New urbanism isn’t a passing trend, it’s a way of life that has taken root across the United States. Many real estate developers see the value of creating homes that promote community engagement and human-scale proportions. Urban sprawl is expanding and with it comes more roads, big developments, and more pollution. The core concept of new urbanism to create a community that improves the lives of its residents as well as the environment. This is done by applying the 10 principles of new urbanism to a community.
Quality of Life — When you are able to meet with your neighbors and not worry about parking or traffic, your stress levels go down. Living in a clean neighborhood where you can walk to shops and experience a diverse culture also lowers your stress levels. These all contribute to improving your quality of life.
Walkability — This is a tell-tale sign of a new urbanism community. Being able to walk to work, shops, restaurants, a doctor’s office … etc. brings back a feeling of what it must have been like to live in a neighborhood a century ago. The walk from home to any one of these destinations must be 10 minutes. Also, the streets must be pedestrian-friendly.
Mixed-Use Buildings & Diversity — There must be a mix of different types of buildings, such as homes, offices, retail and medical. Also, there must be a diverse culture (ages, races, income levels and religions).
Connectivity — This takes the form of an interconnected street grid that makes getting around easy and walking pleasurable. The narrow streets (e.g. alleys) are geared towards pedestrians and add to the aesthetic of the neighborhood.
Quality Architecture & Design — Aside from being eco-friendly, these homes and buildings have a beauty and a sense of peace to them. A large porch invites neighborhoods to meet and greet as well as large windows to let in natural light and fresh air.
Mixed Housing — Along with mixed-use buildings, there is also mixed housing where there are different styles, prices, and sizes. For example, a community consisting of townhouses, single-family homes, and apartments.
Traditional Neighborhood Structure — Newer housing developments have gotten away from this. There are a town center and public space to display art. The neighborhood also has a range of uses, such as retail, office and public events.
Smart Transportation — While a public transportation hub is not far, this neighborhood relies on “smart” transportation. People choose to ride a bicycle or walk. They save on transportation costs (i.e. car maintenance) and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Sustainability — There is strong support of the environment through land preservation and local food sources (i.e. farm to table). There is the use of energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and lights, water-saving products and more.
Increased Density — Density refers to the amount of space between homes, businesses, shops … etc. Thus, buildings are built close together, making them easier to reach on foot. Also, there is a more efficient use of services and resources.