A Manifesto for New Urbanism's Next Movement

Building on one of the reverberating themes from this month's CNU 20 in West Palm Beach, Joe Nickol proposes the path of evolution for a movement that has become the new norm, but may have overlooked some critical issues in the process.
May 23, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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At the outset of his essay, Nickol takes an opportunity to survey what New Urbanism has managed to accomplish over the thirty years of its ascendance.

"In standing back and looking at what we have accomplished together, we can confidently say that the theory has largely proved to be correct. Over the course of the last thirty years, we have firmly established mixed use, walkability and neighborhood structure as the new paradigm for development in lieu of suburban sprawl. This is no small effort and because of it we can stand atop these accomplishments and see what is out there as our next series of challenges begin to emerge."

For Nickol, those challenges begin in the "middle section of the built landscape between first tier cities and suburbia," where the principles of New Urbanism have rarely been adopted or applied.

"It is amazing that even in a time when we face such dramatic disruptions to our economic and environmental health, we've let the idea fester that our old cities, towns, and neighborhoods-evolved over centuries-are either too difficult to work in or not up to the task of making strong and prosperous communities."

"We have the great opportunity and responsibility to leverage what we have learned through building in a controlled, lab-like setting of our new towns, resort towns, and edge towns and get back to the urban field to begin the monumental task of regenerating our cities, towns, and neighborhoods."

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Published on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in StreetSense
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