Older Smaller Better

Older, Smaller, Better

All across America, blocks of older, smaller buildings are quietly contributing to robust local economies and distinctive livable communities. This groundbreaking study demonstrates the unique and valuable role that older, smaller buildings play in the development of sustainable cities. Building on statistical analysis of the built fabric of three major American cities, the research demonstrates that established neighborhoods with a mix of older, smaller buildings perform better than districts with larger, newer structures when tested against a range of economic, social, and environmental outcome measures.

Research & Policy Lab

The Research & Policy Lab connects old buildings with new ideas. Learn more about their current work.


The Older, Smaller, Better project was made possible through the generous support of the Summit Foundation, the Prince CharitableTrusts, and the Kresge Foundation. The project was managed and led by the Preservation Green Lab, a department of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that researches the sustainability value of older and historic buildings and identifies policy solutions that help communities leverage their built assets. This project benefited from collaboration with Impresa, Inc., Gehl Studio, and State of Place™.

Reuse and Revitalization in Jacksonville


 Taking Older, Smaller, Better to Tucson


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Older, Smaller, Better Report


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