New Urbanism

Blog post
July 7, 2009, 5pm PDT

A few weeks ago, I read an online comment suggesting that unnamed "planners" displayed no interest in suburbia, single-family housing or family life, and instead are only interested in improving downtown neighborhoods for single people. If by "planners" the author of this comment meant new urbanists or critics of the sprawl status quo, this claim is simply incorrect.

Over the past month, I have visited half a dozen new urbanist developments in Dallas and Denver (1). All of these developments have a few things in common: all include both retail and residential uses, and all strive for walkability by providing sidewalks and narrow, gridded streets. But the developments differ in two other respects: geography and housing type.

Michael Lewyn
June 23, 2009, 2pm PDT
Returning from CNU, James Howard Kunstler reacts to a NY Times article about California's high-speed rail plans, and reflects on New Urbanism's shift away from traditional-neighborhood developments and into preparing for the 'long emergency'.
Kunstler.com
June 19, 2009, 2pm PDT
The Lighthouse at Long Island is a proposed 5.5 million sq. ft. of mixed-use development covering 150 acres of Nassau County. The developers see it as a new form of smart growth suburbia.
The New York Times
June 18, 2009, 1pm PDT
Portland, Oregon sees the revival of building styles not seen since the last time streetcars rolled through the city.
The Oregonian
Blog post
June 12, 2009, 8pm PDT

Reporting from CNU 17 in Denver, where the thundercracks shook the Sheraton at various points throughout the day. Somehow though I've managed to be outside only when the sun is out.

Tim Halbur
Blog post
June 10, 2009, 7pm PDT

The conference bags handed out to the attendees of the 2007 National Planning conference in Philadelphia had four words printed on one side: value, choice, engagement, community. The words echo the long mission statement of the American Planning Association, evidence of what I described last year as the pragmatic position of the profession that refrains from making a larger argument about the form of the city. Here's a taste:

"Our collaborative efforts will continue to result in great success for APA and the vital communities we strive to support, and APA members will continue to help create communities of lasting value. We value choice and community engagement, diversity, inclusion and social equity."

Since then, a new program from the organization and other evidence may suggest a subtle shift in professional values now underway.

Robert Goodspeed
June 10, 2009, 1pm PDT
In preparation for CNU 17 in Denver, the hometown paper published three op-eds on the importance of new urbanism, how it is changing development throughout the country, Denver's stellar role in it, and examples of it being put to use in the region.
The Denver Post
May 29, 2009, 6am PDT
Alamo Heights, a suburb of San Antonio, grapples with whether to adopt a "New Urbanist" (but slightly more traditional) approach to its major thoroughfare to improve pedestrian and bicycle access.
San Antonio Express-News
May 17, 2009, 1pm PDT
Rick Harrison argues that smart growth looks good on paper, but in application the density creates a whole host of problems.
New Geography
May 6, 2009, 1pm PDT
Reporter Ben Adler travels to Leesburg, VA without a car and reports on the difficulties he experiences getting around. In comparison, Ben walks with ease around Kentlands, a New Urbanist development in Maryland.
The American Prospect
May 2, 2009, 1pm PDT
DOT and HUD announce a joint effort to merge land use and planning to improve livability. CNU's John Norquist comments on the merger.
New Urban News
April 27, 2009, 2pm PDT
Disability-rights activists have criticized New Urbanists for raising entrances above ground level, which hampers accessibility. The 'Lifelong Communities' charrette in Atlanta found the two groups mending ways.
New Urban News
April 26, 2009, 9am PDT
Virginia recently announced new rules governing the connectivity and width of streets. Some new urbanists bemoan that they may have muffed an opportunity to make the new standards even better.
New Urban News
March 25, 2009, 7am PDT
When Andres Duany planned the village of Cornell, he built in walkability, density, and mixed-use. The outcome, however, falls short of the New Urbanist vision; driving is the norm and retail is scarce. What happened?
Posted Toronto
March 25, 2009, 5am PDT
New urbanists ponder how they can adapt to the new economic climate and avoid the fate of their predecessors.
New Urban News
March 23, 2009, 1pm PDT
In these austere times, some urbanists are advocating greater use of the traditional rectilinear grid — an efficient, less expensive, but also challenging pattern.
New Urban News
March 13, 2009, 6am PDT
Fast Company blogger Michael Cannell says the economic crisis stands to make big winners out of the new urbanists.
Fast Company
Blog post
February 26, 2009, 9am PST

On this week's KunstlerCast (James Howard Kunstler's podcast, with host Duncan Crary), you can hear me leaving a comment. I just listened to the episode, and I sound like I took a shot of codeine cough syrup before recording it. I think the point is relevant enough to reiterate in the safety of print.

Tim Halbur
February 24, 2009, 7am PST
As the trend towards urban living grows, churches are rethinking how to approach the urban and religious. This article from a Baptist newspaper suggests that the faithful have been reading and absorbing Richard Florida.
The Baptist Standard
February 13, 2009, 8am PST
In this episode of the <em>KunstlerCast</em>, James Howard Kunstler looks at New Urbanism, compares it to regular urbanism, and argues that criticized New Urbanist developments will get better with age.
KunstlerCast