The U.S. Military: The Next Apostle of New Urbanism?

The Department of Defense has released new guidelines encouraging mixed-use, compact, walkable development throughout the nation's military bases, Sean Reilly reports.
May 23, 2012, 9am PDT | Ryan Lue
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While the case has been made for the Department of Defense as a pioneer of energy efficiency, that role has not traditionally been borne out in the physical planning of countless, sprawling military bases throughout the country. But new development guidelines released this week intend to change that.

The new rules, which promote both greenery and the trappings of transit-oriented development, are "about doing things more efficiently so we can preserve land for future missions," says Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of Defense for installations and environment. "We think it will improve quality of life, but for us it's also about doing our jobs better."

Reilly elaborates, noting that even "if the Pentagon excels at natural land management - its enormous holdings provide habitat to many at-risk species - it hasn't done so well in shaping the installations where hundreds of thousands of service members and their families live." One base in Washington, for instance, boasts some 70,000 parking spaces for a daily population that never exceeds 40,000.

"In development for 18 months, the new guidelines apply to all installation master planning and represent the first thorough rewrite of the Pentagon's policy in a quarter-century."

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Published on Saturday, May 19, 2012 in USA Today
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