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Frankie811

New Urbanism!

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How can they mention the Centre of New England Project and the Brooks HQ project in the same article as what is being built in downtown East Greenwich? Centre of New England and the Brooks HQ are in NO WAY New Urbanism, they're both auto-oriented sprawling developments nowhere near any form of mass transit. Even if they did bring in some residential development, they're still horrible developments that should not be encouraged. The downtown East Greenwich developments, on the other hand, are transit-accessible and walkable. Ugh, the fact that Centre of NE could even be mentioned in this article is sickening.

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AHHAH those projects are not new urbanism. Here is a letter Russ (an architect at Cornish) and I wrote to the author:

Dear Mr. Barbarisi,

We are writing to express our concern regarding your February 8, 2006 article “All-inclusive New Urbanism living.” While we commend you for raising the awareness of New Urbanism in New England, we would like to remind you that not all mixed-use projects fall under the umbrella of New Urbanism.

Most of the projects highlighted in your article-Chapel View in Cranston and the Centre of New England in Coventry among them-do not address many of the key principles of New Urbanism, such as how discrete buildings come together to create streets, and in turn help to produce a distinct civic realm. The design of these projects fails to consider how their surroundings will eventually become part of a walkable system of neighborhoods. Without proper connections, these developments are islands, only accessible to one another by automobile. The propagation of mixed-use projects needs to be embedded in a larger regional system that will lead to independence from the automobile. These projects may be a step in the right direction, but they are far from satisfying the central principles of New Urbanism.

New Urbanism is still struggling to become the legal and preferred method for land development and redevelopment. Beyond the requisite zoning reform, the education of planners, town officials and citizens will be required to advance New Urbanism at the expense of more placeless sprawl. Surprisingly, your article failed to mention that Providence is hosting the 14th Congress for the New Urbanism on June 1-4, 2006. This gathering of international planners, architects, developers and scholars will reexamine New Urbanism through the lens of the developer, with a special focus on implementing New Urbanism.

This is a great opportunity for Rhode Island to be exposed to the best planners, architects and developers that the country has to offer. We would be more then happy to meet over coffee or lunch to discuss New Urbanism further. As Mike McMahon states, “it’s taking over the area,” but we lament that it may be more sprawl in New Urbanist clothing.

Again, we commend you for your article, and hope to meet with you soon.

Sincerely,

Ari S. Heckman and Russell S. Preston

Ari Heckman is a development associate at Cornish Associates. Russell Preston is an architect and urban designer at Cornish. Both are members of the local executive committee for the 14th Congress for the New Urbanism to be held in Providence. Russell is on the board of CNU New England.

Please visit these links for more information:

www.cnuxiv.org

www.cnu.org

www.cnunewengland.org

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The last thing we need is people thinking that Centre of New England and Chapel View are good developments....

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No mention of what a poorly generic suburban-type design has been unveiled for the Sierra Suites. Just that we'd need to tear down an old building (which is historically-questionable at best). Doesn't this New Urbanism encourage critics to call out such vanilla highway-side shiite when its proposed for an urban setting?

I agree though, fight for more height! :good:

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I thought this was a fairly good article, although modern architectural design can mean anything. I'd agree that this new Hadid, Morphosis ultra-abstract modern is bad for cities but many modern glass buildings can be a very nice addition to a city. Theres no reason a modernist building with somewhat of a traditional flavor couldnt work on this site.

I wish the architectural world wasnt so black & white. Its like you have to be a fan of either abstract, imbalanced, impersonal metal-skinned buildings or nostalgic reproduction architecture. I'd really like to see more middle ground since I cant stand either of those.

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I thought this was a fairly good article, although modern architectural design can mean anything. I'd agree that this new Hadid, Morphosis ultra-abstract modern is bad for cities but many modern glass buildings can be a very nice addition to a city. Theres no reason a modernist building with somewhat of a traditional flavor couldnt work on this site.

I wish the architectural world wasnt so black & white. Its like you have to be a fan of either abstract, imbalanced, impersonal metal-skinned buildings or nostalgic reproduction architecture. I'd really like to see more middle ground since I cant stand either of those.

I showed images of modernist projects during my talk on the charter - I guess David dozed off during that part. :D

At the Congress for New Urbanism here in Providence June 1-4 (1500 new urbanists coming!) we are having a session on Modernism in New Urbanism. The Charter doesn't indicate any particular style, just that it should respect local context, history and weather. That leaves a lot of leeway.

Many projects end up with traditional architecture because new urbanists listen to communities - for residential traditional architecture is what people want (not necessarialy the same in hip downtowns). We spend much effort on traditional architecture because we are trying to make it good, instead of the crap that is usually built.

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I showed images of modernist projects during my talk on the charter - I guess David dozed off during that part. :D

I'm excited for the opportunity to blend the traditional with the modern that SBE&R's ALCO proposal brings up. There's all these historic mill buildings that could be interestingly blended with more modern looking new buildings. In fact my fear for ALCO is that they'll go the Eagle Square route and try building these brick buildings that try, and fail, to fit in with what is there. There's wonderful examples out there of how something modern can be placed against something historic and highlight and enhance the beauty of the historic structure.

This is also what I hope will develop out of RISDs Chace Center.

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This seems like the best place for me to put this link:

Studies investigate the link between sprawl and weight gain.

(The linked site's server is being "slashdotted" as of 3:12pm on Jan 24, 2007. Give it a little time and you will be able to get to the article.)

The jury is still out. Folks in urban / walkable areas tend to be about 10 lbs lighter. Is that because urban neighborhoods make thinner people, or is it because thinner people just like to live in urban neighborhoods. The reality is probably a mix of the 2.

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I'm excited for the opportunity to blend the traditional with the modern that SBE&R's ALCO proposal brings up. There's all these historic mill buildings that could be interestingly blended with more modern looking new buildings. In fact my fear for ALCO is that they'll go the Eagle Square route and try building these brick buildings that try, and fail, to fit in with what is there. There's wonderful examples out there of how something modern can be placed against something historic and highlight and enhance the beauty of the historic structure.

This is also what I hope will develop out of RISDs Chace Center.

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However, I believe one can build in brick and still be modern (with a amall m).

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Oh I agree, and as we are Brick City USA I'd love to see someone in Providence take up the challenge of creating something truly modern within the city's brick vernacular. It'd be great to have a building here be the one that people point to nationally when talking about modern brick.

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Isn't the Chace Center going to be brick?

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