Don't oversimplify the politics of Gainesville

Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 20, 2003 at 10:40 p.m.

I appreciated your Jan. 15 editorial on Midtown, and the ongoing intellectual discourse, or lack thereof, regarding infill vs. sprawl. I felt many good points were raised. However, in editorials and articles, you and your reporters keep talking about "new urbanism" as if it's a political ideology.

Although it clearly has political and social implications, or at least it should, "new urbanism" is not a political ideology. It is merely one form or pattern of development and redevelopment. It is a basic recipe for good urban design and planning.

However, unlike many other forms of development, especially sprawl, new urbanism is a more holistic approach to planning and design.

Utilizing multi-use buildings and mixed-use zoning, emphasizing multimodal transportation, providing parks and greenspace, new urbanism can help reduce sprawl and congestion.

New urbanism strengthens the social fabric of a community. It greatly enhances the safety of neighborhoods. Most importantly, it gives all citizens a much greater variety of choices in where and how we live, work, move about, and play.

New urbanism is not about architectural style. There are successful examples of new urbanist projects in nearly every style imaginable, including some very eclectic mixes of styles.

Please do not continue to try to oversimplify local politics and pigeonhole candidates and elected officials. Labels such as new urbanist, green, or pro-growther only weaken the discourse and confuse the debates over such issues.

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