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After World War II, suburban sprawl dominated the American landscape. Many of these newly developed bedroom communities were good places to sack out, but there was no there, there. They were places one passed on the way to somewhere else. Now our quality of life is more contingent on a sense of place. Here's a look at what we'll be seeing more of in communities across the country:


Old communities are undergoing revitalization, whether they're on the edges of downtowns or in the suburbs. New urbanism is actually old urbanism. It's a model of development that draws on the best features of the urbanism and suburban development that emerged around the 1920s in villages surrounding major cities, such as Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. These communities were designed to accommodate the car, but they are also walkable, more densely built, mixed-income, mixed-use towns, such as Montclair or Morristown, N.J.


On the retail side, many of the newer town centers hark back to the great downtowns of the 1920s. These now offer a mix of great restaurants and entertainment options. More mixed-use zoning means you'll find condos or apartments on the second floor of buildings above ground-floor retail spaces. More densely settled communities that recreate main streets and central meeting places in areas like City Place, Fla. and Santana Row, Calif., appeal to young singles and empty-nesters. These are places where one could shop on foot. Town centers like Bethesda Row, in Bethesda, Md. seamlessly blend existing, renovated structures with new development, producing a destination that rivals downtown D.C. as a dining and gathering place.


As environmental consciousness grows, green buildings are becoming a larger part of the design culture. A growing number of cities are passing legislation that requires green buildings in new construction and renovation. People now realize that fresh air, light and materials that don't give off gas or volatile organic chemicals are good for them. After all, why should you live in a place that attacks you all the time?

Source: Jonathan F.P. Rose, president of Jonathan Rose Companies LLC, a network of community and land use planning and development firms.

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