The purpose of this study was to help planners and policy makers implement urban form that is less auto-dependent in suburban communities. This was accomplished by developing a general theory about the production of less auto-dependent form and a set of planning principles based on the theory. The theory was derived by synthesizing established concepts of urban change. The principles followed from that theory, and both were tested and illustrated in a case study of Kirkland, Washington, which has made significant progress toward less auto-dependent land-use patterns since 1970.
Both the theory and case study suggest that urban development patterns are created by the actions of and interactions between the public and private sectors. These sectors respond to feedback given by consumers and citizens, as well as to goals and values, available resources, and development rules. Certain conditions in this process will result in greater density and mix in suburban communities. Paramount among these are increased access and amenities in order to attract development and to avoid an anti-development public backlash. Certain planning principles can help produce these conditions.
The case of Kirkland, Washington, shows that these principles can work in a real world setting to produce progress toward less-auto-dependent urban form.