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New Urbanism Movement

The New Urbanism movement is helping to revitalize and cities and there is even a push to renew our rural areas. A mixture of renewed architecture designed to convey to excitement of living in a city along with downtown lofts, cultural, medical, artistic, museums, restaurants, night clubs, new transit options, sports stadiums have spurred an urban renewal into our cities.

Many European and Asian cities have always had an urban feel to them and contained vital city centers. Can America and the rest of the world follow? What ingredients are essential to an "Urban Renewal?" Safer cities, more walkable cities, building design that emphasizes an urban flavor with parking in the back of a building with the building focused at the front of the lot.

Something is working as evidenced as American downtowns and urban areas are slowly becoming more then just to commute to. Or just a place to work. Lofts are springing up, weekends and night-times, our American cities are becoming hives of activity again -- not just during the workday.

New Urbanism Articles and Discussion - Pros and Cons

  • A Tale of Three Cities - The Seattle Times: Pacific Northwest Magazine
    ...And what the "New Urbanism" really provides is choice. Western Europeans make only half the car trips Americans do — not just because of transit, though that helps, but because density makes it possible for them to walk or bike for routine errands... Portland's Hales suggests the orange-juice test to determine where "New Urbanism" exists. Does a proposed neighborhood have a shop where a 12-year-old can be sent, swiftly, to fetch orange juice? Is it safe? Is it fun?...

  • Experiment in new urbanism - New Saratoga development builds old-fashioned community - Robin Wood - The Business Review
    The goal is a pedestrian-friendly community that recreates much of the charm of downtown Saratoga Springs, respects the surrounding natural environment, and blends in with the city's historic architecture...

  • Urbanism Essays by Alex Marshall - The author of "How Cities Work" has some of the most in-depth essays of new urbanism on the web.

  • Another Tale of Two Cities - by Richard H. Carson
    Two American cities, that straddle the mighty Columbia River, find they are now rivals. To the south is Portland, Oregon and to the north is Vancouver, Washington. They are cities divided by good decisions and bad decisions made in the name of urban planning. One city thrives and the other one is almost bankrupt. And people are fleeing from one city to live in the other...

  • Cyburbia Forums - Discussion of New Urbanism with some strong criticisms.

  • Explore a virtual "New Urban" city with the National Geographic online. Some really nice use of Flash Graphics.

  • The New Urbanism: An alternative to modern, automobile-oriented planning and development - By Robert Steuteville
    The New Urbanism is a reaction to sprawl. A growing movement of architects, planners anddevelopers, the New Urbanism is based on the belief that a return to traditional neighborhoodpatterns is essential to restoring functional, sustainable communities. Still in its infancy,the trend is beginning to have an impact...

  • Periferia: New Urbanism Quotations - This is a collection of quotes that Andres Duany carries around in his portable computer.

  • Merits and principles of New Urbanism - by Dom Nozzi
    The standards and principles of new urbanism are designed to make areas more livable, more vibrant, and more people-oriented, and to build community pride in the city and the work of its developers. The people-oriented, traditional areas of the city share a number of desirable characteristics that provide us with many benefits. We should strive to preserve, celebrate, encourage and emulate how these areas are designed because of such benefits...

  • The New Urbanism - Can it Survive the Company it Keeps? - by Phillip W. De Vous, Public Policy Manager - ...While the New Urbanists in the Portland area did not lead the charge for Portland’s draconian smart-growth plan, smart-growth advocates did have them as allies, if not in their specific policies, at least in the goals to be realized. As often happens, smart-growth advocates were all too happy to co-opt the more legitimate and intellectually vigorous program of the Portland area’s New Urbanists for their ideological purposes...

  • New Urbanism in Houston, Texasthe Parkside Neighborhood - By Ron Jackson at - OK, here's where traditional automobile values get their accommodation. The back alleys are very wide - wider than normal streets - and are designed to handle lots of cars. On my first visit to this neighborhood, this is where I found all the pedestrian action and human interaction. People working in their garages, kids riding their bikes and playing. On my second visit (when these photos were taken), it was 96 degrees so everyone was indoors. My understanding is that the human activity was intended to be on front side of the house. But realistically speaking, people do things out of their garages...
    (Editor's Note: The pictures at their web site may raise a lot of questions since the extra wide alleys may have turned "New Urbanism" inside out and may not represent a true "New Urbanism" design. I noticed the lack of activity in front of the houses (remember, it is a 96F degree Houston summer) and wondered where the people were and than I scrolled down to the pictures of the alleys in the back -- and found the people. This brings up the observation that in suburbs -- most neighborly interaction involves people working on their front yards and cars, kids playing, neighbors walking down the street for exercise, drivers that park in the front driveway leaving and returning from trips. The front driveway, yard and adjacent street provides the forum for neighborly interactions.

    Neighbors may never see other neighbors who use automatic garage openers. The parking garage that is used as it is intended becomes the killer of human interactions. A garage that is used primarily for storage leaving no room for a car encourages the human interactions that make a neighborhood a neighborhood -- yes in the front of the house. Some neighbors that park in garages and don't work in their yard may go unseen for months or years.)

  • Won't you be my neighbor? 'New Urbanism' takes neighborhoods back to the future - By Andy Walton - CNN Interactive
    New Urbanist planners complain that zoning laws actually force neighborhoods to become hostile to pedestrians by separating commercial and residential space and mandating that stores and businesses are set back from the street behind vast parking lots. Zoning and development patterns have divided upper-, middle-, and lower-income residents into separate enclaves, some of them behind locked gates, all of them far from shopping and work, and all reliant on driving on overcrowded major streets to do just about anything. As an alternative, New Urbanists propose small, self-contained neighborhoods with a clearly-defined center and edges. In each neighborhood, the center is no more than a quarter of a mile from the edge -- a reasonable walking distance...

  • Putting Some 'City' Back In the Suburbs - By Alex Marshall - This older article still has some interesting comments about "New Urbanism."
    New Urbanists have a chance of generating a realistic debate on how we build better, more livable communities. But they have to get their priorities straight.

  • Benefits of New Urbanism - By the Association for the New Urbanism in Pennsylvania - This site lists five "New Urbanism" benefits each for Government, Residents, Businesses and Developers. Very nicely organized and effective if you need some concise points to convey the hightlights of "New Urbanism."

  • City Comfort Blog - A blog about cities, "New Urbanism" and human settlements.

  • KATARXIS - On Contemporary New Traditional Architecture and Urbanism - Explores traditional architectural forms, "New Urbanism" and their relationship to buildings in the modern societies. “True modernity is a positive acknowledgement of one's time.”

More about the New Urbanism Movement

New urbanism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

New Urbanism is an urban design movement that burst onto the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And continues into the 21st Century. Many cities are now reaping the benefits of the New Urbanism movement such as Houston.

New Urbanists aim to reform all aspects of real estate development. Their work affects regional and local plans. They are involved in new development, urban retrofits, and suburban infill. In all cases, New Urbanist neighborhoods are walkable, and contain a diverse range of housing and jobs.

New Urbanists support regional planning for open space, appropriate architecture and planning, and the balanced development of jobs and housing. They believe these strategies are the best way to reduce the time people spend in traffic, to increase the supply of affordable housing, and to rein in urban sprawl. Many other issues, such as historic restoration, safe streets, green building, and the renovation of brownfields are also covered in the Charter of the New Urbanism, the movement's seminal document.

External Links:
Charter of the New Urbanism
Congress for the New Urbanism
PLANetizen - Planning & Development News, Jobs, & Events
Richard H. Carson Essays


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