Washburn

Contrasting Two Models of How Places Survive

Two September experiences reminded me of the strength and fragility of urban places, and the inherent ironies of surviving town forms. One such experience was here, at home, while preparing for a keynote address in New Hampshire scheduled for later this month. The other was on the road in southern France.

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For the New Hampshire address, I have been asked to illustrate universal characteristics of urbanism to local government representatives, and the presentation is coming together well. The basic elements of the classic New England town is a convenient  model for today's quest for compact, walkable urban areas. To existing residents of such towns, it's a well-documented, "remember your past" message.

As new urbanist leader Elizabeth Plater-Zybeck summarized in an Atlantic article by Stage Stossell some 14 years ago:

"Many New England towns had rules stating that you couldn't live more than a mile from the town green, in order to maintain some sense of community and control. Others controlled the way you could graze your animals on the land or how many animals you could own, in order not to deplete resources."
But more challenging is addressing the second reminder, the one from France -- what happens when the underpinnings for a town are taken away? Read the rest of Charles R. Wolfe's Contrasting Two Models of How Places Survive at The Huffington Post.