Traditional Neighborhood Development - Is it for You?
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Principles of Traditional Neighborhood Development 

An authentic neighborhood should contain most of these elements: 

1) The neighborhood has a discernible center. This is often a square or a green and sometimes a busy or memorable street corner. A transit stop would be located at this center. 

2) Most of the dwellings are within a five-minute walk of the center, an average of roughly 2,000 feet. 

3) There are a variety of dwelling types — usually houses, rowhouses and apartments — so that younger and older people, singles and families, the poor and the wealthy may find places to live. 

4) At the edge of the neighborhood, there are shops and offices of sufficiently varied types to supply the weekly needs of a household. 

5) A small ancillary building is permitted within the backyard of each house. It may be used as a rental unit or place to work (e.g., office or craft workshop). 

6) An elementary school is close enough so that most children can walk from their home.

7) There are small playgrounds accessible to every dwelling -- not more than a tenth of a mile away. 

8) Streets within the neighborhood form a connected network, which disperses traffic by providing a variety of pedestrian and vehicular routes to any destination.

9) The streets are relatively narrow and shaded by rows of trees. This slows traffic, creating an environment suitable for pedestrians and bicycles. 

10) Buildings in the neighborhood center are placed close to the street, creating a well-defined outdoor room. 

11) Parking lots and garage doors rarely front the street. Parking is relegated to the rear of buildings, usually accessed by alleys. 

12) Certain prominent sites at the termination of street vistas or in the neighborhood center are reserved for civic buildings. These provide sites for community meetings, education, and religious or cultural activities. 

13) The neighborhood is organized to be self-governing. A formal association debates and decides matters of maintenance, security, and physical change. Taxation is the responsibility of the larger community.

New Urbanism and Traditional Neighborhood developments are based on principles of planning and architecture that work together to create human-scale, walkable, functional and sustainable communities. They can be applied to either infill projects within a city, communities proposed on the periphery of cities, projects focused on transit-oriented development (TOD), or even entire cities. From modest beginnings, the New Urbanism movement is now having a substantial impact on development in the US. More than 600 new towns, villages, and neighborhoods are planned or under construction in the US, using the principles of the New Urbanism. Additionally, hundreds of small-scale new urban infill projects are restoring the urban fabric of cities and towns by reestablishing walkable streets and blocks. Many Gulf Coast communities ravished by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are rebuilding themselves based on these principles.

Photo Credit: Chad Shrodes/Pinterest

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