Fake, or So Real it’s Blowing Your Mind? | PlaceMakers

The commercial corridor at Rosemary Beach. From oldurbanist.blogspot.com.

Scott Doyon shares this post on criticisms of New Urbanism. He points out how strange it is that people, principally architects, criticize New Urbanism for being fake, while they don’t even discuss the horribleness of strip retail centers or other junk that isn’t even trying. He dismisses common criticisms—that it is built too fast and that it is historicist—and says that we are asking the wrong questions. He uses Rosemary Beach in Florida as an example, saying that its apparent historicism is drawn from lessons learned over the history of building in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. He says that, yes, it was built in 15 years, but that was less time than the Upper West Side, and who calls that inauthentic? Both were laid out in a master plan and filled in by individual builders. These developments should not be immune to criticism, but they should get over the focus on modern forms and look at the urban function (Doyon cites a critique from the Old Urbanist where he criticises Rosemary Beach’s walkway/alley system and overly wide, still car-oriented streets; and I would like to add that, as with many of these developments, there is little true mixing of uses in the form of smaller corner stores). I’ve been looking for an article like this and hope it comes up every time New Urbanism is critiqued as “fake.”


About Dave Munson
This blog is about architecture, cities, and myself.

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