"Atlantic Station [in the middle of Atlanta] is the latest example of 'new urbanism,' a trendy antidote to the suburban and exurban sprawl that has defined the American way of life for the past five decades," the article notes. "It's a shiny new town, complete with city blocks, sidewalks, street parking, a train station, parks, schools, offices, town houses, and even loft residences right above the retail stores."
"I don't have a car, and I walk for groceries -- I love it," one resident told the magazine.
[M]ini-towns like Atlanta Station and Main Streets are sprouting up all over America. Sometimes even located in the middle of a suburban sprawl, these developments give residents an identity -- and a place to go for entertainment, shopping, and people watching -- whether it's at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif.; Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio; Centerpoint on Mill in Tempe, Ariz.; or the revival of Crossroads in downtown Kansas City, Mo. ...
Such town centers are truly picking up steam and will soon change the landscape of America. Nowhere is the trend more visible than with mall developers: Out of 147 new retail developments that started construction last year, only two were the big-box, enclosed malls of yesterday.
Meanwhile, here in Framingham and along Rtes. 9 & 30 in Natick, it's still the auto-centric developments of yesteryear. The article includes mention of the Natick Mall expansion's condominiums; but based on the designs I've seen, that project bears no resemblance to true pedestrian-friendly new urbanism. Yes, residents will be able to walk to the traditional enclosed mall, but that's it. There's nowhere else to walk to (unless the spur of the Cochituate Rail Trail finally happens, and that won't be a community streetscape), no pleasant outdoor shared space, no integration with the surrounding community and not much sense of place.