A big hat tip to Urban Indy for this:
As a new development in central Bloomington shows, New Urbanism in many ways is just the old urbanism. This is from a story in the Indianapolis Business Journal about how new housing is being built to blend in with the existing neighborhood around it:
“The term New Urbanism is kind of absurd. It’s old living,” said resident Beth Schroeder, 54, who moved to the neighborhood with her husband from rural Monroe County. “It’s how most people lived until the sprawl of the fifties. It’s retro. We’re just getting back to what we know was good.”
I can understand how New Urbanism can get some knocks for being rather utopian. But what you can’t knock is the care this particular New Urbanist developer had for his neighbors:
(Developer Matt) Press held a series of meetings at a nearby elementary school to explain New Urbanism. It wasn’t until getting feedback from neighborhood residents that he and his architects sketched out the development plan. That he won the support of surrounding property owners spoke loudly to city officials.
“He had a core group of residents who were lobbying and actively engaging the city on the developer’s behalf,” said city Planning Director Tom Micuda. “Which just doesn’t happen in our profession.”
When it’s explained, New Urbanism makes a lot of sense to a good number of potential home buyers.
The real obstacles in Bloomington, and many other cities, were suburban-style zoning requirements that were relaxed and rewritten and suburban-oriented bankers who had to be convinced that such a project is financially feasible.