Sierra Club report
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    JAN. 1, 2006
A new Sierra Club report, “Building Better: A Guide to America’s Best New Development Projects,” profiles a dozen projects across the country, most of them featuring many traits associated with New Urbanism. Among them are the Southside neighborhood in Greensboro, North Carolina; the East Downtown redevelopment in Albuquerque; Fruitvale Village in Oakland, California; the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon; Bay Meadows in San Mateo, California; and Town Green Village in Windsor, California. Town Green Village, a 10-acre, $120 million new downtown, inadvertently illustrates an architectural weakness found in a number of traditional-style developments — its three-story main-street buildings lack the depth and detail found in the 19th-century buildings they seek to emulate. But the dozen projects assembled by the Sierra Club uphold sound planning principles, including walkability, a wide range of transportation choices, conservation of historic buildings, reduction of runoff and stormwater pollution, and placement of housing, shops, and offices close to one another. New Mexico planner Ken Hughes served on the club’s Building Healthy Communities Committee, which produced the 32-page report posted at www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/report05/.