The New Urbanism Movement

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As a movement in the fields of architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture, New Urbanism began to coalesce in the 1970s and 1980s as a reaction to the relentless but unsustainable increase in sprawling development patterns across the American (White & Ellis, 2007). New Urbanism has been the most important movement in the area of urban design and architecture to take hold in the United States in the last two decades, on similar to the City Beautiful and Garden City movements of the early twentieth century (Vanderbeek & Irazabal, 2007).
New urbanism is effectively an urban design package that combines neo-traditional style buildings arranged in street grids to form relatively dense, walkable mixed use neighborhoods. While originally
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Even the much revered sense of community that New Urbanists hope to "reintroduce" into the urban fabric is closely tied to individualistic ideas about relative insulation and exclusion (Vanderbeek & Irazabal, 2007).
Though it is often viewed as the philosophical antithesis of Modernism, New Urbanism is better described as a continuation of modernism, or even as a neo modernist movement (Vanderbeek & Irazabal, 2007).
Examining the origins of New Urbanism shows it to be a dynamic movement rooted in constant guiding principles. Its early practitioners sought a practical, resilient, well-founded, and buildable alternative to sprawl. They have made use of traditional urban patterns and have also taken full account of modern technological, social, and economic realities. New Urbanism advocates the creation of metropolitan regions that are composed of:
1. well-structured cities, towns, and neighborhoods with identifiable centers and
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architectural design that shows respect for local history and regional character (White & Ellis, 2007).
New urbanism is significant because it spearheads a postmodern generation of designers: it crystallizes a variety of approaches that reject the extant orthodoxies of modernism (Marshall, 2003). New Urbanism is probably the most widely-discussed innovation in planning in the United States today, and its influence is spreading in many parts of the world, from Brazil to Turkey, with impacts from Beijing to South Africa (Marcuse, 2000).
What is the New Urbanism? Sometimes known as 'neo- traditional ' or simply 'traditional neighborhood development, ' it is in essence not something that is 'new ' (nor, I will argue below, is it 'urban ') but rather a systematic assembly of a variety of planning and architectural tools that have been known and used for many years (Marcuse, 2000). They include an emphasis on pedestrian friendly neighborhoods with smaller single-family lots than the conventional large lots of many suburbs, giving residential densities of tree-lined streets and houses with front porches, central location of key community facilities such as schools and churches to make a “real town center,” all geared to recreating, through physical means, a “traditional sense of community” for the residents (Marcuse,
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