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Environmental Sciences | Site Design for Multifamily Housing - Creating Livable, Connected Neighborhoods

Site Design for Multifamily Housing

Creating Livable, Connected Neighborhoods

Larco, Nico, Kelsey, Kristin, West, Amanda

2014, VIII, 160 p.


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  • Builds on the existing literature on suburban retrofitting by offering practical tools for making suburban communities more livable and vibrant by improving the design of multifamily housing
  • Offers case studies from across the country showing how the ideas in the book have been implemented successfully
  • Includes a planner checklist, code guide, and code summaries to help professionals apply the ideas presented in the handbook to projects in development

The United States is over eighty percent urbanized, yet over half of the population still lives in suburban settings, characterized by low-density, automobile-dependent development with separated land uses. These disconnected and isolated models of development have been linked to increased greenhouse-gas emissions and reduced quality of life, health, and social connections. In Site Design for Multifamily Housing: Creating Livable, Connected Neighborhoods, the authors explain that creating more livable and vital communities is within reach and the design and development of multifamily housing is a key component to reaching this goal.

Multifamily housing is an important component of increasing density, but large lot multifamily developments often lack connectivity and hence limit livability and walkability. Multifamily housing in suburban areas presents greater challenges than in urban areas due in part to larger lot sizes and street patterns that are often a mix of cul-de-sac, curved, looped, and dead-end streets. Increasing the livability of these developments is an important first step in affecting the livability of the country as a whole.

This handbook introduces planners, developers, and designers to ten key elements of multifamily site design, comparing typical and recommended conditions. Case studies of successful large lot multifamily developments as well as retrofit proposals for existing developments with low internal and external connectivity will demonstrate how the tools in the book can be applied.  Examples are drawn from Oregon, California, North Carolina, and Arizona. The ideas and tools in this book, including the planning checklist, code guide, and code summaries, will help users to create more livable, vibrant, and healthy communities. 

Content Level » Professional/practitioner

Keywords » Development - Multifamily housing - Real estate - Suburbs

Related subjects » Environmental Sciences

Table of contents 



Site Design Criteria

1. Pedestrian Network

2. Street Network

3. Access Points

4. Edges

5. Parking

6. Street Design

7. Building Massing & Orientation

8. Open Space & Landscape Design

9. Bicycles

10. Relationships

Project Profiles

Heron Meadows - Eugene, Oregon

Cherry Orchard - Sunnyvale, California

Colonial Grand - Huntersville, North Carolina

Sheldon Village - Eugene, Oregon

Project Retrofits

Riviera Village - Eugene, Oregon

Villas at Union Hills - Phoenix, Arizona

Project Checklist

Code Guide

Code Guide Appendix

Arlington, Virginia

San Jose, California

Eugene, Oregon

Huntersville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Image Credits.

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