CNU Salons

Great Squares

I'm in the midst of what seems like a never ending research project on some of the great Georgian squares in London. I am trying hard to understand as much as I can about the design of squares, and the Georgian squares of London are more of a vehicle as opposed to an endorsement. I am working on several actual projects currently that include “squares” and so my interest is particularly keen with regard to dimensions that work and those that do not. But the other issue I am exploring is the connectedness of squares in predominately mixed use districts, and that too makes the London squares in Belgravia, etc. potentially helpful since you can “kick the tire” on twenty differently shaped squares in roughy a half mile radius. Plus, the average walking distance between the London squares surveyed is only 586 feet - I think a very remarkable frequency for an area very much developed by thoughtful speculators. Noteworthy.

Senior housing and New Urbanism

Two of the fastest growing segments of the housing market are New Urbanism and senior housing. Judging by the inquires we get at CNU headquarters, many people are curious about how these two segments are intersecting. Although we've found a few examples of New Urbanist senior housing, New Urbanism's commitment to giving people many choices in housing type, price, and style means that many active seniors find non-targeted New Urbanist developments to fit their lifestyle well. In fact, CNU published a white paper, The Coming Demand, which details how seniors (particularly Baby Boomers) will help to lead the market shift towards New Urbanism in the future.

Guardian reports on successful highway removal (and Braess' Paradox)

The Guardian, a leading British newspaper, reports on how Seoul, a city of nearly ten mllion people, rediscovered its heart underneath a highway carrying 160,000 cars a day:

Tyson's Corner Sprawl "Real Urban Experience?" -- Suburban Soul -- Washington Post

Steven Pearlstein from the Washington Post lauds Tysons Corner for its suburb grit in his article "Suburban Soul: Reston Is Hot Property, but Tysons Hums With 'Messy Vitality.'" While I would tend to agree that the best places evolve over time, creating that "messy vitality," I think Pearlstein is missing the mark here trying to apply that philosophy to sprawl. Reston will evolve over time, becoming more messy -- and more valuable. But I think without urban retrofit, Tysons will just continue to get plain messy.

Jim Kunstler

Mark Givens interviews the always provocative Jim Kunstler in the latest issue of MungBeing, an online magazine, about not only "The Long Emergency" and New Urbanism, but also his paintings, music, and novels.

CNU Transportation Summit Tours Prospect New Town

On the last day of the CNU Transportation Summit in Boulder this past weekend, attendees had the opportunity to experience Prospect New Town by mingling with the local folk during a wine tasting and social house tour for CNU and local residents. In true transportation summit form, we chartered a "Hop" bus from the City of Boulder out to the TND, which was planned by Duany Plater-Zyberk and is known for its diverse architecture.

Visitable townhouses

Recently, I've been taking some time while touring New Urbanism to look out for examples of accessible townhouses. A growing number of New Urbanist designs for townhouses are accessible or visitable by people using wheelchairs. CNU wants to document these buildings to help educate our members about simple ways to incorporate visitable houses into New Urbanist streetscapes.

Transportation in the background

Alley sections often suffer from too wide or too narrow and even too gradated a section. Please share and comment upon good and bad conditions within alleys.

For instance, the Muse lanes in Edinburgh, Scotland are 18' wide with buildings of 2 stories at the sides. They feel wonderful to walk down and pleasant to visit within. Garage heights, however, suggest there is no way a hummer will fit in them. Contrarily the Must lanes in London are often of a much wider section or 30' or larger and provide space to service one's vehicle, or even set-up a furniture manufacturing outfit within them.

CNU Transportation Summit 2006

120 new urbanists and transportation engineers are currently in Boulder, Colo., for CNU's 2006 Transportation Summit. Yesterday, CNU held a workshop on the Context-Sensitive Design manual produced by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and CNU. In this second such workshop on the manual, attendees learned from the authors about the recomendations in the manual and how it might be applied, specifically in Boulder. Representatives from the City of Boulder and City of Denver presented local case studies and discussed how new urbanist principles for urban thoroughfare design might be implemented.

New Door to Affordable Housing Opens

The Johnson's recently became the recipients of a donated manufactured home to replace their existing home in Montgomery, MD.

This home is the first of many designed by architect Steve Mouzon who also created the now infamous Katrina Cottage which he called a "FEMA trailer with dignity." The home was generously donated by Housing International, Inc., and given to the Johnson's through a local housing agency when their current home fell under sever need of repair amidst financial struggles.