New Urbanism makes inroads; still out of academic mainstream

Author: Robert Steuteville
Issue: Jan/Feb 2006
Issue Date: Sun, 2006-01-01
Page Number: 1

 

Looking at academia from a new urbanist perspective is like stepping through the looking glass. The top schools according to new urbanist practitioners — the Universities of Miami, Notre Dame, and Maryland, in that order — barely register in the overall national ranking of design schools by the monthly journal DesignIntelligence. The disregard is returned; the schools that lead DI’s architecture rankings for 2006 — Harvard (graduate) and Cornell (undergraduate) — are not rated highly by the new urbanist practitioners we queried. Architecture schools produce most of America’s new urbanist practitioners — New Urban News’s survey indicates that 69 percent of recent hires have architecture degrees — and the top-ranking programs are in schools of architecture. Yet the majority of the nation’s architecture schools are openly hostile to New Urbanism, according to new urbanists inside and outside of academia. Academia as a whole remains largely New Urbanism-phobic, even as the real-world fields of urban design, planning, and development are increasingly influenced by its ideas. This anti-New Urbanism sentiment runs highest in architecture departments. “The dominant culture in architecture schools is still about individual creativity rather than teamwork or contextual design,” notes Doug Kelbaugh, dean of the A. Alfred