Neo-Traditional Community Review
Big Box New Urbanism
Washington, DC: Suburban Maryland

  • Located in the Washington metropolitan area, approximately 20 miles northwest of downtown.

  • Designed by Andres Duany.

  • In contrast to New Urbanist preferences, retail center includes "big box" retailers such as Big K (K-Mart), Lowe's, Michael's and Petsmart. There is also a full-sized Giant supermarket. Most of the development is beyond walking distance from the retail center, which has large parking lots.

  • Some failures are structural --- impossibility of building a community with auto competitive transit access to a metropolitan region, and impossibility of developing a commercial district capable of attracting the higher income people that must necessarily occupy the comparatively expensive housing.

  • Some multi-family units use vinyl siding on side and rear walls, with brick facades.

  • Neo-Traditional Rating: 1.40 (Substantially fails to achieve neo-traditional ideals) on a scale of 1 to 5.

Criteria Objective Case Rating
Walkable Community Stores within walking distance (1/4 mile) of all residences. Some houses within walking distance of stores. 2
Transit Oriented Development Automobile competitive transit service providing service to entire urban area Transit competitive service not provided 1
Housing Prices Mix of housing prices, including affordable housing. Generally high priced single family dwellings, with large rental units under construction. 2
Density 7 housing units per acre minimum (12,000 per square mile) Unknown ---
Impact on Suburbanization Infill -- does not contribute to suburbanization Greenfield --- contributes to suburbanization 1
Balance of jobs and residences Community provides a balance of jobs and residences, reducing the necessity to commute by automobile Employees in community establishments are not likely to have the income to live within the community. 1
Market oriented development No subsidies or tax breaks Unknown ---
Composite Rating 1.40
Rating System:

5: Substantially Exceeds Objective

4: Exceeds Objective

3: Meets Objective

2: Fails to Meet Objective

1: Substantially Fails to Meet Objective

Nothing in this review is meant to suggest that any neo-traditional development is not a desirable community. Most are well designed and attractive. To the extent that any such development fails to achieve neo-traditional (new urbanist) objectives is more than likely a reflection that the objectives themselves are impractical and largely unachievable in an environment that depends upon consumer choice in a free market.

(c) 2000 --- Wendell Cox Consultancy --- Permission granted to use with attribution.
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