A Dose Of Reality In New Urbanism

While New Urbanism seems to have caught on in and around Atlanta, high home prices mean that the average homebuyer isn't benefiting.
August 29, 2006, 10am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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A reporter surveys the housing options in several New Urbanist communities around Atlanta, only to discover that the vast majority are unaffordable to the average homebuyer.

"The majority of New Urbanists make it very clear that they care deeply about the problem and want to explore ways of rectifying it. But somewhere between putting the idea of New Urbanism on paper and marketing it as a lifestyle in the housing market, the society-building principles of the Charter for the New Urbanism have become lost in the shuffle. Market driven developers have scrambled to build compact urban centers that offer homes at prices unaffordable to most Americans, and offer no place to live at all for those who work in and help maintain the community. The false realities that these communities promote do no justice to the social concepts New Urbanists are trying to develop."

"The idea works on a grassroots level and the traditional neighborhood development plan is a success in the housing market, but it seems that the people who would benefit from it the most simply cannot afford it. So, middle-class America will have to wait for an affordable New Urbanism. Eventually the two must meet in the middle. In order for New Urbanism to succeed as a set of social principles and a platform for well rounded communities in the future, the movement will need middle income America as much as the average American will need a decent place to live and work."

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Published on Monday, August 28, 2006 in Pine Magazine
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