Pillow Talk At the Shapiro House--Mixed Use Is The New Green

For a while now, my dear husband, Director of Planning and Urban Design at Barton Partners, Seth Shapiro has been going on and on that Mixed Use is the New Green.  His specialty is reconceptualizing malls into mixed use "places." His theory is that:

 While the proliferation of green building methodologies is to be commended, without a comprehensive evaluation of our land use patterns in conjunction with better building standards, we run the risk of not fully addressing the need for sustainable development.  Conventional suburban land use can achieve green status (even LEED gold) and yet, do nothing to reduce vehicle miles traveled or promote healthier lifestyles, which include the ability or at least have the option to walk from place to place.   Therefore, until we approach a planning policy that mandates mixed uses and appropriate densities around existing infrastructure, we will never achieve true sustainability, even if every building achieves the highest standards associated with Green Building.

This was all just happy pillow talk, until I read Kaid Benfield's blog post over at NRDCSwitchboard about the death of the American shopping mall, and the rise of mixed-use reenvisioning of malls. Guess the dear husband was right.