Small Scale Developers & Builders

From its earliest days, the New Urbanism movement has been associated with large projects at the neighborhood scale (e.g. Seaside, Kentlands, Orenco Station, HOPE VI projects, and transit-oriented developments with hundreds of units). At the same time, many smaller new urban infill developments fly under the radar.

CNU member R. John Anderson’s Small Developers/Builders project connects developers committed to a small-scale, incremental infill approach to share expertise and collaborate on new tools. Anderson says, “The need to cultivate and equip a group of small developers to do the finer-grained work of infill and retrofit is very clear. The market is insisting upon more walkable urbanism.”

This emerging movement examines at how small developers can make a living building on the scale of 4-12 units, sometimes including mixed-use, using a variety of Missing Middle housing types such as small apartment buildings, cottage courts, four-plexes, single-family houses with up to three accessory units, and walk-ups. “We figured out how to do a 12-unit walk-up, or nine units with store-front commercial space, with one stair that meets all accessibility requirements,” Anderson says.

Open-source materials from this page and workshops will help these developers find and analyze potential sites for comparison to see which ones work financially. For developers who don’t have construction expertise, the movement will create resources to help them acquire these skills. The Small Developer/Builder group and Jane’s Guild, both found on facebook, are two CNU member-led efforts created that target this kind of development.

This page holds resources, toolkits, case studies and other tools to aid rookie developers and other CNU members in their efforts in incremental development. See below for the links to these resources, and to John Anderson’s workshop series on incremental development.