Making Suburbia More Livable

Wall Street Journal

By Glenn Ruffenach

Sitting in his office in Fayetteville, Ga., Ken Steele, the town’s mayor, is poring over a local street map, explaining how this suburb of Atlanta hopes to transform itself into a “lifelong community”—and why neighborhoods across the country need to do the same.

“Every small community has the same problem,” says Mr. Steele, age 69. “We want residents to be able to age in place, to meet their needs…here, without having to move away.”

One such retrofit is taking place in Lakewood, Colo., a large suburb (population 147,000) west of Denver. In the late 1990s, an indoor shopping mall in town had started losing stores, customers and sales. In 2002, local officials and developers began converting the 104-acre site into a mixed-use neighborhood, called Belmar, where people could live, work and play.

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