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Y'all really hate New Urbanism?

153
JustWondering

A Google search brought me to the Archinect forum, where I was surprised to discover that many forum contributors have a deep disdain for New Urbanism.

This is entirely unexpected.

Enlighten me. Why do architects (seemingly) hate New Urbanism?

 
Jul 8, 24 12:38 pm
Non Sequitur

new urbanism, turning white privilege into tacky fake small communities since 1995. 

Jul 8, 24 1:02 pm  · 
6  ·  1
JustWondering

I get what you're saying, but that's not a function of New Urbanism, per se, is it? That feels like a function of America.

Jul 8, 24 4:57 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

It is if you do the slightest bit of research.

Jul 8, 24 6:22 pm  · 
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JustWondering

I’m Black. We could have a long conversation about what George Lipsitz termed “the possessive investment in whiteness,” and how that possessive investment intersects with residential segregation to maintain and privilege whiteness. We could even through in some of Derrick Bell’s critical race theory to explore how regulation and law obscure the operation of that privilege. The research would support the assertion that maintaining white privilege isn’t particular or peculiar to New Urbanist schemes. Whiteness is very good at protecting itself in conventional American development, and I am unaware of any post-racial socialist utopias that conventional development has delivered. But I’m not an architect. Or an urban planner. I’m simply a consumer of your work product. So, if New Urbanism isn’t the solution to “turning white privilege into tacky fake small communities,” then what does the profession point to, instead?

Jul 8, 24 6:48 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

New urbanism is not a product of out profession, it’s a product of developers looking for fantasy worlds for of rich folks who like the company of other rich folks. NU in theory has some good points but in practice is nothing but cancer.

Jul 8, 24 7:14 pm  · 
4  ·  1
JustWondering

This is how the Congress for the New Urbanism defines itself: “We stand for the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions, the reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighborhoods and diverse districts, the conservation of natural environments, and the preservation of our built legacy. “We advocate the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the following principles: neighborhoods should be diverse in use and population; communities should be designed for the pedestrian and transit as well as the car; cities and towns should be shaped by physically defined and universally accessible public spaces and community institutions; urban places should be framed by architecture and landscape design that celebrate local history, climate, ecology, and building practice. “We recognize that physical solutions by themselves will not solve social and economic problems, but neither can economic vitality, community stability, and environmental health be sustained without a coherent and supportive physical framework.” Now, I take your point that, in practice, this hasn’t always resulted in all of the outcomes that they reach for. But, in general, this is a hell of a lot better, I think, than what is conventionally built. I’m not an architect, or a planner, or a developer. I’m just a regular-degular dude. And I am shocked that you guys either don’t support this, or you’re mad that many of the New Urbanist projects lean on a meaningless and changeable aesthetic choice that you don’t like. (And it’s not as if your typical house from Ryan Homes or whatever, or random 5-over-1 down the state highway from the lifestyle center is some kind of architectural masterpiece. What are we even talking about here?) But, If you guys have decided that New Urbanism’s advocated-for goals are wrong, then what specifically should they be advocating for? What’s the alternative, if not more of the same?

Jul 8, 24 9:40 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

Dawg, that’s some strange hobby you have. The points you make are not unique to NU, in fact, they are common in all progressive urban design schemes of the last 30years. NU just tried to brand itself as the first coming of Jesus to save us all with a top down heavy handed Disney world. Again, take a few minutes and do some research. It’s not our job to educate you, we’re all busy enough as it is.

Jul 9, 24 7:47 am  · 
2  ·  2
JustWondering

This is genuinely shocking. You know, I work in UX, a design discipline that, like yours, creates artifacts and work products that are meant to be used by regular-ass people. Our users — including their cognitive abilities, information processing capabilities, perception boundaries, memory limits, but also their wants and needs — are at the absolute center of our work. It would never occur to me to respond to a member of the public who raised a concern about my profession’s work in the dismissive way that you just did: go get a better hobby . To do so would have been well outside of my professional standard of care and ethical responsibilities. And we don’t have to go through multi-year internships and a rigorous licensing examination to get there, either; this just ain’t how we roll. I’ll wait to see if any of your professional peers offer up a corrective before saying more.

Jul 9, 24 9:34 am  · 
1  ·  2
Non Sequitur

Eye roll. Again, it’s not our profession’s product. We work for paying clients and those clients, as well as their ambitions/quality, vary greatly. I’ve done loads of urban design work, even participated in open house where the lay public come in to cry over things they don’t understand. It’s exhausting where the focus is on pointless “isms” and fashion instead of proper social progress and careful design. NU offers little of this.

Jul 9, 24 9:51 am  · 
3  · 
Sharky McPeterson

@JustWondering I think many folks here agree with the core tenants of NU in theory (Chad's laid them out elsewhere in this thread), but perhaps some of the disdain for NU is that, as others have already pointed out, the core concepts "of" NU predate the coinage of the term. It could be viewed as a repackaging of concepts that already existed under a neat little New Urbanist bow.

NU is seen by some as an almost meaningless buzzword that rarely achieves what it purports to. We don't need an umbrella-term to champion these ideals (as difficult as it may be to actualize them in practice across an urbanized area, rather than in isolated and counter-productive silos). I hope this helps.

Jul 11, 24 2:17 pm  · 
2  · 
JLC-1

because it's just a feel good ointment to sell the same old snake oil. only works in disneyworld behind guarded gates. society is more complex than any "ism". (all "isms" tend to authoritarianism to prove their effectiveness) 

Now your turn to tell us why you are surprised and what you think NU does.

Jul 8, 24 1:05 pm  · 
3  · 
JustWondering

So, here's what I think New Urbanist's are trying to achieve: walkable (and walk-worthy), mixed-used, reasonably dense neighborhoods and communities. They tend to lean on vernacular and

Jul 8, 24 5:00 pm  · 
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JustWondering

market-friendly aesthetics. (Sorry, I don't know how to add a hard return).

Jul 8, 24 5:52 pm  · 
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That can be done without New Urbanism though. In fact, New Urbanism tends to create the exact opposite of what you've stated. It creates small 'gated communities' that promote urban sprawl and the heavy reliance on personal vehicles.

Jul 8, 24 5:53 pm  · 
5  · 
JLC-1

but, did they ever achieved it? where and how? What's the actual result of NU marketed places? I know several "places" developed with good intentions in the middle of nowhere under the guise of NU, 15 years later they're just islands surrounded by suburbia and packed with cars. The principles are fine if you apply them, but in this country all that matters is the bottom line, so the principles go out the window at the first proforma.

Jul 9, 24 10:17 am  · 
 · 

See my long post above, the short version - probably not.

Jul 9, 24 11:00 am  · 
1  · 

New Urbanism is fine in terms of planning and urban design, things like scale of streets and buildings, walkability, etc. It is not fine in seeking to put a "traditional" veneer on every building so it "looks pretty.". I honestly think that's the main issue.

The white privilege issue is also a problem, though a harder one to define.

Jul 8, 24 1:46 pm  · 
2  · 
JustWondering

Re: the "traditional veneer on every building" feels like an (irrelevant) aesthetic concern. Like, there's nothing stopping anyone from proposing a new urbanist development that has whatever look one desires. Didn't some famous architect cat write a book about buildings as ducks or somesuch a long time ago, arguing (I think) that decoration didn't matter? Arguing about faux colonial what's-its seems like something we out in the untutored hoi polloi would do. I'm genuinely surprised that trained, practicing architects aren't totally on board with "planning and urban design, things like scale of streets and buildings, walkability, etc." That does *not seem to be the case. In fact, judging by some of the comments to my question, it appears that some of y'all think that those things are conspiracy of the white man.

Jul 8, 24 5:10 pm  · 
1  · 

Most new urbanism projects do attempt to apply a traditional veneer to buildings though. This veneer typically goes beyond just applied ornamentation and move into form and function. This is especially true when the scale of buildings are reduced even when the function of the buildings aren't adjusted. 

 Don't get wrong: I think a successful new urbanism development can be created with a modern design aesthetic.

As for the 'conspiracy of the white man' you really need to look into how land is obtained near city cores for new development.  This includes new urbanism.  

Jul 8, 24 6:58 pm  · 
2  · 
JustWondering

This is concerning. I’m 50. I have been aware of “New Urbanism” since the early 90s — more than half my life. It has always struck me as an intuitively sensible way to design the places in which we live, but I’m not a professional architect or urban designer. I don’t know what I don’t know. It seems to me, though, that if there is a valid, professional concern about right-sizing the scale of buildings to match a functional role, that’s a best practice that could have been identified and incorporated over the decades that people have been talking about New Urbanism. But that’s not the intra-professional conversation that I stumbled across. I didn’t read a bunch of posts from architects offering up experience- or research-based insights: “This — walkability, transit, community or whatever — is all good, but we have learning X that tells us that we need to make adjustment Y.” What I witnessed was a bunch of people screaming, “I don’t like it because it looks tacky and fake.” (And I gotta say, I’m suspicious of the feint of leaning on gentrification and segregation as the reason to oppose New Urbanism. As I’ve noted before, those issues are hardly unique to that particular approach. And we (black folks) have been saying “Urban renewal is negro removal” since Baldwin came up with the quip. We’ve been complaining about gentrification since the turn of the century. Not only have I not seen a bunch of anti-New-Urbanist architects and planners in that conversation, I’ve seen more than a few happily participating in the gentrification and displacement — including a bunch of Big Name ones. When I walk through Harlem and see the expensive condos all over the place—some new and some adaptations of former apartment buildings—I am not persuaded that your typical architect gives too much of a damn about those issues.)

Jul 8, 24 7:50 pm  · 
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Again - the concepts of new urbanism are great. I love all of them!

  1. Human scale 
  2. Mixed density 
  3. Mixed use 
  4. Mixed Socio-Economic 
  5. Decentralized services for each neighborhood
  6. Walkable
  7. less reliance on personal vehicles 
  8. heavy reliance on public transportation 

 There are issues with implementing each of these concepts in the US though 

1. Human Scale

requires development to be small and thus more costly 

 2. Mixed Density

Higher construction cost

 3. Mixed use 

More costly development that requires increased construction and infrastructure costs

 4. Mixed Socio-Economic

Requires a change to the current socio-economic segregation that in currently in place in the US. Most people aren’t willing to live close to those that occupy a lower ‘ranking’ in the socio-economic scale.

5. Decentralized services for each neighborhood 

More costly development that requires increased construction and infrastructure costs 

6. Walkable

typically you need things within a 15 min walk max. This equates to around ½ mile. To accomplish this, you need to have a very high density and mixed use. As stated above, most people aren’t willing to live like this. In addition, this type of development requires a duplication of services and businesses that create inefficiencies 

7. Less reliance on personal vehicles

more costly - requires increased personal services and public transportation

8.  Heavy reliance on public transportation – very costly – most US cites don’t have the resources or infrastructure to handle 50% of the public transportation requirements of what new urbanism requires 

If you notice a lot of the new urbanism concepts cost more to build. This translates into higher costs for the homes and business in that development. Because of this development of new urbanism projects tend to look for the least expensive land they can find. This means for inner city locations gentrifying poor neighborhoods. This eliminates concept 4 If constructed outside a city core then the development is so far out that concepts 5-8 aren’t accomplished. In the end, you’re left with an expensive, gated community that has human scaled buildings.

Jul 9, 24 10:52 am  · 
1  · 

JustWondering wrote:

 "When I walk through Harlem and see the expensive condos all over the place—some new and some adaptations of former apartment buildings—I am not persuaded that your typical architect gives too much of a damn about those issues." 

Clients pay for the projects and thus they make the final decisions about what happens. You know this.  

I've been in architecture for over 20 years.

I've done good designs for projects that worked to address low cost housing and gentrification. I've made sure the designs were affordable to to client and explained all the long term benefits they would realize by building that part of the project. Unless some outside funding was there to pay for it these parts of the project were removed by the client.

On a side note:  if you don't want to receive dismissive replies then you then act with some degree of respect.  


Jul 9, 24 11:37 am  · 
1  · 

Just Wondering, I agree with almost everything you've said, both on this thread and in response to Non Sequitur above. One particular note, quoting you: "the 'traditional veneer on every building' feels like an (irrelevant) aesthetic concern" It's not irrelevant when as architects in the late 20th Century we've been educated to think about making buildings of their time, using materials in appropriate, sustainable ways. The only way to get a Classical column that a real estate developer will pay for is to use Fypon, which goes against everything I was taught in architecture school. 

And in response to another of your points, I'll reiterate: human scale in streets and buildings and walkability *absolutely* are of significant concern to most architects. But dressing those forms up in Classical veneer is absolutely not something many/most architects want to do.

Jul 9, 24 2:44 pm  · 
2  · 

Also, Just Wondering, FYI: hard returns and bold/italics etc. aren't available in a Reply window, but you can post the reply, then click Edit on the reply and add formatting when the window opens back up for editing.

Jul 9, 24 2:46 pm  · 
1  · 

Adding to Donna's comments about editing a post.  You only have about a minute to exit your text.  After that you can't.  If you're in the middle of editing and the time runs out you'll loose your edits.  

Just and FYI.  

Jul 9, 24 3:13 pm  · 
1  · 
JustWondering

Chad Miller, everything that you said makes sense. “We’d want to do something like New Urbanism, but it’s expensive. And the easiest way to get it to hit all the KPIs is to make it for rich people.” That tracks with what I’ve observed in real-life, and it’s a lot more creditable than “we think it looks like Disney.” 

Donna Sink, I get your resistance to applying “historical” gee-gaws to a building “just cuz.” Personally, I think throwing a Greek column on everything is corny af. I also assumed that this was a designer-to-designer and designer-to-designer conversation, no? I’ve certainly had UX clients who wanted this or that design element that I disagreed with. I explained why that was a bad idea and offered alternatives. Rarely have I lost.



Chad Miller, again. Re: tone. I approached this convo from a place of bewilderment. Again, I was shocked that so many Archinect forum posters had such hate for New Urbanism. And then I got, frankly, annoyed with some of the pat responses that I was getting. I remember once, about 20 years ago, a participant in a usability test turned around, looked me dead in the eye, and told me that an interaction design decision that I had made was the stupidest thing that they had ever seen, and did not at all meet their expectations. Them’s the breaks. He did not have to be “respectful” with that feedback. My obligation was to build him an interface that met his needs, wants, and goals. In that moment, I failed. My response: “Thank you for that feedback. How can I make it better?” And then I executed on that improvement. I’m telling you: as a person who lives in a world that is often ugly, hard to operate in, and soul-sucking, it was (is) deeply, deeply disheartening to discover that the folks that I understood to be making design decisions about that world aren’t advocating for me. And that disappointment comes with a tone.

Jul 9, 24 8:37 pm  · 
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JLC-1

if you think architects and/or urban planners make the design decisions I have a bridge to sell you. What is so hard to understand? NU is not a design movement, nor an urban novelty - it's just a marketing tool to develop some upper scale neighborhoods for wealthy people. Not concerned with homelessness or crime or even education; whoever pays gets a spot and it's protected and guarded from the ugly outer world.

Jul 10, 24 11:40 am  · 
2  · 

The concept of new urbanism is great.  Human scale and a walkable city that doesn't require a car.  

The issue is that in most American cites the infrastructure isn't set up to handle this.  Because of this small 'gated communities' are created that actually make urban sprawl worse and increase decennary on personal vehicles.  In order to obtain the land for these  these 'gated communities' the poor / non white neighborhoods are often destroyed.  Those displaced are often not reabsorbed into the community.  

That's why I don't like the implementation of new urbanism.  

Jul 8, 24 2:31 pm  · 
5  · 
JustWondering

You said, "The issue is that in most American cites the infrastructure isn't set up to handle this." Can you explain what you mean, please? You also said, "In order to obtain the land for these these 'gated communities' the poor / non white neighborhoods are often destroyed." Can you point me to a few specific examples? THX

Jul 8, 24 5:54 pm  · 
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New urbanism requires high density and robust public transpiration. Most US cites do not have the utility infrastructure (including roadways) to accommodate the density. Same thing applies to public transportation. 

 As for your second question.  If you want to build a development next to an urban core that is required for new urbanism to work you need to buy up old properties.  For this to work you need to buy in poor neighborhoods.  These are typically non white.  AKA, gentrification.  

https://robertsmith.com/blog/g...

https://nlihc.org/resource/gen...

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/p...

https://www.strongtowns.org/jo...

https://www.americanprogress.o...


Jul 8, 24 6:23 pm  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

krier huh? all little shits trying to be kings.

Jul 9, 24 11:01 am  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

it's very telling that this guy wrote a book praising the work of albert speer.

Jul 9, 24 11:25 am  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

You don't get the end result that New Urbanism is trying to achieve by master-planning and designing communities to look old. 

You get it with good planning and zoning laws, good public transit, eliminating automobiles from daily life and letting the built world change and evolve. 

Jul 8, 24 3:57 pm  · 
6  · 
Wood Guy

I think any decent New Urbanist would tell you that the important elements are good planning and zoning laws, good public transit, and eliminating automobiles from daily life. At least the ones I follow often write about those things.

Jul 8, 24 4:50 pm  · 
4  · 
archanonymous

I guess I'm pro new urbanism then. Tbh I haven't looked at it in 15+ years since it was full of monarchists and whites only retirement community promoters.

Jul 8, 24 9:59 pm  · 
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If you exclude the arbitrary aesthetic requirements, NU is a great concept. Unfortunately, it's rarely accomplished. When a NU development fails to meet all it's concepts it actually makes things worse and creates a wealthy gated community that displaces locals, and still has heavy reliance on personal vehicles .

Jul 9, 24 11:19 am  · 
2  · 
Sharky McPeterson

Chad, at least from my understanding, what you keep coming back to is "...the end result that New Urbanism is trying to achieve by master-planning and designing communities to look old." Whereas it is possible to encourage walkability, human-scale, transit-supportive development (development used here in a broad sense, not specific master planning development projects) through better planning regulation.

Jul 11, 24 1:22 pm  · 
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Sharky - sorry for any confusion. I do not care if a NU development looks old. I am only concerned with the concepts of:

  1. Human scale 
  2. Mixed density 
  3. Mixed use 
  4. Mixed Socio-Economic 
  5. Decentralized services for each neighborhood
  6. Walkable
  7. Less reliance on personal vehicles 
  8. Heavy reliance on public transportation 

In my option, the above concepts are the core of NU.  


Jul 11, 24 1:32 pm  · 
1  · 
Sharky McPeterson

Apologies if my response was also confusing. I agree that so many master-planned, developer-led developments create isolated communities that fail to achieve many core concepts of NU. My point is that better planning regulations could more effectively encourage positive changes in our built environment, such as promoting human-scale development. Form-based code, though staff-intensive for already overburdened local planning departments, could be an example of planning policy that, if done right, can help achieve some of the outcomes we've been discussing in this thread.

Jul 11, 24 1:49 pm  · 
1  · 

Sharky - I completely agree!

Jul 11, 24 2:01 pm  · 
1  · 
logon'slogin

The guy in front of me just ordered:
"venti iced caramel macchiato with soymilk, extra caramel, 2 pumps of vanilla, a pump of chai with blonde espresso shots, and a ristretto shot, " I realized I was in the center of a New Urbanist shithole. No wonder everything looked like a copy of a copy. 

Jul 8, 24 4:26 pm  · 
1  · 

You're just pissed that the guy in front of you ordered what you were going to.

Jul 8, 24 5:03 pm  · 
1  · 
JustWondering

I'm from DC. Once lived in ATL. Now live in Harlem. Only once have I lived in a New Urbanist-type place: Atlantic Station in ATL. I promise you that I could have gone to any Starbucks in any of those three places and witnessed the same behavior. And I'd likely have the same reaction to that particular order that you did. We'd share an eye-roll and a knowing giggle, you and I. That feels like a "cooler than thou" observation, though, that has little to do with what I would assume to be an architect's concern with the built environment.

Jul 8, 24 5:25 pm  · 
1  · 

It's not the drink. The problem is that you're going to a Starbucks. I don't drink coffee and even I know they're not any good.

Jul 8, 24 5:52 pm  · 
2  · 
logon'slogin

Chad Miller, you can also read about the "caffeine addiction". That lowly Starbucks can be a lifesaver if you are on the road or in a coffee desert.

Jul 9, 24 12:20 am  · 
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Never had the problem. That's what diet soda is for (I'm a type 1 diabetic).

Jul 9, 24 11:16 am  · 
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archanonymous

That's what boofing a line if instant coffee is for.

Jul 9, 24 1:37 pm  · 
1  · 

::snort:::

Jul 9, 24 1:51 pm  · 
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joseffischer

Atlantic Station is a great example of new urbanism! So glad you have that experience so that you can understand an architects' typical complaint. Atlantic station is NOT walkable and absolutely disconnected from the rest of the city. It applied rules to it's block grid and street layout devoid of actual contextual requirements. New Urbanism, especially 90s era unevolved versions of it, really thought you could require a specific amount of window, a specific width of sidewalk, and a specific spacing of trees in order to fix suburban sprawl and urban blight.

Architects have 2 types of issues with this
1) it doesn't work
2) even if it did work, it takes ownership and authority away from architects.  "you don't need an architect to individualize your site to your program, function, or building.  Just follow these rules"

Jul 9, 24 4:52 pm  · 
1  · 
joseffischer

and yet, from many standards, Atlantic station is considered successful. It took a brown field site and developed it. It makes the developer an insane amount of money. As long as you're ok with how much parking is required to make it work, it replaced an otherwise dying building type (the mall). As long as you're ok with privatizing your street grid and allowing developers to provide curfews, etc, it creates a lively atmosphere for people to inhabit as long as they're spending $$ between 4 PM - 10 PM, especially during Christmas.

Jul 9, 24 4:56 pm  · 
3  · 
gwharton

"New Urbanism" is really just trying to learn a little bit from the past and apply it to the present in order to create beautiful and satisfying places. Is it always done consistently or well? Absolutely not. But that doesn't mean it's a bad idea to try.

Jul 8, 24 6:46 pm  · 
4  · 

It's a great idea! I just don't think it's been accomplished in the US without kicking out poor people and non whites.

Jul 8, 24 6:54 pm  · 
1  · 
InigoJ

The typical complaint about New Urbanism is that it's built on greenfields, not that it displaces people. How can it do both at once?

Jul 8, 24 7:33 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

That’s not even in the top 20 complaints.

Jul 8, 24 8:47 pm  · 
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InigoJ

It even made it into this thread where there are complaints of sprawl and auto orientation that is a result of needing to place neighborhoods outside existing urban centers.

Jul 9, 24 12:56 am  · 
1  · 

It all depends on the development InigoJ. Some are in greefields, some are near existing urban cores. Both have the previously mentioned issues associated with the new urbanism concept.

Jul 9, 24 10:24 am  · 
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InigoJ

Is there a specific New Urbanist development that resulted in displacement? It might be helpful to start with an example and work from there.

Jul 9, 24 12:20 pm  · 
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The Line is a glaring example. 

Here are a few more.  

 Flushings in NYC

 ICURA in OR

The Glen in IL

Olawalu Town in HI

Liberty Park Green, KY

Lino Lakes Town Center, MN

Jul 9, 24 12:39 pm  · 
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InigoJ

This list includes greenfield sites, military base redevelopment, and a ridiculous project that is completely antithetical to New Urbanism.

The Flushings project and the Liberty Park Green project are the only ones that seem to have any displacement issue... and the LPG project was a housing authority project.

Jul 9, 24 5:20 pm  · 
1  · 

NU can be on a greenfield site. All of the ones I listed are considered NU. Even the military base redevelopment.

Jul 9, 24 5:41 pm  · 
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InigoJ

What does it take for something to be "considered New Urbanism?" Presumably some connection to the New Urbanism movement?

BRAC'd military basis are a great example of NU because they've done so many of them, they are huge sites, often close to towns or even in them, which can be redeveloped all at once by production builders.

Jul 9, 24 6:21 pm  · 
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NU concepts: 

  1.  Human scale 
  2.  Mixed density 
  3.  Mixed use 
  4.  Mixed Socio-Economic 
  5.  Decentralized services for each neighborhood 
  6.  Walkable 
  7.  Less reliance on personal vehicles 
  8.  Heavy reliance on public transportation
Jul 9, 24 6:30 pm  · 
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InigoJ

So essentially the NU has been so wildly successful that its concepts have entered the mainstream?

I'm pretty sure the founders will take that as a win. A few years ago I had lunch with one of them and he told me that when they started, the words didn't exist to describe these things, and they had to find them. Now everyone uses them even if they don't know where they came from. 



Jul 9, 24 6:38 pm  · 
1  · 

Nice story. None of what you've said is true. The concepts of NU have been around in the US for 70 years. Concepts 4,5,7, and 8 are rarely implemented in NU.

Jul 9, 24 6:45 pm  · 
2  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

++ on 4 and 5.

Jul 9, 24 8:22 pm  · 
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InigoJ

The NU development I am most familiar with (Agritopia in Gilbert, AZ) deliberately used a wide range of house sizes (from like 1600 to 5200 SF) to introduce an element of mixed income. Obviously the houses all had to be saleable when built and there were no public subsidies involved.

Jul 9, 24 9:25 pm  · 
1  · 

That's great InigoJ. A quick look at Agritopia shows me this isn't NU. It's just a housing development.

Jul 10, 24 10:44 am  · 
1  · 
InigoJ

That would surprise the developer, because he explicitly designed it following NU principles.

Jul 10, 24 12:35 pm  · 
1  · 

That's what the developer says. Again, looking at the development shows it's not meeting half of the NU concepts. Anyone can say their development is NU. In this case it is most certainly not NU. It's just a housing development near a school, coffee shop, and future mixed use center.

Jul 11, 24 1:06 pm  · 
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InigoJ

It meets basically all the requirements except 8. It has a senior living center, SFR and an apartment building. It's got retail, restaurants, a school, a brewery, some light manufacturing, a photography studio, a couple engineering offices, three gyms, a hair salon, etc. The only one of the goals it doesn't attempt to hit is #8.

Jul 11, 24 5:31 pm  · 
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It's missing 2, 4 ,5, 6 , 7 and 8.  I

Numbers 7 and 8 are vital concepts for NU, 

I doubt that # 6 applies to the majority of the development. Remember - 1/2 mile walking distance.  Without concepts 7 and 8 being implemented you can't walk anywhere in this development. 

Look at the density of the development for housing - way too low.

Look at the size of the development - now look at the services being provided - anyone who lives there needs to leave to get basic services. 

Think of it like this - the idea of NU is that other than for special services you shouldn't have to leave the community. 


Did you by chance work on this development?  


Jul 11, 24 6:03 pm  · 
 · 
InigoJ

It's got SFR, senior living and a wrap apartment on the corner. It's got a 5.4:1 ratio in floorspace on the homes, studio to 3 bed apartments, the small retail is a form of decentralized services, it's obviously walkable, and it's much less reliant on personal vehicles. If I want to go out for a burger, beer, coffee, hair cut, etc... it's all right there. And people were working from home here before it was cool.

There is an architecture studio and an engineering firm (the first in a backyard bungalow, the second in a basement). Density is not a great way to measure much of anything, but you'd have to articulate the goal before saying it's too low... the graph of density to services shows that transit starts to work pretty well at 8 DU/AC and Agritopia is at 5.

If the standard for services is that you don't have to leave the community to get them, can you think of anywhere that is true? A precedent that meets your high standards?

No, I didn't work on it. It's the only NU development in which I've personally met the developer.

Jul 12, 24 11:52 am  · 
 · 

Again, heavy reliance on public transportation and recued vehicular use are core concepts for NU. This development hasn't accomplished either. 

 High density is important to make the city walkable. I'm not sure what a 5:4:1 ratio is for homes. I do know that you need around 30-40 dwellings per hectare (107,369 sf or 2.47 sq acres) to meet the minimum density for NU to work. This development isn't meeting that. 

The development itself is nice. It has some multi use and different housing types.  It's not NU though.

Jul 12, 24 12:03 pm  · 
 · 
InigoJ

I don't think anyone has ever advocated that level of density being required to make NU work, or that strict adherence to principles of NU is required for it to be a NU project.

5.4:1 is the ratio between the largest and smallest house in the SFR portion, the studio apartments are new and quite a bit smaller.

If you want an example of a higher density NU project then Culdesac is up the street. 40 DU/AC overall, no residential parking.

Jul 12, 24 2:35 pm  · 
 · 

If no one ever has promoted the level of density I mentioned then they've never promoted NU. An average density of 30-40 units per hectare is what is required for NU to work. FYI: The 5:4:1 housing ratio is absolutely meaningless since the development you mentioned has 5,200 sf single family homes.

Jul 15, 24 6:04 pm  · 
 · 
InigoJ

It has homes between 600 and 7,000 SF.

Jul 15, 24 8:58 pm  · 
 · 

That is even worse! 

 Single family homes of 7,000 sf?! You'll never reach the mid level density of 30-40 units per HA that are required for NU. Homes that large would destroy the other concepts of NU as well. 

With single family houses so large even the 5:4:1 ratio you previously stated could not be met.

While the development attempted to meet NU concepts they accomplished none of them.   It's still a decent housing development with some mixed use that is close to an school.  

Jul 16, 24 9:59 am  · 
 · 
graphemic

It's a branding exercise. Many of us agree with the basic ideas because they're pretty basic and have been around a lot longer that "New Urbanism." Many of us dislike anyone that identifies with it because they're probably trying to sell you something. 

The history and politics around the "movement" is very rich and varied depending on the region. Keep googling around scholarly corners and you'll find some robust critiques. 

Jul 8, 24 8:46 pm  · 
6  · 
Quasimotor

Thanks for your comment! I agree that the " New Urbanism" has been co-opt from the top down.

Jul 17, 24 2:43 pm  · 
 · 
3tk

Don't hate it.  General principles and values have merit - whether they are unique to their brand is questionable.  I've visited places that I've genuinely enjoyed, others that felt way too kitsch.  As with most ideals, its how its applied an what is latched on to.

Jul 9, 24 10:32 am  · 
3  · 
pandahut

You're asking a bunch of architects their thoughts on urbanism and planning.


They aren't urban designers, and most do not have an urban design edication but will pretend they do after laying out a few parking lots and malls....



So YMMV here.

Jul 9, 24 1:16 pm  · 
2  ·  1

I have experience in urban planning. Despite that, you don't need experience in planning to understand the pros and cons of NU. All you have to do is work on a few NU projects. I've worked on about a dozen. They've all ended the same - abandoning the NU concepts that don't make enough money. Those are typically concepts 2,4, 5, 7, and 8.

  1.  Human scale 
  2.  Mixed density 
  3.  Mixed use 
  4.  Mixed Socio-Economic 
  5.  Decentralized services for each neighborhood 
  6. Walkable 
  7. Less reliance on personal vehicles 
  8.  Heavy reliance on public transportation
Jul 9, 24 1:31 pm  · 
2  · 
gwharton

I've done more urban planning in my career as an architect than most credentialed "urban planners." As a result, my opinion of "urban planners" as a specialty is pretty low.

Jul 9, 24 2:04 pm  · 
 · 
JustWondering

Yes, Pandahut. I realized that earlier today. I had assumed that everyone involved in designing the built environment that we all have to live in understood that a lot of what is out there is crap, and I assumed that there was a shared desire to make it better. Clearly, that’s not true.

You take the “criticisms” that are either irrelevant (a skilled architect ought to be able to mitigate against a place looking “tacky” or “Disney-fied”) or that are suspiciously performative (pretending that America is filled to the brim with diverse post-racial neighborhoods EXCEPT FOR those monarchist New Urbanist communities), add the dismissive and noncollaborative attitude (sneering that urban designers/planners are superfluous and any architect could do their jobs), and the inability to offer up a cogent alternative to New Urbanism (and I have asked for one, several times), and you have to conclude that architects are not our allies in this fight to not live in places that suck.

I guess they drive up and down the straods of America and think to themselves, “This here is AWESOME! >” Jesus… even the traffic engineers are finally beginning to get it together and to do their part.

I was having a conversation about this thread with some of my UX peers — two of whom left architecture. One of them said, “The philosophy of architecture as a service to the public has died. It’s all private interest.” Yeah… based on what I’ve observed, that tracks. To me, this is just another example of Americans being failed by our institutions and our experts.

Jul 9, 24 8:01 pm  · 
1  ·  1
Non Sequitur

Then put your money into this and hire people who will design what you think is best.

Jul 9, 24 8:56 pm  · 
 · 
graphemic

OP, seems like you are looking for confirmation that all architects are hypocritical idiots. The linear argument you've laid out in your second paragraph is just so comically specific. You're not describing anything real. It's too bad you're not a good faith conversant, the responses here have been charmingly genuine and diverse (I think a reflection of the complex subject matter). Cheers.

Jul 9, 24 9:06 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Graph, I bet this wanker also refers to themself as software architect too.

Jul 9, 24 9:13 pm  · 
 · 

JustWondering wrote: 

“I had assumed that everyone involved in designing the built environment that we all have to live in understood that a lot of what is out there is crap, and I assumed that there was a shared desire to make it better. Clearly, that’s not true.” 

Why do you say this JustWondering

Is it because some of us are critical of NU concept and its implementation? Several of us have pointed out the  issues with NU not related with aesthetics yet you seem to ignore them.  It seems like you’re being disingenuous and petty.

You’ve stated you’re a designer in their 50’s. As such you KNOW that the client has the final decision about what is done / built. It seems like you’re being unethical and willfully obtuse just because someone doesn’t agree with you.

Jul 10, 24 1:10 pm  · 
1  · 
Wood Guy

Seaside, Florida was my introduction to New Urbanism, well before it hit the mainstream in the Jim Carey movie. I've read in multiple places that one of the designers' main inspirations was a village on Nantucket island where I used to live and work, called 'Sconset. (Full name Siasconset.) It was indeed a lovely little village, built in the 1800s and frozen in time for 100+ years after the whaling industry tanked. Behind each row of cottages were oyster-shell lined walking paths. Most of the cottages were built on true mudsills--beams set directly on the ground. The village was bounded on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side by a large meadow of protected land. Down the road is a golf course where Bill Clinton was famously denied entrance, while president, because he wasn't a club member. 

'Sconset had one seasonal store/cafe; otherwise town was a 5-mile car ride or bike ride away. Back then, 25 years ago, real estate was still slightly affordable, but it's long past the time where any sort of economic diversity was possible. Public transportation was a bus that came a few times a day. 


Jul 9, 24 2:13 pm  · 
2  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

I think my starting point for a conversation is what are your reasons for loving a neo-liberal concept like NU? For the record your assumption that it's something we hate is only motivated by your own ill-informed interpretations of insider talk. If we "hate" something it's generally accepted that proof of concept is and has failed. I can't imagine how you'd think a NU isn't effectively a "gated concept" and is driven by an imaginary nostalgia, rooted in a very specific class and cultural mythology. I mean let's get real, look at Seaside, $3 million plus to buy, and you can't find rental in Seaside proper, the closest place to rent is over $4k a month.


Who is this for, who is the aesthetic serving? Who is the money behind this? They're not states, not HUD. 


What is so quaint about your arguments, and those who you referred to as former architects - I call them failed architects - is that you actually believe something we're not; we're not the money, not the capital, we're the instruments of capital. Who is this "public" we're responsible for serving? My license has me responsible for health, safety and welfare. Where in that am supposed to be in service to an amorphous "public" I thought it was my client paying me? The "public" doesn't want workforce housing in their neighborhood, the "public" doesn't want to shelter and provide basic needs to the unhoused. The "public"? My brother in Christ, the "public" can't afford to live in NU developments, so who the fuck are you advocating, because you're starting to come off as capitalist prick.

Jul 10, 24 11:30 am  · 
5  · 
InigoJ

You're talking about a 40 year old community. The first lots at Seaside sold for next to nothing. It took a long time for it to get that expensive.

Jul 10, 24 12:33 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

We live in 2024, not 1984. Home prices then were in line with salaries. If you want to build this today, is it your position that current home price to income would make it sensible for capitalist investment for multi class living?

Jul 10, 24 1:02 pm  · 
2  · 
InigoJ

NU communities typically sell for much more than traditional SFR developments. That means they are more desirable. SOME of them have made an effort to get a wide spread of home prices in the initial offering, as high as 15:1. Projects like the Mews at Daybreak are a pretty good example of using varied product types to hit different market segments and create a mixed income community.

Jul 10, 24 4:16 pm  · 
1  · 
Volunteer

One reason some architects loathe New Urban communities is because, im many cases, the architectural styles reflect past styles that were treasured by past residents of the area. These older homes are often painstakingly restored and the builders of nearby New Urban homes look to them for design aspects.  Modern architects are loathe to admit that the solutions of builders a couple of hundred years ago far surpass their own efforts in appearance, utility, quality, and homeowner  acceptance. It is a bitter pill to take. 

Jul 10, 24 12:02 pm  · 
3  ·  1
b3tadine[sutures]

Seaside was created on undeveloped land along a coastal region that is at risk. The NU development by Krier, in Guatemala, has no relation to the local culture or architecture. Again, it's for an imaginary past, not based in reality.

Jul 10, 24 12:06 pm  · 
 · 

I could care less about the aesthetics of NU. My main issue with NU is that its concepts are never fully implemented. This makes the community worse off. 

As for the quality and functionality of buildings 100's of years ago being better than today - could be. We could go back and forth listing what was better and worse back then. In the end, I think it's a wash and is about even.  Nice attempt at trolling though.  Try harder next time.  

Jul 10, 24 12:09 pm  · 
 · 

I dunno, Volunteer. I was in architecture school in the late 80s and we were encouraged to design in contemporary vernacular, taking the good traditional inhabitation methods and applying them in contemporary ways with contemporary materials. Granted, this was in Arizona where ignoring the climate context was stupid.

Jul 10, 24 2:06 pm  · 
5  · 
Volunteer

Trying to contribute to a discussion is trolling? 

In any event Russell Versaci has written two books, "The Roots of Home" and "Creating a New Old House" about homeowners building a new house in historical styles. He goes into lengths which parts of the country has British, French, Dutch, German and other influences. The architectural firm of Historical Concepts has written a book "Coming Home" on their New Urban communities in the south which do reflect the different local architectural styles that they have incorporated into their separate communities. I highly recommend all three. 

Jul 10, 24 12:32 pm  · 
2  · 

Your posts in this thread are trolling. Your preference for a particular aesthetic isn't relevant to the discussion on NU and it's issues.

Jul 10, 24 3:14 pm  · 
1  · 
Volunteer

The OP asked why architects are dismissive of New Urbanism and I gave my opinion. I did not promote a particular style but said that the projects that appeal to homebuyers are rooted in the historical homes of the region where the project is built and that this tendency of homebuyers is offensive to some architects. Read Thayer-D below. How is this trolling?

Jul 10, 24 3:34 pm  · 
2  · 

Volunteer wrote:

"Modern architects are loathe to admit that the solutions of builders a couple of hundred years ago far surpass their own efforts in appearance, utility, quality, and homeowner acceptance. It is a bitter pill to take."

Trolling.  

Oh and you are promoting a style.  

Try harder next time.  

Jul 10, 24 3:51 pm  · 
1  ·  2
Volunteer

What style am I promoting?

Jul 10, 24 4:05 pm  · 
 · 

The styles (appearances) from 'couple of hundred years ago'. That's besides the point though. Appearances aside, the comment I quoted above is trolling.

Jul 10, 24 5:40 pm  · 
 · 
Volunteer

Again, what specific style or appearance am I promoting? Are you actually saying the architectural style of a New Urbanist community is not important ?

Jul 10, 24 6:06 pm  · 
 · 

You're promoting an appearance from a 'couple of hundred years ago' far surpasses things today done by 'modern architects'. No specific 'style' is needed. 

 In NU, the specific style of the architecture isn't important. As long as things are designed that conform to the concepts of NU any architectural 'style' will work.

Nice attempt to not address your trolling though. Keep trying. 


Jul 10, 24 6:15 pm  · 
 · 
Thayer-D

Architects tend to dislike New Urbanism because of their bias against historic styles taught in architecture school,but New Urbanism is just the same old walkable urbanism that existed before the automobile.  

The reason New Urbanism employs historic styles is simple, builders never abandoned them because the majority of the public likes them, therefore to affect the 90% of what get's built, you have to work with those who actually build and sell to the public.  

Where it not for the stupid politics of style, I suspect most architects would embrace New Urbanism because of the damage automobile oriented sprawl had done to society which NU is attempting to mitigate.  

Jul 10, 24 3:07 pm  · 
 · 

I personally would like all projects to use the concepts of NU. Unfortunately, people aren't willing to pay for that and thus an expensive, gated community that contains a coffee shop / bodega are created instead.

Jul 10, 24 3:16 pm  · 
 · 
InigoJ

Are you using the term gated community literally, or metaphorically? Most New Urbanists reject gates for US projects. Cayala has gated residential sections, which is fairly prudent in Guatemala.

Jul 10, 24 4:13 pm  · 
 · 

Both. A lot of NU projects in the US have literal gates to keep out non residents. Again - in the US, most developments that call themselves NU don't follow all of the concepts. Also, there is no concept about 'no gates' in NU.

Jul 10, 24 5:38 pm  · 
1  · 
KAAS.one

Its not organic thats why :)

Jul 10, 24 4:13 pm  · 
1  · 
Thayer-D

Nothing's organic if its planned

Jul 10, 24 4:59 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

I must say it's mind blowing that any designer would actually believe that aesthetical concerns are not innately political. They most assuredly address social, cultural and political. Anyone that says otherwise is deluded.



Jul 10, 24 7:33 pm  · 
4  · 
Thayer-D

If you look up the definition of aesthetics, it says 'concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty', not politics. If all one sees in architecture is political, so be it, but I'd guess that point of view was learned from those who weren't that talented in aesthetics.

Jul 10, 24 9:46 pm  · 
 · 
Wood Guy

Thayer, you're taking a very narrow view of both aesthetics and politics.

Jul 11, 24 8:51 am  · 
6  · 
Thayer-D

Yeah, because using words the way they are commonly understood and defined in the dictionary is very narrow. Keep in mind that aesthetics is subjective. I'm just pointing out the obvious, that most people don't see politics in their surroundings. Just ask people who weren't indoctrinated by architecture school.

Jul 11, 24 10:36 am  · 
1  · 
gwharton

Aesthetic decisions and values are primarily reflective of culture, not politics. Political decisions and values are also reflective of culture. So the two are related in that sense, but there is no causal relationship between the two. They both are second- and third-order concerns predicated on more fundamental beliefs.

Jul 11, 24 11:59 am  · 
 · 
Wood Guy

One of many definitions of politics is, "the assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, especially when concerned with power and status in a society."

You can take everything at surface level, or you can think beyond the obvious. B3, and I, aren't saying that if you vote for Republicans then you like shutters on your traditional house, though that's mostly accurate in my experience.

And I didn't go to architecture school.

Jul 12, 24 12:04 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

This is great graduate thesis.

Jul 10, 24 8:38 pm  · 
 · 

most of what can be said about NU has been said above.

The first time I saw NU I thought it was an amazing idea. Then i learned how badly it failed at inclusivity and that it doesnt really change auto use, which was at the time a big part of the sales brochure literature.

Lately i have come to see its largest failing as an intrinsic inability to change with the times. Intensification is a key necessity for growth and development of a real community over decades. NU is designed like all suburbs to have no meaningful change. That is why I am hostile to it as a panacea. As an idea, its great. As a practice, it's deeply flawed.

FWIW, one of the core ideas of NU, the Transect, fails for the exact same reason. Change over time is suppressed and misunderstood as variety. This article does a good job of explaining the issue.

In recent years NU is out of favor and largely considered brochure boilerplate. In its place we have the work of Jan Gehl, which advocates for human centred design rather than any kind of specific form-based coding. It is more mature IMO, even if it also is imperfect.

Jul 10, 24 10:50 pm  · 
4  · 
Thayer-D

The reason NU seems exclusive is because there is a huge demand for what it offers, an actual sense of community rather than the depressing suburban alternative that isolates people from eachother. Its a simple question of supply and demand. If the practice is flawed, its because of the structural problems of developing land in America where everything is a singular for profit venture without the coordination of government policies. That's a political issue, not one of design. And NU is definately NOT out of favor if you see the amount of NU projects around the country and their success.  No need to gaslight the folks here.  

Btw, these principles began in the greenfields of suburbia because that's the only place where money would build back in the 'cities are bad' 80's.  Not that we're less scared of living around eachother, these principles need to be used everywhere to conserve open land, especially in old cities where they exist.

Gehl is fantastic, but he simply distills the qualities of good pedestrian oriented urbanism, whether new or old. The hang up here is purely stylistic. Imagine if schools taught all styles, modern and traditional so that young architects could broaden their qualifications to all parts of the market. Then we might actually make substantive change on how we develope land.  Till then we'll continue to whine about which style is superior while Rome burns.

Jul 11, 24 8:31 am  · 
 · 
archanonymous

OK, new concept: Old Urbanism. 

Jul 11, 24 9:56 am  · 
5  · 

Is that like NU but not pretentious? ;)

Jul 11, 24 12:58 pm  · 
2  · 
gwharton

Like NU, but more ornery. And get off of my lawn!

Jul 11, 24 1:00 pm  · 
4  · 
Wood Guy

Chad, if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

Jul 11, 24 7:40 pm  · 
3  · 

I was too busy yelling a clouds to invest properly to afford old urbanism.


Jul 12, 24 9:55 am  · 
2  · 

My personal "get off my lawn" moment is I'm about to write up flyers to remind everyone in my neighborhood to trim their damn tree branches that block the sidewalk. We have several older folks that use wheelchairs to get to church or the liquor store and we need to keep the sidewalks clear!

Jul 12, 24 10:06 am  · 
3  · 
joseffischer

Our neighborhood has some long time locals who practice animal sacrifice. The facebook group was very upset that they left a decapitated goat on the sidewalk this week.

Jul 12, 24 4:16 pm  · 
 · 

Historians correct me if I'm wrong, but New Urbanism is a reactive movement against CIAM and the "Urban Renewal" of the mid 1900s that changed many American cities with infrastructure projects cutting and destroying ethnic/poor areas of cities.

New Urbanism is rooted in restoring old ideas copied and pasted from historic city centers and used in suburban development isolated from their own history and purpose and re-presented as "good" merely b/c it existed elsewhere before. 

CNU is presented as a Ten Commandments (good vs evil), when it is merely a rebound from some of the worst kinds of racist, isolating, community destroying urbanism. 

Jul 15, 24 5:57 pm  · 
2  · 

Pretty much.

Jul 15, 24 6:00 pm  · 
 · 
Eamez

This is a good thread that shows how cynical and inert the thinking in architecture has become. Nobody really answers the question — what is the architecture answer to New Urbanism?  

New Urbanism is still the basis of much of McUrbanism (Ford-Foundation funded New York Times YIMBYism), those dull 5 over 1’s for low income single people living college life into their 30s. And supposedly mixed use new Silicon Valley plug-in cities. Much of today’s cynicism comes from hack DEI propaganda about supposedly racist suburbs, many of which now feature wealthy non-whites.

NU weakness is its rejection of the social basis of successful suburban environments of 1930-90, the family, which are near schools, churches, and not too far from shopping centers. 

So what is the answer? Id say a large scale rediscovery of values (and zoning) around multigen family, health, energy, transparency and accessibility. Why are prewar apartment buildings more light-filled with social lobbies (not commercial) than modern McUrbanism?  Why can’t existing suburbs be reformed around new zoning that’s not YIMBY but healthy? With tree-lined walkways, small shops, parks and culture nearby. Much like 1950s era suburbs. As for style Critical Regionalism is a stylistic answer but not an urbanist one. But could work in combo with a larger vision for adding modernist features to existing suburbs and city centers like small shops, shaded car charging parks, etc 

Jul 16, 24 8:51 am  · 
 ·  1

Eamez wrote: 

"Nobody really answers the question — what is the architecture answer to New Urbanism?" 

Not to rely on the concept of NU. 

Have communities (not developments) planned with thoughts to:

  •  appropriate density
  •  a mix of housing types
  • mixed use
  • public transit
  • access to green spaces
  • massing that allows access to sunlight
  • design that responds to the micro climate
  • flexibility to change

The particular style or aesthetic of the buildings are open to interpretation.

Jul 16, 24 9:52 am  · 
1  · 
Eamez

But NU would claim some of those values. Garden cities was a more visionary concept that led to much of modernism. When you think of multigenerational families, healthy air, light, building with the climare/site, churches, small shops, local styles mixed with modern technologies, that’s not New Urbanism. But a new style emerges based on organic design. Not superficial postmodernism

Jul 16, 24 10:10 am  · 
 · 

Correct. 

 All NU did was classify concepts to be incorporated within a development. The garden city concept did the same thing. 

Just like the garden city concept, the NU concept fails for the same main reason.  Neither concepts address contemporary urban issues and effectively tackle the problems of large industrial cities.

The garden city concept failed around 1900. 

 The NU concept is 'newer' so it's still in the process of failing.

Jul 16, 24 10:25 am  · 
 · 
Eamez

NU just replicates the failures of inner city urban renewal — not fixing the breakdown of the American family, drugs, crime, economic decline, lack of options, better designed modern suburbs. Third world countries have more vibrant urbanism because the families are stronger, welfare nonexistent, buildings modern and pragmatic, transportation more diverse (cars only for long distance, motorcycles for short distance), culture, social spaces and stores everywhere.

Jul 16, 24 10:37 am  · 
 · 

What style of family? There are many.

Jul 17, 24 4:18 pm  · 
 · 

lots of dog whistling in there Eamez.

Jul 18, 24 3:28 am  · 
 · 
proto

No social basis in NU, proximity to churches, schools, retail?

Pre-war apt bldgs w/ light-filled lower social spaces?

1950s healthy suburban dev?

Eamez seems to have a twisted understanding of new urbanism. Too many cognitive dissonances in there to address.

Jul 16, 24 10:03 am  · 
2  · 

Eamez seems to be confusing mixed use / mixed density with the social construct of the traditional family. This couldn't be farther from the truth. In past urban design and NU, the services mixed withing the housing was always based on the needs of the people who lived there. It wasn't based on a social construct that defined a family.

Jul 16, 24 10:06 am  · 
 · 
Eamez

1950s healthy suburbs were a product of garden city + modernism, not New Urbanism. Prewar building were a product of proto-modern design, building with climate, social concerns and site — before air conditioning. New Urbanism rejected suburban cultural institutions as a product of sprawl. It has good features in creating walkability but not thriving communities and economies. Mostly it just creates low income townhouses for single people in food and cultural deserts near downtown cores. All of these are lessons to learn from if we want to formulate a new, healthier critique and vision of future.

The family friendly aspect of modernist suburbs was a feature that made them wealthy and profitable. Kids playing in the yard without any busy streets. 

Jul 16, 24 10:14 am  · 
 · 

Suburbs of the 1950's were based around many of the concepts of NU. All NU did was itemize the concepts into a 'guide'. I'm not defending NU, far from it. The social concerns of the community influenced the development around it. Not the other way around. As social concerns have changed, so dose the types of services and development that occurs around / within a community.

Jul 16, 24 10:21 am  · 
1  · 
Eamez

This is a common misconception. New Urbanism comes in the 80s-90s as a reaction against modern suburbs of the 1950s. Based on some postmodern ‘return to the city’ ideas. NU resents the suburban church and school and park as stealing people away from the more dense town center. When in reality many 1950s suburbs were already walkable and denser than what you see in todays McMansion suburbs.

Jul 16, 24 10:31 am  · 
 · 

Yes and no. 

NU and the Garden City concepts looked at older city planning and communities and attempted to recreate them outside of context and influences that created them. 

Many 1950's suburbs were walkable but they still required heavy use of motor vehicles to live in. 

NU doesn't reject or resent the concepts of greenspaces, schools, or places of worship. In fact, those types of mixed use services are a vital concept of the NU concept. 

Again - the services provided to a community are determined by the people who reside there. They could be schools or places of worship but they don't have to be.

Jul 16, 24 10:45 am  · 
1  · 
Eamez

NU did explicitly reject suburban cultural centers like schools and churches. Which roots much of current NYT McUrbanism which reforms NU into a kind of left urban elitism which despises any car travel, parking or single family housing. What’s needed is to add greenways to existing modernist suburbs, and family friendly accommodations to urban centers. And just up the level of design across the board with more accessibility and transparency — values which the AIA cartel opposes.

Jul 16, 24 12:37 pm  · 
 · 

NU did not explicitly reject any type of cultural centers. They rejected the concept of isolated suburbs that require a motor vehicle to use. 

Don't misunderstand me - most NU developments are basically a means to create gated communities that keep out the poor  and minorities.  

That being said; If you're going to be dishonest and lie I'm not going to continue to discuss this with you.

Jul 16, 24 12:45 pm  · 
1  · 
Eamez

Five components of sprawl according to CNU:

  1. housing subdivisions
  2. Shopping centers
  3. office parks
  4. civic institutions
  5. roadways

 https://www.stevethomason.net/2013/08/09/book-suburban-nation-by-andres-duany/


Jul 16, 24 3:50 pm  · 
 · 

Cultural centers are not the same thing as civic institutions. Then again, Steve Thomason didn't invent NU.

Jul 17, 24 4:17 pm  · 
 · 
vado retro

Sitting on my 10 foot deep porch at my 100 year old craftsman bungalow in my walkable mixed housing type neighborhood working on my third cup of coffee with my pitahoula and cats at my feet listening to yacht rock and thinking wasn't the CNU founded by a Cuban?

Jul 16, 24 12:14 pm  · 
1  · 

BOOMER! ;) I'm kidding.  Now excuse me, I need to use my Ring camera to tell kids to get ow my lawn.  


Jul 16, 24 2:03 pm  · 
 · 
vado retro

I have sidewalks.

Jul 16, 24 4:58 pm  · 
1  · 
Quasimotor

JustWondering is bringing an important point about the state we are in dealing with climate crisis, bad planning and design, the health of democracy, role of the architect, income inequality, dependence on cars and spatial justice.

It is disheartening that architects are not necessary involved with community meetings, plans and committees dealing planning and land use issues in your own neighborhood or city. How many are you involved in updating your community plans or agendas like Transit-Oriented Communities, Transit-Neighborhood Plans, design overlay zones, Vision Zero, or Active Transport Strategic Plan. Are you acting politically being a supporter of light rail, bike lanes, parks or open spaces, especially neighborhoods are underrepresented? That is part of the New Urbanism that should be address than CNU ethos.

Architects and designers should be more involved in a grass-roots level in engaging ourselves with stakeholders, disruptors, gadflies, people you don’t engage or trust to advocate the importance of architecture and better design communities by being a leader, communicator and collaborator to design innovative ideas on identity, collaboration, equity and space. Not on the architect’s design acumen but listening to people creating a new paradigm shift in creating New Urban Typologies.

Each community has their own challenges in re-imaging its built environment dominated by mini-malls, shopping malls, parking lots, billboards & signs, abandon properties, gas stations, environmental waste and crime. Everyone knows there need to be change. 

Our future is at stake and we are living in a precarious position if we don’t engage with people who are not like-minded, I can imagine a world-wide system collapsing because it is happening now and we are so divided.

Architects and architecture should play an important role in community design and engagement for neighborhood plans and urban development. Not corporations or developers.

R. Crumb's Short History of America

Jul 17, 24 5:57 pm  · 
 · 

"How many are you involved in updating your community plans or agendas like Transit-Oriented Communities, Transit-Neighborhood Plans, design overlay zones, Vision Zero, or Active Transport Strategic Plan." 

 I am. 

"Are you acting politically being a supporter of light rail, bike lanes, parks or open spaces, especially neighborhoods are underrepresented?"

Yes. 

Jul 17, 24 6:32 pm  · 
 · 
Le Courvoisier

We don't hate the ideas within New Urbanism, we hate that the majority of practitioners have used it in rich-ass suburbs completely corrupting the entire point of accessible cities. 

Also Andres Duany tried to pick up my then-girlfriend at a conference once. I still need to punch him in the face for that.

Jul 17, 24 7:01 pm  · 
2  · 

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