What is the Future for Tradititional Neighborhood Design?

John Handley looks at the popularity of New Urbanism over the past two decades and asks whether traditional neighborhood design will continue to flourish in the 21st century, as the housing market rebounds.
April 2, 2012, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Handley survey's the early successes of new urbanism, including Seaside and the more than 600 projects nationwide that have been influenced by its principles, and the recent slowdown in such projects as the economy ground to a halt.

Despite the recent dry spell, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk is confident in the movement's staying power: "The new urbanism product has maintained its value, and going forward there will absolutely be a resurgence. New urbanism is still a model for the future. It's exactly what the boomers want."

While John McIlwain, senior fellow for housing at the Urban Land Institute, agrees with the premise that new urbanism will continue to influence new housing development, he sees a shift in its product types and characteristic design features, as the market moves towards more dense development.

"Going forward, there will be changes in new urbanism, and it will continue to be part of master-planned communities. Some core elements will remain, but characteristics like front porches may become marginal," McIlwain said. "Expect future new urbanism projects to include more rental, high-rises and open spaces, but fewer single-family homes."

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Published on Friday, March 30, 2012 in Chicago Tribune
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