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The new American urbanism

American readers will be delighted with this: someone is trying to build a new America. – no Americans, that is. And, to be more specific, it is the European Union (EU), Putin’s New Russia and Capitalist China that are trying to do it. Everyone calls this trend the ‘New American Urbanism’.

The New American Urbanism is what planners, architects, civil engineers, developers, realtors, appraisers, and bankers across the United States refer to simply as ‘Urbanism’. It is the way so familiar to all of us that cities, towns and communities have been conceived, planned and built. There is nothing new about it, since urbanism in the United States and to a lesser extent in Canada is a phenomenon that dates back to the 1970s. It’s simply the very practical way North American cities are structured: a mix of commercial, residential, and light industrial districts effectively connected by a system of boulevards, highways, streets, and alleys. Residential neighborhoods are made up of mixed-use housing clustered with schools, sports centers, wide sidewalks, and essentially everything close to home.

Business is conducted in downtown areas or city centers, with the typical characteristic profile of high-rise and low-rise concrete buildings. One would not think that all this would cause such a stir. But it has. There are three specific reasons for the rest of the world to suddenly rediscover the United States and put it (again) under the microscope: time, money, and economies of scale. The EU, Russia and China face the common dilemma of having to relocate millions upon millions of people in a relatively short time and share the common thread of minimizing social cost and maximizing affordability.

With the collapse of European borders and the rapid disappearance of unique national identities, the urban trend across Europe today is to create centers where jobs are relocated and redeveloped. Cities and towns must follow the people who, in turn, seek economic prosperity wherever they find it. As such, it is imperative that a live, social thread be created quickly and quickly wherever it is needed. Call it the logistics of capitalism, but the EU cannot achieve its coveted goal of creating a free market zone of 600 million people, twice the size of North America, if this area cannot be properly connected, served effectively and economically integrated.

Similarly, it has been over a decade since Russia is in the process of stamping out the old Stalinist organization of a modern, self-sufficient European Russia, surrounded on the one hand by a bunch of backward Asian republics and Putin, the former head of the KGB has now become for reasons of internal politics the main architect of the new Russian social integration. Consequently, the republic is now in the process of developing far flung areas such as northern Siberia and the Eastern Urals, and will soon be faced with the enormous problem of having to accommodate, house, connect and integrate millions upon millions of workers and domestic migrants. . .

China suffers from an ailment called ‘unilateral development’: its coastal areas, home to thirty-five percent of China’s 1.3 billion people, are expanding at a rate of 10 percent a year and have been for the past decade , while the remaining sixty-five percent of the population living in the interior is housed in communities where running water is considered the ultimate luxury. The Chinese leadership is well aware of the economic gap that exists between the wealthy, modern, Westernized city dwellers on the one hand and the poor, uneducated and hopeless inhabitants of the countryside, as well as the tension, envy and great malaise social that this situation generates. – if not resolved quickly – will inevitably lead to.

Therefore, America. Using standardized models of development, it has occurred to urban planners around the world (possibly at the same time) that it takes Americans four years to completely build, connect, develop, service, and integrate from scratch a standardized community for 30,000 people. This would include the construction of roads, viaducts, railways, shopping centers, housing, parks, sidewalks, streets, lighting, school and sports facilities, utility facilities such as electricity, telephone lines, cables, sewers, water pipes, as well as a small airport. like planting trees everywhere. In addition, the typical construction time for a home in the United States, from the time a hole is drilled in the ground until the keys are handed over to the owner, is five and a half months. Using the same standardized models but applied to different construction and development methods, it would take Western Europeans seven years to achieve the same goal, with an average home construction time of around one year. It would take the Russians almost ten years to do the same, with a typical house construction time of one year and the data is not available for the Chinese, but it is commonly believed that it would take longer than the Russians to build this model city. in the countryside.

Furthermore, what foreigners find especially expensive about American cities, towns, and neighborhoods is the economy of scale: the more you build, the less expensive it becomes. And, naturally, the fact that environmental concerns are paramount, particularly in Canada. So much so, that Europeans have come together in Stockholm to draft, well… The Stockholm Charter, in effect, where the Council for European Urban Planning has officially adopted as its mission the objective of maintaining and preserving the well-being and the integration of present and future generations by building rapid, mixed-use cities, towns, and villages with architectural lines, construction techniques, planning, and management modeled on American cities.

Seems like someone is swallowing a lot of criticism these days…

louis frascati

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