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Thread: Best place to learn about new urbanism?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Best place to learn about new urbanism?

    I am a student going into Urban Planning and I see the phrase New Urbanism frequently on cyburbia. It seems like no one on here cleary defines it and that may be because it doesn't have a distinct definition. Where would be the best place to get more info on it? What type of people support it and who is against it? Is it related to gentrification at all? If possible, I would like to check out a book or two on it.

    Thanks guys

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    My first instinct, if you are looking for web-based information, is the Congress for the New Urbanism Website.

    It will give you the positive spin on it. There are other resources providing criticisms of New Urbanism, but for some reason nothing is popping into my head as a "go to" source.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Don't limit yourself to books and websites. Visit the places that they espouse as models: Manhattan, Old Town Alexandria, The French Quarter of New Orleans, Charleston, S.C., Paris...the list goes on. I think it is helpful to spend time in those places in order to really get it.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    If you're in Toledo, you might want to check out the Cherry Hill Village project in Canton (not strict NU, given their pod-like street layout, but it's still designed with some TND principles), and Mason Run in Monroe. (There should be photos of both developments in the Gallery.) Unfortunately, there's very little NU development on the Ohio side of the border.

  5. #5

    Visit them. They exist everywhere

    I visited most of the built New Urbanist developments in Florida in 2995 & 2006. New Urbanism is killing itself as developers use it as a way to build higher densities without amenities. See the presentation on Florida New Urbanism at http://picasaweb.google.com/AestheticGrounds

    Glenn Weiss
    Senior Planner, Coral Springs, Florida

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    I think you have to seaparate TNDs/ and "supposed" NU 'developments' from actual dense urbanism (the label "new" in NU does not help in that, as most Cyburbia posters know, it's actually "old" or "pre-car-is-everything" urbanism).

    I think Europe and the older (I mean pre-1900) parts of American cities are what you want to look at.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by rsmith23 View post
    I am a student going into Urban Planning and I see the phrase New Urbanism frequently on cyburbia. It seems like no one on here cleary defines it and that may be because it doesn't have a distinct definition. Where would be the best place to get more info on it?
    ..........
    If possible, I would like to check out a book or two on it.
    The general breakdown.

    West Coast/environmental NU: emphasizes transit accessibility, walkability, and environmental sustainability. See Peter Calthorpe et al, The Next American Metropolis

    East Coast/traditional NU: emphasizes "traditional community" and aesthetics. See Duany et al, Suburban Nation.

    Note that these are broad generalizations, that the geographic markers point to the origin of these strands but that either may exist on either coast (or elsewhere), and that it is a matter of emphasis. For example, walkable neighborhoods may loom large on both radars, but to a community NU-ist, it will be all about stopping to talk to neighbors on the front porch, while for the environmental NU-ist it will be about a low-carbon-footprint form of transportation.

    I would highly suggest checking out the living examples of these built environments. For environmental NU, see transit-oriented developments such as Fruitvale in West Oakland, CA or Orenco in Portland, OR. For traditional NU, see Seaside or Celebration (in Florida) or Kentlands, MD.

    Also, you should definitely visit as many "old urbanist" places you can. For reference, Suburban Nation is littered with references to these places. It is illuminating to visit old urban, new urban, and suburban sprawl environments after reading this book so you know what to look for.

    What type of people support it and who is against it?
    Support: either people who believe that the status quo of urban/suburban development is on the whole negative, and that NU can solve these problems (be they ecological, aesthetic, or the breakdown of "community"). Or people who believe they can profit by hyping their development projects as fulfilling the promises of NU.

    Against:

    The libertarian argument, which states that the status quo of suburban sprawl development is the outcome of consumer choice, and therefore no effort should be made to curtail it.

    The conservative argument, sometimes related to above, also adding that suburban sprawl represents the "American Dream" and any criticism of it is simply un-American.

    For these two, search for articles by Wendell Cox or Randy O'Toole on google.

    Academic arguments which either run that the idea of enforcing "community" on people is dangerous and conformist, or that NU is guilty of "physical determinism" by focusing on purely architectural or urban design solutions to structural/economic problems.

    Performance-based arguments, which accept the aims of NU, but argue that NU has been unsuccessful at actually achieving these aims. For example, when you actually look at these places, they are built on greenfields at the metropolitan edge, they do not balance jobs and housing, they are only affordable to the very rich, and nobody walks or uses transit. See, e.g.
    Walkable suburbs?: An evaluation of neotraditional communities at the urban edge
    Southworth, Michael
    American Planning Association. Journal of the American Planning Association; Winter 1997

    I think that should get you started.

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by unless View post
    The general breakdown.

    West Coast/environmental NU: emphasizes transit accessibility, walkability, and environmental sustainability. See Peter Calthorpe et al, The Next American Metropolis
    [snip]
    I'm not big on "me too!" posts, but I wanted to say that it was an excellent analysis. I might use it to amend the "new urbanist" section of the wiki. (Others can edit the article, too.) Thanks for posting it!

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