Governing Magazine's Chris Swope spent a week or so on the MIssissippi Coast and did some admirable reporting. Swope casts a wider-than-normal net, moving beyond Biloxi and encountering forward-thinking elected officials such as Mayor Connie Moran of Ocean Springs and Mayor Brent Warr of Gulfport (the largest city on the Mississippi coast) who are seeking to capitalize on the New Urbanist visions and resources that have been in ample supply in the state since the huge CNU charrette last October. Long Beach emerges as a typical coastal town -- not a casino mecca like Biloxi nor an artist haven like Bay St. Louis or Ocean Springs -- that is wrestling with questions of whether to accept conventional development or to strive to build a more livable, connected, and enduring community.
The debate over what to do with Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct continues. Groups such as the Congress for the New Urbanism and Center for Neighborhood Technology has completed studies showing errors in the WSDOT estimates of traffic projections. These projections are vital to deciding whether to replace the viaduct or to simply tear it down. Will the citizens of Seattle change their transportation ways if given realistic alternatives?
New Urbanism has now arrived in America's Motor City. Even in the land of the car, people are ditching the two-car garage and opting for walkability and convenient location. John Gallagher gives a preview of what could be a miraculous urban turnaround for a city known well for its post-World War II urban decay. Gallagher paints New Urbanism's early brainchild, Seaside, as a successful model for suburban alternatives, but will the allure of dense urban living in a northern industrial city be strong enough to slow suburban sprawl?
Amit R. Paley surveyed the greater Washington, D.C. region to find more homeowners opting for smaller lawns or no lawn at all. While not all persons interviewed prefer less lawn, a growing number of people see lawns as a costly maintenance burden. Some feel a private lawn can be easily traded for a close-knit neighborhood feel created by smaller lots and less grass. Are green lawns getting phased out?
According to Anthony Flint, today’s zoning codes are creating problems for many U.S. towns and cities, not just in the Massachusetts Commonwealth. In his June 4th Boston Globe article, Flint advocates for a radical overhaul in zoning policy after pointing out the irony that building modern versions of old New England towns would today be illegal. With mounting energy prices, Flint argues, we’re going to have to get past a fear of change and legalize an integrated form of zoning that considers proximity.
Mississippi’s Gulf Coast has become a hotbed for New Urbanist activity in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devestation. Rybczynski explains how Mississippi’s governor arranged a forum in 2005 for planners, designers, and public officials to strategize the rebuilding process with context-sensitive considerations in-mind. He also takes note of the lead organization behind these planning efforts, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and how a design pattern book that was distributed to interested Mississippi homeowners has generated mixed reactions.
Doug MacCash cuts through the heated discussions on New Orleans’ proposed redevelopment style called New Urbanism. MacCash interviews experts in the Big Easy, some of who believe New Orleans is more or less a New Urbanist community. With New Orleans’ history of gradual change, skepticism to a ground-up master plan is high. Could New Urbanism revive the soggy city?
El Nasser tells us that Southern California is now home to an exciting wave of new urbanism geared toward the growing Latino community. With the Hispanic population of California projected to reach 50% by the year 2040, the need to market housing and urban development to the Latino community just seems logical. However, there is debate over whether Latino interest in dense, urban living is a cultural preference or merely following socio-economic trends. Regardless, could interest in new urbanism become a poster child for development throughout the surrounding Sun Belt region?
Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S.A. In California, where Hispanics are projected to be the majority by 2050, areas like Santa Ana are embracing "new urbanism" development techniques. Movements have been made back to communities mimicking the traditional plaza as Hispanics continue to live in more dense walkable communities. Some speculate that socioeconomics and demographics drive the marketplace rather than ethnicity and race.