Why can’t we have places like this?

Why not? Count how many cars there are. Zero.

Ironically, it’s designed by a U.S. firm, the sterling urban design firm, RTKL. Unfortunately for the U.S., this development, called Huadi Kunshan New City, is envisioned for Kunshan, China. So why is China so darn lucky?

Because most people in China walk rather than drive, developers are confident they can build a neighborhood de-emphasizing cars. While this isn’t true for the average American citizen, such a neighborhood would appeal to millions. For instance, only half of Manhattan’s 1.5 million population even has a driver’s license; most students at university campuses don’t have a car; and then there’s the car free crowd. Then you’ve got kids, and the elderly…

The Riverwalk in San Antonio is a good start, though this particular development here provides a significant amount of housing and workplaces blended in with the retail. Such a modern Venice is coming someday…

What do you think? Speak your mind below…

  • Neil,

    I really enjoy your weblog and I stop by your site almost every day. I wrote an article on my weblog – Walkable Neighborhoods – that links to this article. I offered some suggestions on how we could do this type of development in the US. At least trying to do so without writing a novel! I really enjoy the articles you post, they are often just right in length and really drive the point home. Keep up the excellent work.

    The article is located at http://www.walkableneighborhoods.com/article/we-can-have-car-free-development-in-the-us-almost

    Eric

  • Chad Johnston

    Don’t think China is so “darn lucky” – they are sprawling just as bad as LA and their demand for the car is increasing by the minute.

    Read following links…

    Car Culture Captivates China
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38899-2004Mar7.html

    GM’s optimism for auto sales in China seems well met, so far
    http://www.detnews.com/2004/insiders/0406/15/b01-183843.htm

    Growth vs. History
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48026-2004Jun16.html

  • Eric, I’m glad you introduced me to your website. I now have it bookmarked. I’m currently working with large-scale investors that are very interested in developing pedestrian-only streets (got to start somewhere), so hopefully in a couple of years…

  • Chad, thanks for the comment. I agree China is increasingly building out some of the worst sprawl yet. At the same time, they’re building out extremely pedestrian-oriented places as well. I’m just hoping people will choose the more sustainable of the two extremes, and I’m glad they at least have positive examples to counter the sprawl. We need more of those model places in the U.S.

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