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.
New urban development must make case at state high court.
I’On, a lauded traditional neighborhood development (TND) in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, faces continued opposition from town officials. The latest hurdle for the 243-acre, 759-unit development is the town’s refusal to categorize a Montessori school as a civic use. A circuit judge has ruled that the proposed 292-student school is appropriate for the civic site, yet the town is appealing to the state Supreme Court.
The benefits promised by New Urbanism spring directly from its emphasis on walking as the main way of moving through the world. Where places are made genuinely walkable, private vehicle mileage likely will be reduced and public transit will certainly be more viable. The convenience and interest of living at higher densities will more than make up for any annoyances.
Five years after the nation’s largest builder suffered a setback when its first new urban development was rejected, the project has come back with a new developer and new design.
Vizcaya, a 160-acre traditional neighborhood development designed by Rosello, Balboa & Lordi (RBL), is breaking ground in Dade County, Florida. The new developer is Transeastern Homes, led by Jose Boschetti and Art Falcone.
A mature and well-conceived new urban community can easily pass the “orange juice test.” That is, a resident can send a twelve-year-old son or daughter to the corner store unaccompanied to pick up some juice or other basic supplies. One could similarly construe a whole series of authenticity tests for different demographic groups — the school test, the coffee shop test, even the baseball field test. But what about the church test?
While many developers simply allow churches to compete on the open market for available parcels of land, some developers provide incentives to help attract a community of faith to a particular location.
Planning consultant John P. Bergan is leading a campaign to change the placement of a World War II Memorial soon to be built in Trenton’s Veterans Park. As currently planned, the memorial would be centered in the park but would be off center to the facade of the capital building and consequently at odds with it.
Brian O’Looney of Torti Gallas & Partners took issue with an article in the March issue of New Urban News, stating that a proposed plan in Chico would, “for the first time in the US,” embed a professional baseball stadium into the urban fabric of a new town center.
O’Looney drew our attention to Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Ballpark, which opened in 2003 in Frisco, Texas. It was designed by David M. Schwarz Architectural Services, where O’Looney worked at the time. “It is part of an overall pedestrian-oriented master plan,” he says.
The developers of Meriam Park in Chico, California, are proposing a bold plan which, for the first time in the US, would embed a professional baseball stadium into the urban fabric of a new town center.
The stadium for approximately 5,000 fans of the minor-league Chico Outlaws would place the playing field on a single downtown block enclosed by mixed-use, three- to four-story liner buildings. Even the grandstand will have an “exoskeleton” of leasable space that creates urban vitality on the street.
By Mark C. Childs University of New Mexico Press, 2004, 230 pp., hardcover $45. At first, Squares annoyed me. The Table of Contents fills five entire pages, the “Table of Queries” goes on for seven more, and then the Table of Figures consumes another three. Who wants to wade through so many pages of preliminaries? But once I started reading the main text, my resistance soon changed to admiration.