Learn about New Urbanism
New Urbanism is a concept that is sweeping the nation and popping up in more and more developments right here in Atlanta: Glenwood Park, Edgewood Retail District, and the in-progress Ponce City Market (City Hall East) for a few examples. At Heirloom Design Build, we fully believe in this developmental theory (as shown in our work with the Glenwood Park projects), and are working towards new opportunities in Grant Park. Here, in this series of posts, you’ll learn what New Urbanism is, how it can positively effect the growth of the community, and HDB’s part in the process.
From the Congress of New Urbanism:
1. Creating Enduring Neighborhoods
New Urbanism recognizes walkable, human-scaled neighborhoods as the building blocks of sustainable communities and regions. The Charter of the New Urbanism articulates the movement’s principles and defines the essential qualities of urban places from the scale of the region to the individual building.
2. Making Urbanism Legal Again
Although compact, mixed-use urban form was the standard before 1950, separate-use zoning codes and high-volume road standards subsequently helped to make sprawl (above right) today’s default development option. New Urbanists are providing leaders with tools (and more tools) to reverse course and strengthen the character, livability, and diversity of their communities.
3. Making Connections a Priority
Through grids of streets, transportation choices, and the siting of buildings along the sidewalks of compact blocks, New Urbanism brings destinations within reach and allows for frequent encounters between citizens, in sharp contrast to sprawl. A key measure of connectivity is how accessible communities are to people with a range of physical abilities and financial resources.
4. Celebrating Shared Spaces
New Urbanism makes shared space the organizing element of a community. Architecture physically defines streets as places of shared use. Care for the public realm adds character, builds value, promotes security, and helps residents feel proud of their community. Plazas, squares, sidewalks, cafes, and porches provide rich settings for interaction and public life.
5. Achieving Sustainability — From Building to Region
By focusing development, New Urbanism promotes efficient use of infrastructure and preservation of habitats and farmland. With green building leaders, CNU is establishing new standards for green design at the neighborhood scale. Transportation plays a pivotal role in sustainability and truly efficient transportation – walking, bicycling, and transit use – is only possible where there is compact, urban form.
6. Reclaiming Urban Places Once Thought Lost
New Urbanism is repairing the damage done to our cities through environmental degradation, misguided infrastructure projects and designs that isolated the poor. Through the federal Hope VI program, New Urbanism has transformed deteriorating public housing into livable mixed-income neighborhoods (left). And in numerous cities, CNU is helping to replace blighting freeways with neighborhood-friendly boulevards.
7. Renewing a Ravaged Region
Since the historic October 2005 Mississippi Renewal Forum, CNU members have led planning efforts along the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast, including in New Orleans (left). Master plans, form-based codes, and transportation designs are helping citizens and their leaders forge collaborative visions, while Katrina Cottages (right) have emerged as a new model for affordable emergency housing of enduring quality.
Watch the short video “Built to Last” by First + Main Media, (the winner of the video contest conducted in conjunction with CNU 17 in Denver), for an entertaining and enlightening introduction to New Urbanism and its role in freeing people from automobile-dependence and in reversing development patterns that threaten our global climate:
Contact us at Heirloom Design Build to learn more about our New Urbanism projects and how we can help with your construction goals!