New Urbanism is great, if you're rich

So I went to see two new New Urbanist communities this weekend - Warwick Grove in the Mid-Hudson Valley, about 50 miles from NYC, and Plainsboro Village Center in central N.J.

2 minute read

April 2, 2007, 1:39 PM PDT

By Anonymous


So I went to see two new New Urbanist communities this weekend - Warwick Grove in the Mid-Hudson Valley, about 50 miles from NYC, and Plainsboro Village Center in central N.J.

I haven't generally drank the New Urbanist Kool-Aid - I'm a bit too fond of both the Old Urbanism and many of those things they love to hate (like those cool four-level freeway interchanges). But I gotta hand it to the developers of these two communities (Leyland Alliance and Sharbell Development, respectively) - these communities are about ten times better than what's being developed around them. You can walk to (some) shops, they are at impressively high densities, and they just look great, at least as great as a brand-new retro place can. I think these places are going to develop real character over time.

But you've gotta have big bucks to live there. At Warwick, a 2BR/2BA condo will set you back over $400k (and you'd better be over 55 - no kids, because, of course, kids = school taxes). At Plainsboro, prices start in the $530s for a townhouse.

I thought New Urbanism was supposed to help create a wider range of housing choices - with accessory apartments, starter homes, etc., combining with the higher densities to make things more affordable. Is it actually doing this anywhere? I'd love to hear from anyone who can describe a New Urbanist development that someone besides the wealthy can afford (and HOPE VI doesn't count - I'm talking about something that isn't publicly subsidized).

If these two developments are typical, then New Urbanism seems a bit more like nice looking houses for rich people than the revolution in development that its supporters proclaim.


Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

View of 110 freeway with downtown Los Angeles buildings in background.

LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’

A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.

February 29, 2024 - Streetsblog LA

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Blue and white Pittsburgh bike share bikes lined up at a station with a red city bus on street in background.

Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit

For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.

March 4 - GovTech

New York MTA Bus

Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages

An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.

March 4 - Streetsblog California

View of Hollywood Reservoir with palm trees in foreground and Los Angeles neighobrhoods in background.

California's Stormwater Potential

A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.

March 4 - Cal Matters

Write for Planetizen

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.