Must New Urbanism look old?

January 22, 2008 at 12:06 am 8 comments

(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 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.

Here’s some housing that’s definitely “fresh,” from useful + agreeable magazine:


But maybe an architect friend or two can point out some other modern designs that would work in an older neighborhood?


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

‘Good men are public blessings’ The house of the past’s future


  • 1. The house of the past’s future « the good city  |  January 22, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    […] 22, 2008 (Jon) While we await some architects to respond to the last post and show off some neighbor-friendly modern housing that’s isn’t a throwback to the […]

  • 2. Everett White  |  January 23, 2008 at 2:21 am

    These buildings are reminiscent of a gigantic iPod/iPhone wall charger!

    Though it’s not a “modern” design, I’ve always been a fan of 20th/21st century Cape Cod architecture.

  • 3. Kevin Whaley  |  January 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    The fact that the structures themselves are usually new is a part of what attracts people to New Urbanism. I don’t know that the buildings have to look “old” but thy do need to have some distinctive character.

  • 4. Scott Greider  |  January 27, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Not an entire development, but a great example of new construction on an infill lot in an old urban neighborhood.

  • 5. Scott Greider  |  January 28, 2008 at 1:54 am


  • 6. Do you want this in your neighborhood? « the good city  |  January 28, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    […] 28, 2008 (Jon) In response to my call for neighborly modern home architecture, Scott rises to the […]

  • 7. Dan  |  January 30, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Have a look at Prospect New Town (, photos at in Longmont, Colorado for a NU project that combines traditional and contemporary/modern architecture.

  • 8. dave macy  |  February 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    You MUST send these examples of “housing” into HGTV’s

    “What’s With That House?”


But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7

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