New Urbanism Book Review


The Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) has recently established a professional accreditation program called the CNU-A.  Click on their link here to learn more on how to become a  CNU-A.  The University of Miami administers the Exam required to become a CNU-A.  The best part is that it is currently available online which works great for me being in South America.  The University also provides an excellent online course that provides an in-depth overview of the history, Principles, & Current Practice of the New Urbanism. The course ‘The Principles and Practice of New Urbanism’  is 6 weeks long, offered 3 times a year, & can be taken as a preparation to the exam which is administered right after the course.

I just finished up the course and took the exam last week.  Exam results will be released in 5 weeks.  The course is excellant!  I couldn’t get enough.  It was packed full of great resourses!  There are plently of recommended books, articles, links, surveys, projects, videos, etc. that are shared through out the course.  What I want to share today are the 3 required books that are needed for the course and for sure anyone wanting to be a New Urbanist.

They are the following:

SUBURBAN NATION: The rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

Authors:

  • Andres Duany
  • Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk
  • & Jeff Speck

THE CHARTER OF THE NEW URBANISM

Author: Several

Signed by 266 attendees of the 4th CNU and adopted in 1996

Includes the 27 Principles (each with an essay) of the Charter

Click here for the 27 Principles

NEW URBANISM – BEST PRACTICES GUIDE

Authors:

  • Philip Langdon
  • Robert Steuteville
  • & Special Contributors
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Author: Christopher B. Leinberger

Published: Nov 2007

Review: 5 stars *****

Christopher B. Leinberger dissects the past 100 years as it concerns the built environment in the United States and lays out the influences and reasons we find ourselves today in a ‘Sprawl’ filled country.  After the Great Depression and then WWII the country was ready for a change.  And change came with the onset of the automobile.  No longer did you have to live in the city which at that time was loud, crowded, diverse, and polluted.  The car made it possible for the middle class and up to live outside the city in what would become known as the suburbs.  Your own house, yard, car, and neighbors who were in the same income bracket as you, it became the American Dream, a great place to raise a family. 

That was over 60 years ago and we are still building suburbs.  And we are building them for many reasons that are hard to change.  Leinberger argues quite well that today there is a pent-up demand for walkable urbanism once again.  That sprawl has gotten out of hand no longer delivering the ‘American Dream’ it once offered.  Because ‘Sprawl’ has sprawled so much the need to drive everywhere for everything has become a big drag and decreases your quality of life.  Leinberger does a great and in-depth job at laying out the reasons why it is so hard to turn the tide from ‘Sprawl’ to ‘Walkable Urbanism’. But the facts seem clear that the tide needs to turn to provide ‘Walkable Urbanism’ to those who want it.

 This is not a book on how to do Walkable Urbanism but on WHY to do it.  I would highly recommend this book.

To learn more about the book visit their website below:

http://www.optionofurbanism.com/