Researching Community Engagement within Diverse Architectural Landscapes
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After conducting some brief interviews and surveys in two different neighborhoods, I decided to work on a larger project investigating New Urbanism in Central Texas. Data has been collected using surveys, interviews, GIS analysis, and landscape appraisal to assess the design of local "New Urbanist" communities in order to prepare two manuscripts to a planning and geography journal on the "Texas effect" on neotraditional neighborhood design. I have included a master's student in the geography department in this project and we are finding that the New Urbanist communities in Central Texas are far from what the ideal design of New Urbanism. The lots and homes are generally larger than ideal. The diversity among residential units is lower than should be expected, and the location of the communities are often in greenfield plots rather than better embedded in with a local town. These results suggest mixed signals for the future of New Urbanism. While this building paradigm works well for focused transit-oriented uses, it is likely viewed as simply another way to sell a single family home in most other circumstances. The idea of New Urbanism is likely more powerful than the design of New Urbanism as viewed through the market-driven housing landscape of Texas.