Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Urbanisms: New, Everyday and Post

By Douglas Kelbaugh

Kentlands, photo by thecourtyard
You may have heard of New Urbanism, a movement that promotes neo-traditional, neighborhood-based urban design. It has enjoyed meteoric success in the American media. However, it is far from the centerline of either the academic or the real estate development world. Despite successful greenfield projects, those built on open farmland, such as the Kentlands outside Washington and Harbor Town in Memphis, conventional suburban development continues to envelop the American metropolis with its cul-de-sac subdivisions and big box retail. The metro region is still spreading out at a rate considerably faster than population is growing. And conventional urban development and redevelopment are fast changing our downtowns into entertainment, tourist, convention, sports, or office centers. Philadelphia, for instance, has recently converted five downtown office buildings into tony hotels. These profound changes are happening piecemeal, without much input from urban designers and planners in general, much less from New Urbanist practitioners and writers. New Urbanism enjoys little and usually begrudging respect in academia, especially in most schools of architecture where avant-garde theory continues to dominate. And yet it has been described by Paul Goldberger of the New Yorker as the most important design movement of the baby boomer generation.

more about new urbanism:

18th New Urbanist Congress: Best Ever?

New Urbanism Goes Green

Taking Accessibility a Few Steps Further

Codifying New Urbanism

New Urbanism on the Emerald Coast


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