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Serviceable Places

Serviceable places are those that provide the basic services of life within walking distance, so that driving is a choice, not a necessary act of survival. Serviceable places also have places for the people that serve you, like firefighters, police, and teachers, either somewhere in the neighborhood or in nearby neighborhoods so that their daily commute can be a walk or a bike ride if they choose, rather than the 50-mile drive they currently have to endure in many increasingly unaffordable places across the country. This Next-Generation Housing in these Next-Generation Neighborhoods answer the question of “where will your kids be able to afford a home when they get out of college?”
The New Urbanism has been working for over a quarter-century to figure out how to make places serviceable. They have developed a wealth of techniques to deliver all of the basic necessities of life within walking distance; the largest remaining challenge is figuring out how to provide affordable homes for the people that are serving you those basic services. Separating all uses in a city benefits nobody. Just ask victims of "lunch rush hour” trying to get from the office park to the restaurants.

The #HighestAndBestUse of a street is to be filled with people. Second is to be filled with #bicycles. Cities that think the answer is "automobiles" don't understand what makes the best places thrive, or how real sustainable success works.

The problem with dying downtowns is that once they start dying, people say "it's because we don't have enough parking" and so they tear down more buildings for parking lots, accelerating the decline. #DowntownParkingLots are death to downtown. Do on-street, on-alley & structures.

Nature thrives on a multitude of deep connections between a multitude of things. A #LivingCity thrives best when there are many businesses (some large, most small) depending on each other. A gargantuan business that tries to dominate everything is an unnatural beast to be feared.

Serviceable Place Principles


Hyper-Local Economies

US trade woes are based on two intractable problems: we demand everyday low prices, but won’t tolerate paying people too little. So long as both these conditions exist, it is inevitable that most of our stuff will be made elsewhere. Or so we thought. One of the great lessons of the 2020 pandemic was the power of hyper-local economies.

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Making a Living Where You're Living

The real solution to traffic congestion is not more streets or more lanes, but rather transforming neighborhoods into places where you need to drive less because you can make a living where you’re living and walk to the grocery store.

Business & Transportation Scale

Mega-stores, mega-churches & mega-schools must all be served by mega-highways. Density doesn't drive congestion; concentration does. Barcelona's Old City is 50x as dense as most American cities yet thrives w/tiny streets because many small destinations are finely distributed.

Municipal Solvency

The most profitable part of any town is a well-designed Main Street. They not only generate far more property tax per acre than any other part of town, but they also generate sales tax. And a Main Street good enough to be a destination draws from the region, boosting the effect.

Community Resilience

Middle class strength based on a few big high-paying corporate employers is more fragile than it has been in our lifetimes. Middle class strength based on many small local businesses is far more resilient, especially now.

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Stumble-Home Zone

VisionZero fact: two drunk drivers can kill a lot of people, including themselves. Two drunk pedestrians will do what? Bump into each other and maybe fall down? Chance of dying? Close to zero. #TheCarIsTheProblem!

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Embedded Exercise

If I walk an hour briskly doing all my errands, I may not need to spend an hour at the gym recovering from a sedentary lifestyle. If it works out that way, it actually saves the driving time (which also costs $$$).

Serviceable Place Tools


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Single-Crew Workplaces

Tiny is huge. #SingleCrewWorkplaces make all sorts of things possible for neighborhood centers today that would be impossible until decades into the future if you follow conventional retail recommendations.

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Neighborhood Grocery


Third Places


Legacy Shops


Single-Crew Workplaces


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