Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Pulp- New Urbanism

I am drawn to towns or cities that has a downtown bustling with quaint little shops, restaurants, and small businesses. Places like that have such a sense of community; adopting the same core principles that towns thrived on years ago.

New Urbanism is an urban design movement takes that same idea of community, which promotes walkable, compact, vibrant, mixed-use communities composed of the same components as conventional development, but assembled in a more integrated fashion.These contain housing, work places, shops, entertainment, schools, parks, and civic facilities essential to the daily lives of the residents, all within easy walking distance of each other.

Brief History

Through the first quarter of the 20th century, the United States developed mainly in the form of compact, mixed-use neighborhoods. The pattern began to change with

the emergence of modern architecture and zoning and the ascent of the automobile. After World War II, a new system of development was implemented nationwide — one that, instead of being based on neighborhoods, was based on a rigorous separation of uses. The separate-use system has become known as sprawl or conventional suburban development (CSD). The majority of US citizens now live in suburban communities built during the last 60 years.

The New Urbanism is a reaction to sprawl. A growing movement of architects, planners, developers, and others, the New Urbanism is based on principles of planning and architecture that work together to create human-scale, walkable communities. The New Urbanism includes traditional architects and those with modernist sensibilities. From modest beginnings, the trend is growing to have a substantial impact. More than 500 new towns, villages, and neighborhoods are built or under construction in the US, using principles of the New Urbanism. Additionally, hundreds more smaller-scale new urban projects are restoring the urban fabric of cities and towns by reestablishing walkable streets and blocks in communities throughout the US.


Defining Elements of New Urbanism

1. Walkability

-Most things within a 10-minute walk of home and work
with pedestrian friendly street design.

2. Connectivity

-Interconnected street grid network disperses traffic & eases walking.

3. Mixed-Use & Diversity

-A mix of shops, offices, apartments, and homes on site. Mixed-use within neighborhoods, within blocks, and within buildings
-Diversity of people - of ages, income levels, cultures, and races 

4. Mixed Housing
- A range of types, sizes and prices in closer proximity 

5. Quality Architecture & Urban Design-

Emphasis on beauty, aesthetics, human comfort, and creating a sense of place; Special placement of civic uses and sites within community.

6. Traditional Neighborhood Structure

-Discernable center and edge
-Public space at center
-Importance of quality public realm; public open space designed as civic art
-Contains a range of uses and densities within 10-minute walk
-Transect planning: Highest densities at town center; progressively less dense towards the edge.

7. An elementary school is close enough so that most children can walk from their home.

8. There are small playgrounds accessible to every dwelling.

9. Smart Transportation
-A network of high-quality trains connecting cities, towns, and neighborhoods together. Pedestrian-friendly design that enc
ourages a greater use of bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, and walking as daily transportation.10. Sustainability

-Minimal environmental impact of development and its operations

-Eco-friendly technologies, respect for ecology and value of natural systems

-Energy efficiency

-Less use of finite fuels

-More local production

-More walking, less driving


Urbanist Towns

The first full-size new urbanist community was Seaside, the 80-acre resort development that Robert Davis began building on the Florida Panhandle in the early 1980's with lead designers Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.


Serenbe is a 1,000 acre community located under 30 minutes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson
International Airport. It is a national model for the future of balanced development in the U.S.—
focusing on land preservation, agriculture, energy efficiency, green building, walkability, high density
building, arts and culture, and community living for multiple generations.

Kentlands is an award-winning neo-traditional community in Gaithersburg, Maryland. What makes this neighborhood different is that people can walk to do their shopping, walk to school or work. There are single family homes, town homes, condominiums and rental apartments along with work/home units. White picket fences, tree lined streets, sidewalks and various common areas where neighbors gather are part of the design.

Harbor Town

Harbor Town is one of the nation's most fully developed and successful Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TND). Located on Mud Island adjacent to downtown Memphis, Harbor Town contains 500 houses, a shopping district, a small private school, and several town greens. Its streets are restrained; its architecture is classic and pure; its master plan seamlessly integrates public buildings and private spaces.

As summer is approaching I wanted to be sure and include you in on my favorite place to go to the beach, Rosemary Beach, Florida.

"One of 30A's several planned "New Urbanist" communities, Rosemary Beach is an architectural treasure trove, boasting influences from the West Indies, New Orleans, Charleston and St. Augustine, among others. The homes (most with adjoining carriage houses) are interconnected by a discreet network of pedestrian paths and boardwalks, which become even more charming at night, basked in the soft flicker of gas-lit lanterns."

We love the Sugar Shack! Our trip cannot be complete unless my daughter, Madelyn makes at least 3 stops here!


Life shines on 30A, a 20-mile scenic shore tucked quietly between Destin and Panama City Beach, Florida. Speckled with artsy villages, rare coastal dune lakes, upscale resorts, funky beach bars, world-class restaurants and 25,000 acres of protected habitats, Florida's Scenic Highway 30A is the birthplace of "New Urbanism" and is also home to the most beautiful beaches in the world.

This book "30A Style" by Eleanor Lynn Nesmith, opens the doors of twenty-two homes within historical villages and vibrant new towns. Along the way, discover the rich traditions of the region and pioneers who saw the potential in protecting the natural landscapes of our corner of Northwest Florida. Explore New Urbanist towns that prompted the unofficial title of “The Design Coast” for these twenty miles of Scenic Highway.

If you're looking for a new vacation spot, I suggest you give Rosemary Beach or any of the 30A beaches a try! Enjoy!



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