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What's Old is New New Urbanism Turns Clock Back to Old-Style Neighborhoods

Condominium managers, boards and residents have long known the benefits of clustered housing. They know first-hand what it is like to live in a community with others. They've been able to enjoy the smaller ecological footprint of higher density living. And where amenities like parks, grocery stores, and post offices are nearby, condominium residents have embraced being able to walk much of the time.

Unknowingly, many condominiums have exhibited some of the principles of closely-related design movements called “New Urbanism,” and “Smart Growth.” Both of these movements began in the 1980s and stress a return to pre-World War II neighborhoods, where neighbors knew each other and walked to local businesses instead of driving cars to far-flung malls amidst suburban sprawl.

Where Smart Growth defines the intelligent design of entire communities based on guiding ideas about how communities thrive, New Urbanism applies those same ideas in the “adaptive reuse of pre-existing structures.”

So, where Smart Growth ideas can help define a newly-built community like The Pinehills in Plymouth, Massa-chusetts, those same ideas can used to revitalize a downtown neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut, or a strip mall in Southern New Hampshire.

Core Principles

Based on the marriage of how urban spaces work with the new realities of our times, New Urbanist principles, as stated on the New Urbanism website (see resources sidebar on page 18), both take from the past and look towards the future: walkability, connectivity, mixed-use and diversity, mixed housing, quality architecture and urban design, traditional neighborhood structure, increaseddensity, green transportation, sustainability, and quality of life.

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