Monday, January 18, 2010
Want to be green? Dump the cul-de-sac. Ban the mall. Leave the Prius at home. The best thing you can do for the environment is to push for dense, compact, attractive and walkable urban neighborhoods that mix homes, shops and offices, just like we used to.
That, in a sharpened nutshell, is the message delivered by The Smart Growth Manual (McGraw-Hill Professional, $24.95), an intentionally slim, readable, well-illustrated and portable how-to guide co-written by Miami architect, planner and pioneering anti-sprawl combatant Andrés Duany.
The book is a follow-up of sorts to their seminal new urbanist text Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, & Speck 2001). Of course Miami 21 is highly relevant and gets mentioned in the article. Aside from the substantive contribution that this book will make, I was particularly interested in this snippet from the Herald piece:
Q: Why do you use `Smart Growth' and not `New Urbanist' in the title? Is there a difference between the two?
A: Smart Growth has always been the more popular title. It's not correct. Smart growth is government-initiated. New Urbanist is market-initiated. Smart Growth is almost entirely New Urbanist propositions but repackaged with a more effective name. But the book is balanced (between the two).