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AmericanUrbanDesigner

4 Categories of American Patterns of Development

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I think of American development in four categories:

Urban - the quinessential pre-WW2 pattern of interconnected street networks filled with public and private structures or formal parks.

Suburban - the quinessential pre-WW2 streetcar neighborhood with a curvilinear network of interconnected streets, open spaces (informal parks) as public amenities, and commercial cores within walking distance of residential areas. (Portman and Riverside, IL; Brookline in Boston; Myers Park in Charlotte)

Rural - farm, or undisturbed, lands that may contain non-farm houses on lots over 5 acres.

Anti-urban - what's largely been developed in the US since WW2 and mislabeled as "suburban".

What do you think?

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Good analysis, but couldnt that be the immediate post WW2 definitions of urbanism. I always have considered areas like brookline mass. to be more of a modern Urban Residential area than a suburban area, but I could be wrong.

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I'd like to propose two forms of development:

1) Urban - wide sidewalks, street fromt retail, a good mix of uses and building types, pocket neighborhood parks and larger regional parks.

2) Crap - everything else :D

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It should be noted that just before WWII, cities were generally seen as a scourge, and anyone with any means did what they could to move from the places. Cities of the time were crowded, polluted, crime ridden and undesirable to the average person. After WWII more people in the US had the means to leave these places and hence modern suburbia. The big mistake that was made was in the new places being completely dependant on the automobile.

In the late 60s there was a more of an anti-technology movement. Many of the baby boom generation who had reached adult hood by this time were alarmed at the toll that excessive consumption and the accompaning pollution that came with it, and there was a backlash against technology. (and the birth of the environmental movement) With this came a back to nature, sulf sustainable living movmement and cities again were seen to be counter against this, and more people left the cities.

Will cities come back? On the surface it would seem so in many places because of the excessive amount of condo building. But looking into it a bit deeper, one finds that many of these condos are being built on the real estate speculation that has been going on in the USA for the last decade, and the "new city" is really becoming a enclave of the well off surrounded by state subdized housing. i.e. The real reason for a city to exist has not been revived and suburbia continues to grow at historical highs. It should be no surprise that places such as San Francisci, Chicago, Minneapolis, etc are losing population and even NYC would be experiencing a net population loss if it were not for foriegn migration. The middle class is not returning to the city.

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