Seeking the Market

By Mark Smith   – Fundamental cause missing in sprawl literature – – Fixed assets in changing markets – – Chronic sprawl is in part market inefficiency – – Development processes and techniques contribute to sprawl –  – Solution is pre enabling densification – – Many factors said to cause sprawl might be considered demand generators – – Excessive sprawl is not responsive... Read More

Asynchrony and the Mechanics of Sprawl

By Mark Smith –   Markets Change, Buildings Don’t. They Could. Some Should. In many development circumstances, first construction maximizes development potential based upon financial feasibility or highest and best use at that time. But this often occurs at a time when a local market is in a low activity, low value phase of its life cycle—such as in suburban edge areas and the beginning of urban redevelopment. Low sales prices or lease... Read More

Let’s Pre-Plan Density…So That We Can Accomplish It

By Mark Smith — Planned Densification is a process to overcome property-level economic obstacles to accomplishing higher density real estate development. Because of high overall construction costs, decreasing market prices, and troubled municipal finances—higher density development is now getting more difficult to accomplish at a time when density is increasingly important for economic development and environmental preservation. “Markets... Read More

The Problem of Asynchrony and the Wedge

By Mark Smith — Low-density development is often result of the match between local market conditions and the financial feasibility determination for a building or project. Most instances of new construction occur in what Pario calls low activity, low value markets. Low value markets produce low revenue to developers, and low revenue does not support sufficient density to yield productive urban neighborhoods. This is a primary cause of sprawl... Read More

Management Functional Span of Control & Organizational Change

By Mark Smith Here is a photograph of a functional span of control illustration, from an impromptu discussion about organizational change in real estate development… Typical corporate functional control is represented by the large triangle, and real estate is typically the narrow triangle shown in the center with fewer functions under direct control, and more functions outside of direct supervision. Narrow functional control is a primary reason... Read More

The New Proforma — After the Collapse

By Mark Smith Urban development entered a new era in the mid 1990s as consumers and developers began to embrace higher density development in urban locations. This is an important trend that promises better ecological outcomes and better economic outcomes for both municipalities and consumers. However, the current economic recession poses a problem relative to the much-heralded urban renaissance. The problem is in what I’ll call the New Proforma,... Read More