The Congress for New Urbanism and Environmental Awareness Essay

The Congress for New Urbanism and Environmental Awareness Essay

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The Congress for New Urbanism and Environmental Awareness

In the last two decades the New Urbanism movement has begun among planners, designers, and builders. Though it does not provide complete solutions to many of the environmental problems caused by human development, it shows a greater awareness of the undesirable and potentially destructive tendencies exhibited by conventional methods of design, planning and construction. Robert Davis, board chairman of the Congress for the New Urbanism, describes the problem of urban sprawl and development.

"For five millennia, we have built towns and cities with strong centers and clear edges, beyond which lay farms and forests and lakes and streams. For five decades these clear edges have become increasingly ragged, and the centrifugal forces of sprawl have flung a strange collection of objects across the landscape. The strangest of these objects are large boxes with very specialized functions. They are connected to each other by swaths of asphalt and each is surrounded by a small sea of the same material. Their placement relative to each other and to the smaller boxes we live in is designed and planned for the maximum possible consumption of our time, and of energy in various forms, including human..."(

"Our monoculture development pattern started as a good idea to separate steel mills and slaughter houses from dwellings. Now we rigidly separate all uses: our homes, our workplaces, our children’s schools, the places we assemble. This not only ensures the maximum possible consumption of time and energy, it also separates us from each other"

( This is a design perspective based on aesthetics instead of enviro...

... middle of paper ...

...d, watertables, or their conditions. Nor was their any specific mention of the use of natural recyclable or sustainable materials in construction. These facts make me aware that there needs to be more collaboration and sharing of knowledge between planners, designers, builders, and ecologists.

If ecological concerns are not given consideration in development, ultimately all life forms will suffer. If biologists and ecologists do not understand the essential elements of economics and aesthetics in design when communicating their concerns, nothing will be done to correct current development trends until human health is severely effected.

Works Cited

CNU Update

Environmental Building News

Beth Dunlop, Architectural Record Jan. 97, The New Urbanists The Second Generation, p.132-135

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