The Charter of the New Urbanism

The Charter for the New Urbanism is essentially an executive summary followed by three sections focusing on urban design principles for the region, the neighborhood and the block. It is too long to completely list here, so I’ll highlight its main points through this week and relate that to job growth.

The Executive Summary:

“We stand for the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions, the reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighborhoods and diverse districts, the conservation of natural environments, and the preservation of our built legacy.” This is speaking to quality of life, and we all know how key that is in terms of job growth.

“We advocate the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the following principles: neighborhoods should be diverse in use and population; communities should be designed for the pedestrian and transit as well as the car; cities and towns should be shaped by physically defined and universally accessible public spaces and community institutions; urban places should be framed by architecture and landscape design that celebrate local history, climate, ecology, and building practice.” What may be rather surprising is that if you did a focus group with creatives, entrepreneurs and knowledge workers, you’d get much of the same vision. In fact, there’s an entire study on it: Linking the New Economy to the Livable Community. See page 8 of the paper (page 10 of the pdf) if you want the 1-minute cliff notes version.

By the way, the charter is available as a book.

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