denisty was too high. There could be very good reasons, like the ability of the infrastructure to handle the number of units proposed. As for the developers, two thoughts come to mind. The first is that the real attraction in this project is the ability to sell a large number of residential units. The second is that in cutting out much of the commercial use, they are signaling that they are relying on those units to create the market demand for the shops that would be housed there.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    Cardinal beat me to the punch.

    We are dealing with exactly these issues right now with our town center. The developers are adamant that it takes residential density ti make the commercial numbers work (our commercial hub shifted to new transportation corridors years ago). While I think they may be right, we are waiting for the financials to demonstrate it.

    Any good planner would do the same before turning to their regulations for protection. We are actually looking at TDR to aid them.

  6. #6

    New Urban Center

    I like the idea in general of creating a new urban center. In my portion of the space between the ocean and pines, there are many sprawled out towns, with no real center. The creation of a European styled center sounds appealing.

    Before I can condem the Town's planners, I would like to see the Town's Master Plan, and zoning requirements. But I think I would look at seeing what needs to be modified to allow for the new center. That the area is only about 800,000 sf in area, does not really seem to be a problem. Cenetrs are usually high density, especially if the developers are proposing some open space withing the center.

    I am kind of interested in the ratio of residential development to commercial space. To me, an urban center should allow for a higher density of residential use. Kind of create a captive population for the local commercial activities. That is one of the problems with US downtown development - we want to maintain our downtown commerical activities and also the residential uses, but often the commercial uses close operation at 5 PM or so, and the downtown becomes a void after the rush hour.

  7. #7
    I was looking for the Emery Village secondary plan online and just found endless dicussions but not the official zoning. I'll try searching again on Monday.

  8. #8
    Here is a report on the first development dating back to 1999.

    http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/legdoc...0rpt/cl023.htm

  9. #9
    I know Anchorage, AK has toyed with this idea and have struggled with it. the idea is to create town centers within various suburban enclaves of the borough. transit would take advantage of this by using transit centers, addittionaly the local transit system has spoken a lot about the efficiency of doing something like this. the idea of town centers within suburban areas is an interesting considering how this is the case in many places in Europe and the cornerstone of TOD development.I know Anchorage, AK has toyed with this idea and have struggled with it. the idea is to create town centers within various suburban enclaves of the borough. transit would take advantage of this by using transit centers, addittionaly the local transit system has spoken a lot about the efficiency of doing something like this. the idea of town centers within suburban areas is an interesting considering how this is the case in many places in Europe and the cornerstone of TOD development. I know Anchorage, AK has toyed with this idea and have struggled with it. the idea is to create town centers within various suburban enclaves of the borough. transit would take advantage of this by using transit centers, addittionaly the local transit system has spoken a lot about the efficiency of doing something like this. the idea of town centers within suburban areas is an interesting considering how this is the case in many places in Europe and the cornerstone of TOD development.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Bowmanville West Town Centre
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 21 Jan 2010, 10:24 PM
  2. Replies: 18
    Last post: 23 Aug 2007, 10:34 AM
  3. Replies: 5
    Last post: 17 May 2006, 10:37 AM
  4. Replies: 5
    Last post: 08 Dec 2005, 1:33 AM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last post: 06 Jan 1998, 1:40 PM