ULI Chicago News

Focus on Reuse: How older, smaller buildings can be better for neighborhoods

In partnership with the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab, ULI Chicago’s Building Reuse Initiative is working to make it easier to reuse older, under-utilized buildings in the City to create environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable neighborhoods. A summary report to be released next week, demonstrates strong support from local stakeholders including industry experts, City staff, and community residents for the significant role that Chicago’s rich architectural heritage and older buildings play in defining neighborhood character and urban vitality.

Video Clip:  Preservation vs. Building Reuse


Recent research by the Preservation Green Lab confirms that older, smaller buildings indeed play a critical role in creating vibrant, diverse neighborhoods that foster innovation and entrepreneurship. These findings, that are based on a data-driven analysis by the Green Lab for three different cities, is presented in their report Older, Smaller, Better. The ground-breaking study concludes that mixed vintage blocks, where old and new buildings are interwoven in the urban fabric creating an inviting, human scale, are often hubs for innovation and creativity and provide space for building strong local economies. Such neighborhoods, partly for their offerings of diverse, flexible spaces at a range of price points, tend to be favored by independent, small, as well as minority-owned businesses.

Video Clip: Older Buildings Attract New Business, Innovation, Vitality


For example, in Seattle, areas with more age-diverse, smaller buildings have 37% more jobs per commercial square foot of space compared to areas with newer, larger buildings. Many of these findings bear true for the City of Chicago as well and will be presented at the Building Reuse Recommendations and Action Agenda Launch Event next week.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Building Reuse Recommendations and Action Agenda Launch Event

7:30 am – 9:00 am
1871 at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago

Join us to find out how the City’s older, smaller buildings are contributing to the local economy and how to get involved in advancing building reuse.  Learn more about ULI Chicago’s Building Reuse Initiative

This entry was posted in Building Reuse Partnership. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *