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JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY
EV5301: URBAN GEOGRAPHY AND DESIGN
JOHANNA OCHOA RUILOVA
NEW URBANISM IS TOUTED AS THE SOLUTION TO SPRAWL (CSD) FOR MANY WESTERN CITIES. TO WHAT EXTENT IS THIS USEFUL AS A STRATEGY FOR CITIES IN THE TROPICAL WORLD?
The New Urbanism, also called neo-traditional Planning, traditional neighborhood development or smart growth (Gyourko and Rybczynski, 2000) is a Community Design Reform movement born in response to the prevalence and consequences of unbridled expansion and urban/suburban fragmentation. New Urbanism advocates the revitalization of communities, development models based on pre-World War II. It’s also focused on the pedestrian oriented neighbourhoods with most economic and social facilities within a five minute walk, community oriented around public transit systems, and mixed land uses within neighbourhoods. The objective of New Urbanism is to integrate the components of modern life living, working, shopping and recreation in neighborhoods compact, multifunctional and friendly to pedestrians, in relation to a larger regional framework.
During the decade of the 70s, the cities were mostly built based on a ring system with a business district in downtown and suburban homes alike unfailingly around. However, in the late 1970s and early 1980s the ideas of the New Urbanism movement started to appear and spread. As urban planners and architects started to come up with plans to model cities in the U.S. the leaders in this design trend came together in 1993 to form the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), based in San Francisco (Steuteville, 2000). Some of the most important planers of these movement are Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberg who encouraged the creation of an alternative which could stop sprawling suburbanization over the territory (Hall, 2001, Steuteville, 2000).
This essay intends to give a general idea of the New Urbanist proposals, understanding the importance of its basis and also to analyze all the criticism against this movement. At the end it will be explained the feasibility of adopting these Americanized Neo-traditional concepts in worldwide projects, especially developing countries.
MAIN IDEAS OF NEW URBANISM
New Urbanism began as a modest experiment with the edification of resort towns and exclusive suburban communities (Day, 2003). This traditional neighborhood development is based on the belief that a return to traditional neighbourhood patterns is essential to restoring functional, sustainable communities (Steuteville, 2000). The aim of New Urbanism is to give people options to suit a lifestyle in a sustainable, convenient and enjoyable form, while contributing to solutions to stop global warming and climate change, focusing not in the style but in the spatial structure of beautiful cities and towns (Ellis, 2002).
New urbanism focuses on creating sustainable walkable places, with access to most places by foot or by bicycle (Ellis, 2002), public transport and other networks that reduce dependence on the automobile and at the same time integrates housing, services, shops and workplaces (Day, 2003). The green areas are created not only as recreational or scenic areas, but as areas that provide significant environmental improvements (Ellis, 2002). In other words, Neo-traditional ideas emphasize on street parking (Steuteville, 2000), instead of large parking lots, mixed buildings in their style, size, price and function and finally have a strong emphasis on the community (Briney, 2009). Another peculiarity of new urbanism is the use of a "modified" grid, with "T" intersections and street deflections, to calm traffic and increase visual interest (Steuteville, 2000).
The principles of "New Urbanism" are applicable to cities in different scales and are intended to strengthen citizen participation, define the relationship between individuals and the state and provide quality of...