People either love new urbanism or hate it. Some find compact new neighborhoods of brownstone row houses, elegant Victorian mansions, or country cottages delightful: places that celebrate the city and its history, and offer hope for a sustainable future. Others see these 'urban villages' as up-graded suburbs mired in the aesthetics of another time and place: cloyingly nostalgic anachronisms for affluent elites. This book examines new urban approaches both in theory and practice. Taking a critical look at how new urbanism lives up to its theory in its practice, it asks whether new urban approaches offer a viable path to the good community.
With examples drawn principally from the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Norway, and Japan, this book explores new urban approaches in a wide range of settings. It considers the relationship between the movement for urban villages and an urban renaissance that has spread in the UK and Europe with the 'New Urbanism' movement in the United States and Canada and asks whether the concerns that drive contemporary planning theory - issues like power, democracy, spatial patterns, and globalization - receive adequate attention in new urban approaches. Does new urbanism offer a persuasive normative theory of urban development that will shape planning practice for years to come, or a design paradigm that cannot transcend its cultural origins in a particular time and place?
The work of new urbanists has resulted in beautiful urban districts that reveal the potential of planning to create more attractive and meaningful urban landscapes. New urbanists have developed and propagated a formula for planning the good community, and have gainedinternational attention in the process. Beauty is arguably a necessary condition for the good community, but is it sufficient?