New Pedestrianism - History

History

Like New Urbanism, New Pedestrianism has its roots in compact, mixed-use neighborhoods common in the United States (and elsewhere) during and prior to the first quarter of the 20th century. New Pedestrianism borrows and then expands upon earlier experiments in urban design that focused on separating pedestrians from vehicular traffic.

In a few beachside communities in Southern California, including Venice, California, "walk streets" were constructed around 1905 in a few blocks near the beach. Houses faced pedestrian lanes that ranged between 3 and 10 feet wide. Narrow alleys in the rear handled cars and parking. The canals in Venice, California, built during the same period, also had both sidewalks and canals in front of the houses.

Urban planners Ebenezer Howard and Sir Patrick Geddes were an earlier influence on the design of Radburn, New Jersey, built at the dawn of the automobile age in 1929. Radburn had pedestrian lanes in front and vehicular access at the rear on cul-de-sacs that protruded into large multi-use blocks. A study done in 1970 by John Lansing of the University of Michigan showed that 47% of its residents did their grocery shopping on foot, compared to 8% for a conventional subdivision nearby. He also determined that, overall, Radburn residents drove far less than in any other areas he studied. The Radburn plan has been copied in various forms in Sweden, England, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

The San Antonio River Walk, also known as "Paseo del Rio," was initiated in 1929. In this case, the San Antonio River underwent flood control measures and was turned into a peaceful canal lined on both sides with lively pedestrian promenades, plazas, sidewalk cafes, restaurants, clubs, shops, hotels, and other attractions that are completely separate from any vehicles. The promenades pass underneath the roads since Paseo del Rio is one level below the street and vehicular access to buildings is one story above the river.

Village Homes in Davis, California was founded in 1975 by Michael and Judy Corbett. The 70-acre (280,000 m2) subdivision has 225 homes and 20 apartments. Solar design and solar panels are utilized for heating. The homes have walkways passing through an extensive greenbelt system on one side of the houses with automobile access on the other side.

Some streets in the New Urbanist development of Rosemary Beach, Florida also have boardwalks in front of some of the homes.

In 2005 New Pedestrianism was offered by Arth as part of the solution to the rebuilding of New Orleans.

Read more about this topic:  New Pedestrianism

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