Re-Thinking Maplewood: Transit, Growth and Density
In August 2012, the Urban Design Lab was commissioned by the Township of Maplewood’s to conduct a study to help identify potential uses for the vacant post office site in Maplewood village and rethink the township’s approach a transit-oriented sustainable development strategy.
In recent years, many of North American suburban towns have begun a process of radical transformations towards sustainable, active, mixed-use communities closely linked to their urban counterparts. Suburban townships are reconfiguring their transit-oriented downtowns in order to attract a diverse population of young professionals, who are seeking new living opportunities and are attracted to affordable housing, supportive resources, and convenient amenities. Maplewood, New Jersey is an example of a community witnessing such growth patterns. Due to its geographic location in the New York Metropolitan Area, and associated supportive infrastructure such as rail lines, bus networks, and education system, smart development strategies were needed to foster and maintain development in a sustainable manner.
The report proposes different design scenarios for the post office site, revealing opportunities for reactivating the village center, such as: including more affordable housing, defining Maplewood’s social and economic core, introducing alternative parking options, and improving overall walkability and connectivity. By following these sustainable guidelines, Maplewood could lead the region in terms of environmental efforts that can range from solar panels, green roofs, and permeable surfaces to the implementation of bike-sharing programs and other alternative mobile sharing options.
This report was made possible by the generous support of the Township of Maplewood, New Jersey.
UDL Editors and Designers: Richard Plunz, Richard Gonzalez, Maria Paola Sutto, Ankita Chachra, Andy Golubitsky, Vanessa Espaillat, Carolina Montilla