Globalization is driven by technology and innovation; it has increased the spatial reach of communication, and extended the scope of international trade, finance, and investment. These advancements have brought several societies great prosperity but has simultaneously fueled social inequalities by leading others into deeper poverty.
Globalization along with unmanaged population growth, have placed surmounting stress on existing infrastructures. For instance, there are over 20 cities with a population of over 10 million inhabitants. Lured by the wealth of globalization many governments failed to prepare for urban population growth and the subsequent demand for social and human resources. Uncontrolled growth presents an array of problems; from traffic congestion to air pollution and unemployment. Aside from the countless abuse on ecological systems, megacities are far from attractive or clean places to live.
Why do people continue to migrate to highly dense urban centers, knowing the conditions they will find? For obvious reasons, cities offer more economic and educational opportunities. Unfortunately, the quality of life expected in these global cities is often a disappointment.
New Urbanism is just the development strategy equipped to deal with the overwhelming growth of cities and urban spaces. Influenced by urban design standards before the rise of the automobile, it is intended to reform real estate development. It rejects our current system of congested, intolerable cities, and instead aims to rebuild and restructure urban centers.
New Urbanism strategies intend for cities to be convenient enjoyable spaces, providing amenities in close proximity, promoting low car use, and greater mobility. It promotes the development of mixed-use construction and pedestrian thoroughfares, high quality transit systems, and other human-scale urban settings. Additionally, it supports the balanced development of housing and jobs.
Congress for the New Urbanism is a non-profit organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl. Their members aim to influence the built environment, transforming growth patterns from the inside out, and making it easier for people to live healthy lives. Overall they want to integrate all aspects of urban life into the development fabric.
Cities around the globe are in dire need of restructuring their development strategies. The idea of New Urbanism development can help to promote more sustainable, enjoyable, and healthy cities.