New Urbanism, Gentrification or Suburban Spawl
New Urbanism is a new way of thinking about master planned communities.
It stands in constrast to traditional suburbs, which for the most part
have been villanized for contributing to spawl and the demonized evils
which it is said to have brought forth. It stands as an answer to the
housing issues being faced in the United States,
housing. It's an good concept
and diversity of the city, without the cost of living in the city.
The suburbs epitomize the practicalCar-commuting-responsibility-girlfriend-suburbs-engagement-mortgage-marriage-dullJob-threeKids-happilyEverAfter
fairy tale. I complain about it South Riding is
a pretty good example of a new urbanist community is in contrast
to traditional suburbs.
New Urbanists promote a return to the traditional town planning that
defines places like downtown Charleston, South Carolina; old town
Alexandria, Va., historic San Francisco and Georgetown in Washington
DC. These traditional
neighborhoods feature walkable Main Street shopping districts, downtown
parks, and grid streets. Unfortunatley such traditional town planning
is hard to do, most modern suburban zoning laws prohibit such a neighborhood.
Thus finding a place which possesses those characteristics, without
even more complex problem. Most places which posses traditional town
structures are located in expensive urban areas, or were in a state
of general decline. The revitalization of the urban district invites
a complimentry, if not even more complex problem than spawl. That problem
is known as gentrification.
Gentrification is when wealthy middle class residents instead of moving
into quiet suburbs, move into affordable urban areas, the influx of
new residents improves the neighborhood.
Suburban Sprawl vs New Urbanism
I grew up in a suburb there's a lot to be said
about it. It was quiet, it was safe, it was clean. I played t-ball
and soccer at the local park, I rode my bike in the hills, I took the
school bus across town to a gifted magnet school. Strangely enough
the older I got, the further the school became (Elementry school -
four miles, middle school ten miles, high school thirteen miles).
Villanized aspects of Suburbs - and suburban sprawl.
Suburbs were developed with the car in mind, there's plenty
of parking. But you can't walk anywhere. The joke is that you
can go to
the store, then drive across the parking lot to go to another store.
The patetic reality is that people really do that. It's not unusual
to see retired people using the mall as an indoor walking track, as
it's one of the few places in the suburbs where it's safe to walk without
being afraid of being run over by cars.
Cars present their own host of evils. Which the tree huggung enviornmentalists
have beat to death about the pollution, smog, global warming, and not
to mention the carnage of all the cute little animals run over, or
all the beautiful cars damaged by collisions with wildlife.
They're spread out.
Suburbs are desgined with the automobile in mind. In additon
they are set up with highways, parkways, feeder roads, and tributaries.
this does create quiet residential streets with minimal traffic.
It also tends to separate housing from shopping and work.
They're plain and rather bland.
Since in most suburbs all the houses
were built by the same builder, and there's usually three or four different
models, but they're usually all about the same size. Since they all
were built at the same time, and have the same features, well they tend
same. The joke about suburbs is that if you got drunk and stumbled down
the street you could probably get lost go up to the wrong house and not
realize you were at the wrong place, till you woke up the people trying
to turn your key in the lock.
LA is a city without a center, because
it simply consists of suburbs. Despite a great deal of effort, it has
been hard to build public transportation there, and although there
is a "Downtown" too many people do not think of it as a destination.
It's easier to think of it as a series of small enclaves. I got to
Little Osaka for good gyoza, Monterey Park for Chinese food. The Westside
for museums, KoreaTown for jajangmien, and champong
Core principles of New Urbanism:
Basic goods and services are available within a five-minute walk. Sidewalks,
narrow streets, and proximity of commercial and residential areas facilitate
De-emphasize the car:
Garages are hidden in alleys, out of sight. Parallel street parking replaces
the parking lot.
Mix: Traditional suburbs put homes in one area, schools in another and
shopping in yet a third. New Urbanists mix building types, sizes and
prices. A modest townhouse or duplex cozies up to large single family
home, which may have a rental apartment over its garage. Apartments are
built over street level stores.
New Urbanist design encourages human interaction by keeping houses close
to each other and close to the street. Residents gather on front porches,
in nearby parks and on open plazas. Neighbors share driveways, walkways
Right now I live in a traditional city, it has all the characterististics
which the new urbanists based their principals upon.
In fact it's denser than most new urbanist communities.
Instead of suffering the problems of the suburbs, it faces the problem
of a lot of old cities.
Gentrification is the process by which.
It touches on a lot of aspects both good and bad,
and seeing the process of it happen where I live gives me an interesting
perspective. All the rumors are grounded in some sort of fact.
For a good description POV FlagWars, did a documentry
on it. Here's their description of gentrification
Gentrification in my city
There is no doubt that there's a lot of complex issues
involved in gentrification.
The ironic thing is that my church prayed for a revitalization
of Central Square, and it happened. I like to think we contributed
to it. Some of my friends don't think so. They like the fact that
Rents are too high!
Rent control fell 10 years ago, although vacancy
decontrol still exists to some degree.
I wonder what the implications of it are. Because
indeed what happened was there was a separation, and a lot of people
benefited. The middle class renters benefited from rent control, and
when it fell the people who owned the houses who were only moderately
wealthy, what was discovered was that they then began to sell their
houses to developers and