America's Great New Towns

Neal Peirce believes that two new developments provide good models for how the nation's communities can be both environment-friendly and economically successful.

Both communities have roots in the New Urbanist movement of focused neighborhood development; famed architect Peter Calthorpe played a role in Prairie Crossing's design while Andres Duany was Habersham's planner. Houses are closer together, open and shared space more prevalent, the layout walkable. Both are developing attractive town centers for shops and civic functions. But it is how the communities are tied to the natural environment that strikes one the most.

Full Story: Great New Towns: Gift To The Nation



Low Density "Transit-Oriented Development"

Prairie Crossing sounds great, for those who can afford to live there.

Instead of 3,000 tract homes that would be inhabited by suburbanites who would then have a rail-transit option, the region gets 400 homes and a sustainable farm, right at the junction of two commuter rail lines. Whatever happened to "Density"?

Where are the other 2,600 houses going to be built?

Charter schools are sexy, but why doesn't Prairie Crossing support local public schools?

The development may be environmentally sustainable, but seems to be another example of planners skimming the cream and leaving the real work -- providing affordable middle-income housing -- to others.

It's nothing to brag about.

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