The New Urban Timeline
The New Urban Timeline is a database that records key events in the history of new urbanism, as well as historical influences reaching back to the 19th century. Over one thousand entries have been contributed and compiled into the categories of Academic, Events, Firms, Governmental, Places and Publications.
A printed version of the New Urban Timeline was created to celebrate the 10th annual Congress of the CNU. It is available for $5.00 from
The Town Paper
Building a Timeline for the New
This Timeline is not a finished document … and it could never be. The New Urbanism does not slow down enough for a snapshot, not even for its tenth birthday.
But for reasons other than the inability to sit still, this collective portrait is flawed. It seemed easy enough when Emily Talen originally identified the need for a timeline. As it happens, I was just then reading Nan Ellin’s "Postmodern Urbanism," and so volunteered to start the process with an editing of the timeline that was included in that volume. As it turned out, only a few of those entries survived, and with this kernel began the search of additional entries.
There was a strong response to the first call for information, but the gaps became increasingly apparent and the endeavor grew to require the indomitable wills of Laurence (L.J.) Aurbach and Diane Dorney. Their search now involves repeated postings on listservs, individually addressed e-mails, documentary research, and many phone calls that require cajoling, pleading and threatening to get the information. And, why not? Why should this be any less difficult (or less fun) than anything else we do?
The response they met varied. Some unlikely groups were most cooperative: the large firms, the Europeans, the heretofore less-prominent practitioners, that famous ogre Peter Katz. This was heartening, but to our surprise and our chagrin, certain practitioners simply would not cooperate. Whatever their reasons, their recalcitrance is reflected in the weaknesses of this timeline.
But even now, with all of its flaws, the Timeline tells a great story. Have a look at it. Don’t be angry if you have been left out … just do something about it by contacting L.J. with your information ().
Consider this Timeline to be a first draft — a work in progress that needs to be corrected and supplemented. Expect to see it again at a future Congress in better condition. In the meantime be proud of what we have achieved together.
The Timeline of New Urbanism Online
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