America is slowly but surely turning into a nation of strip malls, office parks, highways and cookie-cutter housing developments. It’s no wonder that people resist most development so strenuously in their neighborhoods; they know from past experience that whatever gets built near them is very likely to be worse than whatever it is replacing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. New Urbanists call for a return to more traditional ways of building and planning.
From the Charter of the New Urbanism:
“The Congress for the New Urbanism views disinvestment in central cities, the spread of placeless sprawl, increasing separation by race and income, environmental deterioration, loss of agricultural lands and wilderness, and the erosion of society’s built heritage as one interrelated community-building challenge.”
A few good resources:
“Boston’s Beacon Hill, Nantucket, Santa Fe, Carmel—all of these well-known places, many of which have become tourist destinations, exist in direct violation of current zoning ordinances. Even the classic America main street, with its mixed-use buildings right up against the sidewalk, is now illegal in most municipalities. Somewhere along the way, through a series of small and well-intentioned steps, traditional towns became a crime in American.” — Suburban Nation