11 May 2009

New Urbanism


Super cool video. My only beef is that they didn't mention bicycles.

Winner of The Congress for New Urbanism CNU 17 video contest. This short film explores the connection between New Urbanism and environmental issues.

13 comments:

portlandize.com said...

I've thought about this a lot - this is a big focus in Portland's city planning - developing neighborhoods so that everything you need to do on a daily basis is within about 20 minutes walking distance (which would mean about 5-10 minutes on a bike). I like that Portland is putting some emphasis on growing your own food in the city as well, looking at education campaigns for people as to how to go about doing that, and creating thousands of community garden plots throughout the city. You can also raise chickens at your home in Portland city limits :)

Of course, much of the inner part of Portland is already arranged closely and conveniently, because that's how it was originally designed, but re-zoning and directing new development so that there continues to be a good mix of residential, commercial and recreational helps keep distances short. The longest trip I take regularly is just under 5 miles (and it could be shorter, but I take a longer route that is nicer to ride a bike along).

Now we need to start retro-fitting suburbs so that they are arranged more like small cities in and of themselves, rather than just massive housing developments.

Brent said...

Cycling is great, but I'd argue that walking is better, if your living arrangements are set up for it. I've been walking to work for about thirteen years (this is rare in Los Angeles). It takes me about fifteen minutes from the time I lock my apartment door to when I unlock my office door. I never worry about my bicycle getting stolen, grease on my pants, crashes, etc. I also happen to walk to the gym, grocery, drugstore, dry cleaners, movies -- pretty much wherever I can.

The biggest downside? I wear out my heels more often...

Cezar said...

I think the video misses the point entirely. If I was a suburbanite and watched it, my first reaction was that is was attempting to take away my back yard, my garage, the peacefulness of my street.

What it needs to get across is that those things can be kept, but take up much less room when things are arranged in a grid and around a town center.

Until they remove the fear that the city hippies are trying to take away their American Dream, they will never accept New Urbanism. It's really a marketing problem.

anna said...

Great video. That's exactly what I tend to say. Down with the suburbs! Well ok, that can't be done so easily, but it's possible. It's also about creating subcenters with a certain infrastructure (which will also create jobs in these areas) and not about designing areas that are _only made for living. At least shopping and going to school should - if one doesn't completely live in the mountains - be possible without the need of a car. Otherwise old and young people have no possibility to move around themselves as generally also public transport is difficult to organize and not very efficient in such widespread suburbs.

Fion Ho said...

Very interesting video - sweet and precise.

I agree with Cezar - the idea of New Urbanism is fearful for many suburbanites because it is basically taking away the "rights" and reasons why they choose to live in suburbs at the first place. I believe we need a (re)new way of understanding New Urbanism, at least a different way of presenting what this is all about. Like many environmental initiatives, I don't think New Urbanism is about giving up certain things to do good, to feel good about living. New Urbanism offers the very same comfort, peace and living style that suburbs do AND MORE.

It's not making a choice that "should" be right, but one that simply makes sense.

gwadzilla said...

fantastic...

thanks for sharing

Angus said...

For this to work we need to learn how to live as communities rather than individuals. self restraint and respect for your neighbors are essential.

Raquel Gratis total said...

great video! i hated this stupid wisteria lane life!

Adrienne Johnson said...

You can not demand that those in suburbia give up their lives. In the US, people work damn hard for that life, and to say it is wrong is a bit insulting and counter productive.

If we, instead, not build anymore of them, bring services to the existing suburbs that they need and want, and make city living so attractive that no one wants to live in the suburbs.... then we can move forward.

I think the trick is finding a way to make suburbs more self sustaining as a side effect of making suburban life easier for those who live there, vs just declaring them to be bad.

Gorka said...

Sorry, Adrienne, but your argument that people work damn hard to live their dream life is not valid.

Using that argument you could justify the right to buy blood diamonds or a fur coat. Just because you worked hard for it doesn't make it right.

Adrienne Johnson said...

You can not look someone in the face, tell them that everything they work for is wrong, tell them about how you want to take it and change it to what you think is right, and expect them to listen. That is where the environmental movement has made its biggest mistakes in trying to change people's behavior.

That's the point, you can not change anyone. You can only build working, viable examples of what you want to see change and through that, show through example what works better for everyone.

No one has to justify anything. Not to me, not to you. Instead of pointing to the wrong, work to build something better. You will get a lot further.

workbike said...

Adrienne: Good point, let's get on with living a better way. I've noticed ever more discussions about cycling and living simply, but I still get a lot of negative reactions. Maybe that's because people expect to be criticised...

William said...

@gorka, wether or not you are right isn't really interesting. It's not about being right, it's about agreeing.

If someone tried to take away my diamonds, I would lash out and react with violence.
If someone informed me that some diamonds are dug out by slaves, and used to finance criminal empires, I'd do what my conscience commanded me to do.

I would, however, never do what your conscience commands me to do. It just doesn't work like that.

Likewise, demanding that people in suburbia give up their lives would not yield positive results. Making urban life better than suburban life, and letting people choose for themselves seems a much better option