"How will we know when an urban island has evolved into a true town center? When a walk to it is as pleasant as a walk in it."

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Russ Sikes, founding member of the CNU North Texas Chapter writes in the Dallas Morning News about the need to provide better connectivity between islands of New Urbanism and surrounding suburban development.

These oases need to connect seamlessly to the suburban fabric, says RUSS SIKES of Plano

Urban centers are sprouting in North Texas suburbs that until now seemed centerless. Southlake Town Center, Legacy Town Center and Addison Circle are three fine examples to date, and more will surely follow as the nation's fourth-largest metro area matures.

The new design motif is to build large-scale mixed-use centers to urban form on a grid of walkable blocks. Hide the parking and add a park, place a fountain or gazebo in the center, recruit a large hotel, some upscale clothiers and dining, the obligatory Starbucks or three, and a new Towne Centre is born.

I laud this development and view these urban islands as a boon to those of us otherwise adrift in a homogenous suburban sea. But herein lies a critique. The "islands" metaphor is a bit too apt, for these urban oases are entirely isolated from surrounding suburban fabric.

Keep reading at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/collin/opinion/stories/DN-central_sikes_1011edi.ART.South.Edition1.423cd9c.html

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