Sunday, December 11, 2005

Virginia's New Urbanism Revolution

You know the "New Urbanism" concept is going mainstream when you read that developers are initiating New Urbanism-inspired projects in Lynchburg. According to Lynchburg's News Advance:

Plans call for the Thomas Jefferson Crossing neighborhood, located off U.S. 221 behind the Bank of the James’ Forest branch, to feature a mix of homes, retail stores, offices and apartments above shops. Developers of the project have said it will have wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, streetlights, large open spaces and walking trails. ...

“We’re in an age of convenience. We all want it close by,” said Gary Case, president of Gary W. Case & Co., a real estate firm on the project.

Nearly every major project being announced in the Richmond region purports to be inspired by New Urbanism principles. The Richmond Times-Dispatch ran an article a week ago describing four New Urbanism projects -- two of them designed by the architecture firm of New Urbanism guru and prophet Andres Duany -- in the Fredericksburg area.

Not all mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly projects are created equal. Those that take advantage of existing roads and other infrastructure are better than those that do not. Those that contribute to the creation of a balanced mix of homes/offices/shopping/amenities not only at the neighborhood level but the regional level are better than those that do not. But in almost all cases, mixed-use, pedestrian friendly urban design is better than the kind of scattered, disconnected, low-density development that preceded it.


At 10:35 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

"Nearly every major project being announced in the Richmond region purports to be inspired by New Urbanism principles."

Could it be that if you do not include this in your sales pitch, that your public meetings will be flooded with activists, opposing your project? The Post recently published an article that dealt with this topic.

I don't have any problem with New Urbanist developments. Mixed use, walkable communities are fine, as far as they go.

There is still a lot that needs to be explained, and a lot we theorize about and don't understand how it will work out in practice. Walkable spaces are considered to be not more than a mile in radius, how does that tie in with larg public open spaces that have to be maintained at public expense.

We will need hundreds of such communities to accomodate projected growth, what transport will be provided between communities?


At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Duany go bankrupt trying to build the Kentlands?

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Moving to the country is a trend that's sweeping across America with half a million people moving last year alone. Rural areas are experiencing population growth as all walks of people move to the country for many of the same reasons. They're searching for a simpler life in a place where they can reconnect to the land. They have a desire and passion to live on land and enjoy the pleasures that come from a life in the country. We call this aspiration New Ruralism and it's the driving force behind the population rebound rural America is experiencing."

Progressive Farmer


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