Civic

Civic buildings and spaces

Town green plan

Town green plan

For Camden, South Carolina. Courtesy of Wade Luther.

South Carolina's oldest inland city builds a town green

A parking lot is being converted to a civic space in the center of Camden. Next up is a “road diet” for a downtown thoroughfare.

Minnesota’s ballpark: urban yet not retro

Target Field, the $545 million new home of the Minnesota Twins, may just possibly be the death knell for retro-style ballparks.

Civic buildings and spaces

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Chapter 9 of the New Urbanism Best Practices Guide
Civic and religious institutions are an integral part of a community. New Urbanism urges that schools, post offices, town halls, libraries, and religious buildings be sited in dignified, prominent locations — usually on an important green, plaza, or square, at a key main street intersection, or terminating a significant axis. They should not have parking lots in front of them. Many civic buildings in new urban communities use traditional architectural styles, but some are modern in design. Others interpret traditional design ideas in new ways.

The rotary

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New Urban News Technical Page by Andres Duany, Michael Morrissey, and Patrick Pinnell

In understanding the components of urbanism at any point along the Transect, it is useful to differentiate between the organization of movement and the organization of spatial enclosure. Within the broad class of urban components based on more or less circular forms, the circle, the circus, and the rotary differ in their movement and spatial organization. The circus (see June 2001 issue) has a high degree of spatial definition, and usually also strongly organizes movement.  The rotary, by contrast, has as its goal the accomplishment of regular movement no matter what the character of the associated space.

The plaza: Past and Future

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New Urban News Technical Page by Andres Duany, Michael Morrissey, and Patrick Pinnell

Within a traditional urban fabric, public space has an identity; it exists as more than mere residue after the construction of buildings and roads. Public spaces associated with some communal activity are particularly important. The combination of internal use and external space affect the public life and activities through which a community defines itself.

The turbine square

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New Urban News Technical Page by Andres Duany, Michael Morrissey, and Patrick Pinnell

A square is a public space, defined by building frontages, seldom larger than a block, usually occurring at the intersection of important streets. The streetscape of a square consists of a formal landscape of trees, lawn, and paved paths. A plaza is similar but its streetscape consists primarily of pavement. The standing of civic buildings is invariably enhanced when they are located within or along these types of public spaces.

The circus

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New Urban News Technical Page by Andres Duany, Michael Morrissey, and Patrick Pinnell

A circus is a regular, concavely curved urban open space;  a circular variant of the urban square. Circuses are the spatial manifestation of the popular roundabout of modern traffic engineering, as buildings are disposed in support of the vehicular geometry. Although a simple intersection, the streets entering a circus give the effect of converging in an intensely spatial urban place.

The circle

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New Urban News Technical Page by Andres Duany, Michael Morrissey, and Patrick Pinnell

Rotary, circle, and circus identify urban spatial elements associated with circular traffic movement. The first tends to occur towards the Rural end of the Transect, the last towards the Urban Core, while variations on the circle occur in between.

The plaza: Parking/plaza techniques

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New Urban News Technical Page by Andres Duany, Michael Morrissey, and Patrick Pinnell

There is a strong reflex for a designer simply to attach the label “parking lot” to an area and then to get on with the design of the building. In fact the necessary function of parking can be a resource for the creation of public space. Overcoming the simplistic conception of “a place for cars” is the critical first step towards techniques that emphasize the creation of a pedestrian-oriented space.

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