Understanding New Urbanism

GOODBYE SUBURBAN SPRAWL

New Urbanism is a philosophy in city and community planning that promotes sustainable, livable, and healthy communities. Emerging in large part as a response to the negative effects of suburban sprawl, New Urbanism calls for communities that offer their residents a quality of life that has nearly been suburbanized into extinction.

Master planned by a team of world-renowned architects and town planners, The Village is completely distinct from a typical suburb, and instead has a character reminiscent of those cherished towns that we all love to visit. Assembled and directed by Liz and John Hawley, the design team, led by prominent New Urbanist Andrés Duany and his firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. (www.dpz.com), rigorously studied the architectural heritage of Niagara-on-the-Lake for inspiration for this incredible community.

Armed with an understanding of the beauty and heritage of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the guiding principles of New Urbanism, Duany and his team laid the foundation for a new community perfectly suited for this historic and vibrant town.

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Suburbs (CSD’s) have tended to focus on the individuality of houses and the interior experience of their residents, and have neglected to recognize the importance of the public realm to a neighbourhood. CSD’s typically segregate by age and income, by type of residence, and by use. “Subdivisions” or “suburbs” are where we are to live. We drive to “office parks” to work, and to “strip plazas”, “shopping malls”, or “big box stores” to shop. Subdivisions are further subdivided by housing types and housing values.

How strange that we have accepted this type of development without question, because the towns and villages we all love to visit aren’t like this at all.

The Master Plan for The Village took into consideration many aspects and details relevant to creating a beautiful public realm. Architect and town planner Andrés Duany considered such details as the width of the streets, as well as where significant buildings would be placed. Architectural standards were established to ensure that buildings related to one another and were of the highest standard. Streets were scrutinized to ensure each had a unique and pleasing streetscape. Buildings were placed at strategic vista terminations to delight the eyes of the pedestrian or driver. Even the streetlights were carefully chosen and located. And wherever possible rear lanes for garages were utilized so that front doors and not garage doors would highlight the frontages of the residences.

There truly is no other place like The Village.

Why not see for yourself? Visit Niagara-on-the-Lake and tour The Village. Maybe this is the place you’ve been waiting for….