New Urbanism City Design

new urbanismNew Urbanism is an approach to community planning or designing towns, cities or neighborhoods. New Urbanism actually has actually been around since the 80s, but its principles are much older.

New Urbanist Communities                                              

New Urbanist communities are designed to:

  • Eliminate (urban) sprawling
  • Reduce traffic
  • Be accessible (walk-able)
  • Foster a sense of community closeness (buildings are so arranged)
  • Promote "green" living by stressing the importance of environment-friendly architecture and energy conservation.

New Urbanist towns and cities are like a throwback to Old European communities wherein villages and homes are bunched together with businesses and other important services.

Instead of driving on jam-packed roads and freeways, residents can simply walk to work, to school, to shops, etc.

Ideally, New Urbanism (and its other variations like New Pedestrianism) is an answer to problems faced by today’s communities, such as:

  • Congestion and heavy traffic
  • Pollution due to high levels and of car use and improper disposal of wastes
  • Health problems
  • Energy problems
  • Social problems

Cities are overcrowded probably because people flock to the cities because that’s where jobs are. Business districts are far from villages and neighborhoods, residents drive to work, thus the surge in the number of cars being used. Car exhaust pollutes the air. More cars mean an increase in emissions.
This is cause a number of health (lung diseases, obesity, etc.) and environmental problems (global warming, ozone depletion, greenhouse effect). And, because cars run on fuel, the incessant rise in car use depletes our oil (energy) reserves. On top of that, the fast-paced lifestyle of today’s communities is not ideal for building community closeness.


Although this approach has grown in popularity over the years, there are still criticisms being thrown at it. Some critics say that New Urbanist towns are too carefully planned that it feels artificial. Some say that it is too restrictive in that residents must follow strict zoning rules before they can remodel.

Other criticisms of New Urbanism

Left wings view New Urbanism as a model of "capitalistic excess, aligned with forces of greed and racism that would intentionally or unintentionally purge residents of color and the underclass from their historical neighborhoods by raising property values far beyond their pre-urban renewal rates."

Right wings view it as a "collectivist plot designed to rob Americans of their civil freedoms, property rights, and free-flowing traffic."

Some environmentalists call New Urbanist communities as "another form of sprawl" – albeit controlled. Because some New Urbanist developments where built on previously open space.

Some say that New Urbanism "promotse aesthetics over practicality."

Academics accuse New Urbanism of being "retrograde, bordering on fascist."

Others say that New Urbanist developments "fall short of being truly sustainable."

Source: Wikipedia

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