"New Urbanism" -- middle class need not apply?

The New York Times featured a long piece on Andres Duany of DPZ and his New Urbanist design movement:

New Urbanism is like Whole Foods: it’s meant to be good for you, but it’s expensive, at least on the front end, and it comes with a set of cultural connotations that generally play best among the prosperous and the self-consciously progressive. At Tyrone’s Barber and Beauty Shop, Bernice Catchings had flipped through the plan, with its spiffy little houses and tasteful storefronts, and said: “A poor lady like me, what the hell am I going to do with that? Walk by it and admire it?"

Many of the retirees, surfers, blue-collar workers, and contractors who gave up their evenings to help Peebles and Duany with their "Charrette" might be asking themselves the same question if Peebles' plan for multi-million-dollar super-premium develoment goes through.

Pacifica's economic troubles are nowhere near those of Biloxi, especially after Katrina. We're still well-off by comparison. But, proportionately, the ultra-luxury super-premium New Urbanist units that Peebles wants Duany to design are as comically out-of-touch with Pacifica as are the "affordable" New Urbanist units Duany wanted to build in Biloxi :

I asked Andrés Duany what he meant by “affordable,” and he said: “$140,000. We can make a really nice three-bedroom house for $140,000, working with mobile-home manufacturers.” When I asked Bill Stallworth, a black councilman whose ward includes about half of East Biloxi, he was just as blunt. “That’s not affordable for this area,” he said. “Affordability is $65,000 to $95,000.”

At least the Quarry will have a Banana Republic.

member login