March 31, 2004

Sprawl Is Inefficient

"Modern suburban growth that separates residential and commercial development is inefficient, deters pedestrian use and causes gridlock, said Jeff Speck, a planner and leader of the New Urbanism movement," the Mobile Register reports from a conference on smart growth.

Although called "New Urbanism," the movement is actually highly relevant for suburbs, because its goals are to return to traditional, pre-World War II community design: streets equally good for walking and driving, and neighborhood destinations that are possible and appealing to walk to -- local shops, human-scale offices and so on.

"In his presentation, Speck showed a picture of a suburban convenience store: a rectangular shaped business, the storefront surrounded by a parking lot. He said residents do not want that type of design in their neighborhoods. But put that store in a building that looks like others in the area, Speck said, and it can benefit the neighborhood," the article notes.

Speck is co-author of one of my favorite books and community planning, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in creating pedestrian-friendly, livable communities.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, somone finally gets it! Making a city livable without cars is the way to go. Great book reference, I picked it up today!