New urbanism serves as a great model for building neighborhoods, communities and towns that embody walkability, complexity, and diversity.  When done right, as Andres Duany reminds us, they are calibrated to their place, which is often missing in many cookie-cutter new urbanism communities.  While prescriptive, they allow for flexibility and a way to opt out of the process.

The irony here is that these principles and attributes mirror very closely those of conservation biology and restoration ecology; imagine that!  Yet for the most part, new urbanism is practiced in an ecological vacuum.  ‘Open’ spaces (I hate that term, but that’s a discussion for another day) and set aside ‘environmental sensitive areas’ are often plotted with absolutely no science behind their shape, size, distance from one another, or quality in terms of their ability to support native flora and fauna.  In fact, more often then not they probably become sinks of biological & genetic diversity.

As far as I can see, there is no reason why new urbanism shouldn’t fully embrace the concepts of landscape connectivity, species movements and migrations, and habitat conservation, without compromising the enduring qualities these communities provide.  Let’s work together and figure this out.

Further Reading

Meet Conservation Biologist Nolan Schillerstrom
Get to know Allyson Gibson, Biohabitats Extern
Get to Know Graphic Designer Joey Marshall
Evolution: A New Leadership Team for Biohabitats
Biohabitats receives ASLA’s highest honor

More From This Author

Why aren’t we protesting?
NY Times: G.O.P. Pushes to Deregulate Environment at State Level
There Is No Sustainability Without Ecology
COP10 Final post from Nagoya, Japan: Sharing a moving plea from a Sudanese cattleman
Learning from Traditional Ecological Knowledge