Sprawl Retrofit

Although demographic demands are indicating a desire for more mixed-use, compact communities, sprawl is still the prevailing growth pattern in the U.S. There is growing evidence of sprawl's unsupportable environmental, social, and - due to its contribution to more sedentary lifestyles - medical costs. In addition, the prevalence of American sprawl has been a contributing factor to the current global financial crisis, triggered by the mortgage defaults of over-extended commuters. As the developing world continues to urbanize and follow similar sprawl patterns as seen in the U.S., there are disturbing implications for global challenges like climate change.

By repairing and retrofitting sprawling developments into quality human environments, CNU is setting an example for the developing world. CNU and its members have shown that it is possible to achieve successful sprawl retrofitting using a growing strategic toolkit of approaches. In a time of converging economic, social and environmental crises that have global consequences, the reformation of sprawl is a great opportunity for building long-lasting, better-performing communities throughout the world.

Now is the time to secure the terms of restructuring and redevelopment of suburbia, in order to make retrofitted centers walkable, diverse and environmentally sustainable. CNU members must play key advisory and design roles in this most urgent and important project of the 21st century.

CNU works to develop new federal, state, and regional policies, along with strategic design tools and guidelines, to move forward on reclaiming the lost potential within the built environment that has previously succumbed to sprawl. The Sprawl Retrofit Initiative creates policy proposals, regulatory frameworks, a database on successes and opportunities, and a “toolkit” of design strategies in order to reverse the trend of sprawl seen in this country and around the world.

The following tabs on the left provide toolkits, resources and a selection of case studies, considered by CNU as references for future sprawl retrofit actions.

Ellen Dunham-Jones: Retrofitting suburbia | Video on TED.com

Latest Initiative News

Unbearable Cost of Sprawl - A white paper by the Sprawl Retrofit Initiative that reviews the challenges, myths and principles of restructuring sprawl development.





If you wish to join the Retrofit - Repair Listserv, send a (blank) email to Retrofit-Repair@googlegroups.com


For more information, contact: Alex McKeag CNU Program Manager amckeag@cnu.org

The Sprawl Retrofit Initiative has been made possible by the generous support of the members of the Congress for the New Urbanism.