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Civic buildings and spaces

Chapels for hire

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New Urban News Article with images, 12/1/2007
Landmark buildings can more than pay for themselves through weddings and other functions.

Many Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TNDs) would like to have a beautiful chapel or meeting house as the focal point of their main drive. But what if no religious or civic organization is ready to build it? At The Waters, southeast of Montgomery, Alabama, developers Ed Welch and Dale Walker went ahead and built the Chapel Hill Meeting House as a community-oriented but privately owned structure.

Chapels for hire

Landmark buildings can more than pay for themselves through weddings and other functions.

Landmark buildings can more than pay for themselves through weddings and other functions.

Move toward neighborhood-scale schools slowly gains momentum

New urbanists and health advocates call for overturning state standards that result in overly large school sites.��

Decisions on where schools are built and how much land they occupy are gradually beginning to reflect New Urbanism’s belief in the importance of physically fitting the schools into their communities.

Bringing the school to the sidewalk

At HomeTown, a 300-acre new urban development being built by Arcadia Realty in North Richland Hills, Texas, the Walker Creek Elementary School has been designed so that it forms a street wall and helps define an important corner in what will be a mixed-use town center. In keeping with the design standards of HomeTown and a charrette led by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, the school’s classrooms occupy two-story structures that border the sidewalks and are close to the streets.

Katrina Cottages will make their debut as schools

To meet a pressing need for inexpensive classroom space, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system in North Carolina is going to experiment with a schoolhouse prototype based on Katrina Cottages. A group at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, led by Tom Low, director of the firm’s Charlotte office, is designing a prototype 25-by-80-foot “Learning Cottage” that would contain two classrooms.

Making a village green successful

On a Saturday afternoon in late December former Senator John Edwards announced his candidacy for President of the United States before a crowd of 5,000 people gathered on the one-acre green at Southern Village, a new urbanist neighborhood in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In doing so, Edwards bypassed arenas, large auditoriums, and historic public spaces  in the region. The event illustrates, says Southern Village developer D.R. Bryan, how the creators of new urbanist public greens and squares can never imagine all the uses they will serve.

Stormwater management as civic art

How to handle rainwater in ways that accentuate placemaking

In times past, engineers often integrated elements of civic art, architecture, and history into a city’s parkways, bridges, and other public necessities. In doing so, they enhanced the character of the urban environment. Today, when engineering often deals with the environment, there is an opportunity once again to serve civic purposes — by handling rainwater well.

Remaking America’s medical districts: a challenge for NU

Proposals in Miami and Memphis suggest hospitals and health institutions could be focal points for walkable, mixed-use districts.

The cure for hospitals? Maybe it’s urbanism

Joanna Lombard, a professor of architecture at the University of Miami, has worked with students and others on how to apply New Urbanism’s principles to medical districts in Miami and Memphis, and now she is providing ideas for the Bon Secours Richmond Health System, which operates four hospitals in metropolitan Richmond, Virginia.

CNU explores school solutions in Charlotte

Strong population growth in and around Charlotte is stretching the ability of school districts to accommodate waves of students. “Neighborhoods in this region are growing so fast that new schools are over capacity before construction has even started,” says architect Tom Low, director of the Duany Plater-Zyberk office in Charlotte and one of the leaders of the group forming a Carolinas chapter of the CNU. With school design and school policy growing as important issues there, CNU played a leading role in a couple September events that provided good ideas and valuable civic leadership.

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