Urban Myths About New Urbanism

Recent attacks on New Urbanism reveal less about the movement's real flaws, and more about one line of deceptive attack, writes Michael Mehaffy in this week's Planetizen Op-Ed.

May 2, 2005, 9:00 AM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight

A spectre is haunting America and the world, according to prolific libertarian author Randal O'Toole: the spectre of New Urbanism. As he wrote in the magazine Reason in 1999: "The New Urbanism is quietly sweeping the nation... If you live in a metropolitan area, your city planning bureau is probably infested with New Urbanists."

...To be fair, there have been enough horrifically misguided planning schemes in the past that we should indeed be wary, and we should carefully examine the merits of any critique, from whatever source. So is O'Toole right that the New Urbanism is just another coercive, top-down planning regime? Do his many sweeping claims (for example his recent claim that New Urbanism is 'crime-friendly') have merit?"

Thanks to Chris Steins

Monday, May 2, 2005 in Planetizen


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