What We Do

The nonprofit Project for Lean Urbanism provides free tools, low-cost strategies, and help creating Pink Zones to level the playing field for small projects, allowing more people to participate in building their homes, businesses, and communities. We’re Making Small Possible.

Lean Urbanism is an approach to community-building that requires fewer resources. It’s a response to the requirements, complexities, and costs that disproportionately burden small-scale developers, builders, and entrepreneurs. 

Small developments and small businesses bring outsized value to their communities.

    • They provide housing at lower costs.
    • They make local markets more diverse, robust, and sustainable.
    • They provide more jobs and keep wealth in communities.
    • They create shared prosperity by enabling participation in economic development.
    • They strengthen local tax bases by contributing more property and sales taxes per acre while costing less for infrastructure and services.

But when cities don’t consider scale, placing the same requirements on all projects regardless of size, the small projects are disproportionately burdened. Reducing those burdens to unleash the power of small actors and small projects enables community-driven growth and revitalization, with residents and business owners not only participating in, but also leading and benefitting from the efforts. This is done by encouraging incremental growth, removing barriers to entry, and easing regulatory, bureaucratic, and financial processes.

How are we Making Small Possible?

Pink Zones are areas where Lean Urbanism strategies are implemented. They’re areas where red tape is lightened, where barriers are lowered, where it’s easier, faster, and cheaper to create small businesses and develop small properties.

Need help creating a Pink Zone?

We provide the Pink Zone Manual for you to create a Pink Zone yourself. The Manual walks you through the process with step-by-step instructions, and you can download it for free.

But if you need help, we’re here. Whether it’s answering a question, coaching you through the process, or managing your Pink Zone project, we can help you enable Lean Urbanism in your community. Contact us to discuss how we can help.

The Project for Lean Urbanism is managed by the nonprofit Center for Applied Transect Studies

and has received funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.