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Issue 2(66)/2021, p. 59-66

doi: 10.37190/arc210206

Michał Domińczak

Ideological identity of New Urbanism


    The article is devoted to the issues of ideological identity of New Urbanism and it is an attempt to expand the general knowledge about this particular phenomenon of contemporary urbanism and a complete idea of social life. It also undertakes, to a lesser extent, a polemic with some of the theses of its critics.
    The article adopts a method of deduction. First of all, the official declarations of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), including, in particular, the Charter of the New Urbanism were analyzed. Then, the writings and publications of the precursors and founders of New Urbanism were examined. A mention was also made of the theories presented by various groups, which are now the point of reference for New Urbanists as their mentors. The conducted analyses allowed us to lay out the thesis that research conclusions are sufficient to identify New Urbanism as a conservative, or more precisely – a traditionalist movement, which aims for creative improvement of the good habits in town planning and restoration of the continuity of cultural and spatial development of local communities. New Urbanism is a defined, comprehensive philosophy of a city, understood as an idea of a diverse and family-based living community set in specific spatial conditions. This idea of local “urbanity” – a concept of social life represented in New Urbanism, fits in with the ideal, Aristotelian republican system (politeia). New Urbanism represents at least five out of six fundamental attributes of a conservative mindset: realism in the judgment of reality; affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional life; faith that man must take control of his anarchic impulses; conviction that a civilized society requires order and classes; and acceptance of the apparent principle that change and progress are not identical. Striving for an equilibrium between the freedom of choice and the social responsibility is fully in line with a conservative mindset, too. Thereby, New Urbanism became a counterbalance to both the neoliberal, consumer-driven exaggerated individualism and neo-Marxist collectivism.

Key words: New Urbanism, conservatism, traditionalism, communitarianism

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