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9/9 FRI 12:30 | Keynote: Ed T. McMahon
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9/9 FRI 12:30 | Keynote: Ed T. McMahon


Ed McMahon holds the Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, DC where he is nationally known as a thought provoking speaker and leading authority …

Ed McMahon holds the Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, DC where he is nationally known as a thought provoking speaker and leading authority on topics related to sustainable development, land conservation, smart growth, and historic preservation. As the Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development, Mr. McMahon leads ULI’s worldwide efforts to conduct research and educational activities related to environmentally sensitive development policies and practices. He is the author or co-author of 15 books and over 200 articles, and has drafted numerous local land use plans and ordinances. His books include: Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space and Agriculture; Developing Sustainable Planned Communities, Green Infrastructure: Connecting Landscape and
Communities, Land Conservation Finance, and Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities. In his years of work he has organized successful efforts to acquire and protect urban parkland, wilderness areas, and other conservation properties, activities that have been at the heart of planning and conservation in Florida for decades.

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  • I was asked to speak about Sustainable Development and the role it can play in Florida’s development.
  • Green wash, Green marketing, A gimmick to make conventional projects look and sound better without fundamentally changing anything.
  • Tree green is about what is going on inside of buildings. It is the vertical dimension of sustainability. Since buildings use 40% of energy in US and consume 72% Of electricity, what goes on inside of buildings is of critical importance.
  • New buildings are an important but small part of the story. The most important buildings are existing buildings.
  • People ask: How will the recession effect green building?The anser is that it will slow, but not fundamentally change the market shift to green real estate.
  • What goes on outside of buildings is also of critical importance.
  • Where you build is as important as how you build. A conventional building at a transit stop in the middle of a downtown can be greener than a LEED Certified building in a far flung location. This is because of embodied energy and the energy used to commute to and from the building.
  • Full Spectrum Green addresses all three legs of the sustainability stool.
  • In ancient Athens, city leaders took an oath of office to leave that city, not less, but greater, more beautiful ands prosperous than it was left to them.
  • Sustainable communities are places of enduring value.
  • So what about planning in an age of de-regulation and hostility toward government?
  • The world is changing whether we like it or not. We can shape and direct that change or just let it happen.
  • Richard Florida – Author of The Creative Class has a new book about the recession and how it is reshaping America.
  • I would like to talk about one aspect of the change facing American communities. Specifically, I would like to talk abound the future of commercial development.
  • The old paradigm was large lot subdivisions and strip commercial development.
  • The era of strip development is coming to an end. Strip retail is retail for the last century. The future belongs to town centers, main streets and mixed use development.
  • Here is a summary of the reasons why the future belongs to town centers, main streets and mixed use development.
  • First of all, we are totally overbuilt on the strip.
  • If the recession has proved anything it is that we were overleveraged and over stored in America.
  • In 1960, if you had 200,000 sq. feet of retail, it was in a 4 story building on a downtown street. It had a footprint of about 1 acre.In 1980, if you had 200,000 sq. feet of retail, it was in a 1 story building on a commercial strip outside of town. It had a footprint of 12 to 20 acres.
  • Many commentators say that the biggest trend of the next generation will be the conversion of dead or dying strip malls.It is already happening in places like Denver, Los Angeles, and Washington, Dc
  • In 1970, Rockville, Maryland tore down its downtown and replaced it.
  • With a 200 store enclosed mall. 3 years ago, they tore the mall down and
  • Put the downtown back.
  • A majority of new housing in Los Angeles is being built on commercially zoned land.Montgomery County, Maryland has 123 strip malls with 4 to 40 acres of parking.
  • The old model.
  • The new model.
  • America’s 1st edge city is being transformed into a walkable urban place.
  • So are people. Especially the urbanized areas of ours cities.There is one place in America with more spending power than stores to spend it in –our cities.
  • Big box retailers say that the “final frontier” is in our downtowns.
  • This is what we used to call a department store.
  • Target’s flagship store and world headquarters is not out in the suburbs. It is in downtown Minneapolis.
  • 5 story Target in Stamford, CT
  • 5 story Wal-Mart in Washington, DC
  • Home Depot delivers in NYC
  • In Vancouver you can sleep upstairs and shop downstairs
  • With Borders, it really didn’t make a difference
  • But with most stores, it does
  • It is ugly and congested. Try running a successful marketing campaign around this slogan.
  • How many people do you know who go to strip centos to hangout?
  • Transportation costs are offsetting lower home prices in the exurbs.
  • The economy is reshaping retail.
  • E-Commerce means fewer and smaller stores.
  • The new economuy is happening in older neighborhoods, like the Design District in Miami.
  • Younger crowd wants to be at the center of things. Like all generations they do not want what their parents wanted.
  • The place is more important than the product.
  • Sprawl vs. compact development
  • Mall
  • To Mixed use town center
  • A Florida example
  • There are several keys to overcoming opposition to density.
  • Design is more important than the number of units per acre.
  • Density does not demand high rises.
  • Georgetown, Alexandria, Brooklyn Heights, Oak Park, IL, Mountain Brook, AL
  • Florida examples. Tradirtional market analysis would have said that tere was no market for housing in downtown West Palm Beach.
  • We are at the beginning of a new era in America. It will reshape our lives and our communities in ways no less fundamental than the industrial revolution. Communities that prepare for and plan for the future will proper those that cling to the old ways will falter.
  • Big changes are ahead. These changes will be akin to changes that occurred 100 years ago.
  • Exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC


  • 1. APA Florida
    © Ed McMahon
    Urban Land Institute
    September 9, 2011
  • 2. ULIMission
    The mission of the Urban Land Institute is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities world wide
  • 3. What is SustainableDevelopment and why is it vital?
    “If you’re not changing business as usual, you’re failing.” -- Brent Toderian, Planning Director, Vancouver, B.C
  • 4. “Sustainabledevelopmentisdevelopmentthatmeetstheneedsofthepresentwithoutcompromisingtheabilityoffuturegenerationstomeettheirownneeds.”
    Source: United Nations, Bruntland Commission Report
  • 5. It is about our children
  • 6. It’s about balance
    “Conservation is a state of harmony between man and nature.”
    Aldo Leopold
  • 7. SustainabilityGoals
    Healthy Environment
    Vigorous Economy
    Vibrant Community
  • 8. Sustainability in Action
  • 9. ShadesofGreen
  • 10. ParsleyGreen
  • 11. TreeGreen
    Waste management
    Indoor air quality
    The vertical dimension
  • 12. LEEDProjectsinUSAtotal31,000+in2010
    LEED Certified
    LEED Registered Projects
  • 13. “$12 Billion was spent on Green Buildings in 2008. This is expected to grow to $60 Billion by 2013.”
    McGraw-Hill Construction
    Smart Market Trends Report, 2008
  • 14. GreenRetrofits
    98% of building stock is existing buildings
    75% of commercial buildings are more than 20 years old
    There is a $400 billion market for energy efficiency rehabs in coming years
    Empire State Building is retrofitting to reduce energy use by 40% - with a 3 year payback
    Empire State Building , New York
  • 15. Will the Recession Effect Green?
    Despite the recession, a significant number of green projects are under construction, and even larger backlog of green buildings await certification, ensuring that the near term supply of green buildings will continue to increase.
    Various market forces, regulatory incentives & mandates will continue to pressure real estate owners & managers to enhance the sustainability of their portfolios. Focus will shift to affordable repositioning & more efficient property operations.
    Green buildings will continue to outperform conventional buildings due to their relative scarcity relative to demand.
    The recession will slow, but not fundamentally alter, the market shift to sustainable real estate.
    Source: RREEF Research, San Francisco, CA., 2009
  • 16. “As green buildings become more common, conventional buildings will rapidly lose value and become obsolete.”
    Source: Charles Lockwood
    Harvard Business Journal
  • 17. GrassGreen
    Sustainable location
    Good site planning
    Design in harmony with nature
    Master planning
    The horizontal dimension
  • 18. “Green buildings in wrong location are not truly green. Smart growth that does not take advantage of green building is not smart.” – Jonathan Rose
    “Where you build is just as important as what you build.” - Peter Calthrope
  • 19. Sustainable Development effects Land Development not just buildings
    Street is 40 feet wide
  • 20. Street is 24 feet wide
  • 21. Good Site Planning & Street Design
    Less pavement means more affordable housing
    Less pavement is better for the environment
    Narrower streets are safer for children
  • 22. Full Spectrum Green
    Balancescommunity,economy& environment
  • 23. Sustainability is about more than technology
    At its most basic, “sustainable” means enduring. Sustainable communities are places of enduring value.
    Sustainability is about affordability, walkability, place-making, community building.
  • 24. “If a building, a landscape or a city is not beautiful, it will not be loved, if it is not loved, it won’t be maintained and improved. In short , it won’t be sustained.”
    Doug Kelbaugh, Dean, University of Michigan, School of Architecture
  • 25.
  • 26.
  • 27.
  • 28.
  • 29. Planning?
  • 30. Secrets of Successful Communities
    Develop a vision for the future
    Inventory local assets and resources
    Build plans around the enhancement of assets
    Use education, incentives, partnerships and voluntary initiatives – not just regulation
    Pick and choose among development proposals
    Cooperate with neighbors for mutual benefit
    Protect community character as well as ecology and economics
    Have strong leaders & committed citizens
  • 31. Like it or not, more change is coming.
  • 32. Things You Can’t Control
    Demographic changes
    National and global economy
    Consumer attitudes & market trends
    Energy prices
    Climate change and extreme weather
  • 33. There two kinds of change:
    Planned change, and
    Unplanned change
  • 34. How will the Crash Reshape America?
    How we live, work, shop and get around will change.
    Communities that embrace the future will prosper. Those that do not will decline.
  • 35. What’s the future? Is it this?
  • 36. Or, is it this?
  • 37. The Old Paradigm
  • 38. The future belongs to main streets, town centers and mixed use development
    Strip retail is retail for the last century
  • 39. Here is Why:
    We’re overbuilt on the strip
    Retail is rediscovering the city
    The suburbs are being redesigned
    Traffic congestion, fuel prices and auto-oriented (i.e. ugly design) are undermining the strip
    Consumers favor walkability and places with character
    E-commerce means fewer and smaller stores
    The economy is restructuring the retail landscape
  • 40. We’re Overbuilt on the Strip
    Ten fold increase in retail space from 1960-2000.
    From 4 to 38 square feet per person.
    US has more than double the retail space per person as Europe.
    There is now more than 1billion square feet of vacant retail space (mostly in empty big box stores)
  • 41. Retail space grew faster than retail sales
  • 42. Department Store vs. Big Box
    Accessible by Transit
    Footprint – about 1 acre
    Outside of town
    Single story
    Accessible by car
    Footprint –about 12 acres
  • 43. Development Pattern Reinforced Driving
  • 44. Suburbs Are Being Redesigned
    “The largest retail trend of the next generation will be the conversion of dead or dying strip commercial centers in the suburbs into walkable urban places.”
    Source: Chris Leinberger, The Brookings Institution
  • 45. Historic Rockville, MD
    Mostly demolished in 1970
  • 46. Rockville Mall – Rockville, MD
  • 47. Rockville, MD – Town Center
    Rockville, MD Town Center
  • 48. The Opportunity
    The New Promised Land?
  • 49. Tear Up Parking Lot, Rebuild Paradise
    Large, flat, well drained site
    Major infrastructure in place
    4 lane highway frontage, transit ready
    Saves rural land
    Committed to mixed use
    Can turn NIMBY’s into YIMBY’s
    2.8 million acres of greyfields will be available in next 15 years
  • 50. We Are Going From This:
    Spread Out
    Single Use
    Drivable Only
  • 51. To This!
  • 52. Tyson’s Corner Today
    Americas 1st edge city – Nation’s 10th largest CBD – 3 rush hours daily
  • 53. Tysons Corner - Tomorrow
    Tysons Corner, VA just received APA’s 2011 Daniel Burnham Award for a adopting a visionary Comprehensive Plan that will transform Tysons from America’s first edge City into a walkable, mixed use downtown served by 4 rail transit stations.
  • 54. Retail is Rediscovering the City
    King Street, Charleston, South Carolina
  • 55. New Life for Old Buildings
    In December 2010, Target announced that it would renovate and occupy 125,000 Square feet in the landmark Carson Pirie Scott building in Chicago.
  • 56. The Changing Shape & Location of Big Box Stores
    A growing number of big box stores are locating downtown, in multistory buildings which means they use less land, fit better with the community and are accessible by foot or on transit.
    Typical Target Store
    Multi-story Target store
    Target, Washington, DC
  • 57. Target – Minneapolis, MN
  • 58. Target – Stamford, CT
  • 59. Wal-Mart, Washington, DC
  • 60. Home Depot - NYC
  • 61. Home Depot - Vancouver
  • 62. Traffic Congestion, Gas Prices and Design Favor Main Streets
    Where would you rather shop today?
  • 63. Characteristics of the Strip
    A reliance on cars to go everywhere.
    Traffic congestion
    Lots of big signs, traffic lights and driveways
    Streetscape dominated by parking lots
    Little or no landscaping
    Cheap, cookie-cutter buildings
    Nothing unique – every town’s strip looks the same.
    Typical Strip – Ugly and Congested
  • 64. The Nature of Commercial Strips
    “The distinguishing characteristic of commercials strips is there undisguised ugliness, although traffic congestion now runs a close second.”
    Source: Ten Principles for Reshaping the Strip,ULI
  • 65. Characteristics of Downtown
    Walkable and pedestrian friendly
    Streetscape dominated by buildings
    Easy to get around because of street grid
    Park once environment
    Beautiful, one of a kind structures
    Every downtown looks different
    Typical Downtown – Walkable and Unique
  • 66. What does the future look like?
    Rockville Pike Downtown Bethesda
    Barnes & Noble, Rockville Pike, MD Barnes and Noble, Bethesda, MD
  • 67. “People stay longer,
    spend more money
    and come back more often to places that attract their affection.”
    Source: Urban Design and the Bottom Line, ULI, 2009
  • 68. What will High Energy Prices Mean for the Future?
    In 1970 the US imported 24% of its oil from foreign providers
    In 1990 the US imported 42% of its oil
    In 2008 the US imported 70% of its oil
    The cost of imported oil reached over $600 billion per year in 2008
  • 69. Do you think the
    long term trend
    for energy prices
    is to go up or
  • 70. “Going forward the distance between where we live and work will matter more and attractive mixed use places (in both cities and suburbs) that offer more convenient lifestyles will benefit.”
  • 71. The Economy is Restructuring Retail
  • 72. The Old Formats
    Strip shopping centers
    Enclosed malls
    Power centers
    Distinct Property types and homogenous tenant lineups made for tidy divisions within the shopping center industry.
    Today this is changing!
  • 73.
  • 74. Town Centers vs. Strip Shopping Centers
    “The development of new suburban town centers is one of the hottest real estate trends in the United States today, as they consistently surpass standard suburban real estate products in:
    • Residential prices and apartment rents
    • 75. Retail sales and sales tax revenues
    • 76. Hotel room and occupancy rates,
    • 77. On-site and adjacent property values
    • 78. Office and retail lease rates.”
    - Urban Land Magazine
  • 79. Technology is Changing Retail
    More of these, means Less of these.
  • 80. E - Commerce Means Fewer and Smaller Stores
    The nation’s healthiest retailer is Amazon
    E - commerce helps small businesses level the playing field.
    E-commerce means the downsizing or disappearance of many chain stores
    Staples – the pioneer of the superstore concept is now the 2nd largest online retailer.
  • 81. Demographics is changing where we live and shop.
    Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR Barracks Row, Washington, DC
    Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA
  • 82. Demographic Shifts
    Baby Boomers and Retirees – 80 million
    Immigrants – 40 million
    Millennials (18 to 30 year olds) – 80 million
    Women (single-parent households) - 30 million
    75 % of American households do not have school age children
  • 83. Reasons for Market Demand for Walkable, Mixed Use Neighborhoods
    Rising costs for gasoline & transportation
    Baby boomers becoming empty nesters
    Boredom with conventional development
    Demand greatly exceeds supply
    Young people like urban lifestyles (short commutes, nightlife, etc.)
  • 84.
  • 85. Americans favor walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods
    77% want neighborhoods with abundant sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities.
    88% placed more value on quality of neighborhood than the size of the house.
    59% would choose a smaller house, if it meant less driving.
    73% of young adults (35 or younger) favor neighborhoods with a mix of house and businesses over areas with housing only.
    Source: National Association of Realtors Survey, February, 2011
  • 86.
  • 87.
  • 88.
  • 89. Walkable Development is a Low Cost Climate Change Strategy
    Compact development can cut driving by 20 % to 40% percent.
    We already have the technology to build walkable communities.
    Pursuing compact development involves shifting investments that have to be built anyway.
    Walkable communities can save people money and improve public health.
    Source: Growing Cooler: Evidence on Urban Development & Climate Change,
    Urban Land Institute, October, 2007
  • 90. Walkable Communities
    Workers in Bethesda, MD walk or use transit for 74% of their non-commute trips (errands, lunch, shopping, etc)
    Workers in Germantown, MD (an auto oriented suburb) use the car for 90 % of their non-commute trips.
    Source: US Department of Transportation
  • 91. Compact Development vs. Sprawl
    Compact development
    Medium to high densities
    Mixed uses
    Centered development
    Interconnected streets
    Pedestrian & transit friendly design
    Low densities
    Single uses
    Strip development
    Poorly connected streets
    Auto-oriented design
  • 92. We Can Go From This
  • 93. To This
  • 94. Shopping Mall – Before
    Boca Mall – Boca Raton, Florida
  • 95. Shopping Mall - After
    Mizner Place, Boca Raton, Florida
  • 96. But will Americans accept the higher densities that come with more compact, mixed use Development?
  • 97. Americans Don’t Like 2 Things
    Too Much Sprawl
    Too Much Density
  • 98. Overcoming Opposition to Density
    High Quality Design
    Access to Green Space
    More choices in ways to get around
    High Density only in clearly defined areas
  • 99. Density Requires Good Design & Compensating Amenity
  • 100. Density Comparisons
    Charleston, SC – 8.3 units per acre
    Sun City, AZ – 5.0 units per acre
  • 101. Density Comparisons
    Las Vegas, 37.4 Units per acre
    New Orleans, 38.9 units per acre
  • 102. Higher-Density Can Be Attractive & Valuable
  • 103. Florida Neighborhoods
    Old Northeast, St Petersburg
    City Place, West Palm Beach Riverside, Jacksonville
  • 104. As we densify our communities we must simultaneously green our communities
    Minneapolis Park System
    Metro St. Louis Greenway Plan
  • 105. How Do We Green A Community?
    Street Trees
    Green Parking Lots
    Green Roofs
  • 106. How Do You Green A City?
    Community Gardens
    Green Sound Walls
    Rain Gardens
    Urban Agriculture
  • 107. Community Parks
  • 108. WhereisthemostvaluablelandinNewYork ?
  • 109. How will the Crash Reshape America?
    How we live, work, shop and get around will change.
    Communities that embrace the future will prosper. Those that do not will decline.
  • 110. Horatio Nelson Jackson - 1903
    8000 cars
    No Gas Stations
    No Parking lots
    No highway departments
    No paved roads
    Horses were the primary mode of travel
    1st cross country trip by auto
  • 111. Twenty Years later - 1923
    10 million cars
    100,000 miles of paved roads
    Every state had a highway department
    Gas stations and parking lots transform cities
    Horses a thing of the past
    Traffic Jam , New York City - 1923
  • 112. Thank you
    Ed McMahon
    Urban Land Institute