In cases where cities have little control over the roads, there’s a disincentive to focus on them.
It is time that we recognize that the potential for spatially formed, human-scaled, beautiful, and prosperous urban places already lies within every urban block.
As ADUs are developed along alleys in the next few years, we are presented with an opportunity: to construct ADUs which front the street and transform the service alley into a minor street, or to construct ADUs which only look into the private lot, simply leaving the alley as it is.
Understanding the alley’s past reveals it for what it is today: a hidden resource for making our cities stronger and more prosperous.
With pedestrian-friendly streets, congenial gathering spots and appealing traditional architecture, Seaside on Florida’s Panhandle proves we can build new places with the qualities we love about classic neighborhoods—a notion once considered an impossible dream.
After now working in the planning and urban design realm for more than a couple of decades, I’ve come to believe that those “substandard” parcels referenced in countless planning and market studies are actually the key to successful cities and neighborhoods. I believe we should savor them, embrace them, and seek to create more wherever we can.
There are some exciting aspects to New Urbanism but there are downsides as well, including the displacement of lower-income people as new urbanism moves into an area.
We have embraced a degree of urbanism in our towns and cities. It’s part of an ideological battle that the New Urbanists have won. But, we aren’t all the way there yet.