Sometimes I think new urbanism is a little silly

New urbanism offers a lot of positive ideas for urban development (despite the fact that many of the prominent new urbanist developments are in suburban or even rural areas). Somewhat higher densities can be beneficial. Minimizing front yards makes sense. Having a connected street network (often a straightforward grid) is one way of creating a walkable environment (though as I have noted elsewhere, not the only way). Mixing in commercial uses further encourages walking.

But why, oh why, is it important to design the buildings so the area looks like it was built in the early twentieth century? I have nothing against such a style, for those who want it. But a development otherwise following new urbanist principles would work as well if the houses were starkly modern…or California mission…or Tudor…or faux antebellum southern plantation. (I would have something against certain choices!)


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