Overlooked Density: Re-Thinking Transportation Options in Suburbia

Nico Larco, University of Oregon



Suburban multifamily housing is an often overlooked housing typology that is the fasted growing housing market in the country and holds strong potential for achieving smart growth goals in suburbia. This housing type is ubiquitous throughout all regions in the nation, is a widespread example of density in suburbia, and is typically located next to commercial uses. The proximity between suburban multifamily housing and commercial uses creates the potential for nodes of concentrated activity, mixed use, and the possibility of substantial non-auto transport in suburbia. While this potential exists, the design of this housing type often follows an enclaved pattern of development, negating any synergy, minimizing the possibility of non-auto transport, and denying any potential for sustainable development. Through case studies of suburban multifamily development in Oregon, Arizona, Florida, and Massachusetts, this report looks at the specific ways in which regulation, typical development practice, and design culture have shaped the current pattern of suburban multifamily development. Each case study includes graphic analysis of physical development patterns, interviews with planners, architects, property managers and developers who worked on the case study projects, regulatory analysis of case study jurisdictions, and surveys of residents.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
December 31,2008
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2008
UTC Funding: