children, the elderly and people who don’t want to drive. Since World War II, cities have been spreading ever-outward. Strip malls, parking lots, highways and housing tracts have sprawled over the landscape.
Many of the ideas of New Urbanism are not new. Urban design has been an art for the millennia. Since America was founded, many of our best-loved cities and towns have been carefully planned. New Ur- banism is often associated with new towns such as Seaside, FL, but in fact, New Urbanism guides development at all scales. It includes infill projects within existing cities and towns, such as Bethesda, MD. New Urbanism can be small projects on individual blocks, or it can also ap- ply to redeveloped neighborhoods, such as Park DuValle in Louisville, KY. New Urbanism includes Greenfield projects, also called traditional neighborhood developments (TNDs). Maryland’s Kentlands and Lake- lands are among the best-known. New Urbanists also take part in re- gional planning. In New Jersey, a statewide plan for Smart Growth has focused public investment into existing centers, and a statewide design guideline is helping keep the state’s small towns vibrant.
The principles of New Urbanism are defined by a Charter, which was developed between 1993 and 1996 by a broad range of architects, plan- ners, interested citizens, scholars, elected officials, and developers. It was ratified at the fourth annual Congress on New Urbanism. For new urbanists, the region is the overall context for all planning. That means planning must often cross traditional jurisdictional lines in order to cre- ate a healthy region. Towns and cities within a region need a compre- hensive metropolitan strategy in order to prosper. Each town should have both homes and jobs for people of all incomes so that residents aren’t forced to travel far to work, or if connected to a transit system, provides easy travel to jobs.
Each town also needs a discrete sense of place. New Urbanism calls for towns to develop in an appropriate style for their surroundings, while re- specting their neighborhoods. Towns and cities within a region should have clear boundaries, contributing to a sense of place. The land be- tween towns should be preserved as open space. These edges are as important as the centers to the success of New Urbanism. Villages, town edges, town centers, city neighborhoods, and city centers each have their own building densities, street sizes, and appropriate mixtures of retail, residential and other functions. Diverse, walkable neighbor- hoods are what distinguishes New Urbanism from other modern devel- opment styles.
MICHAEL GRAVES & ASSOCIATES with DUANY PLATER-ZYBERK AND COMPANY