Michigan Land Use Institute

MLUI / Articles from 1995 to 2012 / 10 Principles of New Urbanism

10 Principles of New Urbanism

April 27, 2006 |

Planners and developers can apply these 10 New Urbanist principles to almost any project of any size—from a single block to an entire community.

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 and 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 and 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 convienient, 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.

These 10 principles are drawn from NewUrbanism.org. For more information, visit www.newurbanism.org.

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