El Paso moves with gusto to the New Urbanist camp
Looking to move beyond its history of sprawling development, El Paso turned to New Urbanism. But instead of hiring New Urbanist experts, the city decided to indoctrinate its staff and private sector designers in the movement’s principles.
“El Paso officials waht [sic] to reinvent the city by following the tenets of new urbanism, which means a greater emphasis on dense, walkable neighborhoods, mixed-use buildings that are street-oriented and more green spaces,” writes Tod Newcombe. “But there was one big problem in making that change: The local development community and the architects were still designing the old-fashioned way.”
So instead of hiring the movement’s leading consultants, the city decided to develop a nine-week training program to introduce public officials and the private sector to new urbanism. “The city has also started requiring that any design firm that wants to do capital work with the city has to have someone on the team accredited in new urbanism practices,” notes Newcombe. “According to [El Paso development director Mathew] McElroy, approximately 100 city staff and 100 private architects and engineers have taken the course and passed the accreditation exam.”
New Urbanism’s tenets are simple: Suburban life undermines a sense of community. People spend too much time in their own private space and in their automobiles. Communities should be built at much higher densities. People should be able to walk from their homes to stores.They should be able to hop on a bus or a rail line rather than take their car. Every town should have a vibrant and hip central area, and there should be open space between towns. Cities should grow mostly within existing urban boundaries. Each urban area would have a core, with growth occurring in an orderly diameter around it. Neighborhoods should be diverse, ethnically and economically.
via New Urbanism: Same Old Social Engineering : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education.
Car smashes into Family Dollar store | WIVB.com.
This is just one more reason to proactively support Smart urban design, such as placing parking lots at the back of the store rather than next to vulnerable plate glass windows. The only thing that should run along a glass storefront is a wide sidewalk. MOVE THE PARKING LOTS BEHIND THE STOREFRONTS.
I will write more on this topic as time permits.