Yard, street, park: the design of suburban open space
Nearly half of all Americans now reside in suburbia. Lured by the prospect of the "golden mean" of city and country, privacy and community, nature and designed space, city dwellers, for more than a century, have been fleeing the crush of urban life in greater and greater numbers for suburban developments. Unfortunately, the American suburb has rarely succeeded in delivering on its promise of the "best of both worlds", with a more intimate sense of community and enhanced personal freedom. Yard Street Park was designed to help suburban community designers and planners deliver on the traditional promise of the best of both worlds. The authors take a hard look at more than a century of suburban planning and reconsider aspects of most developer-designed suburbs. They offer design alternatives based on open space planning methods that can be applied to new or existing developments to transform them into sustainable, livable communities. A central feature of the authors' planning approach is a comprehensive system of open space networks linking the private world of yards to parks and commons of all scales - from neighborhood tot lots, to local and regional park systems - well-connected by greenways and streets designed for pedestrian and bike traffic. In their explorations of the problems inherent to most suburban developments, Professors Girling and Helphand take a broad historical perspective. They critically examine various planning theories and bring to light the historical roots of modern suburbia, including nineteenth- and early twentieth-century and post-World War II developments, such as Riverside, Garden Cities, Radburn, and Levittown. They also analyze a number of "classic" successessuch as Reston, Virginia and Columbia, Maryland. They closely examine new trends in suburban design to see what lessons can be learned from Technoburbs like Irvine, California and Scottsdale, Arizona, Ecoburbs such as The Woodlands in Texas and Village Homes in Davis, California, and the neotraditional communities designed by Calthorpe and Duany/Plater-Zyberk. Offering the prospect of a fresh start for suburban communities, Yard Street Park is a valuable resource for landscape architects, architects, planners, and developers.
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