What makes a place walkable? The answer lies in older urban neighborhoods, where density, proximity, and a human-scaled built environment made walking the best way to get around. With their connected streets, multi-story buildings, small urban blocks, diverse uses, and transit access, these places provide a blueprint for sustainable transportation and urban infill.
As more Americans seek an urban lifestyle, many long-neglected neighborhoods have enjoyed an influx of residents and wealth. Planners have helped create amenities and value through place-making and strategic public investments. But along with significant benefits, revitalization often brings higher land values and the threat of cultural and economic displacement. Just as we’re learning to make great cities, rising rents and stagnating wages have left many residents unable to live in them.
How can a transforming neighborhood remain home to its longtime residents? How can we address the growing need for affordable housing? What planning approaches make walkability and access to opportunity available to those who need it most?
Julie Campoli is an urban designer and author who writes about urban form and the changing landscape. She combines a planner’s perspective with a designer’s sensibility to illustrate the built environment and the processes that shape it. She is the author of Made for Walking: Density and Neighborhood Form, and co-author of Visualizing Density, and Above and Beyond: Visualizing Change in Small Towns and Rural Areas.
Julie has developed innovative graphic techniques to help people understand the relationship between design concepts and actual urban environments. Her most recent book, Made for Walking, uses hundreds of photographs, montages, maps and diagrams of North American neighborhoods to illustrate the types of urban form that make sustainable transportation possible. She writes, conducts workshops, and lectures throughout the country on the topics of walkability, density, housing, sustainable transportation, and green infrastructure.
Her Burlington-based practice, Terra Firma Urban Design, specializes in town design, land use analysis and site planning for affordable housing, emphasizing the infilling of existing neighborhoods. As a consultant to Vermont non-profits, state agencies, and municipalities, she helped steer development toward a more efficient and contextual pattern.
Her research on land settlement patterns has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, where she served on the faculty. Julie holds a B.A. in American Literature from Middlebury College, an MLA from Cornell University, and was a 2009-2010 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
Meyerson Hall, Room B3, 210 South 34th Street, Philadelphia