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    New Urbanism Now

    David Brower Center, Berkeley, CalforniaSafeway No. 2912, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MassachusettsSCAD Museum of Art, Savanna, Georgia | Lafitte Housing, New Orleans, LouisianaWyvernwood Mixed-Use, Los Angeles, CaliforniaVerkykerskop Farming Town, South AfricaVision for Berrien Springs, Michigan | Town Center, Mount Rainier, MarylandAnd more...

     
    Lafitte Housing • New Orleans, Louisiana

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    Damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Lafitte housing project in New Orleans, Louisiana, was later demolished as per HUD mandate. Rising in its place is a reconceived housing development master-planned by Urban Design Associates (UDA) with the active participation of Lafitte residents. The first phase of construction, comprising over 100 units, was completed in February 2011.

    The linear, 27-acre (11-hectare) site was previously occupied by a series of barracks-like multistory brick apartment buildings arranged into super-blocks with internal green space. In deliberate contrast, the new, lower-density Faubourg Lafitte development is designed to function like an extension of the Tremé neighborhood.

    The building types include single camelback shotgun houses, double camelback houses, cottages, duplexes that look like large houses, and small apartment buildings. Designed based on careful study of the patterns found in Tremé, the homes feature tall, shuttered windows; cross-ventilation; narrow front porches; a variety of colors; and large cornices with brackets on the front facades. Each block has a combination of building types, mimicking the variety found in a traditional neighborhood.

    The street grid is restored within the site, and parking courts are located in the middle of the blocks, elevated above street level to ensure accessible entry to ground floors that are as high as four feet (1.2 meters) off the ground in keeping with hurricane code requirements.

    The overarching "Tremé/ Lafitte and Tulane/ Gravier Homebuilding Plan" by UDA calls for ultimately replacing all 900 demolished subsidized rental units one for one, but calls for reducing the number of housing units onsite from 900 to 517 (376 rental units and 141 homes for sale) and developing an additional 983 units (524 rental and 459 homes for sale) in the surrounding neighborhoods as infill or reuse.

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    Urban Design Associates created the master plan for the new Faubourg Lafitte housing development in New Orleans, Louisiana. The former 1940s-era Lafitte housing project was ordered demolished by HUD after Hurricane Katrina.
    Image: Urban Design Associates Extra Large Image

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    Figure-ground drawings of the demolished Lafitte (top) and new Faubourg Lafitte (bottom) housing developments.
    Image: Urban Design Associates Extra Large Image

     
    Wyvernwood Mixed-Use • Los Angeles, California

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    Near downtown Los Angeles, California, developer Fifteen Group seeks to redevelop the site of the Wyvernwood apartments (built 1938 to 1941), calling for the complete replacement of existing structures with new mixed-use construction.
    Image: Torti Gallas and Partners, Inc. Extra Large Image

    Across the country in Los Angeles stands a midcentury apartment complex called Wyvernwood that shares many attributes with Lafitte.

    Designed in 1938 by Witmer & Watson Architects in keeping with the principles of the garden-city movement, the 70-acre (28-hectare) Wyvernwood development distributed nearly 1,200 rental apartments among 143 two-story buildings arranged around grassy courts. Located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, within three miles (five kilometers) of downtown L.A., the complex was intended as a suburb-like oasis for middle-income workers — the street grid is interrupted within the site, and a long central mall runs east-west.

    The current property owner, Fifteen Group, is now seeking to demolish the existing buildings and redevelop the site with new residential construction configured to integrate better with the street grid and surrounding neighborhood — similar to the redevelopment of Lafitte. But in contrast to the Faubourg Lafitte project, the proposed New Wyvernwood development would substantially increase the density of housing units on its site, and would add space for retail and commercial uses.

    Designed by Torti Gallas and Partners, the master plan for New Wyvernwood comprises 4,400 housing units, including rental apartments (660 of which would be designated affordable) and condominiums, along with 300,000 square feet (28,000 square meters) of office and retail space, a new civic building, and 10.5 acres (4.2 hectares) of publicly accessible, privately maintained parks.

    As designed, the public space ranges from neighborhood-edge parks to a large central park with preserved heritage trees and stormwater infiltration functions.

    A hierarchical network of streets is proposed to increase connectivity to and within the site. With agreement from the L.A. Department of Transportation, public streets would be no greater than 36 feet (11 meters) curb to curb, including parking on both sides. A form-based code would specify at least two and sometimes three building types per block, ensuring street sections are scaled to the pedestrian.

    The plan provides for a diversity of residential unit and density types, from townhouses to flats to 24-story towers. Rather than the L.A. zoning standard of 2.0 parking spaces per unit, the parking ratio would be reduced to 1.25.

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    Aerial illustrations of the Wyvernwood site showing existing conditions (left) and proposed redevelopment (right).
    Image: Torti Gallas and Partners, Inc. Extra Large Image

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    Designed by Torti Gallas and Partners, the New Wyvernwood redevelopment master plan calls for significantly increased density, partly by way of taller buildings.
    Image: Torti Gallas and Partners, Inc. Extra Large Image

     
    Verkykerskop Farming Town • South Africa

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    A plan designed by Gary White and Associates proposes the development of Verkykerskop, South Africa, as a rural town for 1,500 people.
    Image: Gary White and Associates Extra Large Image

    In the Free State province of South Africa, Gary White and Associates designed a master plan for the development of Verkykerskop as a small, mixed-income agricultural town. The proposed town is envisioned to support existing fragile farming communities and to provide a link in the food supply chain for neighboring cities.

    The minimally settled 43-hectare (104-acre) site is located at the crossroads of a historic livestock herding route and a new tar road on the provincial tourism thoroughfare, the Moloto tourist corridor. The plan defines the town as a finite place, with boundaries derived from the rolling landscape, watersheds, and farms.

    An existing assembly place for livestock herders, called an uitspanning, is proposed as the focal point and key public space for the town. The plan largely concentrates 300 residences on a few hectares. Thirty-five hectares (86 acres) of peripheral land would be set aside for farming and conservation, and a prominent spine with open green space is designed to link neighborhoods to each other. Two small schools and a variety of other civic facilities are also planned.

    The design draws on historical patterns of movement, settlement, and agricultural activities in the area, along with examples of existing farming towns in Ethiopia.

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    Located at the historically significant intersection of several local roads, Verkykerskop would act as a civic node for the area's existing farming community.
    Image: Gary White and Associates Extra Large Image

     
    Vision for Berrien Springs • Michigan

    A team of architecture students at Andrews University in Berrien County, Michigan, undertook a project to provide a positive vision for growth in the village of Berrien Springs and surrounding Oronoko Charter Township. This slowly shrinking rural meta-community is located in the southwesternmost county of Michigan, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Chicago.

    Berrien Springs serves as an anchor for the broader rural community. About 2,000 people live in the village itself, mostly within a walkable one-square-mile (2.6-square-kilometer) area, but most new investment in the last 60 years has occurred outside the village. The surrounding township has a population of about 9,600, and also encompasses farmland, the growing university, and the grounds of the Berrien County Youth Fair, one of the largest in the Midwest. Most of the township is rural agricultural or conventional suburban sprawl, but a recently updated master plan seeks compact, walkable mixed-use neighborhoods.

    The student team chose six sites within the village and township and illustrated possible development patterns on those sites. The importance of the automobile as a mode of rural transportation is a key element in the proposal, which includes some unusual public spaces, such as a downtown market square that doubles as a grocery store parking plaza, and a gas station reconceived as a privately owned, publicly accessible plaza to support social activity that already occurs there, partly due to a nearby football field.

    The project also proposes broadening existing housing opportunities to address significant unmet market demand for small senior dwellings, low-maintenance fee-simple homes such as rowhouses, homes targeted at faculty and upper-middle class residents of the area, and student apartments. Many people in these demographics currently live outside the village and township and commute in.   >>>

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    A student design team from the Andrews University School of Architecture created a proposal for future development in the village of Berrien Springs, Michigan, and the adjacent Oronoko Charter Township, where the university campus is located.
    Image: Courtesy Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) Extra Large Image

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    This satellite image highlights the areas of focus for the Berrien Springs and Oronoko Charter Township project.
    Image: Courtesy CNU Extra Large Image

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    The Berrien Springs and Oronoko Charter Township vision imagines the creation of a neighborhood center just southeast of the university and across the highway from the Berrien County Youth Fair.
    Image: Courtesy CNU Extra Large Image

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