What is New Urbanism?

What is New Urbanism?

While cities like Columbus, Ohio possess a strong sense of community and vibrant centers, it is important to find ways to maintain that sense of cohesiveness even as they grow. New developments in the suburbs, like Evans Farm, augment that vibrancy and add their own unique characteristics to the mix. Evans Farm, however, is rooted in a philosophy that starts with community and aims to maintain it: New Urbanism.

New Urbanism is an urban design movement which started in the 1980’s. Partly a reaction to the urban sprawl that resulted in the rapid growth of cities and the popularity of the automobile, New Urbanism emphasizes aspects of life that would have been typical of pre-World War II life: walkable neighborhoods containing a variety of housing options, businesses, and job types with easy access to public transportation.

The first such community in Ohio, Evans Farm residents come from a variety of income brackets and will have an assortment of housing options to choose from that suit their goals and lifestyles. Small apartments are part of the New Urbanism mix at Evans Farm as are single-family homes. Homes range in size from cozy bungalows to majestic Victorians, each with wide front porches perfect for summer afternoon lemonade or enjoying cool autumn evenings. Senior housing options are also available, meaning that as community members age or as their parents age, they have the ability to stay near family and friends.

New Urbanists as well as city planners around the globe find the concept appealing because by bringing the focus of development back to people and the walkability of communities they believe the result will be places where people want to live, work, visit and spend time.


Ten Principles of New Urbanism

  1. Walkability

Most things are within a ten-minute walk of home and work on pedestrian friendly streets. Buildings are close to the street and often features porches, windows and doors. Setbacks at Evans Farm range from six to ten feet making it easy to chat with passing neighbors or keep an eye on children at play or walking home from school. Streets are tree-lined for shade as well as to support local nature. Some streets or areas are car-free in general or at regular intervals. Parking lots are hidden and garages, like they are at Evans Farm, tend to be behind homes. Roads are narrower with slower speeds.


  1. Connectivity

Streets, a combination of narrow streets, boulevards and alleys –  exist on an interconnected grid that makes walking easy and allows for easy traffic flow. This is augmented by a high-quality pedestrian network that makes walking not only possible but enjoyable. Bicycle friendly roads and routes at Evans Farm, for example, also make leaving the car at home appealing.


  1. Mixed-Use to Accommodate a Wide Variety of Residents

A mix of shops, offices, apartments and homes are blended within neighborhoods, blocks, and even buildings to support people of all ages, income levels, cultures, and family styles. The grocery, pharmacy, brewery, and coffee shop all soon to open at Evans Farm make excellent first-floor neighbors for those living upstairs while keeping a friendly and active downtown feeling.


  1. Mixed Housing

A range of housing types, sizes and prices are in close proximity to each other as well as transportation options such as bus stops, train stations, or bicycle paths. Bus service to and from Evans Farm will help with commuting for residents working in and around the area. Mixed housing also encourages long-term residency at Evans Farm. A new teacher, for example, may start out in a small apartment and then opt to purchase a home and settle in the same community.


  1. Quality Architecture and Urban Design

New Urbanism emphasizes beauty and human comfort as well as functionality. By making beautiful places using a combination of architecture and landscape design, New Urbanism believes people want to be in beautiful places. The variety of home options available in classic designs at Evans Farm let residents have a home that reflects their personal tastes.


  1. Traditional Neighborhood Structure

Neighborhoods have clear edges and public spaces at their centers which are within easy walking distance of homes. Public spaces are designed as civic art with the idea that beauty will attract residents to these places and make these places appealing for a variety of uses. Regular community events at Evans Farm such as a farmer’s market and festivals draw residents together in these public spaces and create connections. Density is highest at the center of a neighborhood and gradually lessens as one gets closer to the edge, which makes room for natural habitat and eases the transition from urban to rural areas.


  1. Increased Density

By placing more buildings, homes of varying types, shops, and services closer together for walkability, it enables a more efficient, convenient, and even enjoyable use of services and resources. As Evans Farm aims to serve a variety of residents, it makes it possible for everyone from those just starting careers to growing families to senior members to have access to the things they need as well as fun activities.


  1. Green Transportation

A network of high-quality trains that connect cities, towns and neighborhoods paired with pedestrian-friendly design encourages walking, cycling, and other environmentally friendly forms of transportation in daily life. Evans Farm residents will have access to buses operated by the Delaware Area Transit Agency, while walking and cycling will be favored modes of getting around the area.


  1. Sustainability

New Urbanist developments aim to have minimal environmental impact by making use of eco-friendly technologies and respecting local ecology and natural systems. This is done by focusing on energy efficiency that uses less finite fuels, tapping into locally produced items, and emphasizing walking over driving.


  1. Quality of Life

The sum total of all of these elements is a high quality daily life for residents of these communities. New Urbanism believes that by working at a human scale and fostering connectivity in public spaces that the human spirit will be enriched and inspired. The careful planning of the Evans Farm community draws all of these elements together. As the community grows and fills out, residents will find a place to call home for, hopefully, generations.


Effect on Citizens and Real Estate Values

Residents of these homes and neighborhoods also find a positive impact on their lives as citizens as well as business owners. Walkability means more people are out on the streets which results in safer streets as well as plenty of exercise. Local businesses thrive in such community-minded environments, which translates into more jobs for local people.

A 2015 study at the University of Washington found that homes in New Urbanist communities commanded higher prices. A case study that same year also found that people are willing to pay a premium – 6-percent more than the rate for comparable areas –  for homes built in neighborhoods implementing or organized around New Urbanist principles.

For those looking for a place to call home and a good investment near Columbus, Ohio, Evans Farm is a good place to start. Get in touch to learn more and see the community for yourself!


Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash

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