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Michele Beasley

What Is an Urban Village?

Urban villages are walkable, bicycle-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed-use neighborhoods that can provide both housing and jobs, environmental benefits, and quality of life improvements for a city’s residents and the surrounding region.

San Jose is the largest city in the nine-county Bay Area with a population of just over 1 million. The Bay Area’s population is 7 million and is projected to grow to 9 million by 2040. With 70 (!!!) urban villages planned over the next few decades, the City has its strategy for creating 120,000 new homes within San Jose’s urbanized footprint to address regional growth challenges, but it’ll take your help along the way.

So why urban villages?
Urban Village Timeline Image

Download the Greenbelt Alliance Urban Village Timeline Infographic

Done right, these urban village plans can transform abandoned and neglected sites into safe, inviting places for people of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds. They can create thriving neighborhoods that fittingly complement our iconic landscapes and our innovation-based economy. Infill development can provide the housing choices that are essential to meet the needs of the Bay Area’s workforce and of people across the socioeconomic spectrum. It can foster more walkable, bicycle-friendly neighborhoods that lead to active lifestyles and better health outcomes. And it can help ease development pressure on our treasured open spaces.

The first four urban villages—collectively known as Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace—were approved at the end of 2013. These approved plans are the culmination of years of intense community engagement with input from high school students to senior citizens. When residents, business owners, and other community members all participate in neighborhood planning, their ideas shape plans for the better, so it is critical to make sure everyone has a seat at the table.

That’s where we can help. We’ve created a one-stop doc that breaks down the urban village planning process for you (yes, you!) based upon first-hand experience and focus groups with local residents. With the planning processes for The Alameda, East Santa Clara Clara Street, South Bascom, Stevens Creek, Valley Fair/Santana Row, West San Carlos Street, Winchester Boulevard, and Blossom Hill/Snell urban villages already underway, now is the time to get engaged.

Get the Urban Village Toolkit



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