Duany Details the "New, New Urbanism"

At the CNU-FL statewide meeting held last week, Andrés Duany articulated his vision for how planning must adapt to the new realities of "national impoverishment" and climate change by utilizing the tools of tactical urbanism, writes Erin Chantry.

2 minute read

January 28, 2013, 1:00 PM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Acknowledging that two key issues that have emerged in the last five years - pervasive impoverishment from the Great Recession and the "psychological shifts of impending climate change" - have called into question the principles of New Urbanism that he had helped codify, Duany elucidated the tools that will be necessary for the changing practice of planning and urban design.

"Lean. Guerilla. Incremental. Vernacular. Tactical."

"On the other side of the economic downturn, or at least a good way through it," says Chantry, "Duany learned that the future of New Urbanism was in the ability for the organization and it’s professionals to be adaptable, incremental, and minimal. In other words, Duany said 'an urbanist does the least necessary and lets everyone else naturally do the rest.'”

He pointed to the transformation of the Wynwood Arts District in Miami as a prime example of the type of long-term change through small and short-term actions that's at the heart of the tactical urbanist movement. "The neighborhood’s ability to redevelop through adaption with small incremental change is an example of how our industry must shift to address the changing priorities of the future planning profession," notes Chantry.

As an avowed, but conflicted, New Urbanist, she, for one, is pleased with the tactical shift. "[B]y Duany proclaiming that his 'heavy, armored brigade' idea of urbanism (i.e., the rules, guides, and strict formulas) has become irrelevant, he has immediately made New Urbanism more relevant to my beliefs as an urbanist."

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