Tuesday, August 19, 2003

New Urbanism
Here is an interesting flash presentation detailing the growing architectural and development planning theory called New Urbanism. In essence, there is nothing new about New Urbanism. Indeed, what looks like New Urbanism is in fact a modern gloss of an older time when development was either urban or rural and not much suburban in between. Think of the current trend in major league baseball stadium construction where the new parks in Baltimore, San Francisco, Pittsburgh look like the ballparks of old in terms of aesthetics but incorporate modern considerations having to do with customer amenities, seating space, concourse and aisle layouts, sightlines, etc. I think in some respects this is a fair representation of some of the aesthetical considerations within New Urbanism.

New Urbanism scales itself on a more human interactive level than one that is scaled for the automobile. In effect, everything within the universe that is subject to New Urbanism has to be walkable rather than driveable.

Personally, I applaud the approach of New Urbanism, but only in respect that it is a direction chosen by those involved. I say this because its easy to confuse New Urbanism with Smart Growth initiatives, which while they may involve similar aspects regarding land usage are different in their intent. New Urbanism is mainly an aesthetic whereas Smart Growth is a regulation. New Urbanism boasts what it can build. Smart Growth boasts what it prohibits from being built.

For those interested, here are more links on New Urbanism.


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