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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Institute of Urban and Regional Development, a campuswide organized research unit, conducts collaborative, interdisciplinary research and practical work that helps scholars and students understand the dynamics of communities, cities and regions while informing public policy at the local, state and national levels.

The Institute provides a research home and support to individual faculty and graduate students who initiate their own projects or collaborate on multidisciplinary programs. The Institute's Community Partnerships Office comprises a significant institutional program of partnership with communities and public and nonprofit agencies in the Bay Area to assist them with research, evaluations, conferences, workshops, internships and innovative planning and design.

Cover page of Kid-Friendly TODs

Kid-Friendly TODs


Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs)– i.e., compact, mixed-use, walking friendly neighborhoods oriented to rail or bus hubs–have gained popularity in the U.S. A commonly held view is TODs appeal to non-traditional households, like childless couples, Millennials, and empty-nesters. Such groups value good transit connections to downtown and, influenced by TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends, place a premium on living in walkable communities with outdoor cafes and shops that cater to the professional class. The Center for TOD (CTOD) estimates that 79 percent of U.S. households living in TODs by 2025 will be childless. Can TODs be kid-friendly? This can occur by replacing surface parking with communal gardens, playgrounds, tot-lots, and open space. Shrinking parking’s footprint reduces heat-island effects and water pollution from oil-stained run-off into streams. It also helps recharge groundwater, allowing greener and healthier gardens and play areas. Such car-restricted settings are not only safer for kids to play; they are more secure because of “natural surveillance,” the ability of residents to keep any eye on who is using community spaces.