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Saturday, February 9, 2008

New Urbanism and Daybreak

Kennecott, the founding company of daybreak, embraced the concept of new urbanism when it conceived the idea of the development. New urbanism is a movement that started over two decades ago to promote sustainable growth in the United States. This idea has been steadily gaining popularity and momentum as people have become aware of environmental concerns and community impact. So how well have the founders of daybreak followed the concepts of new urbanism? Let's compare Kennecott's practices with the concepts of new urbanism outlined by Professor Pieter Sijpkes of McGill University:


  • Most things within a 10-minute walk of home and work
  • Pedestrian friendly street design (buildings close to street; porches, windows & doors; tree-lined streets; on street parking; hidden parking lots; garages in rear lane; narrow, slow speed streets)
2. Connectivity
  • Interconnected street grid network disperses traffic & eases walking
  • A hierarchy of narrow streets, boulevards, and alleys
  • High quality pedestrian network and public realm makes walking pleasurable
3. Mixed Use and Diversity
  • A mix of shops, offices, apartments, and homes on site. Mixed-use within neighborhoods, within blocks, and within buildings
  • Diversity of people - of ages, classes, cultures, and races
4. Mixed Housing
  • A range of types, sizes and prices in closer proximity
5. Quality Architecture & Urban Design
  • Emphasis on beauty, aesthetics, human comfort, and creating a sense of place; Special placement of civic uses and sites within community. Human scale architecture & beautiful surroundings nourish the human spirit
6. Traditional Neigborhood Structure
  • Discernable center and edge
  • Public space at center
  • Importance of quality public realm; public open space designed as civic art
  • Contains a range of uses and densities within 10-minute walk
  • Transect planning: Highest densities at town center; progressively less dense towards the edge.
7. Increased Density
  • More buildings, residences, shops, and services closer together for ease of walking, to enable a more efficient use of services and resources, and to create a more convenient, enjoyable place to live.
  • New Urbanism design principles are applied at the full range of densities from small towns, to large cities
8. Smart Transportation
  • A network of high-quality trains connecting cities, towns, and neighborhoods together
  • Pedestrian-friendly design that encourages a greater use of bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, and walking as daily transportation
9. Sustainability
  • Minimal environmental impact of development and its operations
  • Eco-friendly technologies, respect for ecology and value of natural systems
  • Energy efficiency
  • Less use of finite fuels
  • More local production
  • More walking, less driving
10. Quality of life
  • Taken together these add up to a high quality of life well worth living, and create places that enrich, uplift, and inspire the human spirit.
In my opinion, Kennecott has done fairly well in creating a community that follows the principles of new urbanism. Some of the principles are not applicable as of yet because daybreak has not been built out that far. However, in looking at the future plans that Kennecott has for Daybreak, I can see where they would get high marks for those categories in the future.

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