David Sucher is the author of City Comforts, a fantastic, easy-to-read, important book about the essential elements of designing a quality city. I strongly recommend the book.
Sucher has established what he believes are the Three Rules for quality urban design:
“The key decision in creating a walkable, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood, is the position of the building with respect to the sidewalk.
This decision determines whether you have a city or a suburb.”
1. Build to the sidewalk (i.e., property line).
2. Make the building front “permeable” (i.e., no blank walls).
3. Prohibit parking lots in front of the building.