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Thread: New suburbanism vs. new urbanism

  1. #1
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    New suburbanism vs. new urbanism

    which do you prefer? do you think new suburbanism is good?

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Whats the difference besides symantics?
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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    "Good" in what sense?

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    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    I think both can work hand-in-hand to improve the quality of life for people and meet market demands for built environments (whether residential or commercial or both). Not everyone wants to live in an urban center. Not everyone wants to live in a suburban environment. So why not push for both where appropriate, as both are better than mindless sprawl.

    I will say, though, that the leaders of New Urbanism have embraced the market-oriented nature of their vision much more logically than proponents of New Suburbanism. New Suburbanism leaders tend to rely on tired reasoning about market patterns and migration, in terms of built environments, without really looking at other factors such as cost of living, economic opportunity (or lack thereof), etc., in making their claims other than in the context of some pretty strong assumptions. In this way, New Suburbanism is more of a reaction against New Urbanism, or the notion or nomenclature of "urbanism" in general, than it is a sound development philosophy or movement.

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    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I have to admit I wasn't familiar with the term "new suburbanism", though reading up a little bit it seems like an obvious choice of words. It seems to me that new suburbanism is the practice of cherry picking the great ideas and patterns from traditional neighborhoods, new urban ideas and smart growth principles and making them inform "suburban" development to the best degree possible. Am I misunderstanding that, or aren't both really cosmically meant to co-exist?
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I think both can work hand-in-hand to improve the quality of life for people and meet market demands for built environments (whether residential or commercial or both). Not everyone wants to live in an urban center. Not everyone wants to live in a suburban environment. So why not push for both where appropriate, as both are better than mindless sprawl.

    I will say, though, that the leaders of New Urbanism have embraced the market-oriented nature of their vision much more logically than proponents of New Suburbanism. New Suburbanism leaders tend to rely on tired reasoning about market patterns and migration, in terms of built environments, without really looking at other factors such as cost of living, economic opportunity (or lack thereof), etc., in making their claims other than in the context of some pretty strong assumptions. In this way, New Suburbanism is more of a reaction against New Urbanism, or the notion or nomenclature of "urbanism" in general, than it is a sound development philosophy or movement.
    Good comment. In my view NS is merely a new label slapped on a PUD. Surely we want more sustainable patterns and a closing of the live-work gap. Whatever gets us there is good, whatever you call it.

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I always thought I was original and came up with the term New Suburbanism when I was trying to make a snide comment about a new residential subdivision (with this new, unique concept of detached garages in the rear! ), mixed use development, and faux downtown being plopped down in the middle of a corn field 30 miles away from where anybody who will be able to afford to live there will be working.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    New Suburbanism can be good IF DONE CORRECTLY. Given the choice between traditional suburban development or NU-light, I'll take the NU light. At least with it you are building the bones to create a viable urban environment. Also, keep in mind that in many cases they aren't going further with NU because of local ordinances. That said, you also have developers that are afraid to go all-in with NU or are cherry-picking just enough to get enough parsley on the pig to justify some concession from the city, whether that be relaxed drainage requirements, increased lot density, etc. Also, New Suburbanism is often the result of development codes that don't deal with infill well, forcing creative NU designs out to the easier-to-develop hinterlands.

    There's give & take with the NU and NS concepts. I've long been vocal about my concerns that 90% of NU projects I've seen are playgrounds for the wealthy and fail to achieve any mixed incomes. NS comes closer to achieving that, but sacrifices some aspects of NU to get there, particularly location and mixed uses. The best they can hope for is that they have space available and a flexible plan that can handle development of retail & office uses along with vertical residential density. Plum Creek in Kyle, TX comes to mind as a New Suburbanism project.

    "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)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I always thought I was original and came up with the term New Suburbanism when I was trying to make a snide comment about a new residential subdivision (with this new, unique concept of detached garages in the rear! ), mixed use development, and faux downtown being plopped down in the middle of a corn field 30 miles away from where anybody who will be able to afford to live there will be working.
    Sometimes I like being the academic around here...

    Vince Scully used the term in his chapter in Peter Katz's book, New Urbanism in 1993. Scully was commenting on the fact that so many of new urbanist projects were outside of ciites.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
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    I've long been vocal about my concerns that 90% of NU projects I've seen are playgrounds for the wealthy and fail to achieve any mixed incomes..

    I was at a session at the APA conference in New Orleans where it was said that each one point increase in a place's Walkscore index results in a $600 - $3,000 increase in housing prices. Part of the problem is that these places are so much in demand and there aren't enough of them

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    Are edge cities an example of new suburbanism like Irvine and other communities in the OC? What about college towns? With their mix-used projects, walkable downtowns, and eco-friendliness?

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    Are edge cities an example of new suburbanism like Irvine and other communities in the OC? What about college towns? With their mix-used projects, walkable downtowns, and eco-friendliness?
    Edge cities predate the 'walkable' era. You should read the book 'Edge Cities' by Joel Gearreau (sp). Many strides have been made however to reverse this and make them to be walkable. I would think that what I've seen in OC is definitely not the norm. My sister works in an edge city by Santa Anna/John Wayne/Orange County Airport and the environment there is great for walking. You can't say that about the majority of these places that I have seen in the Midwest, East, Phoenix, or Las Vegas (though the LV Blvd strip works amazingly well, with more effort being given to get people into the casinos than to let them leave).
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Cyburbian
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    When I think of New Suburbanism I think of Rick Harrison's coving work and Randall Arendt's conservation subdivisions. The developments are more attractive than the cookie cutter style and more environmentally sensitive I think. And are at least honest about not trying to be a new urbanist design - as opposed to the co-opting of the term for developments with clapboard siding and front porches but nothing much else in the way of real new urbanist design.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    The point about Conservation Subdivisions is very well taken, and as with all planning concepts the watered-down derivitives of conservation subdivision zoning are starting to creep into the mix as well. You can't see it but I'm applauding you from here.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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