Residents and urban planners alike believe that new urbanism has held strong and could be poised for even more popularity.
Jon and Stephanie Sundock of Rosemary Beach, a planned new urbanism development in Florida’s panhandle, appreciate the option to leave their car at home and bike to local amenities.
And urban planners told the Chicago Tribune that they see a continuing demand for the smaller streets, front porches, and compact communities that typify new urbanism developments.
Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, dean of the school of architecture at the University of Miami, says, “There has been a long dry spell in new urbanism developments because of the economy.” With economic recovery slowly emerging, though, she is optimistic. “The new urbanism product has maintained its value, and going forward there will absolutely be a resurgence. New urbanism is still a model for the future. It’s exactly what the boomers want.”
Plater-Zyberk and her husband, Andres Duany, designed two of the earliest new urbanism communities, Florida’s Seaside and Rosemary Beach.
And Peter Calthorpe, who designed Stapleton, Colo., on the site of the former Stapleton airport near Denver, argues that the nation can’t afford more sprawl, making new urbanism more attractive. His design philosophy emphasizes transit-oriented development so that people can walk or bike to their commute. It’s “gaining momentum and will meet the needs of the market,” Calthorpe told the Chicago Tribune.
But new urbanism has its detractors as well. Barry Berkus, of B3 Architects in Santa Barbera, Calif., argues, “Neo-traditional design looks back, not forward. New urbanists think all good architecture was done before 1940. But society has moved on.”