Saving the Suburbs. Walkable Urbanism. Green Redevelopment.

posted Saturday, February 14, 2009        

Tucson’s problems are increasing. After two years, we continue to have a glut of approximately 8,000 to 10,000 empty, unsold houses. Home prices are plummeting. Families are abandoning their foreclosed houses, especially in the suburbs. Builders are going bankrupt. Skilled workers are losing their jobs and leaving the state. Net population growth in Tucson has stopped. People’s preferences are shifting back to pedestrian-scale urban form. Adapting to climate change means retrofitting our resource-intensive buildings. Peak oil means using other modes of mobility and driving less. So what are the solutions to our mounting economic crises?

This page features articles and interviews containing insights and strategies which Tucson can now employ to stimulate and revitalize our regional economy.

Walkable Urbanism. Christopher Leinberger, a nationally-recognized urban strategist and real estate expert, has helped many cities including Albuquerque and Denver to transform their poorly performing development patterns to successful places where people want to live, work, play and shop. He practices what he calls “Walkable Urbanism.” Walkable urbanism is the development approach that creates pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use and mixed-income places. These places can either be regional-serving (anchored by regionally important employment, cultural and civic institutions, retail and urban entertainment as well as residential) or local-serving (residential with local-serving commercial). Both places benefit tremendously by being transit-oriented.

Go here to read a recent interview with Chris Leinberger.

Go here to read his articles on walkable urbanism.

Green Retrofitting. Strategies are now being discussed in Tucson to retrofit the existing housing stock of nearly 200,000 houses to meet higher energy and water efficiency standards. Solar energy applications and rainwater harvesting are additional green retrofit strategies to utilize renewable resources. Such an effort requires a community-wide mobilization of skilled workers, the building industry, and public-private partnerships. The benefits of green retrofitting include increasing our economic vitality, using fewer resources, and reducing our negative impacts on the climate. The British Government is now planning a program to green retrofit 100% of all homes in the UK.

Go here to read about the UK’s ambitious plans to retrofit 25% of its houses by 2020.

Go here to read about the UK’s ambitious plans to retrofit 100% of its houses by 2030.

Green For All is a national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

By advocating for local, state and federal commitment to job creation, job training, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging green economy – especially for people from disadvantaged communities – Green For All fights both poverty and pollution at the same time.

Green For All believes a shift to a clean, green economy can improve the health and well-being of low-income people, who suffer disproportionately from cancer, asthma and other respiratory ailments in our current pollution-based economy. Such a shift can also create and expand entrepreneurial, wealth-building opportunities for American workers who need new avenues of economic advance.

In short, Green For All believes that the national effort to curb global warming and oil dependence can simultaneously create well-paid green-collar jobs, safer streets and healthier communities.

Go to to learn more.

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