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The U.S. "new community" movement of the 1960s and 1970s attempted a grand experiment. In response to criticisms of contemporary trends in suburban development, akin to today's criticisms of urban sprawl, developers and the professionals that they employed embarked on the construction of communities that differed in many ways from the prevailing pattern of suburban development.
In this talk, Ann Forsyth examines the result of these efforts in three of these new communities: the Irvine Ranch in Southern California, Columbia in Maryland, and The Woodlands in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. Comparing them with Almere in the Netherlands and the more recent Hammarby Sjostad in Sweden, she looks at the ways in which each succeeds or fails. How well do these planned communities avoid the problems of sprawl? Do they create more sustainable or livable spaces? Are the techniques that they used still viable alternatives or are they now part of the problem? Can private sector planning achieve important public purposes? The answers may reveal whether these communities constitute models for today's planners, designers, developers, and civic leaders interested in alternatives to urban sprawl.
Special thanks to The Irvine Company, The Columbia Archives, Cy Paumier, and GlashusEtt for use of their images in the videos.
This video is part 1 of 5 in the Reforming Suburbia series.