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"New urbanism," a term from the early 1990's, continues to be promoted as a model for new communities.  Can it also be applied to new and established common interest communities and what is it?  This article explores "new urbanism" and the relation of this concept to Colorado owner associations and the communities they govern and operate.

What is "new urbanism?"

New urbanism is land use or land planning that advocates compact (dense) mixed-use (residential and commercial) pedestrian friendly developments.  Automobiles are accommodated, but not the center of a development.  The new urban community encourages people to get out of their cars and walk.

What do communities based on "new urbanism" look like?

New urbanism communities are different from traditional subdivisions.  How?  In ways that encourage walking and include neighborhood shopping.  Other characteristics of new urbanism are:

Can existing communities take on features of "new urbanism?"

Yes, but it may take amendments to the governing documents for an owner association, to allow for the characteristics, density and possibly also, zoning changes.  

The changes necessary to go completely to "new urbanism" may not be acceptable or approved by owners or local government in existing communities, but aspects of new urbanism can be sought and achieved in established communities.

Do new communities face difficulties in achieving "new urbanism?"

Yes.  Issues with local governments continue to revolve around density, street widths, sidewalks or drainage pans, turning radius, sight lines, street fees and placement of utilities.

Inside a "new urbanism" community, what are the areas of conflict?

Even though residential and commercial uses are desired in "new urbanism" communities, conflicts between these uses remain.

The areas of conflict include:

Is "new urbanism" right for your community?

The answer is in the users and owners of the community.  New urbanism is apparent in many new Colorado communities (like Stapleton).  Implementing new urbanism in an established community may require significant change to the community and its documents.