The New York Times's Keith Schneider takes a deep dive into the way city planning has changed—or, that is, has reached back into history—when it comes to placemaking.
Schneider uses the story of Eaton, Ohio, a small town center devoted to an urbanesque "sidewalk culture," in which apartments are clustered around central business districts, however small they may be.
The area became one of the first sizable multi-use developments to spring from a Midwest greenfield, inspired by the same principles of accessible public spaces, proximity, and human scale that distinguish American towns built before 1900.
“Before automobiles, this is how America was built,” said Christopher B. Leinberger, a developer and the chairman of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University. “It petered out after World War II, when we built the drivable suburban model. Only in the early 1990s did we realize there was an embryonic market for urbanism.”