For most Americans, home looks more or less like O’Fallon, Illinois. There’s parks and supermarkets, hospitals and pizza joints – a bit of everything, really – but mostly there are large swaths of land reserved exclusively for single-family homes. When planners in O’Fallon started interviewing citizens for the new master plan, however, what they heard was: we want opportunities to walk and bike, as well as better access to shops, restaurants and cultural amenities.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about whether traditional suburban zoning is appropriate anymore,” said Walter Denton, O’Fallon’s chief administrator. “What people like about [neighboring] St Louis is the neighborhood character, different uses mixed together, how quaint it is. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do something like that here? And if I’m working from home more, wouldn’t it be great if there were something close and convenient I could go to without having to drive?”
The master plan he and his team came up with outlines several ideas to help satisfy the residents’ desires, including increased housing density, new housing types to accommodate seniors and young people, mixed-use buildings to integrate commercial entities into residential neighborhoods, and a seamless network for bicycles, pedestrians and other non-drivers.