Encouraging community through neighborhood design
Wed, Jun 03, 2009 at 4:58 PM
Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) is making a comeback in suburban areas across the country. TND encourages a sense of community among neighbors by designing pedestrian-friendly streets, creating parks and other common gathering areas, and diversifying housing types within developments.
Conventional neighborhoods often include wide roads designed for the automobile. Homes are sectioned off according to their size and value. Parks are rare and inaccessible because of a lack of sidewalks. This design fosters little interaction among neighbors and practically mandates automobile use.
In contrast, TND offers a street designed for the pedestrian -- with continuous sidewalks and narrower roads lined with a canopy of trees. These unique details are thought to decrease speeding and encourage families to utilize alternative transportation, such as walking or biking. In these traditional developments, public green spaces are conveniently located. Homes are integrated into the overall design and markets, restaurants and other amenities are often within walking distance. These steps all enhance the "community" feel of a neighborhood.
I noticed during my recent trip to Chicago that TND was the primary development method used within the city and surrounding regions. This was startling but impressive, and I was glad to note the number of people who utilized the sidewalks during daily activities. Shown at right is my father's childhood home in Oak Park. It is part of TND, as many historic neighborhoods can boast.
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