Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
Where Have all the Great Urban Places Gone?
If the world is becoming more urban, why isn't the world getting better at building urban places?
Alex Marshall "asked a lot of smart, well-traveled colleagues if any of them could name a great new urban place in the classic sense."
Marshall agrees with the assessment of his colleagues, and surveys some of the world's newest skylines for great urban places, finding instead big skyscrapers on giant superblocks and "roads that are more highway than street."
Then there is a style of "faux-urban places," described by Marshall as "more like a shopping mall with streets than a real urban place." Among those faux-urban places, Marshall lists Celebration, Florida, Reston Town Center in Virginia, and his own native city of Virginia Beach.
As for why it has become some hard to build new, authentic cities that Jane Jacobs would love, Marshall theorizes that the challenges mostly center on infrastructure.