"Truly," it's new urbanism

paytonc's picture

One of the more puzzling little themes in several recent "attacks" on New Urbanism is that the critics simultaneously embrace New Urbanists' works as their own, lovingly portraying them as examples of their own (wholly original!) planning philosophy. Joel Kotkin's idea borrowing is most obvious with his report on the "New Suburbanism" -- the examples of which include designs and projects by none other than CNU founders Peter Calthorpe and Andres Duany.

Now arriving from the other end of the transect is Mark Hinshaw, an urban designer in Seattle. The back of his book "True Urbanism" plaintively asks readers, "Why bother with new urbanism when you can have true urbanism?" Well, we'll bother with New Urbanism because it, well, is true urbanism: countless examples Hinshaw cites -- like Vancouver's townhouse/towers, San Diego's Centre City, Milwaukee's Third Ward loft district, Denver's riverfront, Portland's Pearl District, and the new sidewalks in Mountain View, Calif. -- were designed by pioneering New Urbanist planners and architects and have even won awards from CNU. (To his credit, Hinshaw does use his book to cite some innovative form-based codes that he has written.)

And since one of Hinshaw's claims is that "it would be highly unlikely for a typical new urbanist community to include... a gay and lesbian community center," here's a photo I took of the soon-to-open Center on Halsted, a new LGBT community center in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood. What might impress New Urbanists most is the way it blends two architectural styles -- and will incorporate a brand-new Whole Foods supermarket on the ground floor, behind the restored terra-cotta garage facade.

Halsted & Waveland

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