March 14 2012

Designing Suburban Enclaves in Urban Areas: Tampa, Florida Shows the Way

Carrollwood Village

Many people choose to relocate to the suburbs to achieve a lifestyle change: large backyards, block parties, safety. As many perks as the suburban lifestyle presents, it also presents many downfalls. Longer commutes and encroachment on precious wildlife are just two of those downfalls. It does not have to be a choice between one or the other. Tampa, Florida, despite its sprawled-out urban design, has a number of communities that give the suburban lifestyle, while not really leaving the city.

The largest community is Carrollwood Village in the northwest part of Tampa. Storefronts, restaurants, and bars line the entrances to the neighborhood. Because many essential stores such as a grocery store, a gas station, and a drug store are located right at the entrance, it is possible to have access to many essentials without ever leaving the area. Once inside the neighborhood, there is the immediate look and feel of a suburb. It is hard to remember that there is a major transportation artery right outside the area. Carrollwood Village provides tons of entertainment for families and adults, provides the sense and security of a suburb, and at the same time is located within the main urban area, making for easier commutes.

Urban planners and environmental designers should take note of communities like these. For urban planning, designing these suburban-like places can help keep urban sprawl at bay; for environmental designers and landscape architects, they can help with urban beautification efforts and help maintain the environmental integrity of the areas outside of the city. If urban sprawl is a concern to your city, here are a couple of ways to start creating suburban areas within the city:

  • Identify medium-cost neighborhoods that can benefit from modern urban design. Suburban does not have to mean cookie-cutter housing design;
  • Incorporate landscape architecture that provides a sense of suburban identity;
  • Look out for housing grants and programs to encourage movement to these areas instead of the sprawl zones.

With some time and effort, urban planners can help shift sprawl movements to these new areas within the city.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas is a graduate student studying Urban and Regional Planning and Business Administration - Information Systems at the University of South Florida. She became interested in urban issues as an undergraduate student, and developed a focus on urban issues in the Tampa Bay area after serving as an intern for a light rail campaign in 2010. She currently works at the Tampa Bay Partnership, a public-private economic development company. She has credited her time with Global Site Plans as one of the reasons behind her employment there.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 2:56 pm and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Housing, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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