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Would you want to live in an new urbanist neighborhood?

Would you live in a new urbanist neighborhood?

  • Absolutely!

    Votes: 16 18.8%
  • Yes, but only if I can paint my garage neon orange

    Votes: 8 9.4%
  • Yes, but only if it was more affordable

    Votes: 20 23.5%
  • Yes, but only if it was an infill development

    Votes: 21 24.7%
  • No way! New urbanism... it's not new and it's not urban!

    Votes: 20 23.5%

  • Total voters
    85
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Dan

Dear Leader
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#21
Journeymouse wrote:
Anyhoo, England's latest answer to (sub?)urban development is Beddington Zero (Fossil) Energy Development, where you can still live in a box identical to your neighbours but you can feel smug because you know you're (allegedly) contributing to sustainable development.
I'm looking at that one bedroom flat ... my gawd, I've got two bedrooms in my house that are larger than that entire flat! I've taken tours of government-built maquiladora worker housing in Juarez, where there was far more living space provided than in Beddington Zero. Yes, I would rather live in a high-quality small house than a generic large house, but I still need a bit of room to stretch, to play with the dog, to hold a party. I know land costs in London are expensive, but what about overall construction costs? Would I break the bank if I were to buy a 1,500 square foot house out past Milton Keynes?

As far as New Urbanism goes ... yeah, I'll take it over the cul-de-sac that my house sits on now. I'm in loop n' lollypop land, more than a mile from any commercial uses. However, I live in the sprawl not by choice, but out of necessity -- I can't afford any of the New Urbanist developments around here, and besides, they're all too far from work. The only "old urban" area within a reasonable commuting distance of my job is rather run-down, and dominated by residents of a Caucasian rural Southern cultural orientation. I'd prefer not to live next door to someone with a collection of "project cars" on their lawn, or with a big "3" painted on their garage door.

(The view from my cul-de-sac ...)
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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#22
New Urbanism

Hey, Dan, at least Florida development has not been completely designed by the engineers! Your street looks downright quaint compared to the "It has to be wide enough to drive three full-size fire trucks parallel during an earthquake" lovelies we see out here in "pave it all" California :) God, I hate our residential street standards!

These streets just bake during the summer.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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#23
Oh, and while I don't live in one of those subdivisions, my "mixed" income neighborhood has one lovely property that has featured:

*a large "backyard wrestling" ring (in the front yard, of course.)

*completely diassembled vehicles

* a dog kept in a chain link kennel (that loves to bark at my dogs.)

* The latest joy: a nine-foot tall plywood "wall" spray-painted with "Keep Out" behind which lies an amazing accumulation of junked auto parts and assorted detritus.

They are actually kinda nice folks (the kid is just enough, though, that I expect to see the police cruisers parked in fromt more regularly during the next couple years)

Oh well, still prefer it to some manicured subdivision where busybody neighbors walk around measuring the height of the grass :)
 
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#25
I currently live in a NU area of Portland, OR called the Pearl District, which is adjacent to Downtown. There are both afforadable and market priced apartments, but the majority of the units are expensive. It looks nice, but just a little too sterile for my tastes. All the shops are overpeiced boutique and furniture stores with nothing I would buy. And the grocery stores are the healthy and organic types. It's just too expensive for me. The nearest regular grocery store is a mile away. In fact, I find myself driving to the suburbs to buy my goods, as I can find better deals there. I never ever do my shopping in this area. I can see why people would want to live in a NU environment, but as for myself, I prefer a long established neighborhood that has been built gradually instead of a very short period of time. I guess NU neighborhoods are geared more towards the upper-middle-class.

I am semi-impressed with downtown Portland. It is small and compact. But theres just something missing. I can't put my finger on it. I think it's the density. There are pockets of people here and there, but it's very sparse. I don't know, you'll have to visit to know what I mean.
 
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#26
I've spent a good deal of time in Portland. It is a great city, but I do know what you mean about the downtown. I will walk out of my downtown hotel at night expecting there to be shops open, but even the coffee shops are closed by seven.

There are some really nice neighborhoods outside of the downtown, and even the strip development is much more compact than you see in our neck of the prairies.
 
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#29
why the hell not?
I wouldn't mind living in a NU neighborhood. I don't mind walking to stores or to work or nearby things. heck, when I was in the US I did that...of course I lived in a town and I was near school and shops. And in NJ! and within the NYC metro area(wel a reasonable distance, must have been like 30 miles or something like that...). for the ones interested I lived in Nutley,NJ. It is near Passaic, NJ. by car it was like an hour away from NYC (taking the lincoln tunnel).
 

ecofem

Cyburbian
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#30
I don't know about you guys... but I'd rather live in an Old Ubranist neighborhood... i.e... historic neighborhoods which the "New Urbanist" communities take their inspiration (sometimes) from.
 
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#31
It would depend on the type of NU development, I would not want to live in a 100% residential community.

Personally I would prefer a new highrise condo, 50-storeys up, near transit, surrounded by retail, cafes, clubs, bars...

I really hate having to drive everywhere, cutting grass, shovling snow and removing the crap that collects on the roof.
 

Jeff

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#32
SkeLeton said:
why the hell not?
I wouldn't mind living in a NU neighborhood. I don't mind walking to stores or to work or nearby things. heck, when I was in the US I did that...of course I lived in a town and I was near school and shops. And in NJ! and within the NYC metro area(wel a reasonable distance, must have been like 30 miles or something like that...). for the ones interested I lived in Nutley,NJ. It is near Passaic, NJ. by car it was like an hour away from NYC (taking the lincoln tunnel).
I hate to break it to you buddy, but NJ isn't there anymore. We cut all the bridges and let it float away into the Atlantic.

As for me...I live in "Historic Roxborough/Manayunk" an "old" urbanist neighborhood. I can walk to anything I want, I can take the bus, the train, ride my bike...the Art Museum is a jog away, downtown is a $5.00 cab ride...

I think you get my drift. No matter how hard you try, you aren't ever going to replicate living in "the city."
 

BKM

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#33
But I bet, Mike, living in the City you can't live on a street named "Whispering Oaks Lane." Beat That!
 
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#34
I would consider living in a new urbanist community. But ,as a person who doesn't drive it would have to be one which ignores the planning codes of the last 60-70 years. Many NU developers know better than to fight our planning codes, and those that try can only claim partial success.

I would like to live in an apartment where my rent doesn't subsidize other people's off street parking spaces. Besides, places with garages or surface lots for every store and apartment have more auto traffic and less pedestrian traffic.

I would like to live in a neighborhood of mostly thin streets. One with on, not off street parking with it's sidewalk cutouts.
I would like to live in a place with connected streets (and sidewalks) so that I can walk or bike directly to where I'm going. I don't want to live in a pod surrounded by empty parks, office parks or highways and arterials. It's no fun biking down an arterial, or on a mile detour around some open space or empty industrial zone.

I would like to live as close as possible to a variety of stores,(small grocer, laundromat, bodega, 99cent store, restaurant, video....) The smaller and closer the local schools the better. It would also be important for me to be located on great transit, not infrequent buses or 1 way expensive commuter trains.

These conditions abound in pre 1940's New York and Chicago neighborhoods. Unfortunately new developments in these neighborhoods are done according to the new codes and so strip malls , box stores, setbacks, freeways and single zoned areas have been eroding pedestrian friendliness and the vitality of communities. Until we change our codes and spending priorities you can expect public transportation to fail, and NU communities to be auto centric.
 
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#35
My town has some nice NU infill developments that I would live in if I could afford it. They're in excellent locations within short walking distance of transit (to NYC), which in my part of the country means they are expensive.

They're a nice mix of rentals, multi-family, and single family dwellings. My only criticism is aesthetic. They're in the typical red-brick neo-colonial style, complete with cuppolas and non-functional vinyl window shutters. While it's better than what was there before --an abandonned car dealership, derilect industrial/commercial sites, a fire-damaged schoolhouse -- developers need to realize that there is a market for more interesting architecture, especially in the cosmopolitan suburbs of major cities.

That's my main problem with new urbanism in general (aside from the fact that it's not new at all). Too often, it's a blueprint for theme park architecture. Towns like mine, which have plenty of "old urbanism," as somebody put it, can absorb NU development and still have some character. For those communities with no urbanist heritage, New Urbanism has little to offer aesthetically.
 

BKM

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#36
Hey, dbh: Have you seen anything about a development outside Denver called Prospect (in Longmont, Colorado). Kiki Wallace did just what you suggested: some pretty outrageous houses on a New Urbanist grid. Doesn't have the full complement of transit or other desirable New Urbanist features, but pretty interesting.
 
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#38
If done right, why not

If a new urbanist community is done right, it should have a little of everything with in walking distance, or access to public transportaion to get to where you need to go. So there should be no need for a car, and the interaction with other people is what will make it great.
 

jresta

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#39
I would rather live in an "old urbanist" community - more or less like the victorian era railroad suburb i grew up in.

I've seen these "NU" communities with nothing but housing - but guess what? They're not New Urbanist. They have a few TND conceits but other than that don't amount to much. I think as long as you have the same developers going back and forth between subdivisions and these places you are going to wind up with crap. NU is great as long as it is infill or will be big enough to be relatively self contained. Daniel's Island in Charleston, SC impressed me.

As far as them being too expensive - i think that is more a product of demand. When more developers get in on the act I think the prices will come down and the quality of the design will go up.
 

biscuit

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#40
jresta said:
Daniel's Island in Charleston, SC impressed me.
I received my undergrad in Charleston and Daniel Island was studied in minutia,(I even did a killer GIS project on native displacement there). and one thing that would prevent me from living there, or any simular NU community , is the loss of idividual control. The neighborhod design guideline handbook is about 3" thick and restricts every detail of life there, including which style of mailbox you could buy (from a short and EXPENSIVE list) to not allowing basketball goals in driveways. I live in a beautiful very Old Urbanist neighborhood and there are basketball goals all over the place.

Daniel Island is better than 99.9% of other suburbs in Charleston, but it has that ridiculous level of control found in other sub-divisions that prohibits the individual character that traditionally defines urban areas.
 
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