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Lecture

Week 11 Lecture Note


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCC26H3
Professor
John Hannigan

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Key Principles of New Urbanism (these principles were from Congress of the New
Urbanism 2001):
1.Compact, walkable neighbourhoods
All of these things are in contrast to suburbs, most suburbs are sprawl and
not walkable on one end because no sidewalks and nowhere to walk to
In contrast to these communities, the idea was that these were suburban
communities that were compact and walkable
2.Minimize auto use
While none of the planners planned to get rid of the cars, on the other hand
the idea was to cut down on and minimize automobile use
A lot of activities like grocery shopping like buying an ice cream cone, you
have to drive down the street, or if you want to do weekly shopping, you have
to drive to malls
3.Diverse activities (residences, schools, shops, workplaces, parks)
In contrast to existing suburbs which were strictly zoned for residential only,
suburban areas particularly the first generation of zoning brought in no
commercial/industrial zoning...suburbs were residential only
But in the case of the new urbanist communities, the opposite was true
Putting stores and movie theatres and things like that...were meant to be
part of more diverse land uses
4.Wide spectrum of housing options and socio-economic groups
It was said that one of the problems with existing suburbs were that they
were far too homogeneous or uniform or the same
The typical suburbs was white middle class, most people had the same
income
Interestingly enough, if you look back to 50s and 60s, there was some
corporations that set out quite clearly exactly where they could live and
couldnt live, this was stratified according to where you lived and your income
Not a lot of diversity in suburbs (but has changed a lot recently) werent
diverse ethnically or racially
In US, a number of developers developed what they were called legal
covenants = no blacks, no Jews
One of the best known brands in terms of subdivisions are Levittown =
prototype for suburbs (limited diversity)
New urbanism created mixed diversity in terms of socio-economic groups,
bringing greater diversity in socioeconomic, was seen as positive thing
5.Restoration of existing urban centres (US sprawl)
Refurbish them in new urbanist style
New urbanism was a popular movement among some urban planners and architects,
and some participation from real estate developers
It arose originally in late 1970s and in 80s and 90s
It was seen as a way of counteracting the number of more negative features of
suburbs and suburban living, which was by 1980s begun to be quite negative
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Last week, we talked about some features of new urbanist communities (front
porches, alleys, being able to walk to a centre of the community that had parks and
shops and things like that)
Talked about emphasis of pedestrian activities that gets you everywhere by driving
Utopian there were two communities that probably are best known as examples of
new urbanism
The original one was Seaside, Florida built in 1979-1981
It was a guy named Davis
There is one reason why this was particularly ideal, and that is this land was
what they called unincorporated = it wasnt part of existing municipal
structure/town/city/county, so there wasnt existing government and planning
department in place
That happens in many places in Florida
Walt Disney didnt want any government interference
Theres another reason why Disney built up a huge land of unincorporated
land, this had to do with what happened in California where the original
Disneyland was
Disney owned the land part of existing town in California, all the land
surrounding it was cheap hotels and things like that, it meant that there
wasnt good introduction to Disneyland in slum area around it, and it meant
that it was difficult for Disney to expand Disneyland
When he decided to open Disney World in Orlando, one of his decisions was to
own far more land than he needed
In the future, if Disney wanted to expand, then there was no problem because
he already owned quite a lot of land, and thats what happened
In case of new urbanism, Seaside was an ideal location because it was on an
unincorporated, they were able to by cast existing zoning regulations (they had strict
zoning), but because there was no government, they felt they could design it in
whatever way they wanted without having government interference
These European architects of Seaside are seen as founders of new urbanism are
Andreas Duany and Elisabeth Plater-Zyberk (husband and wife)
Seaside became well known across North America because theres a major movie in
the late 1990s that was filmed in Seaside, and that movie was called The Truman
Show that came out in 1998, directed by Australian director Peter Weir and
starred Jim Carey
In Truman Show, the hero was Truman, it showed living in perfect life, the setting
he lives in and everybody dreaming seems to be opposite of urban living
A lot of bright looking homes and happy people, he seems to be living in a perfect life
The only problem is there is something about it that doesnt seem to be quite right: it
seems there is no conflict of any type, everybody was too happy as he goes to work
everyday (sees the same people), and you cant leave (the whole thing is a giant
reality TV program in the US)
Everybody and his wife is an actor, he doesnt realize that he is being filmed and
watched by audience
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