There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Monday, May 11, 2009

Video inspiration

"Built to Last" examines the impact of our built environment on the natural environment. This video was the winner of the Congress for New Urbanism CNU17 video contest.

The filmmaker's website.


wburg said...

I'm all for doing away with the cul-de-sac, although I have my own set of criticisms for TND and New Urbanism. They're basically a replay of the old Ebenezer Howard "Garden Cities" movement, generally don't take into account low-income housing, and often end up building places that look very urban in the rendering phase but very suburban once they get built.

John said...

wburg: Excellent comment and right on point. The reality is almost never as pretty as the drawing. But the inspiration point here is still important. Nothing changes until the center moves. And one way to move the center is to pull it from outer edge. The tug-of-war between New Urbanists and suburban SUV lovers is doing that today. The post-WWII suburban model of housing growth does not stand up well against today's reality. The momentum has shifted to the walkable cities, with transit connected nodes. As a result of this tilt, we see the middle shifting as more and more people say they could do without the suburbs if . . .

It's the work on those "ifs" that will close the suburbs and rebuild the cities. It's not going to spring overnight. But there is no reason not to expect the momentum to continue in the direction of smarter growth, growth better for people and for the environment.

Mattie said...

It seems like the focus is entirely on building new communities in the urban core. What about the suburbs that are already here? Is anybody thinking of ways to "urbanize" suburban tract-home neighborhoods?

Sidewalks, accessible transit and zoning codes that allowed mixed-use development (meaning small businesses here and there, not strip malls) would make the 'burbs more walkable and livable.

Not everyone can afford to live in the city, and not everyone wants to. But everybody deserves a neighborhood that's accessible and safe for walking.