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New Urbanism Earning New Fans in One Chicago Neighborhood

With statistics showing that fewer than half of Americans know their neighbors, bringing neighborliness to neighborhoods remains a challenge for urban planners.
October 27, 2015, 7am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Leeann Cafferata

Danielle Braff writes in The Chicago Tribune on the continued growth of new urbanist-style neighborhoods as people seek out greater connections with their neighbors. Focusing on Meadow Ridge, a gated community of 130 homes in Chicago’s Northbrook neighborhood, Braff speaks with Patrick Coveny of the Home Builders Association of Greater Association about what attracts people to places like Meadow Brook. "Right now, people are in their own homes, and we're not doing work in their yard, we're not cutting our own lawns like we used to do — and that's how we used to meet our neighbors," Coveny said.

Architects have responded by reintroducing the front porch to homes as a place where neighbors could interact. Sarah Susanka, an architect and author, sees the value of the front porch in building connections.

"We have become so separate from one another," she said. "We get our groceries on our phones without talking, but we have such a desire to interact. There is such a surge for a community, we need to see each other," Susanka said. "The virtual connection is wonderful, but there's something else that happens when we run into each other, and that's what we're longing for right now. There's a movement that's a creation of communities."

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Published on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 in The Chicago Tribune
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