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"Traditional Neighborhood Design" Means Better Planning


Part of the LandWatch mission is to create stronger communities and to prevent urban sprawl. That does not equate to a “no growth” philosophy. As growth occurs, it needs to be done well, which means that we need strong and effective policies to guide future development. LandWatch knows that good planning pays off—in terms of our economy and social equity, as well as in terms of environmental protection.

LandWatch is particularly proud when we can work with the development community to make new growth better. One fruitful area for collaboration is what is known as the “New Urbanism,” or “Traditional Neighborhood Design.” These phrases describe a type of development that has the following characteristics:

  • More efficient land use, minimizing agricultural land lost to urban development.

  • Compact and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

  • Higher density residential uses surrounding retail, recreational, and governmental uses.

  • Appropriate public amenities and design to assure that higher density neighborhoods do not create overcrowded or undesirable conditions.

  • A physical design that will reduce the number of vehicle trips generated by the new development.

  • Traffic circulation designs that utilize shorter street lengths in a grid-like pattern, to promote better traffic flow, and to allow for narrow, more efficient street widths.

  • A mixture of housing types that will result in neighborhoods of diverse economic background, rather than segregating different economic groups in isolated neighborhoods.

Many progressive developers are beginning to utilize these “Traditional Neighborhood Design” principles. * Watch for them in your community! In fact, LandWatch suggests that you demand that your community begin utilizing these good planning principles whenever a new development is proposed.

Bigger is not always better for our communities. But if our communities do make the decision to get bigger, we need to make sure that they get better at the same time!

*LandWatch and Creekbridge Homes, in Salinas, jointly urged the incorporation of Traditional Neighborhood Design principles into the Salinas General Plan Update. Get the full story here.

posted 10/02/02

LandWatch's mission is to protect Monterey County's future by addressing climate change, community health, and social inequities in housing and infrastructure. By encouraging greater public participation in planning, we connect people to government, address human needs and inspire conservation of natural resources.



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Salinas, CA 93902-1876

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