The Congress For New Urbanism And Environmental Awareness

990 words - 4 pages

The Congress for New Urbanism and Environmental Awareness

In the last two decades the New Urbanism movement has begun among planners, designers, and builders. Though it does not provide complete solutions to many of the environmental problems caused by human development, it shows a greater awareness of the undesirable and potentially destructive tendencies exhibited by conventional methods of design, planning and construction. Robert Davis, board chairman of the Congress for the New Urbanism, describes the problem of urban sprawl and development.

"For five millennia, we have built towns and cities with strong centers and clear edges, beyond which lay farms and forests and lakes and streams. For five decades these clear edges have become increasingly ragged, and the centrifugal forces of sprawl have flung a strange collection of objects across the landscape. The strangest of these objects are large boxes with very specialized functions. They are connected to each other by swaths of asphalt and each is surrounded by a small sea of the same material. Their placement relative to each other and to the smaller boxes we live in is designed and planned for the maximum possible consumption of our time, and of energy in various forms, including human..."(http://www.cnu.org/nunjuly98.html).

"Our monoculture development pattern started as a good idea to separate steel mills and slaughter houses from dwellings. Now we rigidly separate all uses: our homes, our workplaces, our children’s schools, the places we assemble. This not only ensures the maximum possible consumption of time and energy, it also separates us from each other"

(http://www.cnu.org/nunjuly98.html). This is a design perspective based on aesthetics instead of environmental health. This indicates that an awareness exists of the destructive nature of current popular development patterns This also indicates that reforms are needed .

The Congress for New Urbanism is an organization composed of builders, planners, and designers dedicated to setting up a formula for future development and the betterment of existing communities. By addressing the problems of "disinvestment in central cities, the spread of placeless sprawl, increased separation by race and income, environmental deterioration, loss of agricultural land and wilderness, and the erosion of societies built heritage" (http://www.cnu.org/nunjuly98.html) they plan to reinvest in current urban centers and towns by restructuring the expanding suburbs into more traditional communities. As a part of the solution, The Congress for New Urbanism created the New Urbanist Charter. Within the charter consideration is given to both conservation and preservation of the natural environment. Specifically, the charter states that "development patterns should not blur or eradicate the edge of the metropolis. Infill, development within existing urban areas, conserves environmental resources, economic investment, and social fabric, while...

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