Making the Case for Mixed-Use, Sub-Urbanism


  • How to identify national demographic and economic shifts in housing and the labor force as well as changing resident and employer preferences
  • How these factors are resulting in a paradigm shift to walkable, mixed-use environments 
  • How to compare the market performance of walkable, mixed-use centers to auto-oriented suburbs 
  • How Schaumburg, a suburban “edge city” in the Chicago region, is creating a regulatory plan to reimagine and facilitate redevelopment of a 200-plus-acre site


In recent years, the urban cores of central cities have experienced a renaissance—attracting corporate relocations and experiencing an accelerated pace of new housing development. Single-use, auto-oriented suburban business parks are no longer the favored place of work. This recent trend seems like a reversal of the 1980s, when suburban edge cities gained jobs and population and the central cities suffered losses.

This course will explore what economic and demographic forces are driving these trends and how the desire for a vibrant mix of uses in a walkable setting may be at the center of this paradigm shift to urbanization. Case studies of Reston Town Center and Tysons Corner in Virginia and the CityLine development in Richardson, Texas, will show how creating a walkable, mixed-use "sub-urban" environment can make suburban communities more competitive in this changing marketplace. You will also learn how the Village of Schaumburg—a suburban “edge city” in the Chicago region—reenvisioned a 200-plus-acre site when a corporate headquarter relocated to downtown Chicago.