chapter  2
20 Pages

Before the New Urbanism

Introduction The New Urbanism embodies a qualitative shift in the suburban built environment. In moving away from automobile-dependent, residential subdivisions toward walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods based on an older model, it is simultaneously a shift in the form of the places being built and in underlying social and professional structures. New Urban projects get realized when they successfully redirect the efforts of those involved in the construction and consumption of suburbia in its conventional form. To understand this shift, we have to establish the predominant conditions away from which this shift has occurred. That is the task of this chapter. While the broader New Urbanist project includes urban infill in addition to suburban greenfield development, the perpetuation of the conventional suburban form was the original impetus for New Urbanist reform.