New Urbanism vs. Suburban Sprawl

New City Alliance posted this on our Facebook page today and we wanted to share this fantastic post by a fellow WordPress blogger.

Here is an excerpt from the (rather long) post, and the really cool video “Built to Last” they put up along with it:

If you hadn’t heard the term “New Urbanism” before this video you probably knew what it was, you just might not have known that this is what it was called. New Urbanism is really a return to Traditional Neighborhood Design with walkable, pedestrian friendly, mixed use developments that also emphasize sustainable design and public transportation. On a basic level there is an almost intrinsic human desire to connect with others and return to “Main Street” communities. Over the last two decades this has been most evident in the success of outdoor “Lifestyle” retail centers that have all but replaced indoor malls as the retail development of choice. …

One of the worst and unfortunately longest-lasting contributions of the Modernist movement in the first half of the twentieth century was single use zoning that became adopted almost universally across the United States by planning and zoning departments, making traditional mixed-use neighborhoods illegal.… Almost overnight these zoning standards forced America to be dependent on the car to get anywhere. No longer could you walk out your front door and walk down the sidewalk to the neighborhood grocery store or your office. Instead you were forced to get in your car and drive. The result of this is suburban sprawl …

Columbia should – and will – be at the forefront of fighting suburban sprawl.  The coming redevelopment of downtown, with its emphasis on connectivity and walkability, will transform that area into what we like to think of as a new translation of old-style neighborhoods that brought everyone together.  Imagine not having to get in a car to go to work, grab groceries, or go to a concert!

On top of being better for the environment and our own health, getting people out of their cars and face-to-face helps to create a sense of community.  And Columbia is all about community.


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About columbia2.0

Columbia 2.0 is a thriving grass-roots organization whose mission is to support the Next Generation of Columbia Town Center.

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