Building Small

Building Small

A Toolkit for Real Estate Entrepreneurs, Civic Leaders, and Great Communities

Jim Heid


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Small-scale, incremental, real estate development offers a growing alternative to more conventional approaches. It helps create more authentic places, acts as a magnet for new investment, helps attract talent based employment, all while fostering a more resilient local economy. This in turn helps communities better differentiate themselves when seeking new investment in an increasingly competitive landscape. For its virtues, however, entrepreneurial real estate developers working to ‘build small' face jurisdictional and capital inertia that impedes bringing this approach to scale. Drawing on extensive research and using case studies, interviews with over 100 developers, and first hand knowledge gained from tours through15 cities, author Jim Heid articulates what small-scale development means, why it is essential to communities of every size and location, and how entrepreneurial developers and community leaders can help remove the obstacles to small—resulting in more successful projects and a better approach to building community.


Jim Heid:
Jim Heid, FASLA, is a real estate developer and strategic real estate adviser focused on the tools and techniques that lead to a more sustainable built environment. For more than 30 years he has advised cities, NGOs, legacy landowners, and private developers on more positive ways to build community. In 2017, he founded CRAFT, a real estate company focused on incremental development and intentional place building.