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Is New Urbanism 'Antiseptic'?

Columnist Michael Paul Williams of the Times-Dispatch worries that the planned New Urbanist development in Roseland, VA will turn out to be 'as antiseptic as a theme park."

"Once upon a time, suburbanites wanted no reminder of the city they'd left behind. But now, ersatz urbanism is in vogue.

"You can find them all around the country now," said John Accordino, an associate professor of urban studies and regional planning at Virginia Commonwealth University.

This is not your father's subdivision. The suburban landscape is changing.

"I think a number of factors have brought us to a point where people are saying the suburban model of the immediate postwar period of the '50s, '60s and '70s has run its course," Accordino said.

Tastes changed. "Developers are trying to re-create mixed-use communities with character and walkability."

But character, like taste, is acquired; it can't be drawn up in a blueprint. What makes cities distinctive -- their age, history, culture and communities -- cannot be instantly replicated."

Full Story: New urbanism can't hide need for regionalism

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