The catch phrase these days for new development project is "New Urbanism" i.e. going back to our roots. Here is an example that was once widely praised called Birkdale Village located in Huntersville, NC (outside Charlotte) The unfortunate fact of the matter, it has not worked and has resulted in terrible traffic congestion, destruction of the surrounding neighborhoods, and done anything but create a nice urban enviroment. (This development is not too far from where I live and was constructed in less than 2 years. It used to be a dairy farm.)
First the good. These are the photos that are usually shown when pushing for approval of new development projects. They create nice walkable area with the old time downtown feel. And it does kinda look like that.
Now the bad. What normally isn't shown is how disconnected these places are from the rest of the world.
Look at the other side. It a strip mall. Where is all the pedestrian activity?
Like strip malls, there are cars and parking lots. Lots of them.
Look at the traffic in area surrounding Birkdale Village. I wish I could have gotten better photos, but there really isn't anyway for a pedestrian to get down onto these streets.
I was going to take a photo of the nearby movie theatre that just closed (less than 3 years old) because it could not compete with the movie theatre shown above. But the traffic is so bad that it would have taken me another 10 minutes to get to it so I said what the hell and went home. Other businesses in the area have closed as well.
Personally I don't think this is any better than a strip mall and stamping it with the title of "New Urbanism" is just a smoke screen to hide what it really is. What do you think?