From the Back Cover
The projects in this book demonstrate their attempts to restructure urban growth into cohesive designs that balance buildings, open space, infrastructure, landscape, and transportation. In place of the piecemeal advance of placeless, car-dominated suburban sprawl, they envision dense, mixed-use neighborhoods with walkable streets, and connections to transit. The work ranges from entire new towns to urban infill. Many of the architects practicing these ideas have formed a movement called the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), which most clearly and effectively has articulated this alternative vision.
This book is about particular tendencies, however, and not ownership of ideas. Although the Congress for New Urbanism presents its position in the proprietary form of a charter, its vision is representative of much broader strains of architectural ideology, and continues a twentieth-century search to find ways to address the problems of the modern city. New Urbanism is merely the latest movement to seek alternative forms to reshape society. In this way, it can be seen as a continuation of modernism, not its antithesis.
Although much has been written recently about the American revival of town-planning in general, and the New Urbanism in particular, much of the writing consists of either partisan claims of New Urbanism's ability to rebuild American community or facile dismissals of the movement as nostalgia-peddling suburbanism. This book presents readers a chance to judge the ideas and work for themselves, and to participate in the debate over alternative forms of the contemporary city.
In this provocative study, John Dutton shows how American urban models, whose influence has been essential in the shaping of cities worldwide since 1945, are currently recovering at home from the crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. He masterfully analyzes the theoretical inputs and the design solutions that have shaped a collection of experimental town landscapes that deserve all our attention today.
Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture, Institute of Fine Arts, New York; Director, Institut français d'architecture, Paris
Over the past two decades the New Urbanism has had a profound impact, positive and negative, on American cities and suburbs. John Dutton provides an appreciative yet critical analysis of this cultural phenomenon, tracing its evolution, contradictions, social vision and formal variety. Now, as other parts of the world are exploring possible adaptations of this movement, every reader will benefit from the breadth and good sense of this important book.
Professor, Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, Columbia University, New York
New urbanism is more than a summer retreat by the "Seaside." John Dutton clearly illustrates through new urbanist case studies that it is a design movement dealing with the diversity of "real" American urban landscapes in their own regional historical and place language of neighborhood building.
Dayton/Hudson Professor of Urban Design and Director of the Design Center for American Urban Landscape, University of Minnesota
John A. Dutton is an architect and urban designer living in Los Angeles where he is a partner in the firm Nicholas/Budd/Dutton Architects, a firm dedicated to integrating architecture, urban design, and landscape design. He received his Masters of Architecture degree from Princeton University, and a Bachelors degree in cultural history from Brown University. He trained in a diverse array of offices, including those of Renzo Piano, Richard Meier, Santiago Calatrava, and Moule and Polyzoides. In 1997 and 1998 he was President of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, an organization dedicated to exploring Los Angeles through lectures, symposia, and publications. On the topic of architecture and urbanism he has written for numerous professional journals and magazines, and lectured in various schools and institutions worldwide.