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The University of Texas at ArlingtonThe University of Texas at Arlington

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Green Cities

Rapid urbanization is putting tremendous pressure on the environment. To build a greener city and meet the sustainability challenge, integrated planning efforts and initiatives are needed. The green agenda to be set forward by cities can go hand-in-hand with important goals such as promoting healthy places and improving quality of life. Ranging from the preservation of natural resources and green spaces, to the facilitation of active transportation and the development of green land-use policies, many opportunities are available for your city.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your city by:

  • Developing tailored strategies to minimize environmental footprint
  • Sharing best practices from cutting-edge research
  • Facilitating public participation in green policy
  • Coordinating economic, social, and environmental sustainability goals

Some projects the Institute of Urban Studies has worked on under this category are:

  • Fair Park: The Reinvigoration of a National Treasure
  • Hamilton Park, An Instrument of Change
  • City of Aledo, Parks Recreation and Open Spaces Master Plan
  • Saginaw Parks, Recreation and Open Space vision 2025, Quality for Lifetime

Quality Growth

The opposite of growing inward is suburban sprawl, which is extremely harmful to the environment and forces a region's residents to drive everywhere. They can't walk or bike when there is nothing within a reasonable distance. It is key to manage growth so that jobs, housing, and other important destinations are located inside existing cities and within walking distance of transit, rather than in places where residents will be forever car-dependent.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your region manage growth within your boundaries, enhancing livability while increasing density, by:

  • Identifying and developing factors for a quality life
  • Engaging in synergistic infill development
  • Tailoring recommendations to aspects of niche, heritage, and community values

Some projects the Institue of Urban Studies has worked on under this category:

  • Comprehensive Plan for City of Palestine, City of Keene, City of Jacksboro and many other cities in Texas
  • Exploring Appropriate Regulatory Land Use Controls for Contaminated Sites: Cases, Lessons, and Planning Alternatives
  • Smart Growth Techniques for Sprawl Mitigation
  • North Texas Alternative Future
  • Best Practices for Differing Neighborhood Types: Vision North Texas Case Study Research

Community Planning

In regions built around modern subdivisions that invite residents to live divided, there is no way for them to feel like they belong to the greater community — no way for them to celebrate the uniqueness of the place where they live and recognize it subconsciously through symbols and branding. The community might also, if small or secluded enough, be empty during the daytime while residents drive elsewhere for employment because they do not live in a "complete" community with a local economy.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your region take a comprehensive approach to meeting community needs and increase your ability to take control of your own redevelopment for the future by:

  • Preserving local heritage and enhancing the feeling of belonging
  • Revitalizing local economies
  • Leveraging local symbols and values for place branding and rebranding

Some projects the Institue of Urban Studies has worked on under this category:

  • Executive Airport Neighbourhood Redevelopment Plan, City of Dallas
  • Mineral Wells Downtown Redevelopment Plan
  • Vickery Meadow Improvement District, Future Redevelopment Study, City of Dallas
  • Downtown Fort Worth Redevelopment Study
  • Oakland Corners urban Village Master Plan

Economic Development

Continually creating new businesses and expanding existing ones are critical to a region's economic health. These activities add jobs, but more specifically, they encourage entrepreneurship, improve the talent base, encourage research and development in local universities, and facilitate the movement of ideas from the idea stage to a business plan.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your region expand profitable business activity by:

  • Assessing basic and essential infrastructure
  • Developing local capacities
  • Evaluating goods and service needs
  • Expanding the range and reach of local commerce
  • Developing context-sensitive strategic plans

Some projects the Institue of Urban Studies has worked on under this category:

  • ETCOG Workforce Solutions Strategic Plan
  • Brazoria Economic Development
  • Paying for Prosperity: Impact Fees and Job Growth
  • Southeast Fort Worth Economic Development Dashboard
  • Northeast Fort Worth Economic Development Plan


Providing adequate and sustainable housing is important to health, education, access to basic services, opportunity, and the economic vitality of regions. Yet, many of our cities continue to face important housing challenges: aging housing stock, vacancy, unaffordability, or lack of diversified housing types. Addressing these housing issues can not only unlock your communities' potential but also enhance the quality of life of your residents.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your city by:

  • Performing affordability assessment
  • Developing housing rehabilitation strategies
  • Identifying opportunity for housing stock diversification
  • Providing design recommendations

Some projects the Institue of Urban Studies has worked on under this category:

  • How Affordable Is HUD Affordable Housing?
  • Does Location Matter? Affordability Analyses of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program in the United States
  • Transit's Value as Reflected in US Single Family Home Premiums
  • National Study of Sprawl and Housing Foreclosure


It's easy to picture public transportation as only bus and subway service in a large, urban city. But it's becoming essential to now adapt and connect public transportation to suburban sprawl. Transportation solutions also address any aspect of an area's attractiveness for non-drivers. This includes how inviting and safe streets are for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your region plan the best way to address public mobility and safe transit no matter the mode by:

  • Enhancing the walkability and design of "complete streets"
  • Improving neighborhood connectivity to public transit
  • Assessing the local significance of transportation systems

Some projects the Institue of Urban Studies has worked on under this category:

  • Grand Prairie On-Street Bike Facilities Plan
  • In-Between, Connecting People and Places. A Revitalization Plan for Hemphill Street
  • Thoroughfare Plan, Grayson County
  • Land Use and Urban Design Guide Lines for TOD Sites along Preston Corridor, Dallas
  • Arlington Transportation Survey

Healthy Places

Growing regions can have negative impacts on residents' quality of life. Health consequences of unsustainable urban growth such as chronic physical conditions (asthma, diabetes, and obesity) increase long-term health care costs for everyone. Mental health is improved with regular access to nature (or incorprating natural elements in building designs) and with improved quality of indoor spaces.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your region promote healthy living for residents by:

  • Developing innovative solutions to environmental issues
  • Enhancing active transportation
  • Increasing public awareness and the variety of public engagement services
  • Engaging green development strategies

Some projects the Institue of Urban Studies has worked on under this category:

  • Walkable Streets, Downtown Dallas
  • Plan 4 Health, Tarrant County
  • Connecting the Dots: Dallas Public Space Inventory
  • Urban Sprawl and the Emergence of Food Deserts in the United States

Spatial Analysis

Enhancing quality of life and planning for a better future are issues that are spatial in nature and require spatial tools and thinking. Applying GIS (geographic information system) tools and knowledge allows regions to incorporate geographic intelligence into decision-making. GIS is a tool that helps people visualize issues geographically. For example, building footprints, district boundaries, and downtowns can be mapped. Revenue from taxing parcels can be calculated, along with how the numbers are affected if the boundaries are changed. GIS helps spot problem areas and uses this information to create solutions.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your region visualize information in this new way and create solutions by:

  • Exploring consumer profiles and implementing appropriate marketing methods
  • Understanding the impacts of new growth
  • Encouraging people and place development

Some projects the Institue of Urban Studies has worked on under this category:

  • Saginaw Park Plan
  • City of Keene, Comprehensive Plan
  • Dallas Executive Airport Plan
  • Grayson County Thoroughfare Plan
  • Mineral Wells Downtown Redevelopment

Public Policy

Public policy can influence the form and quality of places, providing a framework for urban development and management. Setting public policy with a focus on the built environment can have an enormously positive effect on the health of both a region's economy and its population.

The Institute of Urban Studies can help your region implement a built environment that promotes quality development by:

  • Leveraging tax policy, securing public goods, and assessing public revenue procurement
  • Analyzing cost–benefit scenarios of transportation or other public good proposals
  • Examining policy measures through modeling of a variety of scenarios

Some projects the Institue of Urban Studies has worked on under this category:

  • Bunche Park/Dunbar High School Plan
  • Taking Without Compensation in Low-Income Areas: Turning Tragedy Into Opportunity
  • Effects of Texas Environmental Regulations on Business and Industry
  • Dallas Central Business District Data Bank Book
  • Economic Development Programs in Major Texas Cities, Change in Structure, Policy and Impact