Global Survey and Interactive Map Score Urban Developments That Embrace Low-Emission Transportation to Grow Cities of the Future


Institute for Transportation & Development Policy

MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA —A global catalog of 50 urban developments on six continents maps out the growing trend of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). The survey, compiled by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), using its TOD Standard evaluation tool, shows which projects connect people conveniently, affordably and safely to jobs, shopping, education and other opportunities that cities provide.

The best of these developments were placed into an interactive online map, to be released at the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia, that highlights which ones embody the TOD Standard’s eight primary categories. With the urban share of the world’s population expected to increase to 70 percent by 2050, the entire package helps urban planners, government regulators and real-estate developers meet the needs of their burgeoning cities without worsening regional climate change impacts.

“There are many places where the car-centric lifestyle is becoming a thing of the past. Young, creative people in particular would rather walk and cycle than drive, and this innovative urban design that began with few progressive neighborhood developers is now moving to major emerging economies such as China and Brazil,” said ITDP CEO Walter Hook. “If a billion people in the developing world move to car-oriented cities, the social and environmental toll could be catastrophic. Fortunately, real estate developers are increasingly responding to these new priorities embraced by city governments and people of all economic means.” {….}

Superior Plating project in northeast Minneapolis shows signs of movement

Janet Moore | Star Tribune

After many fits and starts over the years, redevelopment of the Superior Plating property in northeast Minneapolis into a residential and retail enclave appears to be inching forward once again.

Just a month ago, the project appeared to be on hold. The 5.4-acre swath of land along 1st Avenue NE. — one of the few parcels left for development in the popular city neighborhood — was targeted for about 500 apartments and up to 35,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.

But last week, Rich Kauffman, president of construction for the Midwest region of DLC Residential, said demolition of the Superior Plating building has begun, and the project is moving forward. Florida-based DLC has signed a letter of intent with property owner First & University Investors to buy the site, a former industrial finishing operation now undergoing an extensive environmental cleanup.

While DLC has yet to submit formal plans to the city, the project has generated much anticipation among neighbors, developers and city officials. {….}

The Superior Plating site in northeast Minneapolis, the last big land parcel in the booming neighborhood, is being cleared for development. Photo: Marlin Levison , Star Tribune

DC-area transportation is not on track to meet climate change goals

Kelly Blynn | Greater Greater Washington

The region’s governments area currently reviewing new transportation projects to add to their long-range plan. But the list of projects in the queue, if built, will increase carbon emissions rather than lower them.

Right now, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is conducting its annual review of new projects for the Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP). The CLRP is a comprehensive list of the “regionally significant” transportation projects that TPB member governments realistically believe could be funded over the next few decades.

Projects that Maryland, Virginia, and DC wish to build must go through the CLRP both to be eligible for federal funding, and to go through the federally required air quality conformity process.

Analysis of 2013 Constrained Long Range Plan by TPB staff.

While federal air quality rules require the region’s transportation projects to meet goals for pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act (Nitrogen Oxide and Volatile Organic Compounds that form ozone, along with particulates (PM2.5)), the TPB does not yet have to regulate carbon dioxide. The transportation projects in the pipeline, if built, would send us far past—that is, in the opposite direction of—our climate change goals.

In 2008, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 below 2005 levels. Several initiatives since then have studied ways the transportation sector, which emits 30% of the region’s CO2, could meet the goal. There is the 2010 Region Forward plan, the 2010 “What Would it Take?” report, and the 2014 Regional Transportation Priorities Plan. {….}

More MARTA – Rail service will pick up the pace

Dan Whisenhunt | Decaturish

Starting next month, mass transit users are going to be seeing more of MARTA’s rail service.

MARTA spokeswoman Saba Long said that the changes to rail service will begin on May 19. Long said during peak hours on weekdays – 6 am to 9 am and 3 pm to 7 pm – customers won’t have to wait as long to catch a train.

“Customer wait times will be reduced to five minute headways on the trunk (before the lines split) and 10 minute headways on the branches,” Long said in an email. “This will occur on the Red and Gold lines from the Airport to Lindbergh station and on the Blue and Green lines from Ashby to Candler Park.”

Service will also become more frequent from 9 am to 3 pm, she said.

Undated photo from

Undated photo from

“Service will be every 12 minutes on each of the lines with a frequency of six minutes on the trunk,” Long said.

Long said that there are also some planned maintenance projects on the horizon. To make sure increased frequency of service doesn’t conflict with these projects, most of the work will happen on the weekends, she said. She said the trains will continue to operate every 20 minutes per line, but that could be pushed back to every 24 minutes, “when necessary.”

The transit agency has been stepping up its game in recent months. The agency’s board of directors recently agreed to enter into negotiations with the city of Decatur Development Authority for a “transit oriented development” around the Avondale MARTA station. MARTA is also moving forward with a transit oriented development around the King Memorial Station. These developments will combine housing and retail combined with easy access to MARTA’s rail service.

“This activity is seen as revenue enhancement initiative,” Amanda Rhein, senior director of transit oriented development for MARTA, said in March after the MARTA board voted to approve the negotiations. “It’s also important as improving the image of MARTA.”

Transit-oriented development – the future of city planning

Carlos Santamaria | devex

As the world population continues to rise and more people move to cities, urban planning will increasingly become a priority in development efforts, which traditionally have focused on other areas such as health, education or food security.

That will require a new brand of partnerships between donors and implementing partners with mayors and city governments in developing nations, which can benefit from not only official development assistance funds but also technical assistance to help them carry out their future real estate development in a truly sustainable way.

One such initiative will be launched on Thursday at the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia.

Transit-Oriented Developments are projects that are vertical, accessible by foot and bicycle, and plug into mass transit, so cities can continue to grow while minimizing their climate change footprint.

Eight successful TOD projects around the world — three of which are in developing countries, namely Brazil (Curitiba), China (Guangzhou) and India (Pune) — are highlighted by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in an interactive map that uses a TOD standard evaluation tool. This guide takes into consideration eight key elements to integrating sustainable transport, land use planning and sustainable urban design.

ITDP highlighted how TODs can provide substantial cost savings for both city governments and citizens. For instance, a recent World Bank study shows how China could save $1.4 trillion in urban infrastructure costs if its urban growth development plans focused on density rather than sprawl. This alone already costs the country $300 billion annually in health problems caused by air pollution. {….}

San Francisco: Westlake to build San Leandro tech campus of up to 500,000 square feet

Blanca Torres | San Francisco Business Times

First came a fiber optic loop for high-speed Internet, next comes a new home for tech companies in San Leandro. Westlake Development Partners LLC recently got approval for a proposed office campus of up to 500,000 square feet on a 7.3-acre site in downtown San Leandro adjacent to the city’s BART station.

The developer plans to build the project, known as the Crossings, in three phases starting with 132,000 square feet with OSI Soft, a San Leandro software company, as the anchor tenant taking at least 100,000 square feet. That building is expected to break ground in August.

“San Leandro has been this quiet place that no one knows a lot about, but we’ve been saying for a long time, it has some big, valuable assets,” said Gaye Quinn, managing director for Westlake. “This is an opportunity to leverage Lit San Leandro and BART.” {….}


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