Designing the city

Reflections on the New Urbanism

In the spring of 1976, I took my New Hampshire youth group to Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebrations. Not wanting to break the bank on hotels, we slept in a church hall in a suburb north of the city. There, for the first time in my life, I encountered row after row, block after block, street after street of identical beige cinderblock houses. Even the church we stayed in was beige cinderblock. I was appalled and remember telling myself, “If anyone suffers from an identity crisis, it must be these people.” I could easily imagine one of them walking into someone else’s home and thinking it was his or her own.


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