Multiuse development projects infuse communities with new life

'Unsprawl' chronicles re-envisioned housing communities in 12 case studies

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Drive into the Hill Country south and west of Austin, Texas, and you pass suburb development after cacti-decorated suburb development. Like many U.S. cities in the past few decades, Austin has seen car-dependent suburbs pop up on its outskirts, leaving its downtown, until recently, an after-work-hours ghost town. Image of sprawl in the Austin, Texas-area Hill Country via Shutterstock. A six-block downtown mixed-use redevelopment project has helped Austin revitalize its downtown. It's one of a dozen community-redefining projects in the U.S. and Canada from Portland, Ore., to Atlanta, profiled in a 229-page book published this year by urban planning publishing house Planetizen Press. "Unsprawl" chronicles the select community projects -- including challenges, successes and shortfalls -- that have succeeded in developing pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use, efficient residential communities. The highlighted projects, both downtown and suburban, have a strong sense of pla...