New American Urbanism: Re-forming the Suburban Metropolis

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Rizzoli, 2000 - Architecture - 223 pages
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Over the past few decades, many American architects have reclaimed urban and suburban land development as an important, contemporary architectural issue. This renewed interest in "town planning" focuses on the relationships between buildings and open spaces that form urban patterns. These architects argue that a range of appropriate urban patterns organized into neighborhoods can best meet the physical and social needs of residents and restore a sense of community. Architecture and urbanism, in this view, are instrumental agents of social change and reform.

The projects in this book demonstrate their attempts to restructure urban growth into cohesive designs that balance buildings, open space, infrastructure, landscape, and transportation. In place of the piecemeal advance of placeless, car-dominated suburban sprawl, they envision dense, mixed-use neighborhoods with walkable streets, and connections to transit. The work ranges from entire new towns to urban infill. Many of the architects practicing these ideas have formed a movement called the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), which most clearly and effectively has articulated this alternative vision.

This book is about particular tendencies, however, and not ownership of ideas. Although the Congress for New Urbanism presents its position in the proprietary form of a charter, its vision is representative of much broader strains of architectural ideology, and continues a twentieth-century search to find ways to address the problems of the modern city. New Urbanism is merely the latest movement to seek alternative forms to reshape society. In this way, it can be seen as a continuation of modernism, not its antithesis.

Although much has been written recently about the American revival of town-planning in general, and the New Urbanism in particular, much of the writing consists of either partisan claims of New Urbanism's ability to rebuild American community or facile dismissals of the movement as nostalgia-peddling suburbanism. This book presents readers a chance to judge the ideas and work for themselves, and to participate in the debate over alternative forms of the contemporary city.
Over the past few decades, many American architects have reclaimed urban and suburban land development as an important, contemporary architectural issue. This renewed interest in "town planning" focuses on the relationships between buildings and open spaces that form urban patterns. These architects argue that a range of appropriate urban patterns organized into neighborhoods can best meet the physical and social needs of residents and restore a sense of community. Architecture and urbanism, in this view, are instrumental agents of social change and reform.

The projects in this book demonstrate their attempts to restructure urban growth into cohesive designs that balance buildings, open space, infrastructure, landscape, and transportation. In place of the piecemeal advance of placeless, car-dominated suburban sprawl, they envision dense, mixed-use neighborhoods with walkable streets, and connections to transit. The work ranges from entire new towns to urban infill. Many of the architects practicing these ideas have formed a movement called the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), which most clearly and effectively has articulated this alternative vision.

This book is about particular tendencies, however, and not ownership of ideas. Although the Congress for New Urbanism presents its position in the proprietary form of a charter, its vision is representative of much broader strains of architectural ideology, and continues a twentieth-century search to find ways to address the problems of the modern city. New Urbanism is merely the latest movement to seek alternative forms to reshape society. In this way, it can be seen as a continuation of modernism, not its antithesis.

Although much has been written recently about the American revival of town-planning in general, and the New Urbanism in particular, much of the writing consists of either partisan claims of New Urbanism's ability to rebuild American community or facile dismissals of the movement as nostalgia-peddling suburbanism. This book presents readers a chance to judge the ideas and work for themselves, and to participate in the debate over alternative forms of the contemporary city.

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Contents

Preface
9
Chapter One Critique and Response
15
Chapter Two Methodologies and Practices
29
Copyright

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References to this book

Moore Ruble Yudell: Making Place

Limited preview - 2004
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About the author (2000)

John A. Dutton is an architect and urban designer living in Los Angeles where he is a partner in the firm Nicholas/Budd/Dutton Architects, a firm dedicated to integrating architecture, urban design, and landscape design. He received his Masters of Architecture degree from Princeton University, and a Bachelors degree in cultural history from Brown University. He trained in a diverse array of offices, including those of Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Santiago Calatrava, and Moule and Polyzoides. In 1997 and 1998 he was President of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, an organization dedicated to exploring Los Angeles through lectures, symposia, and publications. On the topic of architecture and urbanism he has written for numerous professional journals and magazines, and lectured in various schools and institutions worldwide.

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