The Path to New Urbanism

New Urbanism originally started as a greenfield movement in the 1980’s, but the market crash in 2008 made financing projects more difficult. Since then, a new movement aspired to redevelop and revitalize entire regions. Residents fought for walkable streets and proximity to shops over suburban areas where driving was standard. Thus started the New Urbanism movement.

There is a vast amount of infrastructure in historic towns that have been long neglected and can be built on again. The street grid provides the structure for the mixed-use neighborhoods and developers only need to rehabilitate the city or add in new buildings. Historic cities provide some of the best locations. So there is little need to construct a town from scratch if people are willing to reinhabit these locations.

New Urbanists plan to next revitalize the suburbs. Many suburbs have evolved into areas where walking is no longer an option. The post WWII suburbs hold the most potential with 26 million houses built from 1946 to 1965. These suburb areas were built with connecting streets and commercial strips that are hardly used today. The goal is to revamp these areas with parking lots, multilane streets, and walkable zones.

The last stage in the New Urbanist movement would be to create new street grids. The grids do not have to be rectangular like most streets that were built in the country in the 19th century, but they do need to be connected both internally and externally. New Urbanists realize that new street grids could take decades, but they also know that connected street networks are the key to developed communities. The New Urbanism movement is emerging slowly with a path that will take generations to complete.

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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