A Manifesto for New Urbanism's Next Movement

Building on one of the reverberating themes from this month's CNU 20 in West Palm Beach, Joe Nickol proposes the path of evolution for a movement that has become the new norm, but may have overlooked some critical issues in the process.

At the outset of his essay, Nickol takes an opportunity to survey what New Urbanism has managed to accomplish over the thirty years of its ascendance.

"In standing back and looking at what we have accomplished together, we can confidently say that the theory has largely proved to be correct. Over the course of the last thirty years, we have firmly established mixed use, walkability and neighborhood structure as the new paradigm for development in lieu of suburban sprawl. This is no small effort and because of it we can stand atop these accomplishments and see what is out there as our next series of challenges begin to emerge."

For Nickol, those challenges begin in the "middle section of the built landscape between first tier cities and suburbia," where the principles of New Urbanism have rarely been adopted or applied.

"It is amazing that even in a time when we face such dramatic disruptions to our economic and environmental health, we've let the idea fester that our old cities, towns, and neighborhoods-evolved over centuries-are either too difficult to work in or not up to the task of making strong and prosperous communities."

"We have the great opportunity and responsibility to leverage what we have learned through building in a controlled, lab-like setting of our new towns, resort towns, and edge towns and get back to the urban field to begin the monumental task of regenerating our cities, towns, and neighborhoods."

Full Story: New Urbanism's Pivot Point

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A follow up to the Manifesto

All,
Since publishing the "Manifesto", we have begun exploring ways to gauge the honest potential for survival and revival of these second and third tier towns and cities. We have posited that such places fill the exploratory void between the return to our tier 1, gateway cities and the suburban retrofit movement that attempts to repair our post war creations. These second and third tier prewar cities are big enough to matter while small enough to be affected by change we can afford.

One such town is Braddock, PA, the birthplace of US Steel corporation outside of Pittsburgh.Once a thriving town of 20,000, it has suffered a 95% population loss yet maintains an urban fabric we are proposing is worth recolonizing. While Braddock is our first exploration, there are likely scores of braddocks around the induatrialized world worth considering for repopulating. It is our generation's next frontier. Here's a link to the follow up article:

http://www.street-sense.org/streettalk/2012/5/21/new-american-frontier-t...

Another video we put together chronicling our earlier town visit can be found here: http://streetsense.squarespace.com/streettalk/2012/4/29/conversations-wi...

This Initiative is in its infancy as we start to meet with the town, it's mayor, John Fetterman, and begin to frame an approach to how New Urbanists and our generation in general will engage these places. Stay tuned!

www.street_sense.org

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