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Community Design and Density

Community Design and Density ImageCommunity design — the size, design, and positions of buildings; the arrangements of streets, walkways, and parking; and the placement of parks and other open spaces — creates the character that we experience in a place. Community design has implications greater than the aesthetic: the design of a place can influence pedestrian activity, shopping behavior, public safety, the viability of public transportation, and the value of real estate. Community design is a vital part of the smart growth picture, and one of its most challenging aspects is the issue of density. Building at higher densities in the appropriate locations is vital to the realization of many smart growth goals, including the provision of greater choice and affordability in housing.

NAR Resources

Charrettes for Sustainable Communities A Power Point presentation and script produced for NAR by the National Charrette Institute describes how this accelerated, collaborative planning process can benefit your community.

Creating Great Neighborhoods: Density in Your Community This publication highlights the success of nine community-led efforts to create vibrant neighborhoods through density. It provides readers with an understanding of the connections between smart growth and density and introduces five time-tested design principles to ensure that density becomes a community asset and not a liability.

Form-Based Codes Support Smart Growth An introduction to the new types of regulations that support mixed-use neighborhoods with a range of housing types by focusing more on the size, form, and placement of buildings and parking and less on land use (residential versus commercial) and density (housing units per acre).

On Common Ground

Community Design Issue (Summer 2002)
New Urbanism Issue (Summer 2006)
Strengthening Older Neighborhoods Issue (Summer 2005)

NAR Field Guides

New Urbanism

Other Resources

Congress for the New Urbanism The Congress for the New Urbanis is a nonprofit organization that works with architects, developers, planners, and others involved in the creation of cities and towns, teaching them how to implement the principles of "New Urbanism."

Project for Public Spaces The Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining public places that build communities. PPS provides technical assistance, education, and research through programs in parks, plazas and central squares; buildings and civic architecture; transportation; and public markets.

Urban Land Institute The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported and directed by its members. Its mission is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment. As a nonpartisan organization, the Institute has long been recognized as one of America's most respected and widely quoted sources of objective information on urban planning, growth, and development.

National Charrette Institute The National Charrette Institute is a nonprofit educational institution that helps communities achieve healthy transformation through collaborative planning processes that harness the talents and energies of all interested parties to create and support a buildable plan.


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