Town Creek, a hometown neighborhood that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable, and a welcoming downtown district in New Braunfels.
Sprawl, a common problem across America, is theresult of a particular way of thinking. Andres Duany, one of the founders of the New Urbanist movement, describes it well. Prior to World War II, “developers were generalists — they set out to build entire villages or urban neighborhoods… today’s developers are specialists. One builds only shopping centers, another office parks, another houses. Traffic engineers design only the roads, environmental analysts worry only about the open space… but no one looks out for the big picture. The result is a collection of monocultures: a disaggregation of the elements of community into specialized areas.”*
This tendency to compartmentalize leads to seeing the natural environment as somehow separate from ourselves, rather that fundamentally connected to us. Town Creek integrates built and natural environments in beneficial ways. This is evident in a land plan that places home, work and other resources near each other, with wide sidewalks, tree-lined streets and on-street parking reducing the need to drive.
*Andres Duany “A New Theory of Urbanism” Scientific American, December 2000
We are creating a real place that will endure and be loved. Brian R. Stebbins, Urban Land Institute member and CEO of Cooper & Stebbins in Southlake, Texas says there are a number of necessary elements for good place making. They include:
- A comprehensive master plan that evolves over time to meet the changing needs of the community and its residents
- Mixed-use. An environment that includes shops, restaurants, movie theaters, offices, hotels, residential, government and public spaces
- Plans and designs that are sensitive to the geographical location help make the place a good fit for the existing community
- Pedestrian-friendly environments are essential in a world of higher energy prices
- A variety of public meeting places makes the destination more than just a shopping center or retail outlet.
- A focus on nighttime as well as daytime activities adds vibrancy, life and around-the-clock action acknowledged as essential to locations with a diverse population.
- An emphasis on architectural details gives buildings a sense of place and time
- Public gatherings and traditions