The new urbanism: An assessment of the core commercial areas, with perspectives from (retail) location and land-use theories, and the conventional wisdom


Transit-oriented development (TOD) and (neo)traditional neighborhood development (TND) are variants of the recently emerging models of 'new urbanism'. The compact pattern of the new urbanist models of community development with integrated and mixed uses, pedestrian and vehicular orientation provides for public facility and retail locational characteristics which are in contrast to the sprawled, segregated, land-use pattern of the urban or suburban development. In the general schematic treatment of the new urbanist models, however, the specific space-economic features of the 'core commercial areas' are given little attention, despite a vast theoretical and empirical literature on land use, and public and retail facility location. Land-use and retail location theories supply perspectives which aid in the assessment of the retail facilities in the core commercial areas, as well as of the general land-use pattern of new urbanism. The correlations between the properties of retail location theories used as assessment criteria and the properties of TND and TOD are noted. Furthermore, a typology of the neighborhood and/or community centers is provided which contrasts the features of the old with the new shopping centers, with reference to actual case examples. The transformation of the community shopping centers, reflective of the changing conventional wisdom and practice, exhibits an affinity with new urbanism. Both the changing conventional wisdom and the theoretical perspectives supplement the spatial planning paradigm of new urbanism. Thereby an observational and a metatheoretical basis is provided toward an assessment of the 'feasibility' of the land-use and public (retail) facilities in the planned communities which are guided by the new urbanism.

Publication Title

Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design