The Project for Lean Urbanism

Lean Urbanism is small-scale, incremental community-building that requires fewer resources to incubate and mature.

Lean Urbanism is a movement of builders, planners, architects, developers, engineers, activists, nonprofits, municipalities, and entrepreneurs, working to lower the barriers to community-building, to make it easier to start businesses, and to provide more attainable housing and development. We’re Making Small Possible.


Lean Urbanism is open-access, allowing more people to participate in the building of their homes, businesses, and communities.

Lean Urbanism is open-source, creating tools and techniques for all to use.

Lean Urbanism is open-ended, focusing on incremental and ongoing improvement.

The Project for Lean Urbanism will restore common sense to the processes of development, building, starting small businesses, community engagement, and acquiring the necessary skills.

The Project will devise tools so that community-building takes less time, reduces the resources required for compliance, and frustrates fewer well-intentioned entrepreneurs, by providing ways to work around onerous financial, bureaucratic, and regulatory processes.

The tools will be made freely available to governments and organizations seeking to get things done, to entrepreneurs without the knowhow to overcome hurdles, and to small developers and property owners who can build well in an economical, low-tech way.

The Project includes research, publication, free tools, pilot projects, public presentations, and technical assistance.

The Project for Lean Urbanism is managed by the Center for Applied Transect Studies. The Project has received generous funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.