New Urbanism is an urban design trend that began in the 1970s in response to concerns about urban and suburban sprawl. It seeks to promote planning and architecture that work together to create traditional, pedestrian-friendly, walk-able communities.
And, while it is an urban design approach that borrows many elements from old neighborhood designs, it also attempts to provide a more modern product that today’s homeowners seek by incorporating up-to-date floor plans and including many sought-after amenities.
The following are some of the key themes of New Urbanism:
Create a traditional neighborhood structure with a town center.
This central place can be a town square, a community park or a key transit stop - but it serves as the core for the neighborhood. Density is greater at the core with a range of diverse uses.
Design for pedestrians and encourage residents to walk.
Pedestrian-friendly design is incorporated throughout, such as bringing buildings closer to the curb, streets are lined with trees, and homes have porches in the front and garages in the rear. This also involves providing for a mix of shops, housing, and transit stops in close proximity to one another so that most things are within a five or ten minute walk from home or work.
Develop a mix of uses to promote diversity and livability.
A mixture of uses - including shops, offices and residential - within a building or along a block is preferred over separating uses. And, a variety of housing options within a community - including apartments, rowhomes and detached residential - allows for a mixture of income levels, ages and lifestyles within the same neighborhood.
Create a sense of place.
There is attention to quality architecture and good design. And, there is an emphasis on incorporating public spaces within a community - such as common areas like sitting parks, community gardens or a central square.
Utilize smart traffic designs to encourage the use of public transit, cycling and walking.
These can range from transit-oriented development to traffic calming designs.
Here are some links to help you learn more about New Urbanism: