Helen Lochhead
Designing communities
The potential for new planned communities based on traditional models
In the 1990s the low-density suburban paradigm was being challenged. Alternatives, referencing early planned communities, were being explored internationally. I visited 18 historic and 34 new planned communities across the US to learn more. In the historic models, public mass transit provided the impetus for these new communities. Designed as compact walkable villages, with a commercial and civic heart focused on a high street or public space, they were socially diverse, with a mix of densities and uses. Most are still thriving communities today. Less compelling were the modern counterparts, where critical DNA - functional and structural drivers - was often absent or secondary to stylistic simulation.