Urban - Ironies of New Urbanism, Grant.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 3364F/G
Timothy Cobban

THE IRONIES OF NEW URBANISM  Experience with new urbanism projects has begun to expose some contradictions between theory and practice  Popular planning movements have the potential to polarize  Investigating new urbanism in practice reveals several ironies: discontinuities between the values that new urbanism practitioners affirm and that those that new urbanism practice exemplifies  The discourse of new urbanism proponents reveals the importance of the attributes traditional, public, urban, and democratic to establishing the innovation of new urbanism from the models it seeks to supplant DEFINING NEW URBANISM  Europe New Urbanism and related approaches share an interest in designing urban places that are vibrant, mixed use and pedestrian-friendly, with well defined edges, coherent open space systems and civic centres  While American new urbanism often proposes connected street systems and traditional architectural designs, European approaches may feature modernist architecture and secluded residential streets or mews  These movements together present a reasonably coherent internationally influential approach that we can legitimately call new urbanism – without capitals REVEALING THE IRONIES  Practice contrasts with rhetoric  - new urbanism appeals to traditional forms and values while adopting modernist tactics  New urbanism supports enhancing the public realm while advancing the private realm  New urbanism advocates urban forms while building suburban enclaves  New urbanism calls for democratic and participatory communities and an egalitarian social vision while insisting on the need for expert judgement and producing developments for elite consumers  Blame modernism – for undermining the values and patterns that made nineteenth century towns and cities strong urban centres  New urbanism approaches seek to re-establish the centred city of the early 20 century, when workers rode street cars or walked to their jobs downtown  Neo-traditionalism idealizes the American small town wi
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