New Urbanism is more than bounded wholes

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Columned house in Celebration, Florida

Corridor in the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare airport in Chicago

Many critics assume that the New Urbanism aims to create bounded places in which people can live simply and fulfill nostalgic hopes for communitariancompleteness.

But in fact it was never the intent of the New Urbanism to create closed places. The majority of New Urbanist projects have been urban infill. On the regional level New Urbanists would reshape sprawl into a field with many centers. There would be more and denser nodes, but still nodes. By their very multiplicity they would deny the isolation of each node, and the dominance of any single center.

I have argued that there are no simple places or inhabitations anywhere, and so, whatever their intent, the effect of New Urbanist principles will be to create new kinds of places, where boundaries and centers may be effective in defining the place for local bodily perception and activity, but are located within fields and flows that their patterns cannot fully control.