Developing a professional
vocabulary and set of standards for town making.
strip malls are called "town squares," six-lane suburban arterials
are called "parkways," and cookie-cutter housing subdivisions
are called "villages." The terms road, street, lane, drive,
avenue, and boulevard are used interchangeably so they no longer have
the specific meanings they once did. There is no common understanding
of the terms we use to physically describe our communities.
Professionals in disciplines such as law, medicine, and engineering have
agreed on standards of language that are commonly referenced in the course
of their work. The practice of town planning needs similar reference materials.
The urban design firm of Duany and Plater-Zyberk located in Miami, Florida
has created a Lexicon of the New Urbanism establishing a vocabulary and
set of standards of urban form for planners, developers and citizen activists
to use in the creation of traditional neighborhoods.
One important aspect of the Lexicon is its use of typology as a way to
organize structure and understand urban form. Entire neighborhoods, blocks,
buildings, streets and open spaces are organized by type rather than by
use. By choosing from a selection of proven types, urban designers can
work more efficiently to create places that are consistent with existing