New Urbanism

{text:change} {text:change} {text:change} {text:change} New Urbanism New Urbanism is a relatively recent architectural and social design principle to leave its mark {text:change} {text:change} on United States society. Many past contributing factors present in society {text:change} {text:change} have lead some Americans {text:change} {text:change} to call {text:change} {text:change} for the implementation of a New Urbanism way of life in recent years.

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After defining and {text:change} discussing exactly what New Urbanism is, I will {text:change} {text:change} {text:change} delve deeper into the movement in an attempt to uncover {text:change} {text:change} what this new movement is a response to. This, in turn, will help to identify some of the problems current suburbs face today. As defined by scholars, the term “New Urbanism” refers to “an intellectual movement of architects and planners that is opposed to the normative growth patterns of our society” (Gottdiener and Budd 96).

Simply defined, one can think of the New Urbanism way of life as a rebellion against the way society has expanded into vast suburbs. New Urbanists do not like the concept of an automobile based suburbia. They believe that their neighborhoods should be small, taking no more time than five minutes to reach the neighborhood center {text:change} {text:change} from the boundaries of the neighborhood (Gottdiener and Budd 96). In addition, New {text:change} Urbanists believe that their societies should have a diverse selection of shops, parks, schools, and churches easily accessible to all (without an automobile) (Gottdiener and Budd 96).

New Urbanists want to return to the way cities were {text:change} before American society was forever changed by the invention of the automobile. In order to achieve this objective {text:change} {text:change} , sidewalks and public transportation must connect dwellings with businesses, {text:change} {text:change} {text:change} thereby eliminating the need for daily use of the automobile as the essential means of transportation.

Now that we {text:change} {text:change} {text:change} have an understanding {text:change} {text:change} of exactly what New Urbanism is, it is natural to question what led its early adopters in the 1980s to create or look favorably upon its implementation The {text:change} {text:change} roots of the New Urbanism movement can be traced back to the period after World War II and possibly earlier. When the automobile transitioned more from an idea {text:change} to large -scale roduction in the early 1900s, little did anybody know the widespread impact a simple transportation mechanism would have on American society. Life, as it was known then, would never be the same. Before the invention of the automobile, cities in America existed much like the neighborhood communities that {text:change} the New Urbanism movement hopes to bring back . {text:change} {text:change} As the number {text:change} {text:change} {text:change} of automobiles in society life increased, {text:change} the need for close proximity of necessary businesses and workplaces to the automobile owning family decreased .

As Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk stated in their 1993 article regarding New Urbanism, “the suburbs and cities of today continue to separate the naturally integrated human activities of dwelling, working, shopping, schooling, worshiping, and recreating” (Duany and Plater-Zyberk 196). The automobile has helped to separate these critical establishments from the American household. The {text:change} authors infer that the increased importance of the automobile has led to an exponential rising of the amount of funding for {text:change} roadwork {text:change} while the amount of funding for civic programs has been reduced.

Civic programs are crucial to the American society, economy, and environment (Duany and Plater-Zyberk 196). Such a shift towards increased emphasis on funding road {text:change} {text:change} work can be seen in the recent Economic Stimulus Bill passed by Congress and the President. Over $130 billion will be spent on the improvement and building of roads and bridges, which further highlight the relative importance of {text:change} {text:change} the automobile in American society.

The other main {text:change} factor that lead to {text:change} {text:change} the birth of {text:change} {text:change} the New Urbanism movement is the suburban sprawl that accompanied the end of World War II. Sprawl, as defined by M. Gottdiener and Leslie Budd, is the “’haphazard growth’ of relative low density over an extended region, with residential units dominated by {text:change} single-family homes” (Gottdiener and Budd 145). Simply stated {text:change} {text:change} , sprawl is the exodus of citizens from the city into the outlying areas.

Sprawl has lead to the creation {text:change} {text:change} of residential areas without much, if any, planning. This lack of planning usually results in the {text:change} {text:change} essential components of a {text:change} {text:change} {text:change} neighborhood being located far from the residential areas. Urban {text:change} {text:change} sprawl can have a tremendous {text:change} {text:change} {text:change} negative {text:change} {text:change} impact on the city neighborhoods that are left behind when citizens move to the suburbs. The {text:change} article entitled “From Institutional to Jobless Ghettos” by William Julius Wilson highlights this key point when referencing a quote from Loic Wacquant, a member of the Urban Poverty and Family Life Study. Wacquant said that “residents remember a time, not so long ago, when crowds were so dense at rush hour that one had to elbow one’s way to the train station – now have the appearance of an empty, bombed-out war zone” when referencing the Woodlawn neighborhood in Chicago (Wilson 112).

This effect is something that the New Urbanism movement is {text:change} {text:change} trying to correct. By {text:change} {text:change} attempting to counteract the effects of sprawl on society, suburban residential neighborhoods can be planned into New Urbanistic neighborhoods. Many city planners and architects have already attempted to do this. Some of the most famous New Urbanistic societies are the towns of Celebration, Florida and Seaside, Florida. text:change} {text:change} It is important to remember that just because architects and planners build a New Urbanistic neighborhood, that doesn’t necessarily mean {text:change} that, the residents of that neighborhood will live in the New Urbanistic way. For example, in Celebration, Florida there has not been an increase in sociability amongst {text:change} {text:change} strangers {text:change} {text:change} despite the fact that the dwellings have porches (Gottdiener and Budd 97).

Gottdiener and Budd then go on to infer that just because you place suburbanites in a New Urbanistic society, that doesn’t mean that the residents will drop their suburban-like tendencies (Gottdiener and Budd 97). New Urbanism is a fairly new ideology that is opposed to the way in which society has grown during the past century. The underlying causes behind the formation of the New Urbanism movement can be traced back to the invention of the automobile and the pattern of urban sprawl that took place in most, if not all, major cities around the country shortly after World War II.

New Urbanism strives {text:change} {text:change} for a societal efficiency that increases social networks while decreasing the idea {text:change} {text:change} of spreading out the neighborhood. Although New Urbanism seeks to address the problems caused by this urban {text:change} {text:change} sprawl growth pattern through architecture, it will likely take more than a different architectural design to change the long ingrained {text:change} {text:change} mindset of the automobile driven suburban citizen. text:change} {text:change} {text:change} {text:change} Works Cited Duany, Andres and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. “The Neighborhood, the District, and the Corridor. ” The City Reader. 4thEd. Richard T. LeGates and Fredric Stout. New York, NY: Routledge, 2007. Print. Gottdiener, M. , and Leslie Budd. Key Concepts in Urban Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc, 2005. Print. Wilson, William Julius. “From Institutional to Jobless Ghettos. ” The City Reader. 4th Ed. Richard T. LeGates and Fredric Stout. New York, NY: Routledge, 2007. Print.