Comparing the neighborhood and sprawl

An iconic new urban diagram from the 1990s shows a walkable neighborhood, top, compared to conventional suburban development, below. The uses are the same but the organization of the uses are different. This drawing by Thomas Low for DPZ was widely used by new urbanists to explain why development in the form of walkable neighborhoods is superior as a development model.

This drawing is still useful today, more than 20 years later, but it should be updated. For example, the neighborhood and sprawl are depicted with an equal amount of parking. Because neighborhoods and town centers are less car-dependent and they allow people to walk between uses, neighborhoods need much less parking than is required in conventional suburban development. The density of the two halves is shown roughly the same, but it would actually be greater in the traditional neighborhood. Also, there is no vision of transforming the character of the central collector/arterial in the diagram—today its transformation to a walkable thoroughfare would likely be part of the program.