Pursue Catalytic Projects

One of the biggest hurtles with implementing best practices is overcoming the inertia of developing the first well-designed project in a district. Numerous jurisdictions have found that pursuing a single project with best practices design in a strategic location has a “catalytic” effect that stimulates similar developments on nearby parcels. For instance, a new mixed-use development that creates an attractive street wall at a key intersection could spur additional new development in the area, reinvigorating an abandoned main street.


To bring catalytic projects to fruition, it takes time and resources. For catalytic projects to succeed, jurisdictions need to lend a hand by laying the groundwork for change.

  • Consider recruiting appropriate developers and tenants, working with the community, guiding the project architect, providing financial resources or incentives, or assisting with land assembly.
  • Work with policymakers to make tough decisions, such as density increases, the narrowing of roadways, or the removal of traffic lanes.
Design Guidelines
Policy & Implementation
The Role of Local Government & Transit First Policies
Guiding Principles of Land Use
Flexible Zoning Strategies
Street Design Implementation
Revising Transportation Analysis Practices
Transportation Demand Management
Rethinking Vehicle Parking Requirements
Parking Management
Best Practices to Attract Successful Developers
Clarifying Design Expectations
Integrating Retail into Transit Oriented Development
Community Planning for Rail Transit
Additional Resources
Photo of small street with people walking on sidewalk surrounded by large buildings and trees
Santana Row, San José, CA