Those pictures of porches

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A porch in Celebration, Florida

Street and norms in Celebration

It is hard to get beyond those pictures of cheerful old-fashioned families on old-fashioned front porches. Yet the most important part of the New Urbanism is their ideas about land use, street layout, the way buildings should address the larger community, and other spatial issues. New Urbanist spatial and design principles do not demand the traditional house styles that have dominated existing New Urbanist developments, and a few developments have moved toward more modernist designs.

Traditional neighborhood design has little or nothing to do with the issue of architectural style. . . . It is hard enough convincing suburbanites to accept mixed uses, varied-income housing, and public transit without throwing in flat roofs and corrugated metal siding into the equation. . . . We are absolutely forthright in affirming that, when necessary, we are prepared to sacrifice architecture on the altar of urbanism, because all architecture is meaningless in the absence of good urban design. . . . Some truly great places -- Miami's South Beach, Rome's EUR District, Tel Aviv -- consist largely of modernist architecture laid out in a traditional street network. These places to not suffer in any way from their modernist vocabulary, and neither do neighborhoods that combine many different eras of architecture in a true urban fabric. Such is the power of the traditional street. Duany 2000, 208-212