New Urbanism blooms in Bloomington

January 17, 2008 at 11:18 pm 2 comments

(Jon) A big hat tip to Urban Indy for this:

As a new development in central Bloomington shows, New Urbanism in many ways is just the old urbanism. This is from a story in the Indianapolis Business Journal about how new housing is being built to blend in with the existing neighborhood around it:

“The term New Urbanism is kind of absurd. It’s old living,” said resident Beth Schroeder, 54, who moved to the neighborhood with her husband from rural Monroe County. “It’s how most people lived until the sprawl of the fifties. It’s retro. We’re just getting back to what we know was good.”

I can understand how New Urbanism can get some knocks for being rather utopian. But what you can’t knock is the care this particular New Urbanist developer had for his neighbors:

(Developer Matt) Press held a series of meetings at a nearby elementary school to explain New Urbanism. It wasn’t until getting feedback from neighborhood residents that he and his architects sketched out the development plan. That he won the support of surrounding property owners spoke loudly to city officials.

“He had a core group of residents who were lobbying and actively engaging the city on the developer’s behalf,” said city Planning Director Tom Micuda. “Which just doesn’t happen in our profession.”

When it’s explained, New Urbanism makes a lot of sense to a good number of potential home buyers.

The real obstacles in Bloomington, and many other cities, were suburban-style zoning requirements that were relaxed and rewritten and suburban-oriented bankers who had to be convinced that such a project is financially feasible.

Read the story here and check out the slideshow of 10 photos.

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Entry filed under: Architecture, Jon Swerens, Urbanism. Tags: , , , .

Walkable urbanism Music on my personal blog

2 Comments

  • 1. Evan  |  January 21, 2008 at 11:01 am

    A neat development in a neat town, but the main problem is that the new houses are old-fashioned looking. What part of “New Urbanism” says it has to look like the thirties?

    I know the looks are a response to what suburban building looks like currently, but there is another direction you can take this in – new designs. I would be a lot more attracted to something more fresh looking.

  • 2. Must New Urbanism look old? « the good city  |  January 22, 2008 at 12:06 am

    […] 22, 2008 (Jon) Neal makes a valid point regarding my post, “New Urbanism blooming in Bloomington”: A neat development in a neat town, but the main problem is that the new houses are old-fashioned […]


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