Traditional Neighborhood Development

A Traditional Neighborhood Development, or TND, also known as a village-style development, includes a variety of housing types, a mixture of land uses, an active center, a walkable design and often a transit option within a compact neighborhood scale area. TNDs can be developed either as infill in an existing developed area or as a new large scale project.

To qualify as a TND, a project should include a range of housing types, a network of well-connected streets and blocks and a variety of public spaces, and should have amenities such as stores, schools and places of worship within walking distance of residences. The TND concept applies only at the scale of the neighborhood or town, and should not be confused with New Urbanism, which encompasses all scales of planning and development, from the individual building to an entire region. TND projects incorporate many different architectural styles and are not exclusively traditional in aesthetic.

TND zoning cannot cure sprawl unless it is the only development option. TND is a complex undertaking and most developers would choose the more familiar, less risky sprawl model. Issues for sustainability officers charged with implementing TND zoning changes include the scope of implementation, potential conflicts with existing regulations and complexity of enforcement. Generally, TND regulations are complex and best implemented in a holistic manner with complementary development regulations being adopted simultaneously to prevent conflicts. Finally, building and planning offices charged with enforcing such regulations will need staff familiar with the complex issues of TND regulations, who can distinguish creative nuances from problematic departures from the principles of TND regulations. 

Rationale

Traditional Neighborhood Developments seek to remedy the most pressing problems associated with sprawl - low-density, auto-oriented development, single-use developments lacking context and distinctiveness.Automobile dependence results from the fragmentation of residential, commercial and industrial uses as is often required in modern zoning. This design practice makes neighborhoods unwelcoming to pedestrians and bicyclists and thus reduces community vitality. It also increases traffic. Zoning utilizing TND development that mixes uses and forms in a compact area, on the other hand, can create high quality neighborhoods.

Sustainability Principles 

  • Encouraging economic diversity and vitality
  • Encouraging development into areas that can best accommodate it
  • Using existing infrastructure
  • Encouraging clustering
  • Preserving and reusing structures of historical and/or architectural significance
  • Encouraging development patterns similar to traditional neighborhoods, including pedestrian scale
  • Maintaining distinctions between rural/suburban/urban areas
  • Encouraging economic expansion, job creation and stability
  • Insuring that municipal services and facilities are adequate to meet public needs, without subsidizing development
  • Minimizing infrastructure costs
  • Minimizing traffic congestion caused by new development

Effort Required 

Because TND ordinances are complex and must be implemented in a holistic manner, the effort required to develop traditional neighborhoods can be substantial.

Benefits

  • Creates walkable neighborhoods
  • Brings life to communities by allowing mixtures of uses
  • Encourages transportation mode options
  • Protects open space
  • Preserves "village center" and public spaces concept
  • Creates communities designed for live, work and play
  • Reduces vehicle congestion

Risks

Not taking into account all elements of TND can lead to developments that fail to meet expectations.

Action Agents

City/town planning department.

Costs

Costs include increased staff time to both modify and enforce zoning ordinances.

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