This Covid year has accelerated development patterns that have been shifting over the past decade, and as originally formulated by New Urbanist 20 years before. Do you support Transit-Oriented Development? Participating in Charrettes? And reforming your Zoning with Form-Based Codes? Then thank a New Urbanist.
Prominent patterns emerging right now are: Less commuting; More home/work balance, and; Less industry expansion and more technology-based business growth in a post-industrial economy. One hundred and thirty years ago the industrial revolution changed our world and created new building types and city making technology with the invention of steel. Skyscrapers, massive blocks of offices/factories, highways, and cars reconfigured our cities in response to the revolution.
As we shift into our post-industrial age (and deeper into the age of climate calamity), we are able to measure its successes and failures. Such as, classicism works best at the human-scale, but it failed us at the industrial scale when it became an ornament/style and a fascist/authoritarian tool. The International Style failed us at the human scale, but is ubiquitous because it’s faster, easier, cheaper to build. And modernism was a disaster at every scale (Leon Krier was right).
We are again entering a brave new era with the opportunity to create a balanced approach to architecture, building types, and city making techniques that are intended to civilize and modify the best (trains/trams/EV/AV, and tower technology) and worst of our industrial advances with the best of our human-scaled buildings and places. By using a full spectrum of 21st century placemaking tools, the Next New Urbanism is able to advance the human condition towards a more sustainable future.