I live in a predominantly residential area where most of the houses are dwelling units, with only a few commercial premises. There are numerous houses per unit of land, with a vast network of streets and ample parking spots. Most of the buildings are about 500 ft and are about twenty years old. According to the New Urbanism Smart Scorecard criteria, numerous factors influence the walkability of a locality. A mixed land use, housing density, increased street networks, block lengths of between 300 and 600 feet, scarce parking spaces, and older neighborhoods, all increase the frequency of walking Boer et al., 2007). My community’s design moderately encourages walking. Residents usually walk along the blocks to the available commercial centers through the vast network of streets. However, some prefer to drive since they are assured of parking spaces, and the few commercial sots cannot meet all their needs.
Presently, my community does not suffer from urban sprawl. Although the area has developed rapidly over the past few years, the developments are all controlled. Every developer is required to present his or her designs prior to construction since this is a controlled development area, which minimizes any chances of urban sprawl in the future. However, if more stringent rules are not applied, loopholes in the current development policies may lead to urban sprawl. The principles of New Urbanism may be instrumental in deterring such a situation. New Urbanism emphasizes on order, connectivity, walkability, diversity, quality architecture, green transportation, sustainability, increased density and quality of life (Urbanism Principles, n.d.). By including New Urbanism into zoning and development codes, all future developments are directed into this form, thus eliminating the probability of urban sprawl (Diehl, n.d.).
Examples of New Urbanism Designs include the Del Mar Station Village, Kentlands and Battery Park City. Battery Park City was initially occupied by numerous decrepit shipping piers. The city was born from the idea of reclaiming this land. Governor Nelson Rockefeller decided to construct a comprehensive community, which became the current Battery Park City. Kentlands was formerly a farm estate. Its former owner wanted to construct a gentleman’s estate and wildlife shelter. A town developed bought part of the land and by adding several charrettes, Kentlands was born. Del Mar Station Village was constructed as part of the process of revitalizing Old Pasadena. The development team desired to create an essential urban destination and civic space, in line with both historic and modern aspects of the complex while surpassing sheer transit needs (Steuteville & Langdon, 2009).
Boer, R., Zheng, Y., Overton, A., Ridgeway, G. K., Cohen, D. A. (2007). Neighborhood Design and Walking Trips in Ten U.S. Metropolitan Areas. Am J Prev Med. 32(4): 298-304.
Diehl, R. (n.d.). Alternatives to Urban Sprawl. Retrieved July 6, 2015, from http://www.museumofthecity.org/alternatives-to-urban-sprawl/
Steuteville, R., & Langdon, P. (2009). The New Urbanism: A better way to plan and build 21st Century communities. Retrieved July 6, 2015, from http://bettercities.net/article/new-urbanism-better-way-plan-and-build-21st-century-communities
Urbanism Principles. (n.d.). Retrieved July 6, 2015, from http://www.newurbanism.org/newurbanism/principles.html