From 1999 to 2004 only one private-sector traditional neighborhood development (TND) was under construction in Louisiana. That first project, River Ranch in Lafayette, achieved commercial and aesthetic success, and New Urban News reported last year that it was inspiring a lot of Louisianians to look favorably on TND.
Recently five new urban communities came under construction in Louisiana, a sixth was approved, and a seventh was moving through the entitlement process, according to Steve Oubre of Architects Southwest, which designed River Ranch and the new projects.
After nearly a quarter century, Seaside, Florida, will finally get its tower. The tower may start construction as early as this fall, when a major transformation will begin in the town center. The architect of the tower is Leon Krier, who contributed important ideas, including the tower, to the original plan by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.
Opticos Design of Berkeley is working with Robert and Daryl Davis and Krier to integrate the tower and create a master plan for the area (see plan on page 6). Among the changes envisioned:
• The informal marketplace on the south side of Rt.
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 Michael Lassell Disney Editions, 2004, 160 pp., hardcover $50. Those looking for a putdown of Celebration won’t find it in Celebration: The Story of a Town, which is a generally glowing account and assessment of Disney’s famous Florida new urban real estate development. In publishing the book, Disney claims to have sought out an independent author with an objective point of view. Manhattan resident Michael Lassell, a long-time editor at Metropolitan Home and avowed modernist, would seem a good choice.
Who would have expected it? Poundbury, Prince Charles’s model mixed-use community in southwest England, has spawned a citizens organization called PROD — Poundbury Residents Opposed to Density.
In the late 1980s Leon Krier master-planned Poundbury to be a nearly complete traditional town where shops, services, housing, and some of the employment for a population of 5,000 would be concentrated within walking distance of one another.
Now that his Seaside, Florida, development is well established, Robert Davis is focusing much of his attention on two distinct parts of the world environment: the “urban room” and the “agricultural edge.” In 2002, Davis, Raymond Gindroz of Urban Design Associates, and European architect Leon Krier founded the Seaside Pienza Institute for Town Building and Land Stewardship.
Of the more than 250 new urban projects that Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) has designed in its two-and-a-half-decade history, New Town in St. Charles, Missouri, is progressing the fastest. The master plan charrette in February 2003 was followed by approvals and groundbreaking that fall. By February of this year an attractive sales center was built, a lake and two canals were dug, and half of the first phase was sold, according to Marina Khoury, project manager for DPZ.
Now, the developer is building 70 rental townhouses and is on the verge of constructing detached houses.
Summerset, a traditional neighborhood development on a brownfield site, gets high marks for sales, appearance.
If TNDs were skating jumps, Sum-merset at Frick Park in Pittsburgh would be a quad. While new urban communities are, as a rule, challenging, this project has extra twists that heighten the degree of difficulty. Consider:
• Summerset is being built upon a massive slag heap that is the legacy of the city’s defunct steel industry.
New urbanists often design infill projects in cities, new neighborhoods in the suburbs, and even create visions for growth on a regional scale. Rarely if ever do they get the opportunity to design a medium-sized city from scratch. That was essentially the task of WRT/Solomon E.T.C. in creating a plan for Coyote Valley, an agricultural area on the outskirts of San Jose.
Just 13 miles south of downtown, Coyote Valley has remained mostly undeveloped because it is geographically separated from the city.