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Lewyn Addresses America
Monday, 30 May 2011
Dense sprawl vs. New Urbanism

I spent my last couple of days (Friday afternoon through Sunday morning) in Edmonton's Westridge neighborhood, an inner-suburban area that hosts the city's Modern Orthodox synagogue, Beth Israel.  Westridge reminded me a bit of Stapleton in Denver: both have lots of bus service, an element of mixed use insofar as commercial and multifamily residential are within walking distance of single-family homes, are MUCH more compact than the sprawl neighborhood I now live in, and both have an enormous amount of public parkland.

But Westridge still seems to me like a nicer variant of conventional sprawl, while Stapleton is definitely a new urbanist neighborhood.  Why?

*Stapleton creates connectivity (that is, the ability to walk from one residential street to other residential streets without going through a major commercial street first) with an easy-to-decipher grid.  Westridge is dominated by cul-de-sacs, but compensates for it with walkways between the cul-de-sacs.  Once you know what you are doing, I suspect you can get from one house to another via the walkways, but I also suspect it takes some getting used to.

*Also, the commercial streets of these neighborhoods are quite different.  New urbanist commercial streets are oriented towards the pedestrian; parking is typically in back or off to the side so a pedestrian can walk to a store without crossing through a parking lot.  On Westridge's main commercial street, shops are surrounded by parking so a pedestrian still has to walk through a parking lot (though not so enormous a lot as many in Jacksonville!)

The dense sprawl of Westridge is certainly more appealing than where I live in Jacksonville; but it isn't New (or Old) Urbanism! 


Posted by lewyn at 7:45 PM EDT

Friday, 30 September 2011 - 8:54 PM EDT

Name: "Jack Russell"
Home Page:

I look forward to finding you at your new blog address!


God luck with the move!

If we lived any closer we could help you with the move!

Jack Russell


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