Robert Steuteville is editor of Public Square: A CNU Journal and senior communications adviser for the Congress for the New Urbanism.
The famous Paris artery Champs-Elysees, terminated by the landmark Arc de Triomphe, is due for a major redesign. The legendary avenue lost much of its splendor in recent decades, many Parisians believe, as eight lanes of traffic carry an average of...
Without improvements in the way we plan and build communities, electric vehicles will never deliver on their sustainability promise.
Carmel, Indiana, is building a walkable downtown from scratch—and also planning to have a strong tax base for many years to come.
The “15-minute city” may be defined as an ideal geography where most human needs and many desires are located within a travel distance of 15 minutes. Here’s what that means.
A new book covers an emerging field that provides data on human responses to places, leading to new theories on community design.
The opening of registration for CNU 29.Design for Change got me thinking about past Congresses, especially in the light of the $150 fee available for members through March 7. While tracking exact Congress fees from the early years is elusive, the...
Living in a walkable community correlates to a significantly stronger reported quality of life—and that metric rose during the COVID 19 pandemic, according to a biennial poll on housing and transportation by the National Association of Realtors (NAR...
A toolkit highlights the power of land-use and transportation policy in recovery from the devastating impacts of COVID.
The subject of walkability is getting political attention, thanks to a catchy phrase.
Two retrofit experts have a new book that is an essential reference for transforming suburban landscapes.
The New Urbanism grew out of an open-minded educational environment, where students were encouraged to read and think for themselves rather than follow a particular design approach.
Here's the top 10 stories on Public Square in 2020. While we posted many stories covering COVID, urban unrest, and other tragic events of the year, the most widely read articles centered on urban design, housing, retail, walkability, zoning, and...
Note: This list of steps comes from Enabling Better Places: Commercial Corridors and Shopping Malls, a report by CNU and the Michigan Municipal League. Reforming places in your community that have a suburban, auto-oriented, single-use development...
Parking is a necessity in cities, whether it involves residents storing cars for days, shoppers and restaurant patrons occupying spaces for hours, or Uber drivers stopping at the curb for minutes. The same holds true whether the car, or other...
COVID-19 has exposed problems with the US long-term care model of nursing homes. About 40 percent of total COVID deaths in the US have occurred in nursing homes. Residents have been subject to severe isolation in 2020—visiting such facilities has...
As an urbanist, I ask Santa to bring America a renewed interest and understanding of the importance of street grids (more precisely, connected networks of streets with relatively small blocks). That may be a tall order for Santa, but I have been...
CNU is now seeking applications for the 2021 Charter Awards. Going back to 2001, the Charter Awards have highlighted best practices and spread New Urbanism ideas worldwide. More than 300 Charter Awards have been awarded by CNU juries over the last...
The State of Oregon adopted significant zoning changes in 2019 that allow two-unit structures across most of the state, and three-unit housing on lots in larger communities. “This doesn’t ‘abolish the suburbs,’ but it does ensure that a wider...
A makeover for a central LA park will create a neighborhood and citywide asset, even as the site prepares to host the biggest international event.
CNU releases report on evolving Michigan suburban landscapes, especially commercial corridors and shopping malls. The ideas and techniques can apply to communities nationwide.
Urbanists have been using the Transect to compete with the protocols of sprawl for years, and no book has been written on it—until now.
The City of Buffalo, Stantec, and CNU have created a roadmap for how mobility can power an equitable future in 21st century cities.
The image above, by architect Steve Mouzon, shows the entirety of renaissance Florence, Italy, fitting on a site comparable in size to a highway interchange in Atlanta. Renaissance Florence produced Michelangelo and da Vinci. The interchange...
Market and demographic trends could lead to revival of smaller American communities, according to a report.
An analysis of US street networks since 1940 shows plunging connectivity in the last half of the 20th Century, followed by a sharp reversal of that trend in the new millennium.
As people move out of city centers into suburbs, keys policy changes and trends could help to make suburbs more walkable and affordable, according to panelists at a National Press Foundation event.
One of the few form-based codes to be applied citywide in a regional major city, Buffalo’s ordinance is having a positive impact on neighborhoods and downtown.
Tommy Pacello, passionate placemaker and a star of the New Urbanism at the peak of his abilities, died from complications due to pancreatic cancer on Monday. Pacello, 42, was president of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) and an...
Developer of the Cotton District succumbs to Covid in late October.
Cities and towns are facing a new reality, according to one of the founders of CNU. This calls for new designs that violate some of the long-held design doctrines of New Urbanism—but have the same social intention.
Dallas is implementing a trail system that could make a big difference in the quality of life and health in this major city. The Loop Trail is a 50-mile trail system that is nearly half built, and the rest is funded or planned, creating a loop...
The US needs public works investments to help main streets.
Many malls are going out of business, and a recent report shows that how these sites are redeveloped impacts city finances. Municipalities can influence mall reuse to promote mixed-use redevelopment that provides long-term benefits.
Streets for Voting is a useful tool for communities across the US struggling with new requirements for polling sites in a crucial election.
Memphis, Tennessee, shows the benefits of having community investment and social infrastructure, supported by philanthropy and institutions, in place during a pandemic.
The Atlanta neighborhood of Pittsburgh was the subject of foundation investment to develop in an equitable way.
Although zoning was adopted locally, state legislation is helping to revise community land-use codes for the 21st Century.
Better Cities Film Festival, formerly New Urbanism Film Festival, will screen 81 films on urbanism from 25 countries.
Enabling missing middle housing and compact neighborhoods are at the heart of land-use reforms in many states and cities.
I recently read The Devil in the White City, about the Chicago 1893 World’s Fair. One place that I would like to go back in time to see, just for a day, would be this event. They say that some visitors would break down weeping upon entering the...
A case study by Peter Calthorpe shows the potential of underutilized suburban strips to help solve America's housing problems.
To meet the challenges of the 21st Century, traffic engineers and transportation planners need to think of streets as places and the foundation for community.
Arthur C. Nelson, of the University of Arizona, reports that preference for walkable communities and changing demographic needs will impact large-lot single-family housing. Changes in government policy are needed to avert a crisis.
Following a recent code reform partnership with the State of Vermont culminating in a report and legislative initiatives, CNU has embarked on a similar project in New Hampshire, working with the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. The first...
The city's Residential Infill Project is designed to promote missing middle and workforce housing.
Leon Krier, the 74-year-old architect who influenced CNU founders and designed Poundbury, has another major project in Southern England.
House-scale buildings with more than one living space can affordably shelter a broad range of families, revitalize communities, and profit builders throughout the 2020s and 2030s.
A bill moving through Vermont legislature adopts key zoning reform measures for walkable communities, even as the state recently completed a report with CNU on incremental changes to land use laws.
The state DOT has a novel model to fix its automobile-oriented, dangerous thoroughfare network and design complete streets.
Memphis 3.0 establishes neighborhood centers where mixed-use development may occur incrementally, at different speeds, according to the context.
A new report makes the case that walkable suburbs are the are the next big development trend.
The Minnesota capital has major redevelopments underway, using principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism.
A CNU Athena Medal winner in 2007, David Lewis died last week at the age of 98. Lewis founded Urban Design Associates (UDA) in Pittsburgh with former student Ray Gindroz in 1964, a firm that pioneered concepts that later became known as New Urbanism...
Learning from Bryant Park: Revitalizing Cities, Towns, and Public Spaces, is an entertaining and important book for urbanists across America.
The Mississippi River is an armature for economic development and public space in Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The future of both cities, and the goal of equitable development, are tied to the riverfront.
The cutting edge design for Clematis Street in West Palm Beach contributes to outdoor seating and programming for the tricky re-opening and post-pandemic recovery.
CNU celebrated 20 years of Charter Awards at CNU 28 last week—and the awards have promoted the cause of connected, sustainable, lovable communities.
Urban planning has important contributions to a wide range of climate change responses, from mitigation to adaptation, notes CNU cofounder Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.
Walkable urban place types are critical to life in traditional cities and they will thrive in the long run.
Transforming streets and vertical infrastructure through art is an important tool for enlivening cities this summer.
Durham, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, are part of a nationwide trend of reforming single-family-only zones to allow for a diversity of housing options.
The Wharf has re-established DC as a true waterfront city and added a major destination along with affordable housing. The mixed-use development won the 2020 CNU Grand Prize Charter Award.
Connecting Crossroad explores how to preserve affordable housing while improving the public realm in Langley Park, an immigrant neighborhood in Maryland. The plan won a 2020 CNU Student Charter Award for Sara Ghafer-Samar at the University of Maryland.
After being hit by a Category 5 storm in the fall of 2018, Panama City, Florida, is following a vision to rebuild better than before. The plan won a 2020 CNU Charter Award in the Neighborhood, District, and Corridor category for Dover, Kohl & Partners.
In its new form-based code, Somerville ditches a Model T zoning engine and adopts 21st Century green design. The code won a 2020 CNU Charter Award in the Metropolis, City, and Town category for the City of Somerville.
Beatrice Row brings the classical row house to Coral Gables, Florida, along with zoning guidelines for this type. The project won a 2020 CNU Charter Award in the Block, Street, and Building category for de la Guardia Victoria Architects & Urbanists.
The Center of Territorial Intelligence in Biodiversity in Curridabat, Costa Rica, is a model for studying climate change on an urban environment. The project won a 2020 CNU Charter Award in the Emerging Projects category for Tandem Arquitectura.
The King Open/Cambridge Street Community Complex provides much-needed public spaces and inclusive facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The project won a 2020 CNU Charter Award in the Block, Street, and Building category for William Rawn Associates.
An against-the-odds comeback, launched in the Great Recession, has brought life to a waning Main Street while enhancing the historic character of Senoia, Georgia. The project won a 2020 CNU Charter Award for Historical Concepts.
The River District Implementation Plan is building a new walkable neighborhood across from downtown Elkhart, Indiana. Speck & Associates and Stantec’s Urban Places won a merit award in CNU's 2020 Charter Awards.
Underutilzed streets with little traffic are being transformed with temporary pedestrian and bicycle thoroughfares, shared streets, bikeways, expanded sidewalks, and outdoor eating to give citizens more room in a time of social distancing.
Cases are down in the face of a big increase in testing. Mortality is also declining. These trends hold in the states that reopened early—as well as in the nation as a whole.
Jaquelin Robertson, described by The New York Times as a “passionate urbanist,” an influential academic, and one of the designers of Celebration, Florida, died on last Saturday at the age of 87. Together with Alexander Cooper, Robertson formed...
The Midtown Pattern Zone in Bryan, Texas, is designed to raise the level of design for economical infill. The zone won a merit award for the Infill Group and Miller Boskus Lack Architects in the Emerging Projects category of the 2020 CNU Charter Awards.
New urbanist developers employ many strategies to survive the current and future economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis. While survival is paramount, downturns also offer opportunities.
Traditional neighborhood development (TND) has offered an alternative model for suburban growth starting in the late 20th Century and continuing today. Kentlands in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is one of the oldest of these developments. Like most TNDs,...
The La Fontana District, designed by Moule & Polyzoides, contrasts with sprawl and uncontrolled infill that has damaged the historic city of David, Panama. The plan won a merit award in the Emerging Projects category of the 2020 CNU Charter Awards.
In the fifth State of Coronavirus in America report, the most encouraging trends are a dramatic rise in testing and declining mortality. But as cases rise in many states, the nation is far from out of the woods.
At least half of the US population lives in states that are currently reopening, or making near-term plans to reopen, their economies in phases. The risks vary, because different states have higher or lower levels of confirmed cases and mortalities.
The post-COVID-19 economy will mean hardship for communities and urbanists, but also will create opportunities and innovation.
While New York City is shut down, the city has an opportunity to work on long-term plans to make streets safer, quieter, and more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.
In this third State of Coronavirus in America report, Public Square examines the widely divergent health impacts across the US to look at how soon individual states may reopen their economies according to the new federal guidelines.
A shocking number of American small businesses, employing tens of millions of people, are at imminent risk of permanent closure if the crisis continues much longer, according to a survey of Main Street America.
The virus appears to have peaked or plateaued across much of the US, even as New York and other hotspots bear the worst of the crisis.
Using online tools, urban designers conduct virtual charrettes during the coronavirus crisis. Envisioning the future of a city is a great way for all involved to stay productive and connected to the community.
This is Argyle Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, a downtown street known for its entertainment and dining. As part of a streetscape improvement project, the pavement was painted in an argyle pattern. Whoever had this idea should get a prize, and it...
Here’s what you need to know about a wide range of building types that make up mixed-use cities and towns, how they work, and why they matter.
Ultimately, this crisis will highlight how much we need to come together in the real world, and cities are a big part of that.
As cities and towns figure out how to cope with the coronavirus, among the iconic images to emerge are Italians singing from windows and balconies.
How quickly we have gotten used to a world that has seemingly stopped. I was out running yesterday morning, and came across construction workers who were moving and positioning heavy equipment for a development project near the waterfront of my city...
In a new book, Jonathan Barnett calls for using design thinking to achieve sustainable, functional, and equitable “megaregions.”
The pedestrian-friendly redesign of Cleveland’s Public Square spurred $1.2 billion in investment, according to a study. The 10-acre site at the heart of downtown used to be divided into four smaller squares with wide streets of through-traffic. The...
The city is testing new mobility technologies to promote economic development and placemaking for the 21st Century.
A massive skyscraper is being renovated as a mixed-use, walkable urban center in a city that was pronounced dead not too long ago.
Widening of roads usually reduces congestion only for a short period of time, after which the congestion returns—as bad or worse than ever. The above graph shows why the forecast benefits of more roads are almost always a disappointment. “Induced...
A New Pattern Language for Growing Regions provides 80 new patterns, in the format of Alexander’s classic architecture book, and is a worthwhile read for urbanists, planners, and designers of the built environment.
What do we need to know about the success, failure, and future prospects of creating walkable, diverse urbanism?
As cities and towns plan for rapidly changing transportation technology, flexible urban design and policy solutions are needed. Here are six considerations based on a workshop in Walton County, Florida.
In partnership with CNU and Stantec Urban Places, the city will host an intensive, four-and-a-half-day workshop on micromobility (e.g. scooters and e-bikes), automated vehicles, and new parking technologies, and how these trends will affect city living.
The Mueller Airport redevelopment has charted a path to become one of the most livable, walkable places in Austin, Texas, with substantial affordable housing.
Back in September I wrote about DPZ CoDESIGN’s innovative new architecture for tiny houses and trailers—affordable housing that can be manufactured and assembled into villages with some of the informal community advantages of “trailer parks,” yet...
Note: Hammond, Indiana, is seeking proposals from developers to build in a downtown that has recently adopted a new urban plan, is creating a new rail connection to Chicago, and has committed to a transformation of the downtown main street. When...
A national team of experts will work with local and other participants to examine automated vehicle implementation on the 30A beach highway, which goes through Seaside and many other towns.
This wonderful gingerbread village was made in the holiday spirit recently by David M. Schwarz Architects (DMSAS). The village is based on principles of good urban planning, reports Lauren Landau for the blog DCist. “Gregory Hoss, president of DMSAS...
Only two miles apart, the Baltimore neighborhoods of Park Heights and Guilford have radically different health outcomes. These two neighborhoods are divided by an Interstate highway (I-83), and were designated differently by financial (“redlining”)...
Large mixed-use apartment complex in the midst of suburbia will be laid out like a European village with architecture appropriate to the southwestern desert.
As the City of New York is talking about spending $4-8 billion on rebuilding the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), a pair of new urbanists are proposing that a section of this Interstate be torn down and replaced by city streets. In a guest column...
Retail success is tricky in new urban places—so pay attention to fundamental principles because buying and selling are essential activities in a walkable urban center.
New Urbanism planning principles have been incorporated into comprehensive plans all across Texas, and this has begun to have real impacts on people and places.
For many years, retailers resisted the architecture of street-facing storefronts, but necessity is the mother of flexibility.
Review of City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present, by Alex Krieger, Harvard University Press, 2019.
The year’s awards will celebrate design that takes New Urbanism to the next level and inspires a new generation of urbanists.
The decision of a city in Texas to plan for new growth using a grid of streets has inspired readers and makes a lot of sense.
An unprecedented public process created a long-term recovery plan for the California municipality leveled by fire—and sets a model for responding to a changing world.
The Florida Panhandle city survived Category 5 Michael with most of the downtown intact—the plan looks to a more resilient future in the face of potential sea level rise.
From transit-oriented development to Tactical Urbanism, transportation themes have resounded through the first two decades of the CNU Charter Awards.
Earlier this year CNU released a report called Building Local Strength that focused on how to revitalize severely disinvested neighborhoods in ways that minimize displacement of, and maximize opportunity for, legacy residents. This is a complex...
The city made progress with code reform and is moving forward with street improvements and new public spaces, including the possible transformation of a dead mall.
Charles Marohn's new book presents a way out for American cities that are trapped in a vicious cycle: Build neighborhoods one small step at a time rather than going straight to utopia.
While hundreds of malls are declining, they are also being reused for all kinds of purposes—including walkable urban places in communities lacking in this kind of environment.
Clear, jargon-free messages that promote urbanism are to be commended—whether they come from CNU or an aligned organization. Today I highlight a video from The Incremental Development Alliance (IncDev), in which they explain their organization's...
The city of Oak Park has the density—it needs placemaking, and that is why an automobile-oriented corridor is being transformed with a linear greenway and complete street.
US Downtowns have been recovering in population and jobs for two decades, and research from the International Downtown Association provides further evidence that that this is a nationwide phenomenon. The study looks at 24 cities of a range of sizes...
Suburbs may be defined in many ways, and a focus on walkability yields robust data aimed toward making better communities and sustainable regions.
Street grids hold special power to solve problems of massive urbanization, according to Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Romer.
A Tucson neighborhood with new urban/sustainable design outperforms conventional suburban tract housing environmentally—with lower temperatures—socially, and economically.
Three heartland cities are investing to strengthen the downtown core and build a framework for regional multimodal transportation.
Urban designer and architect Tom Low recently drew this side-by-side comparison of how a highway can gut, or work in harmony with, a city or town. The cloverleaf option, at left, is ideal for a highway interchange in the country, but creates an...
For about a quarter of typical road diet costs, semi-permanent street transformations have been successfully demonstrated in two cities.
Urbanists can do lot to help improve outcomes in particular Opportunity Zones. Here’s a checklist based on lessons from real communities.
We have made cars safer, but we still are reluctant to make streets safer.
This missing middle housing type is a highly adaptable tool for developers and builders in many locations.
Prairie Queen is a re-imagining of a suburban apartment complex in the form of a walkable neighborhood.
William H. Whyte was a pioneer on studying the endlessly fascinating ways that people use public spaces. The SWA Group recently conducted an update on Whyte's work in New York City, and the results were published in a Guardian article called From...
The above images represent an analysis of two residential suburban streets, and answer the question of which one is likely to attract and interest more pedestrians. Aside from the fact that the one on the right has more sidewalks, the immediate...
A vision for a brownfield in Hong Kong could be one answer to its housing shortage.
Shopability studies for two Florida cities illustrate the potential and hurdles for many American small-to-midsize downtowns.
The conventional suburban site plan above left was drawn for a hilltop site in a large development project. Charlotte architect and urban planner Tom Low, director of Civic By Design, created the alternative New Urbanism plan of a hamlet. The idea...
A "pop up" park has evolved into a major downtown Detroit square that is anchoring a neighborhood revitalization.
There are now 738 codes that meet the criteria for form-based codes, according to Emily Talen, Hazel Borys, and Matt Lambert, the team that keeps tracks of these codes on a website called The Codes Study. Of those codes, 439 are adopted. It's been a...
“The most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees, a study says. A trillion of them, maybe,” according to a July 4 article by the Associated Press. Street trees may be the most effective of all, because of their multiple...
Two-way streets prove safer, more walkable, and more supportive of business than one-way streets for Midwestern cities.
Four developments in Deanwood, DC, show the transformative potential of multiple projects that include low-income housing in a single Opportunity Zone.
It doesn't take much digging to find that generational blame for sprawl doesn’t add up and gets us no closer to a solution—for that, we need a more targeted approach.
Elkhart, Indiana, is implementing plans to attract young, talented, workers to start businesses and boost the economy.
Downtown Westminster, Colorado, is designed as a ‘place’ that grows organically with affordable housing included.
A national study shows strong demand for walkable urban development—cities with high rents perform surprisingly well on social equity measures.
The cities represent the versatility of recent codes that replace conventional zoning.
Daybreak Mews is a prime example of how “missing middle” housing types can expand choices while adding to the urban fabric of a larger neighborhood.
A new vision for Chicago's grandest boulevard connects two neighborhoods and provides a setting for 4,200 new housing units.
Seaside’s influence on urban redevelopment is profound—it initiated a re-evaluation of the the civic realm in planning and city building. Lessons learned at Seaside have been applied in the revival, redevelopment, and restoration of existing communities.
A master plan for Shanghai's oldest district prioritizes preservation while allowing for strategic development.
A high-rise development, home to the Essex Street Market, is now providing homes to people who were displaced a half century ago.
Carmel, Indiana, builds a high-quality public realm at the heart of its new Midtown district.
A large-scale development raises the bar for new design in Charleston, while re-connecting neighborhoods and anchoring a 1.6-mile-long linear park.
The importance of downtown and walkable urbanism is paramount to Syracuse, New York, and other cities, made visible through this graphic.
Doña Ana County, a culturally rich but economically challenged part of New Mexico, is staking its future on walkable communities.
Cities offer breakthrough potential for immediate and effective action on the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and a hotter world, according to a new book, The Urban Fix.
A big increase in exurban growth is a wake-up call for regional planners, urbanists, and a public trying to rein in carbon emissions.
A new book on walking makes me think of another book, what America has lost, and what it could regain.
This image is from an illustrative article called This Is How Borrowing Things From Our Neighbors Strengthens Society, by Sarah Lazarovic in Yes! journal. Here’s the tagline: Research shows that small talk and casual connections create happy...
A large new urban project on a former airport near downtown Oklahoma City, the Wheeler District is off to a strong start.
Ben Hamilton-Baillie, a British architect and “shared space” advocate, died of cancer last month at the age of 63. He was a plenary speaker at CNU 22 in Buffalo in 2014, where he urged the audience of a thousand people to “take out all of the...
Since 2008, CNU has highlighted the advantages of transforming the elevated I-81 through the heart of the city.
CNU President and CEO Lynn Richards was selected to join a panel to judge a design competition for transforming Buffalo’s Skyway, a segment of freeway that soars over the waterfront. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the competition to...
A costly freeway, feeding a shopping mall, is a poor foundation for a mid-sized city—a better choice is to invest in infrastructure that supports downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
That problem we’ve been having with inefficient, spread-out, unsustainable, automobile-dependent development patterns is solved at last.
A CNU Legacy Project explores the potential of an underutilized creek corridor that runs through more than dozen neighborhoods in Louisville, Kentucky.
In the era of "winner take all urbanism," why are many small towns coming back to life—and why might they be good places to invest?
With a stronger identity and coordinated planning for Woodlawn Avenue, Beechmont may be the next hot neighborhood in Louisville.
CNU Legacy project in Russell neighborhood in West Louisville listens to residents, drawing their dreams.
A $500 million widening project for Interstate 5 in Portland, Oregon, would lead to 10 to 17 million additional vehicle miles per year, according to a report in City Observatory. The website posted a series of articles opposed to the I-5 expansion...
The submission deadline is April 5 for this year’s Driehaus Award, to be announced at CNU 27 in Louisville.
CNU neighborhood design workshops this week are led by Urban Design Associates, Street Plans Collaborative, Placemakers, and Gresham Smith.
More cities are adopting a simple code change that goes a long way to improve the urban environment.
An interactive map by Zimmerman/Volk Associates offers a detailed view of migration and mobility in counties nationwide.
Walkable urban plans in small and mid-sized cities and suburbs are more likely to be financed if the city is prepared.
A coalition in Flint, Michigan, works with many hands toward rebuilding a neighborhood from the ground up.
On this gloomy February day, I think back to 2008, the start of the Great Recession, which seems like a lifetime ago. There were many large-scale projects, planned well in advance of the crash, that died. Some of these projects were new urban...
One key aspect to Missoula's downtown master plan involves making the city center a retail destination once again.
Atlanta is growing at an "unprecedented rate" and is trying to become more multimodal and less car-centric.
The City of Burlington, Vermont, has initiated an innovative, flexible streetscape improvement program that saves money and time and is more responsive to the community.
Our model for traffic congestion is flawed. We need to make the crucial distinction between good and bad congestion and plan our transportation systems accordingly.
A hierarchical system of subdivisions branching off of arterial roads is a "perfect recipe for congestion."
Urban planner Emily Talen tells the history of the neighborhood, why it became a controversial topic, and how the “everyday neighborhood” could help a diverse America come together.
Even if you are cynical about about how big money will affect low-income communities, the smart move for municipalities and urbanists is to make the most of this big-impact program.
When real estate switched from building mixed-use cities, towns, and neighborhoods, the industry adopted less sustainable selling points—like golf.
Walking is vital to the economy, livability, and environment. Why can't we measure how many people are walking, versus driving, using data from smart phones?
As the retail market becomes less certain, mixed-use developers look to other ways to boost foot traffic and create a destination.
Background buildings don't need to be ugly or use pointless variety in the “break-up-the-box” style.
State Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, designed as part of the City Beautiful movement in the early 20th Century, was refurbished a few years back through a program called City Beautiful 2.0. The building at the end of the street is the...
Street design topics, innovative housing types and policies, and large-scale urban planning patterns made for most-read articles on Public Square this year. Bad architecture and the impact of automated vehicles also were fodder for popular pieces....
This graph, from Jeff Speck's book Walkable City Rules, tells at a glance why investing in walkable and bike-friendly streets disproportionately helps lower-income workers. Bike lanes are sometimes criticized for benefiting young professionals...
Opportunity Zones offer significant smart growth potential if investors can find the opportunities, but a new report is of limited use, especially when it comes to smaller cities and incremental development.
Trees are miracles of nature—and one of the least expensive, most effective investments that can be made in a neighborhood. According to The Nature Conservancy, urban—particularly street—trees have environment, health, and economic value. Not...
With a new urban vision and context-based street design, Olean has taken a bold step to revive its economy and social life.
This is an Internet image that I recently came across, appearing on various websites, describing a common urban architectural style of our time. The point of this meme is that developers are driving this style, and it's boring. What's sad is that...
In Arlington, Virginia, a plan and code for Crystal City entitled the new development capacity that lured Amazon—and also calls for transformation to walkable urban.
Galena, Illinois, is often pictured when urbanists want to show the ideal American main street. It was also listed as number 35 in a recent Architectural Digest report on 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America. While this list is subjective, it...
A Pink Zone, an idea of the Project for Lean Urbanism, is an area of lightened red tape for small-scale projects. Pink Zones are designed to allow individuals with little capital to take action.
Opportunity Zones, a massive new nationwide community development program, will benefit from the work of urban planning thought leaders.
With transit on the way, Amherst, New York, reimagines its future.
A worker October 17 puts the finishing touches on the 33-year-old Seaside, Florida, post office, which was moved to a new location on the town's Central Square. Someone uses the facility later that day. Hurricane Michael landed on the Florida...
Providence in Huntsville introduces a new development pattern that converts an arterial to a main street, provides nightlife and civic spaces, and adds a diverse school.
CNU recently released the Users' Guide to Zoning Reform, which offers a new path to improving land-use codes.
"Normalizing for population, VMT per capita has seen zero net growth since 2002," notes a recent post from the State Smart Transportation Initiative. This reality is at odds with transportation modeling, which consistently overestimates traffic...
You can't make a decent city solely with the kinds of buildings designed by today's big-name architects.
Andres Duany of DPZ CoDESIGN thinks that houses on wheels could be a good answer to America's affordable housing problem, and to housing adapted for climate change.
The City of South Bend focuses on complete streets to spur investment in neglected neighborhoods.
A recent The New York Times article The Bipartisan Cry of 'Not in My Backyard' reporting on opposition from across the political spectrum to higher-density housing, failed to mention a crucial point, says Nathan Norris, founding principal of the...
Accessory dwellings can triple the density on a single-family lot while preserving the character of neighborhoods.
As cities boom, rental rates are easing due to supply.
CNU co-founder Stefanos Polyzoides said of Bill Dennis: "We lost a brother."
The demand for multifamily and small-lot single-family housing, especially in walkable locations, will continue to rise over the next two decades, according to Arthur C. "Chris" Nelson, of the University of Arizona. This supply and demand mismatch...
A mathematical equation helps to explain the endless variety of cities and the cookie-cutter sameness of conventional suburbs.
Here's a clever Ian Lockwood cartoon that relates to an article that I wrote this week on "Why street grids have more capacity." Traditional street networks also have different capacity. Lockwood, an engineer with Toole Design Group, shows the...
The greater choice offered by well-connected street networks leads to more capacity and efficiency, according to pioneering smart growth engineer Walter Kulash.
In Curridabat, Costa Rica, new urbanist interventions are combined with park improvements, wetlands, and projects to improve biodiversity.
Preserving open space in a time of rising development pressure, while fostering equitable development, requires out-of-the-box thinking.
The project inverts the usual relationship between car and human in land development.
Here are some ideas on telling the story of why walkable urbanism matters—from your perspective to a particular audience.
The three-block Chicago street design creates a plaza-like feel by raising the street and eliminating raised curbs.
Here’s a graphic from a terrific article in a terrific issue of D Magazine, the regional publication for Dallas-Fort Worth. The authors of the article, Christopher Leinberger and Tracy Loh of George Washington University, are among the few...
A recent UConn relocation from a leafy suburban campus to downtown Hartford, Connecticut, follows wider urban trends.
Many cities are growing faster than they have since the 1940s as Americans rediscover the joys of human-scale neighborhoods, but their expansion is constrained by sprawl.
When drivers slow down to 20 mph or below, they are less likely to hit people and much less likely to seriously injure or kill people if they do hit them—that's one insight that Dutch designers and engineers learned when they began to implement...
Tregunnel Hill in Cornwall, England, proves that the principles used in Prince Charles's Poundbury are replicable.
Despite long-held beliefs of transportation officials, traffic congestion does not slow down economies, productivity, or job growth; and it may spur positive adaptation.
Two journalists travel America in a Cirrus plane, reporting on public-private partnerships, "walkable manufacturing," and what makes second-tier cities succeed.
The survival of live classical music depends on many things, not the least of which is the design and urban planning around concert halls.
CNU had its biggest Congress ever in Savannah, and the above graphic by Jay Shepley shows how the attendees broke down into various demographic segments. The attendees were highly diverse in terms of professions and ages, spanning a wide range of...
University builds a transformative development in an area that hasn't seen much investment in recent decades.
Crosstown Concourse, the redevelopment of a 1.3 million square foot former Sears distribution center that sat empty for decades among run-down Memphis neighborhoods, won the Grand Prize in CNU’s 17th annual Charter Awards, announced in Savannah,...
An entertaining book outlines how ordinary citizens can rebuild cities without the help or hindrance of big developers, big finance, and government bureaucrats.
Note: I hope to see you all at CNU 26.Savannah next week. The mid-20s to mid-30s are peak driving years in a person's life. Eyesight and reactions are undiminished, and you have places to go, things to do, and careers and families to pursue....
Note: Andres Duany will present core principles of the New Urbanism on May 16 at CNU 26.Savannah. This image from Andres Duany's standard lecture that he gave from the late 1980s to early 2000s illustrates how society is sliced in segments through...
After two decades of development, Orenco Station offers urban living at a transit station west of Portland.
While gentrification is sometimes villainized, the "Jacob's Curve" suggests that there is an optimum level of reinvestment in neighborhoods that creates more diversity of place. The drawing, by planner and researcher Michael Mehaffy, is named after...
Mews homes are an affordable and flexible model for mid-block family housing.
A new urban tool is designed help cities, planners, and developers with scenario planning.
Let’s Move Nashville is a transformative transit initiative that is now in front of the electorate—alternative futures for the city are at stake.
Eastside Savannah, a less affluent area adjacent to Savannah's historic core, was the subject of a CNU Legacy Project.
Bicycling infrastructure is a suburban retrofit strategy in Northwest Arkansas.
New urbanists lost a respected and capable leader early this week. Hank Dittmar made a difference in urban planning and transportation on both sides of the Atlantic.
We need a strategy for taming deadly thoroughfares that go through cities and suburbs.
CNU partnered with a small city and citizens to create a toolbox with immediate practical usefulness for a segment of the old Dixie Highway in Georgia.
I found this satirical floor plan on the 21st Century City Twitter feed—illustrating the absurdity of automobile-oriented community design. Just like the heart of many cities and towns built since 1950, there is more space for vehicles than people....
Suburban Remix, a new book, reports on commercial development of mixed-use, walkable centers as a powerful force in the American landscape.
A Midwest city considers an affordable option to house more families in walkable neighborhoods.
A four-story-high mural of Vincent Scully, a Yale professor of architectural history over five decades, was unveiled at Seaside, Florida, in late February. The mural, commissioned by Seaside developer Robert Davis and DC-based architect Dhiru...
Downtown has come back to life while the city is building a transit framework for walkable, mixed-use growth along corridors.
A citywide comprehensive plan joins progressive vision with detailed implementation.
In a half century, a neighborhood was cleared for public housing towers. Then the failing towers gave way to a new neighborhood.
A dilapidated former municipal building, embodying decades of history in the historic Mexican city of San Cristobal, has been converted into a civic museum complete with an elegant and dignified new plaza. “Making the City Hall a museum was an...
Architecture that is scaled to and reflects the human body is endlessly fascinating.
The asphalt-industrial complex—otherwise known as Big Asphalt—took control of our cities and towns. Here's how we can take it back.
Nashville uses Tactical Urbanism to test out ideas on public space and street improvements downtown.
New deco mixed-use building in Pasadena broke a community log jam with distinctive and lovable design that responds to its surroundings.
In an area that once suffered in-city freeway blight, this mixed-use housing project creates a beautiful urban streetwall with modern sensibility.
These photos are taken from the same spot in Buffalo, New York (see highlighted church steeple)—in the early 20th Century and recently. The photo at left captures the city in the early stage of demolishing a beautiful street to make way for a...
The timeless and artful Plaza La Reina, a new hotel in a transit-oriented Los Angeles neighborhood, shows the impact of a building on a city.
South Miami, Florida, has completely transformed since 2000—largely following the context-sensitive transformation of its main street.
This is a list of the most dangerous intersections in each state. It is also a list of heavily engineered, "big asphalt" intersections in road networks that are built to modern transportation engineering standards. For many of these intersections,...
Why street design has not kept pace with automotive safety improvements, and what you can do about it.
The great Yale lecturer had an impact on movements that are changing the face of communities in the US and beyond.
A breakthrough design on La Jolla Boulevard in San Diego cuts crashes by 90 percent and gives local business a shot in the arm.
In Boston, a Transportation Department guide lays out a vision for streets as shared public spaces.
Streetscape improvements have helped bring back an 18-hour-a-day character to the corridor. Crime has dropped and property values have risen.
The issue has changed from whether the city will grow to how and for whom the development is taking place.
A tunnel would cost nearly three times as much as converting the aging I-81 in Syracuse to a boulevard—as suggested by CNU's Freeways Without Futures report.
Lancaster, California, has lit the local economy and secured a social heart with one transformative street project.
A key goal of the Seven50 plan is to ensure that development along the coastal areas is resilient and sustainable.
Here are streets that are more than just conduits for cars—they are places that support social and economic life, walking, bicycling, and transit.
A horizontal weave brings disparate threads together and creates a fabric—a metaphor for resilience.
Reducing state and federal infrastructure costs while boosting local economies by strengthening urban places is a win-win from in-city freeway transformation.
Review of Cities Alive: Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, and the Roots of the New Urban Renaissance, a book by Michael Mehaffy.
One gaggle of girls, 270-plus trick-or-treaters, 20 pies, and one streetwise cat are vital statistics for this urban thoroughfare.
The New Urbanism is a design movement toward complete, compact, connected communities—but it is also a generator of ideas that transform the landscape. Communities are shaped by the movement and flow of ideas, and the New Urbanism has been a...
These photos of Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati were taken and assembled by architect Tom Low. These 4- and 5-story masonry buildings were built circa 1900 on 25-wide lots—a standard American system of platting. They all have interesting detail on the...
Market and local government support for new urbanist values is rising and that is changing the planning mindset in many regions.
When you have a chicken and egg problem, have a chicken omelette.
Restoring the human-scale to the modern built environment is a long-term task, key to human health and welfare, that has barely begun.
Chris McCahill of the State Smart Transportation Initiative explains how vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has become decoupled with Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While Americans’ driving habits have long been linked to economic activity, this...
Park Van Ness has remarkable details—and opens up a view from a major thoroughfare to a major urban park.
A well-known new urban project has begun to reshape the relentless sprawl around it, but communities shouldn't wait for that to happen.
Harvey and Irma point out the need to think deeply about resilience to major storms in the era of climate change.
Plan NoBe in the North Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach sets the stage for higher construction standards to withstand sea-level rise—while strengthening defenses like sea walls, mangrove islands, and barrier beaches.
Citizens have a chance to go beyond business-as-usual to achieve a higher potential through recovery from the historic 2017 hurricane season.
An Oakland redevelopment shows how urban design and historic preservation can support a social agenda.
Building thoroughfares as places of beauty and social interaction requires a context-based approach to design.
How urbanism can bring hope and change to a working-class African American neighborhood.
Blue Water workforce housing on Tavernier Key, Florida, created a system that of density that fits into the surrounding one- and two-story fabric.
Urban freeways never deliver the congestion relief that transportation planners promise, according to Norm Marshall of Smart Mobility. Marshall created this map that shows examples from around the country where urban freeways have disappointed...
Public housing in the form of complete or partial neighborhoods started with HOPE VI and became standard practice, impacting the lives of people in cities and towns across America.
Hands-on process is changing the planning and development culture of San Marcos, a suburban Texas municipality.
This diagram [FOOTNOTE:1] explains a key difference between conventional suburban (top) and sustainable urban (bottom) development patterns. The conventional suburban area, governed by conventional zoning codes, separates uses into distinct areas...
More and more people are appreciating that architecture and urban design of streets and public spaces have the power to connect, engage, and inspire all of us.
At the turn of the millennium, the 26-acre Pearl Brewery in San Antonio was abandoned and desolate—a collection of empty buildings and pavement with only five trees. Now the ambitious Pearl Brewery Redevelopment is an economic and social powerhouse...
A recently released nationwide study strongly correlates greater transportation "modal diversity" with better health for the population as a whole.
The principles of neighborhood structure and buildings that relate positively to public space resonate with traditional Zulu culture and village geography.
The redo of the Boston Public Library 1970s wing shows how a building can be reform and adapted to today's needs.
The transformation of a New Orleans retail box into a music hall with magnetic street presence is a remarkable urban achievement.
One of Buffalo's brightest spots of resurgence, Larkin Square combines adaptive reuse, restoration, and new buildings and public spaces that complement the old.
The nation has a large supply of mid-century neighborhoods that are ripe for changes that will make them more walkable and appealing to new generations of residents.
Prices for real estate in many cities have recently stalled, The New York Times reports, yet the development boom continues.
Stunning historic rehabilitation provides affordable housing in New Orleans.
Once a railway coal siding and more recently a full city block of asphalt surface parking, North Philadelphia’s Paseo Verde now provides affordable, high quality, sustainable housing for a range of income levels. The former 1.9 acre brownfield site...
From coast to coast and in middle America, more sensible parking policies are taking hold and may be the quickest path to urban revitalization.
Restoring an original square in Savannah revives a neighborhood.
The 710 Freeway in Pasadena CA has no future, only an ugly past—one of scores of in-city highway struggles that began when many officials thought that traditional cities had no future.
While vehicles miles traveled (VMT) have risen in 2015 in the last three years after nine years of historic lows, the nation is still in a 20-year downward trend relative to economic growth, according to Chris McCahill of the State Smart...
Streets support commerce, social interaction, physical activity, recreation, and multimodal transportation—yet DOT funding criteria are stuck in the past.
A leaner, lighter approach to infrastucture is more cost-effective, sustainable, and livable—an idea worth considering for America in National Infrastructure Week.
New urban codes have allowed cities and towns to code for complete neighborhoods and public spaces as shared-use places.
Many winners this year show how history and old buildings lead to richer neighborhoods and communities.
The market is much more receptive to the benefits of mixed-use today, but it is still easier to talk about main street retail than to effectively build it.
Architect Laurence Qamar recently created a series of step-back proposals for the Woodstock Corridor In Portland, Oregon, illustrated above. "Instead of the boxy, ungainly 'space invaders' that have bedeviled other parts of the city, Qamar’s step-...
This series of drawings was inspired by the idea that physical communities have enabled nearly every human advancement since the dawn of history. Communities are hubs where people protect themselves, trade, specialize, and share collective memory...
The New Urbanism brought the environmental transect methodology into planning and development of human-scale, complete communities. Now the human habitat can be analyzed as a continuum with the natural world.
See how pre-Revolutionary War structures compare to Walmart.
Great places are built in small increments, and urbanists are restoring America's know-how and capacity for small-scale development by many individuals in their own communities. Do you want to be a small developer?
Increasingly in demand today, missing middle housing forms the backbone of the quintessential American neighborhood.
Transit-oriented development links transportation and land use—providing people with maximum choice in how to get around by intensifying activities near transit nodes with high quality public space.
Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas, is a pioneering example of New Urbanism in a sprawling, Sunbelt city.
In order to get good streets, you have to think beyond any single street—an idea that is at the core of New Urbanism. Dendritic networks lead to fragmented and dispersed land uses.
The cute Katrina Cottage has proven the versatility and usefulness of cottages that are designed to fit into complete neighborhoods.
Charles Marohn of Strong Towns and Joe Minicozzi of Urban3 have been sounding the alarm across America about the financial unsustainability of fragmented development patterns and conventional suburban infrastructure.
A time-compressed design process that gathers all of the stakeholders and practitioners together has great potential for creating more holistic communities, experts say.
Suburbs are becoming more diverse and connected to meet the needs of Americans of all ages in the 21st Century.
America's most automobile-oriented cities are changing their growth patterns, making room for new urban planning and development.
The trend toward complete communities shapes the debate on sustainability and environmentalism, and vice-versa.
From Pasadena, California, to Buffalo, New York, cities in this report have the chance to remove a blight and improve prosperity, health, and sustainability.
There are two models for development of cities and towns. One, the neighborhood model, founded on thousands of years of trial and error, brings people together.
The carnage continues. We need to go beyond policies and transform streets themselves, according to a new report.
To bring citizens together is the very purpose of a city. Nashville’s sidewalk deficit emerged for many reasons, but it boils down to this: Planning and development during the Age of Sprawl was designed to keep people apart.
Connecting housing by using a neighborhood pattern improves the lives of moderate-income residents.
Cities that blend old and new are helping to define urbanism in the 21st Century.
The transportation engineering toolbox is missing key tools when it comes to traditional cities, towns, and neighborhoods.
There is no compelling reason to build a five-mile freeway through the east side of the city, according to engineer Ian Lockwood. A boulevard would do the job better.
A "new analytic framework" by the Urban Land Institute ignores walkability and sets back our understanding of cities and suburbs.
The Mercado District takes its urban design and architecture cues from Tucson's historic adobe neighborhoods.
City planning department, with funds from the Knight Foundation, hires teams to explore reducing red tape in development projects.
Here's how Orlando replaced a hole in the city with connective tissue.
From California to the New York Islands—more business activity, affordability, and diversity can be found in neighborhoods with a range of old and new buildings.
The often quoted cliche that millennials are moving downtown is not quite accurate. The greatest share of young adults is choosing urban neighborhoods outside of downtown. Just over a third of millennials identified in this 2014 nationwide survey...
Affordable housing is built in the suburbs in automobile-dependent places, forcing low-income and working-class residents to spend too much on transportation.
Many suburbs would like to revitalize infrastructure and assets, but they don’t know what problems to tackle first. Not knowing can lead to paralysis.
“Sense of place” is not some nebulous, mystical idea. Sense of place is the emotional or psychological reaction to "place," as shown in the graphic above, created by Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). Communities and...
Urbanists face considerable uncertainty and concerns in a Trump presidency, but there may be silver linings.
In small to mid-sized cities, the impact of New Urbanism can be dramatic.
Justin Fox of Montgomery, Alabama, has watched downtown return from the dead in the last quarter century. Montgomery has benefited from a form-based code and new urban planning, and, most of all, the nationwide resurgence in urban living. Fox, a...
The State of New York is nearing a decision on whether to demolish or rebuild the aging elevated I-81 expressway through downtown Syracuse, and the city’s daily newspaper, the Post-Standard, thinks the highway will be replaced by a surface boulevard...
Compact development is the best for protecting watersheds because it reduces per capita runoff, according to this graph from the Crabtree Group. Most stormwater narratives state that density is bad because the increased runoff is only considered on...
Little in this world is more powerful and satisfying to humans than a well-designed human habitat juxtaposed against nature.
Historic buildings create the kind of character and vitality that makes older communities perform well economically, socially, and environmentally—and that is the central thesis of a new book.
Big box retailer evolves; chases customers to walkable urban locations.
The movement of millennials toward major city centers has been well reported—but many are locating in smaller, second- and third-tier cities, as noted by Gizmodo. The reason is economics. As the graph shows, some major cities have an affordability...
It's easy to divide the country into those who have sidewalks, and vote one way, and those who do not, and vote another way. Yet sidewalks, and all they symbolize, are gaining political recognition.
Grids are easy and inexpensive—they are a natural way to design streets. But the convention for much of the last century is to model streets on sewer systems.
Urban design and architecture on a leftover parcel bring a campus and a Los Angeles neighborhood closer together.
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...
Administration calls for local laws to allow accessory dwelling units and denser development and eliminate off-street parking requirements, among other changes.
As usual, Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles was ahead of his time when he drew this in June of 1998. Toles condensed the history of race and urban demographics in the last half of the 20th Çentury into six panels. Despite a massive recession 10...
A study by Redfin, the owner of Walk Score, shows that true walkability has tremendous economic value—but Walk Score itself has problems.
This is what urban economic analyst Joe Minicozzi calls "The Money Shot," comparing a Walmart in Asheville, NC, to a downtown mixed-use building in the same city. He puts all of these economic indicators side by side that show the relative poor...
A diverse group is promoting "cost effective," place-creating alternatives to rebuilding an ugly freeway in Providence, Rhode Island. The current 6-10 plan "feels like they are screwing poor people, like it's urban renewal 201," says a Coalition member.
Do you love to hate the over-the-top residential architecture of outer-ring suburbs?
Saving historic facades and modernizing buildings were key to revitalizing an important downtown square.
The ‘elephant in the living room' of rising and preventable US traffic deaths and injuries is government-funded roads in drive-only places.
The Portland Streetcar is one of the most successful and cost-effective economic development drivers anywhere in America in the new millennium.
In Lancaster, California, a simple change in street design was a catalyst for economic and social activity.
Developer Bob Turner talks about Habersham, the future of traditional neighborhood developments, and current development trends.
For most of the 20th Century, US vehicle miles traveled (VMT) rose relentlessly. At the turn of the new millennium, the pattern changed substantially, but the view of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), did not. Above is a graph that shows...
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the Ladders of Opportunity Every Place Counts Design Challenge, a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation with design assistance from CNU. Learn more at cnu.org/everyplacecounts.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the Ladders of Opportunity Every Place Counts Design Challenge, a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) with design assistance from CNU. Learn more at cnu.org/everyplacecounts.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the Ladders of Opportunity Every Place Counts Design Challenge, a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) with design assistance from CNU. Learn more at cnu.org/everyplacecounts.
This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the Ladders of Opportunity Every Place Counts Design Challenge, a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) with design assistance from CNU. Learn more at cnu.org/everyplacecounts.
Ponce City Market in Atlanta unites four neighborhoods and brings high-tech businesses back to the city.
People with moderate incomes end up spending less of their hard-earned income in walkable places for two reasons.
A holistic neighborhood plan created with the help of citizens is designed to improve health.
Outside Buena Vista, Colorado, on the site of a former garbage dump, 40 acres of riverfront land sat vacant for years. It took two nature-loving developers—risktakers with a background as competitive kayakers—to see what it could become.
In Detroit, the neighborhood of Brush Park stands between three of the city’s fastest revitalizing areas: Midtown, Eastern Market, and the Central Business District.
The "community listening chart" from Nashville, Tennessee, outlines the discussion that is taking place around the I-40 corridor through the city. The discussion is part of US Department of Transportation's Every Place Counts workshop this week—one...
US traffic deaths are way beyond peer nations and the gap is widening, according to a report released this week from the Centers for Disease Control. Traffic deaths in the US have dropped since 2000, due to safer vehicles and declining miles driven...
Although Lakewood, Colorado, is the fifth largest city in the state, until the last decade the city had no true downtown. Instead, the Denver suburb boasted one of the country’s largest indoor shopping malls, built in the 1960s—but by 2000, that...
Walkability leads to higher social equity, even in cities that have higher housing costs, according to research in the new report Foot Traffic Ahead. The graph above shows that cities with more office, retail, and multifamily development in walkable...
Mixed-use, walkable commercial development is outpacing large-scale conventional suburban construction in every major metro area, according to the new report Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros, 2016. For...
Detroit wrote the history of the motor vehicle age in America, and Detroit is one of the most automobile-oriented cities in America. Yet less than 50 percent of the adults in Detroit own a car. That fact says a lot about how Detroit has failed, and...
The most successful new urbanist politician ever gave CNU attendees a role model for how to transform cities, how to care about character and beauty, and why urbanism is most important for those with the least money and privilege. Joe Riley was the...
Daniel Hertz at City Observatory introduced what he called the “Sprawl Tax” last week—defined as the cost associated with excess commuting distance for the top 50 metro areas. This distance adds real costs for gas, depreciation, and wear and tear on...
How many gables does this house have? I lost count at 11. The fake dormers and complicated roof line are meant to make up for the lack of variety in this Maryland exurb. Every house nearby has a similarly expansive lawn that is rarely used. Need to...
The Build a Better Burb Sprawl Retrofit Council met in Miami to explore opportunities for promoting land-use diversity and transportation choice in the suburbs—with particular focus on the needs of smaller suburbs with less robust markets. A follow–...
For those who are concerned that too many big developers dominate urban revitalization, the Naked Philly blog is an antidote.
Joel Kotkin charges urbanists with being anti-family—but he couldn't be more wrong.
An infographic from City Observatory makes the case for why concentrated poverty impacts more people in US cities.
The Transforming City is the theme of this year’s Congress—and it’s the most inspiring CNU storyline that I can remember.
A comprehensive implementation guide was written to retool the machinery behind Florida's deadly streets.
The inspiration for this iconic drawing was a walk from the beach over the dunes and into the scrub woodlands in the early days of Seaside, Florida. Douglas Duany, landscape architect, explained the natural transect to architect Andres Duany, who...
Housing authority begins construction on phase one of 1,200 residences and 400,000 square feet of retail and replacement of two schools in North Philadelphia.
CNU recently completed four Legacy Charrettes in advance of CNU 24 in Detroit. On Monday through Thursday we published articles on the fascinating plans by top new urbanists. Two of the charrettes focused on city neighborhoods and other two focused...
Heinrich Kley was a German illustrator active in the early 20th Century who was noted for darkly humorous pen-and-ink drawings. He sometimes focused on the conflicts of new technologies—such as motor vehicles competing for space on city streets with...
The Legacy Charrette plan includes both incremental steps to kick-start economic and cultural activity and long-term visions.
Southwest Detroit is the kind of neighborhood that few people talk about outside of the Motor City. The community is not one of those that are vacant and dilapidated—the subject of "ruin porn" photos on the web. It's also not booming with...
PBS explores urban planning and the New Urbanism.
All of a sudden, New York State is the nation’s leader in urban freeway removal, as reported by Streetsblog. Andrew Cuomo is on a bit of a roll when it comes to urban planning and city-based economic development. Cuomo and his administration have...
I've been a dedicated user of Apple products for 20 years—but Tim Cook's assertion that Apple's new headquarters will be the "greenest building on the planet" is absurd. To get a sense of scale of Apple's new Cupertino campus, Josh Arcurio...
When I posted a list of ten songs for urbanists in February, many people posted alternative suggestions—so many that I nearly had enough for another list. I curated those suggestions and added a few more. Enjoy! Where Do the Children Play? Cat...
Oak Cliff, Dallas, went through the typical waves of gentrification. The creative types began to move in during the 1990s, followed by middle class families and young professionals, followed by the current wave of developers. Attached is a photo...
In The Humanists Versus the Reactionary Avant Garde, Charles Siegel illuminates the question of what progressive, contemporary architecture truly means.
First built over 200 years ago as a toll road connecting Washington, D.C. to greater Virginia, the Columbia Pike now serves as a direct route to the Pentagon and other capital landmarks. Until recently, this Arlington, Virginia thoroughfare was an...
The redevelopment of a suburban commercial strip area across from UConn has made Mansfield, Connecticut, a better place.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Planning Association estimates there are 18.6 million parking spots in Los Angeles County, which would cover an area 16 miles in diameter if combined in a single 200-square-mile parking lot. Even spread...
As revitalization of cities moves forward, urbanists are partway through a multiphase process that is changing America.
Detroit has captivated the nation in its decline, bankruptcy, and booming downtown rebirth, but there is more to urbanism in Southeastern Michigan than the Motor City.
This graph, from the 2016 Bicycling & Walking Benchmarking Report, released two days ago, tells you most of what you need to know about walking in US cities. The best 10 cities identified in this graph, where walking is frequent and safe, all...
CNU is reviving a tradition of intimate discussions with top experts next month in Miami with the Build a Better Burb Sprawl Retrofit Council.
These two suburban houses near Orlando, Florida, are about 60 feet apart, but to borrow a cup of sugar without trespassing requires a 7.1-mile trip by car—or a two-and-a-half-hour trek on foot (five hours round trip). A similar image was originally...
If transportation officials embrace a new approach backed by science, safe and effective mobility no longer need conflict with the multidimensional role of streets as public spaces and with people’s varied modes of travel.
The impact of the neighborhood on many sources of climate emissions is clearly visible in this University of California research.
I offer a personal selection of music on topics that urbanists care about—I hope you enjoy it.
A beloved amusement park closed in Denver, CO—luckily, Highlands Garden Village was built in its place.
Mingling of people and cars at slow speeds is efficient and pedestrian-friendly, according to a University of Connecticut study.
Today marks the launch of CNU’s latest effort, an online journal to illuminate and cultivate best practices in urbanism in the US and beyond.
Influential words from the most influential writer on urban planning in modern times
For one warm fall Sunday afternoon, “the most diverse musical lineup of any festival in Georgia” transformed a neighborhood in Decatur, an inner-ring suburb of Atlanta.
When Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005, aid for the region arrived in all shapes and sizes from across the US.
A small developer and builders group associated with CNU is gathering momentum and has the potential to fill a gap in the industry. Resources are available for big urban developers and sprawl builders, but few educational materials and support...
Traffic engineers as a group have been much slower to recognize their erroneous techniques and replace them with less damaging practices.
The evidence keeps piling up to support reform in street design and traffic engineering. Recent research adds to volumes of studies that say walkable streets will make us safer, healthier, and improve the economy and communities. As BCT reported ...