Sustaining the New Urbanism

New urbanists ponder how they can adapt to the new economic climate and avoid the fate of their predecessors.

"As the economy and the development industry endure the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, new urbanists are worried about suffering the same fate as their heroes. The likes of John Nolen, Raymond Unwin, and the Olmsted brothers were at the top of the planning profession from 1900 through 1930. Then came the Depression. 'After the fiasco of the crash, they never worked again,' said author James Howard Kunstler when he visited Seaside, Florida, to accept the Seaside Prize. 'Andres [Duany] has always been keenly aware of this dynamic. It has haunted me, too.'

The 1920s were a time of bubbles bursting, starting in 1926 with Florida real estate, which wiped out George Merrick, the developer of Coral Gables, said Seaside developer Robert Davis, at an event put on by the Seaside Institute. He noted the similarity to recent years. 'Our bubble [on the Florida panhandle] was burst a couple of years before the national bubble, after the hurricane [Katrina],' he said.

But there are significant differences in what new urbanists face today and what buried the early 20th Century planners and developers."

Thanks to Renee Gayle

Full Story: Sustaining the New Urbanism

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