beyond new urbanism

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    Trace One

    I like that, Jason! I am an Old Urbanist. hee hee!!!
    It’s true these NU principles are just more colors on the zoning plat..Our entire economy is based on new construction, and that has really got to stop..Zero growth economics! Not a new idea at all..


    Many of the concepts are sound, but in practice, they are essentially just fancy suburbs. Not transit oriented, not walk to work (for a vast majority of residents),

    I pretty much agree. Just because a neighborhood uses NU principles doesn’t mean it should be transit oriented or even ultra dense.

    and usually with a density that makes them uncomfortable to maximize profit.

    So, we should continue building neighborhoods that work best for the builder first?

    And holy crap are they expensive. Most are built on greenfield sites well out of developed areas. And you still have to drive to get most places. part of the issue is zoning, which allows for only certain building types with certain densities. And the architecture leaves a lot to be desired.

    Relatively speaking, I’m sure many NU neighborhoods are more expensive. But what does that mean in an environment where houses are manufactured so cheaply? The architecture leaves a lot to be desired? And the typical freeway suburb doesn’t? Are most typical freeway suburbs not built on greenfields and other less desirable land for development?

    Undoubtedly, some, if not most NU projects contribute to sprawl, but for me if I have a choice between designing cul de sacs and 40 foot streets versus narrower streets and thoughtfully planned, functional open space the choice seems like a no-brainer. Certainly, there is a place for both types and everything in between, that’s why I advocate for site-based design and planning. So many suburbs seem designed for plug and chug national builders rather than the community. ALl I’m saying is some of the NU stuff seems like it’s going in the right direction compared to the typical suburb.

    If you really want to be new urbanist, you really should be OLD urbanist.

    I know, I get it. But what if a client comes to you with 150 acre greenfield site that they want to develop? You should refuse the work or do the best with what you’re given? Then, what is the best we can do?


    Actually, NU is based around the use of Form-Based Code, No? Transects instead of single use zones, right? Or are they not interchangeable?

    Trace One

    Yes, form-based, transect, but I dont think the planners let go of their markers for this, Nick….

    Roland Beinert

    Yes, it’s a good point that old neighborhoods need to be reclaimed. By now many of the older neighborhoods are just older sprawl. Neighborhoods that existed before sprawl are rare, because a lot was torn down to make way for car-oriented development and growth was so fast. If you want to reclaim the older suburbs, then it makes sense to change their zoning and apply smart growth ideas to them. The concepts can and should be applied to any neighborhood, new or old, call it what you want.

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