New Urbanism as the New Garden City

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New Urbanism as the New Garden City Abby Jones

Winter 2009 Prof. Susan Mulley LA 424 World Gardens

Contents I. Introduction II. Design Precedent: Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City 1. 2.


Background Design Principles a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i)

IV. New Urbanism in Practice 1.

Reform Community Variety Public Institutions Convenience Health Aesthetics Structure Permanence



Physical Results

III. Enter New Urbanism 1. 2.

Physical Form


Background Design Principles a) b)

c) d) e)

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

Reform Structure i.) Regional Scale ii.) Neighborhood Scale: Variety and Convenience iii.) Building Scale: Historical Reference iv.) Person Scale: Health Community and Equality Aesthetics Permanence

Seaside i.) Background ii.) Design Principles iii.) Comparison and Contrast with Garden Cities Val d’Europe i.) Background ii.) Design Principles iii.) Comparison and Contrast with Garden Cities Village Homes i.) Background ii.) Design Principles iii.) Comparison and Contrast with Garden Cities

V. Conclusion VI. Figure Citations VII. Works Cited


Contents 1

I. Introduction New urbanism is a holistic reform movement for urban development which seeks to reorganize the modern urban planning system that promulgates suburban sprawl (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000, Lang 2005). New urbanism seeks to control urban planning from the regional scale down to the human scale (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). Several design principles of new urbanism are similar to Ebenezer Howard’s design principles for garden cities. This paper will explore the design principles of garden cities and compare them to those of new urbanism. The ideal as well as the concrete form of new urbanism will be presented.

which it deems needing reform. One of these is ownership. Private ownership of businesses usually leads to maximizing profits for the business instead of providing quality goods and services for the people (Foglesong 1986). Howard believed that private ownership of the land would not provide for community parks and other community serves he wished for the garden city (1902). Consequently, he wanted to change the system from private ownership to public ownership of the land (1902). Another reform Ebenezer Howard wanted to make was population control (1902). Once a city reached a sustainable population of around 30,000, he thought that a new city should be created instead of continually infilling and expanding the current city (Beevers 1988). New cities would be surrounded by green belts that could not be urbanized in order to provide land for farmers and for recreation (Howard 1902).

b) Community

Throughout urban history, cities have been seen as centers of disease, crime, sacrilege, and filth (Glaab and Brown 1967). Conversely, the country has often represented nature, leisure, and health (Glaab and Brown 1967). However, the garden city movement saw neither town nor the city as the ideal living condition (Howard 1902). Some of the necessities the country lacks, the city has, such as more entertainment, more jobs with higher wages, and a greater opportunity for education (Howard 1902). Ebenezer Howard, an English law reporter, proposed garden cities as a way to create the best of both worlds (Fig. 1) (Chudacoff 1975, Foglesong 1986).

One of the important principles behind Ebenezer Howard’s garden city ideal was community ownership (Ward 1992). The land on which the community was built would be owned by the community, and money from rent would be used to repay the developers, build and maintain public works, and provide insurance and retirement funds to the city’s inhabitants, among other community benefits (Howard 1902). Housing leases would mandate specific green space to set aside, and with community ownership, there would be no incentive to modify leases to convert public land to private (Foglesong 1986). Howard believed that public works paid for by the accrued rent money of all the city’s inhabitants would be much grander and more beautiful than anything affordable by an individual or provided by the government (1902.)

2. Design Principles

c) Variety

1. Background

a) Reform The garden city movement was produced from the need to reform the traditional development of the city (Howard 1902). The design of garden cities addresses several areas

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

Ideally, garden cities would contain a variety of goods and services to provide for all basic needs (Howard, 1902). These would be conveniently located so that frequent long distance travel would not be necessary (Howard 1902). Having a variety of places to shop, eat, and recreate would also

provide other forms of employment to the citizens of the garden city rather than just industrial jobs. Variety would also be found in the housing types of the garden city. In order to house a wide spectrum of people for all the jobs necessary in running such a city, a wide range of housing types and costs was necessary (Howard 1902). Although garden cities were designed mostly in regards to the industrial middle class, Howard suggested charity organizations be formed in the cities which implies the poor could be housed as well (1902).

d) Public Institutions Another core principle behind the garden city movement was the necessity of public institutions (Ward 1992). Institutions of government and health were necessary in garden cities so that inhabitants could easily reach their services (Howard 1902). Additionally, Howard believed that educational institutions like museums, universities, theaters, and libraries were a significant part of the “magnetic” pull of cities (Fig. 1)(1902). Therefore, to create an ideal, sustainable living place, a garden city would need these institutions.

FIg. 1. The Three Magnets, Ebenezer Howard 1902, pg 16.


g) Aesthetics

e) Convenience

As the name suggests, the main aesthetics of Howard’s garden cities would be the green and public spaces. Howard envisioned a beautiful garden in the city’s center for public enjoyment (1902). In addition, he believed that the public collective would be able afford more majestic and grand public buildings than private individuals in the traditional city (Howard 1902). Therefore, he believed the museums, concert halls, lecture halls, government buildings, libraries, and hospitals would all be more aesthetically pleasing than those of traditional cities (Howard 1902). Furthermore, the city green belt would provide the beauty and ease of the coutryside’s field, hedge, and woods (Howard 1902).

Convenience was a key catch phrase for garden cities; they were to provide the convenience of the city with the pleasures of the country (Howard 1902). Howard wanted every neighborhood to have access to schools, basic supplies and other amenities (1902). Country-like parks would percolate and green belts would surround the city so that all inhabitants could enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of public green space (Howard 1902). The greenbelts at the periphery of the city which could be leased to farmers would also provide the farmers with a nearby market for their produce (Howard 1902).

h) Structure

Part of the goal of the garden city was to alleviate the unhealthy living conditions of the city (Ward 1992). Many of the earlier founded cities did not have sewer systems and refuse was thrown into the streets (Glaab and Brown 1967). Even in cities with sewers sanitation was a problem because of inconsistent trash pick-up (Glaab and Brown 1967). Because of the high density in pre-WWII cities, disease spread very quickly, and many of the vaccines and other health remedies know today did not exist (Chudacoff 1975, Glaab and Brown 1967). The interspersal of green space within garden cities and the allotment of larger housing plots with gardens served several purposes health-wise. First, they were recreational, providing exercise to inhabitants (Howard 1902). Though not know at the time, exercise can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity (McKee 2003). In addition, the lower density of garden cities slowed the spread of diseases (Foglesong 1986). Furthermore, green spaces can cleanse the air, water and soil pollution created by cities (Brown 2002). Howard also hoped to alleviate unhealthy conditions by the city’s layout. For example, he wanted to separate industrial areas from residential areas (1902). In addition, he proposed placing the industrial areas according to wind patterns so that pollution would blow away from rather than towards the city (Foglesong 1986).

The structure of garden cities was integral to their design (Ward 1992). In an ideal garden city, commercial, educational, and civic buildings were to be located around a central green to provide an area for community mixing, and the number of shops would be limited in order to make them more profitable (Fig. 2)(Ward 1992). Residents could vote on whether or not to add shops in case they were dissatisfied with a service (Foglesong 1986). A ward system would lay out coherent neighborhoods centering around a public school (Howard 1902, Foglesong 1986). The communities would have different sizes of housing to provide for a range of incomes (Foglesong 1986). Since industry was to be located on the perimeter of the city to mitigate pollution, mass transportation would be linked to it (Howard 1902). Mass transportation, especially railroad, was to be accessible by everyone inhabiting the city, and this would allow transportation within the city was well as beyond it (Howard 1902). Rather than continually expanding and infilling cities, Howard wanted to limit population size to around 30,000 inhabitants and begin a new city once the old one was full (Foglesong 1986). A greenbelt would surround the cities and be preserved from urban development (Howard 1902). These distinct cities would be linked to each other by mass transit, and ideally there would be one central “great and most beautiful city” located 3 ¼ miles from smaller towns (Fig. 2)(Howard 1902, pg 136.)

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

f) Health

Fig. 2. Garden City Diagram. Robert Beevers, 1988, Cover

i)Permanence Furthermore, the structure and planning behind garden cities would allow their replication and maintenance, elucidating another precept of garden city design, permanence. The garden city was supposed to be the ultimate solution to the choice between city and country lifestyles: It was a combination of both, a combination that was supposed to revolutionize the way people live so much that it would become the default choice (Howard 1902). In Howard’s eyes, giving each lot green space to grow a garden and enjoy nature, as well as providing public greens, would prevent people from desiring to move further out into the country (Chudacoff 1975). Providing the institutions of the city, namely employment, society, and education, in a garden city would keep people from wanting to endure the squalor of a traditional city, and eventually traditional cities would become obsolete (Howard 1902).


3. Physical Results

In Britain, two garden cities, Letchworth and Welwyn, were built (Fig. 3)(Foglesong 1986). Neither of them completely embodied Howard’s concept (Beever 1988). Welwyn was planned as capitalistic versus socialistic from the beginning, and Letchworth had trouble finding tenants until the lease conditions were changed from Howard’s original plan (Beever 1988). Neither of the cities is completely self sufficient as Howard had wished (Beever 1988). The garden city concept inspired American planners and architects, but in a society based on capitalism and the individual, public land ownership was not ideal (Beevers 1988, Foglesong 1988, Ward 1992). Because wealthier individuals did not like the idea of sharing their neighborhoods with people of lower incomes, private developers used the idea of the garden city to promote new housing developments for the upper classes (Ward 1992). These developments did not contain all of the aspects of Howard’s design, and were not selfsupporting economically (Foglesong 1986). The main concept from the true garden city that was maintained was the low density of housing and green space on each lot (Foglesong 1986). (Chudacoff 1975).

Fig. 3. Letchworth, England, Bursland, 2006

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

Contrary to Howard’s plans, these suburbs increased sprawl and segregation in U. S. cities (Chudacoff 1975). Removing the wealthy to suburbs only exacerbated the squalid conditions of the inner city (Foglesong 1986). Since there was little or no commerce provided for in these suburbs, residents still needed to commute back to the city for employment, goods, and services (Chudacoff 1975). In addition, the low density of the suburbs and uncontrolled population sizes devoured the rural land that Howard wished to preserve (Foglesong 1986). Furthermore, the ideas behind the garden city were implemented mostly for economic gain by developers and not for the good of the community (Foglesong 1986, Ward 1992).

III. Enter New Urbanism 1. Background Until about the 1940s in the United States, population densities had been high, urban areas were developed with residential and commercial uses interspersed, and staple destinations were walkable or reachable by public transportation (Glaab and Brown 1967, Chudacoff 1975). After the 1940s, the traditional way of planning cities began to change (Foglesong 1986). Cities throughout history cities have been seen as harbors of disease, sin, and crime, and reform movements after WWII, such as Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities movement, began trying to resolve these issues via urban planning (Chudacoff 1975). Although they helped spawn the sprawl and wasteful use of resources seen in the U.S. today, the ideas behind the Garden City and other similar urban reform

movements were benevolent (Ward 1992). Howard desired to make urban life healthier, cheaper, and more enjoyable (Foglesong 1986). Lower density would allow people to own larger plots of land for personal enjoyment and “individual freedom” (Foglesong 1986). Additionally, land outside the city is cheaper and building there would reduce housing costs (Howard 1902). Despite its attempt to make living healthier and safer, sprawl has led to different health and environmental problems because it necessitates the use of automobiles in order to reach employment and shopping centers (McKee 2003). Sprawl has been linked to exercise-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease (McKee 2003). Car pollution is a significant source of smog which instigates respiratory diseases and cancer (Kelbaugh 2002). Furthermore, sprawl uses more land and resources, destroying natural habitats, than building at lower densities (Brown 2003). In the 1960s, planners, environmentalists, and architects began to see the negatives of sprawl (Hall and Porterfield 2001). An alternate method of planning was sought, and figures like Jane Jacobs began reminiscing of the traditional neighborhood design practiced prior to sprawl (Hall and Porterfield 2001). The romanticization and adaptation of this traditional development spawned new urbanism. Since its inception, new urbanism has grown to a multi-tiered system for the reorganization of people, politics, and land (Congress of the New Urbanism 2000).

2. Design Principles The Charter of the New Urbanism set several design principles for new urbanist development (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). Some of these are idealistic, broad, and require policy and governmental change before they can be physically realized. Other principles are more typically associated with new urbanism because they are easier to bring to fruition in the current economic and political atmosphere in the United States (The Seaside Institute 2002).


a) Reform One of the characteristics new urbanism has in common with the garden city movement is that it mandates reform. Being a reform movement, new urbanism presupposes that the current system is in error and needs remediation. Many conditions have arisen in the United States and worldwide which suggest that planning and development cannot continue status quo. For example, resources, especially fossil fuels, are dwindling (Brown 2003). The United States has the highest total consumption of energy than any other nation, and most of that energy comes from fossil fuels (Brown 2003). In addition, viable farmland and natural habitat is being lost to the land consuming system of sprawl. In the U.S. from 1982-1997, the population increased by 17%, while urbanized land expanded by 47%, and in the last 20 years, the land allotment per person for new housing has increased nearly twofold (American Farmland Trust 2007).

b) Structure i.) Regional Scale New urbanism suggests that regional planning would be a better solution to resource and policy management than the current city and state means of control (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). The Congress for the New Urbanism believes that national control is too broad and local control is too specific to effectively control sprawl and manage social services, and that “the metropolitan region is a fundamental economic unit of the contemporary world…not nations states, states, or cities” (2000, p.15). For example, new urbanism states that regions would be better equipped to deal with systems of transportation, fair housing, tax and education policies, land preservation, and urban development boundaries (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). The regional scale reform called for by new urbanism is least often seen in physical embodiments of this movement (The Seaside Institute 2002). Political and perhaps economical change is necessary before wide spread regional planning for new urbanist developments could can be realized. Therefore, none of the case study examples presented in this paper

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

have achieved this principle on a regional scale; however, reform can be seen in the neighborhood and town scale of new urbanist developments (Steuteville 2004).

ii.) Neighborhood Scale: Variety and Convenience

An elementary school placed so that most children can walk from home • Small playgrounds accessible to every home • Central buildings are close to the street, creating the feel of an outdoor room • Parking lots and garage doors rarely front the street. Parking is located to the rear of buildings and accessible via alleys. • Civic buildings are placed at the termination of street vistas or other prominent sites. • The neighborhood is self-governing with an association which decides matters of maintenance, security, and physical change These elements introduce convenience and variety into neighborhoods in order to increase inhabitants’ quality of life (Steuteville 2004). Most of these elements are not seen in typical suburbs based on principles of sprawl (McKee 2003, Steuteville 2004).

New urbanist design at the neighborhood scale hearkens back to traditional neighborhood design (TND) occurring in the U.S. prior to WWII (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). This type of design did not separate commercial and residential buildings and activities, and development occurred on the human scale producing walkable distances between staple destinations such as the grocery store and workplace. (Glaab and Brown 1967, Chudacoff 1975). Urban developments at this time typically had a downtown area where commercial and government functions were centralized, and often had green public space within the urban network (Glaab and Brown 1967, Chudacoff 1975). Density was high because these neighborhoods had been planned in a time before automobiles had become popular or been invented (Glaab and Brown 1967, Chudacoff 1975). According to town planners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, two of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, an authentic new urbanist neighborhood should contain most of these elements (Steuteville 2004): • A distinct center, often a square, green, or street corner, including a transit stop • Most houses are within a five-minute walk of the center • Streets form a network which alleviates traffic by providing a variety of routes • Streets are narrow and shaded by trees. This slows traffic, creating safer and more pleasant conditions for pedestrians and bicycles (Fig. 4) • A variety of housing so that a mix of people can live near each other. • Shops and offices to supply the weekly Fig. 4. Historical style, narrow streets, and mixed housing in Poundbury, England, Erneeds of inhabitants (Fig. 5) ling Okkenhaug, 2000,


iii.) Building scale: Historical Reference (Fig. 4) At the architectural level, new urbanism instigates the use of building codes to produce visually harmonious architecture, control building materials, control building height and placement, proscribe landscape standards, and promote stoops and porches (Congress for the New Urbanism 2003). The theories behind these codes are that order is desirable above disorder and that a sense of community can be attained through architecture (Katz 1994, Lang 2005). New urbanism believes that coherent architecture makes people more comfortable and is necessary for a safe, cohesive community (Katz 1994, Congress for the New Urbanism 2000).

institutions like libraries, and walkable markets make community mixing and building more likely (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000).

d) Aesthetics

iv.) Person Scale: Health By implementing this type of development, new urbanism hopes to produce healthier living environments for people (Hall and Porterfield 2001). The movement believes that making sidewalks and bike lanes wider and more shaded will make people more comfortable and more willing to use these alternative forms of transportation (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). Additionally, if fewer people drive automobiles, air quality will improve (Kelbaugh 2002). Furthermore, placing emphasis on the convenience of foot transportation over automobile transportation will make streets safer from fewer automobiles on the road and drivers’ greater awareness of pedestrians (Andres, Plater-Zyberk and Speck 2000). The higher density of new urbanism will also allow for larger areas of green space like parks to be set aside (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). Green spaces help purify air, water, and soil pollution and provide habitat to plants and animals (Brown 2003). Parks also provide recreation, informal social opportunities, and relaxation to enhance the health and quality of life for citizens (Andres, Plater-Zyberk and Speck 2000).

c) Community and Equality Another design principle of new urbanism is community. On a small scale, community building is enforced through closer houses with shorter fences, front porches, and pleasant sidewalks (Lang 2005). Additionally, downtown greens, public

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

urbanism hopes to bring about will benefit all people, but to a greater degree will improve the lives of the poor (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). However, the people most likely to get involved politically to make changes are the more affluent. For example, in November 2006, 64% of people with incomes over $100,000 voted while only 31% of people with an income less than $20,000 voted (File 2008). Richer people will have to sacrifice the sense of security that gated communities and equally affluent neighbors give them in order to promote fairness and cultural mixing for the benefit of the population as a whole. Consequently, the embodiment of this new urbanist ideal may take longer to witness.

Fig. 5. High Density Mixed use in Val d’Europe, Minato ku, 2008 Community is also meant to be constructed with equality and fairness as guiding principles (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). For example, regional management of new urbanist communities will instigate evenly spreading the tax base so that rich neighborhoods do not benefit more than poor neighborhoods (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). Ultimately, new urbanism wishes to incorporate housing of multiple income levels into the same neighborhood which may require subsidization to make lower income housing possible (Hall and Porterfield 2001). In addition, the high density development necessary to new urbanism means that people will have to give up personal lawn space and larger house sizes for more land reserved as green space for all (Fig. 5)(Kelbaugh 2002). Typically in current new urbanist developments multiincome housing is seen but only for a very small range of incomes. For example, in Seaside,FL housing typically ranges from $300,000 to $1 million (Lang 2005). This means that only upper-middle and upper class citizens will be able to afford this community. To change the current system, individual involvement is necessary to promulgate equality. The changes which new


Unlike garden city aesthetics which would be based upon green space and public structures paid for by community funds, new urbanism instigates historical design. For example, Seaside, FL is designed in the historic beach cottage style and Val d’Europe is designed based upon Haussen’s Parisian style (Fig. 6)(Lang 2005, SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.). Poundbury, England is another New Urbanist development which takes its style from nearby Dorset villages such as Blandford Forum, the old village of Fordington, and the ancient village of Cerne Abbas (Byens Fornyelse n.d.).

Fig. 6. Seaside Design Aesthetics, Seaside, 2006



e) Longevity Another goal of new urbanism is the incorporation of the urban fabric into the natural environment (Congress of the New Urbanism 2000). Instead of planning every city identically no matter where it is located, new urbanism wishes to use environmental cues as a guide (Congress of the New Urbanism 2000). Orientation of buildings to take advantage of natural heating and cooling cuts down on energy costs (Sullivan 2002). Landscaping with native plants can reduce water use, and building with local and recycled materials can reduce the carbon footprint of buildings (Brown 2003). Habitat should be set aside for plants and animals where development is prohibited (Congress for the New Urbansim 2000). In this way, new urbanism seeks harmony with the natural world in order to achieve environmental sustainability (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). New urbanism hypothesizes that this environmentally conscious development will be economically sustainable as well (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). A capitalist nation like the United States is driven by growth, and usually more growth generates more capital (Foglesong 1986). The low rates of growth that new urbanism calls for and many of the community ideals that new urbanism supports may not be viable in a free market, capitalist society like the U.S. (Ellis 2002). However, certain elements of new urbanism, such as high density housing, are being adopted and are economically viable because an increased number of houses can bring in more money than lower density development (Ellis 2002). Finally, like the garden city movement, new urbanism is promoted as an ideal living situation (Ellis 2002). According to new urbanists, this type of design is the only possible answer to the problems of unsustainability, placelessness, unhealthiness, and inequality now experienced with sprawl inducing planning (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). Accordingly, they believe that the movement will be universally accepted in the future as people come to see the benefits and ideal nature of new urbanist communities, and therefore, will be sustained (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000).

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

IV. New Urbanism in Practice 1. Physical form

Despite the cohesive and specific charter developed to guide new urbanism, in many places only parts of it have been implemented. In some developments labeled as “new urbanist,” high density, suburban residences are all that has arisen (Ellis 2002). They are distant from commercial and industrial centers, and no public transportation provides access to these necessities (Ellis 2002). Most developments, notably Seaside, FL, do not incorporate low income housing but instead contain multi million dollar homes because developers wish to get as much profit from the developments as possible (Ellis 2002). Furthermore, new development has taken precedent over urban core revitalization and suburban infill (Ellis 2002, The Seaside Institute 2002). This section will explore three developments that can be considered new urbanist. Each share some of the principles of new urbanism, and each contains its own new urbanist characteristic that the others do not. Several of the design principles seen in these developments are also design principles of garden cities.

a) Seaside i.) Background The land on which Seaside, FL now resides was purchased by Robert Davis’ J.S. Smolian in 1946 so that he could build a summer camp for his employees (Seaside 2006a). However, his business associate would not agree to this proposition, and the idea never reached fruition (Seaside 2006a). Instead, the 80 acres of beachfront property remained in the Smolian family as a personal vacation spot enjoyed by Robert Davis and family frequently in the summer (Lang 2005, Seaside 2006a). Eventually, Robert Davis grew up to become a

builder and developer in Miami, FL (Seaside 2006a). Davis was interested in the traditional style of seaside cottages built of wood with deep roof overhangs and windows for cross ventilation in all rooms (Seaside 2006a). In Miami, he approached Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, leading proponents of new urbanist design, to help him build a new community in the old cottage style (Land 2005, Seaside 2006a). They researched traditional seaside towns in Florida and other parts of the South, and settled on the small town model as the best course for realizing the feel Davis desired (Seaside 2006a).

FIg. 7. Seaside Porches, Seaside, 2006 Development of Seaside began in 1981, and the result has become known internationally for its architecture and quality of street design (Steuteville 2004). Today there are approximately 300 completed structures in Seaside, and houses there can sell for up to a million dollars (Lang 2005, Seaside 2006). Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk went on to found the Congress for the New Urbanism in 1993 along with architects and town planners Peter Calthorpe, Daniel Solomon, Stefanos Polyzoides, and Elizabeth Moule (Steuteville 2004). Seaside holds the title of the first New Urbanist development in the United States (Steuteville 2004).


ii.) Design Principles Many of the design principles of New Urbanism were incorporated into Seaside, though not all of the principles are embodied there. The neighborhood and architectural structure idealized by new urbanism is exemplified in Seaside. All houses are within a 5 minute walk of the city center which is a public green (Lang 2005). The center is defined by multiuse buildings for a range of businesses which provide goods, services, and employment. The architectural style of buildings must be chosen from among 8 types, houses must include a front porch, and most must have a white picket fence (Fig. 7) (Lang 2005). The main new urbanism ideals that Seaside lacks are mass public transit and mixed income housing for people below the upper-middle class range (Seaside 2006b).

There are several ideals of garden cities that Seaside lacks. Compared to garden city ideals, Seaside would not be considered sustainable because it has no source of industry and is largely a vacation spot not used all year round (Seaside 2006b). Additionally, Seaside is not publicly owned like Ebenezer Howard’s ideal garden city would be (Seaside 2006b). Seaside also does not have mass public transportation (Seaside 2006b). Furthermore, there is no green buffer around the periphery of seaside to prevent its spread and insure recreational area for inhabitants (Lang 2005).

iii.) Comparison and Contrast with Garden Cities Some of the garden city principles can be seen in Seaside. One of these is the sense of community which Seaside tries to foster through front porches and inviting streetscapes (Fig. 7)(Lang 2005, Seaside 2006b). Seaside also has a downtown green space for community mixing and which complies with garden city’s aesthetic sense (Fig. 8 and 9)(Lang 2005). Another repeating principle from garden city design is mixed economic use seen in Seaside’s shops downtown (Seaside 2006b). These provide a variety of services and jobs to Seaside’s inhabitants (Seaside 2006b).

b) Val d’Europe i.) Background Val d’Europe is the fourth sector of the new town of Marne-la-Vallée located in the North of the French administrative department of Seine-et-Marne (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.a). It consists of the municipalities of Bailly-Romainvilliers, Chessy, Coupvray, Magny le Hongre and Serris (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.a). Val d’Europe is located 30km east of Paris, and was built to balance the activities of the surrounding suburbs (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.a). In 2004, Val d’Europe contained 3,233 hectares, 16,000 inhabitants, 1 Syndicat d’Agglomeration Nouvelle (SAN) and 5 municipalities (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.a). The SAN is a political and administrative body made up of elected representatives who are responsible for the community planning of Val d’Europe (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.a). By 2015, the aim of the municipality is to attain a size of approximately 35,000 inhabitants and 40,000 jobs (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). In accordance with the provisions of the Act of 13 July 1983 on new towns, the development of Val D’Europe takes place within the framework of a public-private partnership between the SAN, public development authority EPAFrance, and property developer Euro Disney (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.a). In addition to every day living, Val d’Europe serves as a tourist attraction (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). In 1992 the Disneyland® Paris theme park, Disney® Village and a hotel, conference and golfing complex opened (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). In 2002 the Walt Disney Studios theme park dedicated to cinema and imagery was opened along with additional hotels and public transportation (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b).

ii) Design Principles Fig. 9. Seaside Town Center, Seaside, 2006 Fig. 8. Seaside School, Seaside, 2006

New Urbanism as the New Garden City


The new urbanist design principles behind the development of Val d’Europe are several. First, it has structure on neighborhood, building, and person scale. Val d’Europe is structured around a road network and public transport system which includes a station for regional express and high speed trains (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Other large scale infrastructure includes a drinking water plant, as well as a



purification network for waste water and rain water (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Housing in the municipalities is diverse and includes rentals, individual homes, and collective homes which satisfies the mixed income principle for equality in new urbanism (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). In addition, Val d’Europe has mixed economic use including public facilities such as schools, gymnasiums, community centers, cultural centers, a university, and administrative facilities (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Shopping and business centers are also provided for in the Val d’Europe plan (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Furthermore, the architectural style of Val d’Europe is neo-historical. Being so close to Paris, the buildings in the town imitate the historic designs of Haussmann (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Val d’Europe also has community involvement via the SAN (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.a).

feature of Val d’Europe that coincides with garden city design and new urbanism is a mix of housing types (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Public participation and community decision making are an element of garden cities which can be seen at Val d’Europe. Though the housing is not publically owned and profits from rents do not directly support the city, Val d’Europe has public participation in the growth and design of the city through decisions made by the SAN (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.a). There are some differences in Val d’Europe from a garden city design. One is that the buildings are styled after Haussmann’s design principles for Paris(SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). This neo-historical direction is necessary for new urbanist ideals, but was not the intent for Howard’s garden cities (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000, Howard 1902). Another difference is that there is not an established green belt around Val d’Europe (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). A green belt is promoted in both new urbanism and garden cities, so Val d’Europe deviates from both ideals in this case cities (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000, Howard 1902).

Fig. 10. Val d’Europe Historic Design, SAN du Val d’Europe, No date

iii.) Comparison and Contrast with Garden Cities Val d’Europe duplicates the design of garden cities in several ways. In both new urbanism and garden cities, organization around a central element is key. In the example of Val d’Europe, the central feature is tourist attractions like Disneyland and shopping (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Tourism can also be seen as Val d’Europe’s main industry which Howard deemed necessary to the success of a garden city (Howard 1902, SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Additionally, Val d’Europe has structure on the neighborhood scale like new urbanism and garden cities dictate. Both necessitate local schools and play areas within the neighborhood, and Val d’Europe has these (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Public transportation is also an important principle to new urbanism and garden cities, and Val d’Europe has transit on both a local and regional scale via the rail lines (SAN du Val d’Europe n.d.b). Another

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

c) Village Homes i.) Background Located in the west part of Davis, California is a 70acre subdivision called Village Homes designed by Mike and Judy Corbett (ACFnewsource 2003, Village Home Owners Association 2008). The subdivision was begun in 1975 and was finished in the 1980s (Village Home Owners Association 2008). It includes 225 homes and 20 apartment units (Village Home Owners Association 2008). One of the quirks of Village Homes which makes it more personal and gives it character is the streets being named after people or places in JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth (ACFnewsource 2003, Village Home Owners Association 2008). Village Homes contains edible landscaping, a commercial almond orchard, green common areas, bicycle trails, and pedestrian trails (Chiras and Wann 2003, Village Home Owners Association 2008). Village Homes is more environmentally friendly than typical housing developments because it employs several sustainable technologies (Village Home Owners Association 2008). These include solar radiant floor heating, greenhouses, water walls, and underground rock piles with fans (Village Home Owners Association 2008). Some of these environmentally friendly ideas, like the narrowness of the roads and open drainage system, were challenged before they could be built because they were new to the city (ACFnewsource 2003, Chiras and Wann 2003).

ii) Design Principles

FIg. 11. Val d’Europe Planning, SAN du Val d’Europe, No date


One new urbanist design principle found in Village Homes is planning for longevity and sustainability. The housing lots are oriented north-south in order to make use of the passive solar energy from the sun (Village Home Owners Association 2008). The streets less than 25 feet wide, narrower than typical roads, which cuts down on paving materials and decreases the urban heat island effect of the development (ACFnewsource 2003, Village Home Owners Association 2008). Bicycling



and walking are also encouraged in the community. Bicycle and pedestrian paths connect the green common areas (Vil lage Home Owners Association 2008). Additionally, instead of channeling rainwater into the streets, Village Homes has an above ground swale and basin system which retains the rain water on site to use to irrigate the landscaping (ACFnews ource 2003, Village Home Owners Association 2008).

Furthermore, since Village Homes is a suburb of the city of Davis, many of the people that live in Village Homes can bike to Davis for work or shopping (Village Home Owners Association 2008). Additionally, the University of California, Davis is located nearby (Village Home Owners Association 2008). This institution provides education and entertainment, a principle Howard regarded highly for garden cities (1902). The aesthetics of Village Homes is similar to the aesthetics of the garden city, namely that they revolve around the green space and landscaping of the development (Village Home Owners Association 2008). Fig. 13. Village Homes Agricultural Land, Village Home Owners Association, 2008

FIg. 12. Village Homes Pedestrian Pathway, Village Home Owners Association, 2008 Village Homes also promotes community involvement and community building. Potlucks are held frequently allow ing neighbors to get to know each other (Village Home Own ers Association 2008). Community members are encouraged to maintain and harvest the edible plants in the common areas, and they get perks for helping with maintenance (Vil lage Home Owners Association 2008). On average, residents of Village Homes know 42 of their neighbors versus 17 known by most people in a typical housing development (Chiras Promoting health is another design principle at Village Homes. The pedestrian and bicycle trails provide exercise, as does gardening (Chiras and Wann 2003). Providing fruits and vegetables in the common areas also promotes healthy eating(Chiras and Wann 2003). The neighborhood also con tains playgrounds for children (Village Home Owners Associa tion 2008).

New Urbanism as the New Garden City

Another principle of village homes is mixed housing. The houses were built in a variety of sizes including both two story and single story (Village Home Owners Association 2008). Additionally, duplexes, apartments, and cooperatives were built. Some of the living situations had shared dining and living spaces (Village Home Owners Association 2008). The materials used were diverse as well (Village Home Owners Association 2008). iii.) Comparison and Contrast with Garden Cities Village Homes has several of the design principles key to garden cities. One of these principles is the concept of a green belt. Though Village Homes is a smaller scale than a garden city, it has agricultural land and other green space set aside that cannot be built upon (Chiras and Wann 2003, Village Home Owners Association 2008). Though the homes are privately owned, the green spaces are maintained by the public (Village Home Owners Association 2008). Village Homes has a horticultural committee that makes decisions regarding the use of the green space, much like Howard wished to do with the governing of garden cities (Village Home Owners Association 2008). In addition, though Village Homes does not have a mix of businesses and is not selfsupporting, it does use the almond orchard to help maintain the landscaping (Village Home Owners Association 2008).


FIg. 14. Village Homes Public Greens, Village Home Owners Association, 2008



V. Conclusion

VI. Figure Citations

New urbanism and garden cities have many characteristics in common, though they also have some differences. Both new urbanism and garden cities are reform movements (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000, Howard 1902). Because of political and economic conditions, neither movement has successfully been carried out idealistically (Beevers 1988, Ellis 2002). One of the design principles that they share is the use of structure as a means of planning control, betterment of society, and self-propagation (Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck 2000, Ward 1992). They also have in common the desire to create variety and social mixing within neighborhoods (Duany, Plater-Zyberk and Speck 2000, Ward 1992). Both movements stress community involvement and healthier living conditions (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000, Howard 1902). Some of the differences between the two movements is new urbanism’s push for historic design and greater awareness of environmental issues (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000). For this reason, new urbanism calls for greater density whereas the garden city movement sought lower density (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000, Howard 1902). Despite these issues with density, the garden city movement still wished to preserve the countryside and farmland, as does new urbanism (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000, Howard 1902). One of the biggest differences between the two movements was the system of public land ownership set up in Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City framework (1902). New urbanism does not tout such a framework for community ownership and funding, but wishes to rescale the government instead. Altogether, new urbanism was clearly influenced by the garden city ideal (Congress for the New Urbanism 2000).

Figure 1. The Three Magnets, Ebenezer Howard, 1902, Garden City of To-morrow (Being the second edition of “To-morrow: A Peaceful Path of Real Reform.”), Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd 1902, pg 16. FIgure 2. Garden City Design, Robert Beevers, 1988, The Garden City Utopia: a Critical Biography of Ebenezer Howard, St. Martin’s Press, 1988, Cover. Figure 3. Letchworth, England, Bursland, 2006, Virtual Tourist, http://members.virtualtourist. com/m/b58e0/4ba76/ FIgure 4. Historical style, narrow streets, and mixed housing in Poundbury, England, Erling Okkenhaug, 2000, Images from Poundbury, England, poundbury9.jpg Figure 5. Mixed use market area in Val d’Europe,Minato ku, 2008, Val d’Europe streets. http:// Figure 6. Seaside Design Aesthetics,Seaside, 2006, Figure 7 Seaside Porches, Seaside, 2006, Figure 8. Seaside School, Seaside, 2006, FIgure 9. Seaside Town Center, Seaside, 2006, Figure 10. Val d’Europe Historic Design, SAN du Val d’Europe, No date, Figure 11. Val d’Europe Planning, SAN du Val d’Europe, No date, info/UK/Portraits/010101 Figure 12. Village Homes Pedestrian Pathway, Village Home Owners Association, 2008, Village Homes, Davis, CA, Figure 13. Village Homes Agricultural Land, Village Home Owners Association, 2008, Village Homes, Davis, CA, Figure 14. Village Homes Public Greens, Village Home Owners Association, 2008, Village Homes, Davis, CA,

New Urbanism as the New Garden City




VII. Works Cited ACFnewsource. 2003. Eco Homes. American Farmland Trust. 2007. “Farming on the Edge Report: What’s Happening to our Farmland?” American Farmland Trust http:// 3/14/09. Beevers, Robert. 1988. The Garden City Utopia: a Critical Biography of Ebenezer Howard. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Brown, Lester R. 2003. Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.

Kelbaugh, Douglas. 2002. Repairing the American metropolis. University of Washington Press: Seattle. Lang, Jon. 2005. Urban Design A Typology of Procedures and Products. Oxford: Architectural Press. McKee, Bradford. 2003. “As Suburbs Grow, So Do Waistlines”. The New York Times. Sept. 4, 2003. SAN du Val d’Europe. No Date a. Organisation Portraits. The SAN and You. SAN du Val d’Europe . No Date b. Phases of Development. The Val d’Europe Project. http://

Byens Fornyelse. No date. Poundbury - The Architecture. Poundbury, Dorset, England. http:// Accessed March 22, 2009 Chiras, Daniel D. and David Wann. 2003. Superbia! 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers.

Seaside. 2006a. Community History. Seaside.

Chudacoff, Howard P. 1975. The Evolution of American Urban Society. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Congress for the New Urbanism. 2000. Charter of the New Urbanism. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Seaside. 2006b. Seaside. The Seaside Institute. 2002. The Seaside Debates A Critique of the New Urbanism. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. Steuteville, Robert. 2004. The New Urbanism: An Alternative to modern, automobile-oriented planning and development. New Urbanism News.

Duany, Andres, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck. 2000. Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. New York: North Point Press. Ellis, cliff. 2002. The New Urbanism: Critiques and Rebuttals. Journal of Urban Design, Vol.7, No.3, p261-291.

Sullivan, Chip. 2002. Garden and Climate. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Foglesong, Richard E. 1986. Planning the Capitalist City. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Thom File. 2008. Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2006. U.S. Census Bureau. June 2008.

Glaab, Charles and A. Theodore Brown. 1967. A History of Urban America. Toronto: The Macmillan Company.

Village Home Owners Association. 2008. About Village Homes. http://www.villagehomesdavis. org/public/about

Hall, Kenneth Jr. and Gerald A. Porterfield. 2001. Community by Design : New Urbanism for Suburbs and Small Communities. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Ward, Stephen Victor. 1992. The Garden City Past, Present and Future. New York: Taylor and Francis.

Howard, Ebenezer. 1902. Garden City of To-morrow (Being the second edition of “To-morrow: A Peaceful Path of Real Reform.”) London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd. Katz, Peter, 1994. The new urbanism : toward an architecture of community. McGraw-Hill: New York.

New Urbanism as the New Garden City