As American-style sprawl begins to take root, two German academics argue that the New Urbanism is the missing link in the strategies to preserve and renew cities. In Berlin, an infill project showcases the principles in action.
The German landscape still has plenty of what new ur-
banists in the US find most desirable: compact cities and towns and clear distinctions between urban and rural areas. But along major highways and on the outskirts of cities such as Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Leipzig and Berlin, auto-oriented and fragmented development is increasingly common.
In massive Ghonsoli project, new urban planning principles mesh with Indian cultural traditions.
The Ghonsoli Neighborhood plan is one of a series of satellite communities for the expanding city of Bombay, India. These communities, collectively called New Bombay, were originally envisioned in 1970 to relieve development pressure and congestion. Those that have been built have taken the form of monotonous housing projects on superblocks, with little sense of place.
Baltimore design firm Design Collective has won a competition to design mixed-use residential and retail buildings for a housing development in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. The firm was awarded a $100,000 prize and the right to negotiate a contract with the project’s Chinese developer.
The first Australian and New Zealand New Urbanism Congress held in Melbourne in late April attracted over 370 participants from six countries. The format included a two-day main “overview” congress, followed by local project tours and a two-day intensive workshop for experienced practitioners. The main event showcased leading new urbanist examples from Australia and New Zealand (well balanced between public and private sector initiatives), as well as new urbanist principles for both urban regeneration and urban extensions. US new urbanists G.B.
New designs north of the border focus on infill and sustainability.
Canada saw rapid growth in new urbanist projects in the late 1990s, when more than 20 traditional neighborhood developments (TNDs) began construction, primarily in greenfield locations.
Australia and New Zealand are making their own way along a new urbanist path.
While Australia and New Zealand share many of the challenges facing North America, there are also some important differences in both context and outcomes. Proactive government programs, a greater acceptance of the importance of planning, and vital city centers all play a role. Among the outcomes are several significant new urbanist city- and state-wide codes and infill projects initiated by the public sector in collaboration with private developers.
Editor’s note: Due to space considerations, New Urban News is unable to print the full list of projects and codes compiled by the authors. Please contact us at (607) 275-3087 and we’ll be happy to send you a copy of the list.
A preliminary survey of new urbanist development car ried out by Chip Kaufman, Wendy Morris and other practitioners counts 17 greenfield projects and 15 infill developments in Australia and one greenfield project in New Zealand. However, Kaufman and Morris estimate that these may only account for about half the projects in development.
Metropolitan areas in Australia and New Zealand facethe same challenges as their counterparts in North America: growing dependence on automobiles, sprawling and anonymous suburbs, and environmental degradation. But, as in the US, the New Urbanism is coming to the forefront in the debate about growth. The Liveable Neighborhoods Design Code is changing development patterns in Western Australia, and about 20 new urbanist communities are under construction or in advanced stages of planning across the two countries.
In early October, senior CNU members Shelley Poticha, Andres Duany, Phyllis Bleiweis, Roberta Brandes Gratz, Jonathan Rose, Victor Deupi, and Paul Murrain joined 30 of the world’s most prominent advocates of traditional town planning for an extended visit and tour with the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles has long had an affinity for traditional town planning and New Urbanism.
In late August, CNU hosted a delegation of Chinese housing officials in San Francisco as they recruited American talent for a new enterprise: developing pedestrian-scale, mixed-use, traditional neighborhoods in the booming cities of Beijing and Shanghai.
“Today, most urban Chinese have housing,” says Shelley Poticha, executive director of CNU. “Now, the government there wants to reduce crowding and improve livability. They recognize that the United States is the leader in combining traditional urbanism with modern lifestyles.