New Urbanism is an international movement to reform the design of the built environment.

The goal is to raise our quality of life and standard of living by creating better places to live. New Urbanism is the revival of our lost art of place-making, and is essentially a re-ordering of the built environment into the form of complete cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods – the way communities have been built around the world for centuries.

New Urbanism involves fixing and infilling cities, as well as the creation of compact new towns and villages.


PRINCIPLES OF NEW URBANISM

1. WALKABILITY

Most needs are within a 10-minute walk of home and work. Street design is friendly to pedestrians, because buildings are close to the street and have porches, windows, and doors. Streets have lots of trees and on-street parking, with parking lots and garages placed behind buildings and houses, often connected to alleys. Streets are narrow, which slows traffic dramatically. 

2. CONNECTIVITY

An interconnected street grid disperses traffic and encourages walking.

3. MIXED-USE & DIVERSITY

Neighborhoods, blocks, and buildings offer a mix of shops, offices, apartments, and homes. 
The neighborhoods welcome people of all ages, income levels, cultures, and races.

4. MIXED HOUSING

Zoning allows the close proximity of a wide range of housing types, sizes, and prices.

5. QUALITY ARCHITECTURE & URBAN DESIGN

Buildings emphasize beauty, aesthetics, and comfort and establish a sense of place; public spaces function as civic art, establishing an attractive, quality public realm.

6. TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD STRUCTURE

Neighborhoods have definite centers and edges, with public spaces near the center. Each neighborhood contains a range of uses and densities within a 10-minute walk.

7. INCREASED DENSITY

Buildings, residences, shops, and services are close together to make walking more convenient, services and resources more efficient, and living areas more enjoyable.

8. SMART TRANSPORTATION

A network of high-quality public transit connects cities, towns, and neighborhoods, while pedestrian-friendly design encourages more use of bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, and walking as daily transportation.

9. SUSTAINABILITY

The community uses respect for natural systems and eco-friendly technologies like energy efficiency to minimize effects on the environment. The community connects strongly with surrounding farmland, encouraging land preservation and local food consumption.

10. QUALITY OF LIFE

These design principles produce a life that is well worth living by providing places that enrich, uplift, and inspire the human spirit.

Text for Principles of New Urbanism courtesy of the Michigan Land Institute.