Evaluating New Urbanism

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Walking downtown in Celebration, Florida

There are standard evaluations to be made of New Urbanist developments in terms of design issues that would affect any development: the plans of houses, the ratio of street width to building height, length of blocks, and other issues of proportion and placement (about which the New Urbanism has a fair amount to say).

There is another set of issues concerning the success of New Urbanist efforts at creating neighborhood community. Most of the suburban developments are too young to be evaluated on this scale, though Ross argues that Celebration has been best funded and fairly successful in this regard. Community building takes money, effort, and careful planning; many of the knock-off developments that incorporate some New Urbanist features will likely suffer from the community-building equivalent of shoddy construction and superficial effects.