September 14, 2012 1 Comment
Andres Duany is the granddaddy of New Urbanism. His design of Seaside, along with his wife, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, changed the course of greenfield development in this country. Rick Hampson of USA Today sat with him to ask him about what will happen to cities and suburbs in the next 30 years. He brought up five main points:
- Urban retrofit for suburbia – Suburbs will be rebuilt to serve alternative transit modes. Homes will be smaller and there will be more connected units.
- Gardener on the roof – People will practice “agrarian urbanism,” where they grow more of their own food on rooftops, in yards, or in window boxes.
- Government goes hyper-local – land use conflicts between developers trying to densify the city and make it more mixed use will push up against NIMBYs and certain environmental groups, and local government will have a large hand in mediating these issues.
- Buildings that look cool and safe – Duany gives the example of Alys Beach, a community he designed, where the houses are designed to be cooler and resistant to hurricanes and other extreme conditions. He argues that this sort of sustainable, durable design will be more common.
- Mormon settlers as models – As a Mormon, I found this particularly interesting (in fact, this is why a friend sent me the article), but Duany points out that, in the first 50 years of settlement in Utah and other parts of the west, Mormons built 537 towns, most of them located where they are after studying things like access to water and soil quality. This “precision planning” will be more important in the future.