Duany's critics like to focus on his design of "new towns" like Seaside, criticizing their "instant" artificiality. But Duany and his collaborators are still seeking the key to a deeper revival, both in the suburbs (where, as Duany notes, most new development occurs, and should hardly be ignored) and equally in the abandoned city. Duany believes that it is not enough to swoop in and plant swell modernist buildings in an existing downtown, and that what is needed above all is a process of revival.
But as our interview made clear, Duany believes more will be needed than charrettes and well-meaning civic leaders. What is needed now, he thinks, is nothing less than an overhaul of the technocratic culture, beginning with zoning codes.
Duany's latest Herculean effort is a new model zoning code called the SmartCode, developed after four and a half years of intensive work: "by far the most difficult thing I have ever done", he says. The SmartCode is based on his work, with his brother Douglas, on an analytical tool called the Transect. The notion, developed by Sir Patrick Geddes in the early 1900's and refined by the Duany brothers, is that urbanism occurs across a spectrum from urban center to rural wilderness, and that any system of zoning must account for that structure.
Thanks to The Practice of New Urbanism