Urban Design Introduction


SidewalkAs commute times lengthen, energy prices rise, and housing preferences change, compact, walkable urban designs have gained a higher profile nationwide. The Chicago region is no exception. Affluent suburbanites are returning to the central city and new mixed-use, transit-oriented developments are emerging in communities like Glenview and Grayslake. Recent research links compact, mixed-use developments to improved health, vibrant economies and many other social and environmental benefits. As the GO TO 2040 plan develops, good urban design will serve as the foundation on which many other regional strategies are built.

This report defines "good urban design," identifies elements of this concept, and provides examples of how it can be measured. It also describes the effects of implementing urban design, rather than conventional development, in terms of economics, transportation, environment, and other areas. Finally, the report describes the differing effects of applying urban design in different parts of the region. This report addresses transit oriented development (TOD), which is essentially the application of urban design principles near transit; the redevelopment of greyfield sites; and the planning of new greenfield development sites using urban design principles within the development.