Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Urbanism

According to Wikipedia, new urbanism is an urban design movement which promotes walkable neighborhoods that contain a range of housing and job types. This concept is nothing new to most people, but it is only recently that people outside of the architectural and planning fields have taken interest. The importance of the pedestrian to new urbanism is undeniable. Venice is the perfect example of how new urbanism should work. The city has no cars and functions purely as a pedestrian oriented city. It would be amazing if this concept could be incorporated into every city especially considering the amount of accidents involving pedestrians occur each year. In places like the United States completely eliminating traffic is a stretch to say the least. The overall structure of the country is just not conducive to having absolutely no cars. One can only imagine how difficult it would become for places that do not currently have public transit if suddenly there were no cars. The difference between a place like Venice and a place like Chesterfield, Virginia (my hometown) is that everything one would need for day to day life in Venice is within walking distance. Some of the residents of my county live more than a twenty minute drive from the nearest grocery store. To try to work a public transit into an area like that is not feasible. It would require more money and time then anyone is willing to put toward the effort. In a city everything is within minutes of its residents. So then the question becomes how relevant is new urbanism to those who like myself live in rural America?

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