Has New Urbanism Reached a Midlife Crisis?
With corporate homebuilders such as Toll Brothers and Lennar preaching the gospel of urban infill and the CNU's once radical principles of compact, walkable, mixed-use development, Flint looks at the movement's new foils.
"If the first phase of CNU has culminated in a broader culture acceptance of urbanism as a force for good, the second phase will be defined by successfully pushing for policy and design reform that actually allows urbanism to get built," says CNU president John Norquist, a former mayor of Milwaukee.
"Still, as unglamorous as it is, re-writing the owner's manual for urbanism makes sense. It's what another architectural movement – the Congress International Architecture Moderne (CIAM), after which CNU is modeled – did. Leaders like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius wasted little time embedding modernism in codes and academic curricula."
"CNU is trying to undo the damage of expressways, separated-use zoning, and the destruction of the building craft fostered by CIAM, says Norquist. That means changing the rules put in place over a half-century: fighting fire with fire."