Compact Development for More Livable Communities

Resources for Compact Development


Good Neighbors:  Affordable Family Housing. Tom Jones, William Pettus, AIA and Michael Pyatok, FAIA; Foreword by Chester Hartman.  McGraw Hill. 268 pp., 1997.

An excellent, well-researched book includes chapters on:

  • Who lives in affordable housing.
  • Profiles of residents.
  • Influences on affordable family housing design.

170+ pages of case studies from across the nation. Each case study includes color photographs, drawings, and information on density, number of units, costs and resident profile.  (Slides illustrating the projects can be purchased from the American Institute of Architects using a form included in the book.)

Asian Neighborhood Design — Multi-Unit Affordable Housing

Participation Tools for Better Land Use Planning. Dave Davis and C. Nicholas Moore.  Local Government Commission. 43 pp., 1997.

This guidebook describes techniques that can be used to generate public participation and support for compact development plans and projects, including computer simulation, design charrettes, visual image surveys, visioning, guided tours, formal groups, facilitated meetings, and media campaigns.

Participation Tools for Better Land Use Planning

“The Case for Multifamily Housing.” Urban Land Institute, 20 pp. 2003.

This pamphPhoto - Boulder Malllet explains the importance of higher density housing to meet a wide range of social, economic and environmental needs. Topics include demographics and demand; the impact on traffic congestion and public facilities and services; and much more.

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“Making Residential Density Work.” Urban Ecology.  8 pp. 1998.

This pamphlet argues for higher density housing to protect open space and improve quality of life. Case studies from the San Francisco Bay Area. (510) 251-6330.

“Myths and Facts About Affordable and High-Density Housing.” California Planning Roundtable. Reprinted by the California Department of Housing and CommunityDevelopment. 12 pp. June 1997. (714) 966-9220.

This booklet responds to the hostility against providing affordable or multi-family housing in many communities. It includes a list of additional resources including books, pamphlets, studies and slide shows.


“Affordable Family Housing:  A Bay Area Tour.” Produced by Margie McGovern Films, Inc. for the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. 1997. ($11)

This 10-minute video, featuring higher density affordable housing in the San Francisco region, includes interviews with residents, property managers, an assistant police chief as well as business and political leaders.  (415) 989-8160.

Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California — Publications

Web Resources

An excellent web page developed for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with a lot of information and resources on affordable housing and good design. While the focus is on affordable housing, the information provided on good design applies to all compact residential development. The Design Considerations Checklist can be used to help develop guidelines for multifamily housing. Includes sections on

  • What is good design?
  • Why good design is important?
  • How to get good design?
  • Tools and resources for achieving design quality
  • Gallery of high quality affordable housing
  • 20 steps to design quality; and
  • The Design Considerations Checklist.

Design Matters:  Best Practices in Affordable Housing

A web-based catalog of affordable housing located throughout the U. S. compiled by the City Design Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Developed with support from a number of private foundations, it includes detailed information and photos of projects from more than 20 states built between 1980-2000. Projects can be searched using the following criteria:

  • Architect
  • Developer
  • State
  • Location Type
  • Region
  • Residential Type
  • Construction Type
  • Construction Practice

ULI/NMHC/AIA Joint Forum on Housing Density

An Urban Land Institute “Land Use Policy Forum Report.” This 12-page document reports on a forum held on February 7, 2002 in Washington, DC to examine the causes of community opposition to increased residential density and the ways to overcome that resistance. The forum brought together a diverse group of 40 real estate professionals, designers, developers, architects, planners, elected officials, as well as leaders of community and environmental organizations.

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