By Paul Lukez From the beginning days of the movement, there was a genuine desire on the part of several of the New Urbanism’s founders and other early members of CNU to bring Modernists and other proponents of the architectural avant-garde into the fold.
Of the six riverfronts carefully examined in this book, the one with the most exciting prospects is the Anacostia — sometimes referred to as Washington, DC’s “other river.” Much less well-known than the Potomac, the Anacostia flows through eastern parts of the nation’s capital for seven miles — past public housing projects, poverty-stricken neighborhoods, and highways that impede residents’ access to the river.
Americans love to celebrate “our robust range of life choices,” Chicago architect and urban designer Douglas Farr writes in this potentially important book. We express satisfaction about “being able to pick where we work, whom we live with, where we shop, and how we play” — all the while failing to deal with the obesity epidemic, global warming, and many other unhealthy trends. “Our lifestyle, to put it simply, is on the wrong course,” Farr declares.
Dover, Kohl & Partners led a week-long charrette in mid-September aimed at bringing order, pedestrian comfort, and a degree of architectural grace to the jumbled section of Miami containing the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, the Miami-Dade justice center, and other institutions.
A major suburban center near Baltimore will likely become much more congenial for pedestrians, thanks to a six-day charrette sponsored by Baltimore County. The charrette, led by Stuart Sirota of TND Planning Group, produced a plan that calls for redesigning a hazardous roundabout, converting one-way streets and roads to two-way traffic, and connecting a large, existing shopping mall to the downtown section of Towson, Maryland.
Vedanta, the largest new university in the world, will have a plan that draws from Indian spiritual traditions.
On an expanse of flat rural land near the Bay of Bengal, earth-moving is to get under way this fall for an extraordinary institution. Vedanta University — to be built with a billion dollars donated by Indian industrialist Anil Agarwal — will have a shape like no other university on the planet (see plan on page 1).
Alley-loaded and on-street parking can easily make new urbanist neighborhoods more than competitive with sprawl in lower-density situations. In denser center and core zones, though, the parking issue truly comes to the fore. By its basic nature, parking forces uses apart, disrupting the adjacencies that make for effective and efficient urbanism. New Urbanism must provide parking, but not at the cost of coherence.