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Thread: The failure of 'new urbanism'

  1. #51
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tobinn View post
    My question is, Are great places made or do they just happen? Or is it a bit of both?

    ...

    Perhaps we, as planners, need to concentrate less on making great places and more on allowing great places to occur.
    I agree to an extent, the issue being that part of the plan should be to ensure cr*ppy places aren't slapped up and walked away from in such a scheme.

  2. #52
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    This editorial argues that one of the main failures of NU was that it never reconciled theory/concepts with the planning processes of local government. Isn't this kind of embarrassing to admit?
    http://bettercities.net/news-opinion...99s-blind-spot

  3. #53
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    I have been looking around these forums to try to find a dissertation topic to do this year. After reading the first page of this thread i think i'm going to explore the effectiveness of NU principles in Australian communities. A lot of the points raised have been really interesting.

  4. #54
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    My master's thesis had a similar conclusion for a specific application. Overall it said that traditional zoning with improved design standards would result in a better application of the future land use plan.
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  5. #55
    Cyburbian Doohickie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Now, I know that there are successful cases of New Urbanism. However, in every successful case I've seen, they happen where there is enough market demand for developers to build the dense environments required (e.g. Arlington, VA).
    When you say Arlington, I assume you're thinking of areas like Crystal City and Pentagon City. I travel there for work occasionally.

    Back home in Fort Worth, there is some support for urbanism (I won't say it matches precisely the definition of "New Urbanism" but lots of talk of density, walkability, mixed use, renewal of old neighborhoods, etc.) Near the urban core, high-ish density is the norm (downtown, near southside, uptown, near westside (West 7th)). But when I say "high-ish" I mean mixed use or areas with a lot of multifamily with other uses mixed in, but the multifamily buildings don't typically exceed 3 or 4 stories outside of downtown proper.

    I know in Crystal City/Pentagon City, a lot of the residences are 10 stories or so.

    So is Ft Worth falling short of New Urbanism on the scale of Arlington, VA?

    I currently live the suburban sprawl of 1980s vintage single family homes about 10 miles from downtown. My wife and I are pretty close to being empty nesters, but we do have a couple of dogs and a cat. She's hesitant to move to multifamily because of the pets. Having experienced Crystal City, I'm more open to the idea of real urban life. If I talk to my coworkers though, especially the ones my age (50s), very few aspire to live in an urban setting, and for people just starting out, it's very difficult to afford the New Urban lifestyle (as I understand it) unless they have fairly high-end professional job. And it's even worse for people raising families.

    I guess the bottom line is that urban, high-density living only comes about by necessity. Fort Worth still generally supports a long commute from the suburbs, so given the choice people would rather spread out than crowd in. Plus there's enough variety of neighborhoods and price ranges in the existing single family housing stock that people can find what they want in a neighborhood they can live in (with prices from less than $100k to more than $1 million). It seems that much of the urban living type housing is high-end. So only the wealthy can afford it. Combine that with concerns about Ft Worth ISD schools (many of which are unfounded in that a lot of the problems people point to exist just as much in the suburban districts) and families prefer not to live in high density situations.

    I guess my complaint is that urban housing in Fort Worth tends to be either very high end or old shabby Section 8 stuff, with little in between, and the density isn't truly high density (compared to somewhere like Crystal City).

    Ft Worth is a fast-growing city though, and that necessity I mentioned earlier may be upon us more quickly than city leaders may realize. So what should Ft Worth be doing *now* to make sure they can accommodate coming population growth?

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