1. Celebration, FL
Disney Celebration Villiage was a master planned
development that opened in 1996 and was designed to
be a model for new urbanism, Disney was trying to
create the ideal village. Upon development, the village
included a city center, town hall,movie theater, resturants,
and a state of the art school.
After much controversy (such as the parents not able to
change the school cirriculum) and pressure from the
residents, Disney relenquished control of the town, many
say the brand was not prepared to take on an actual
town where unlike their theme parks, they can‘t control
Critcisms of the master planned village include it feeling
too planned and too fake. It is also criticised for not truly
being a live-work-play new urbanist village, as many of its
citizens had to drive elsewhere for work and other
Disney used new urbanist ideals such as the importance of the front porch as
a social space, houses on smaller lots with less of a front yard to promote
social interaction with neighbors. They also saw the importance of the
sidewalk, and the need for transportation other than a car
Many said that despite its criticisms, they felt that they still
had a different lifestyle at Celebration than they would if
they lived in the suburbs. They said that they would stop
and have conversations on the street with their friends
and neighbors and they did have a better sense of
community than where they were before.
In the pursuit of trying to create the ideal villiage,one of the main
criticisms is that the development feels too planned. Streets were
washed nightly, and permission was needed to put a plant in your
The village is also criticised for being just another suburb. Residents
complained that they still had to drive into town via the interstate to
work or to other necessary services. One said Its great to have things
to do on weekends like resurants and movie theaters, but I can‘t
even get my hair cut here.
There were problems with the government while Disney was still in
control of the development. While there was a home owners
association, the people that lived there didn‘t really have a say as to
what went on in the village. Even the town hall was private property
of Disney and complaints by residents was given to an employee of
Disney and sent to higher authority. Disney found that they were
unable to manage an actual neighborhood, that is capable of
change, like they could their theme parks.
The school at Celebration was one of it‘s worst failures, Disney didn‘t
want a regular school in their idealized village, so the school there
adopted a no fail philosophy, which was at the time a progressive
experiment about how best children learn. No child failed and classes
were taught with all the students at once (like reading), where none of
the grades and ages were seperated. It was a massive failure and
most parents took their children out of the school because of it.
They created an outdoor room as a centerpoint in the city,
promoting social interation and a place for people outside in
Celebration was unable to get a
good diversity of people in the
development, most being caucasian
(over 75%) with some ﬁgures being
91%. This is much different than the
average for the Orlando area.
Currently there are around $4,000 homes, with a home ownership rate of
around 70%. The average cost of a home in Celebration is around
$434,000, which is almost 3 times the state average, the median income
is $97,000 which is about twice the avereage for Florida. There is about
twice the state average for multi-unit housing options, which is in line with
new urbanist principles.
The income diversity isn‘t very good in Celebration as well as the
racial/cultural diversity and the diversity of the household types. Most
people living there are part of the typical family, married with children.
However, since it is geared toward families, it makes sense why it hasn‘t
attracted as many young and single people.
The travel time to work is on avereage about 21 minutes, with the state
average being 25 minutes, giving proof to the criticisms of Celebration
being a gloriﬁed suburb. It wasn‘t able to accomplish the new urbanist
ideal of a live-work-play enviroment of cultural and income diversity.
Relationships develop in the many programs, activities and
opportunities offered within the community. Residents get to know
their neighbors while taking part in local school and sports
programs; enjoying the walking trails, parks and amenities;
enjoying our restaurants and shops; participating in organizations,
civic and social groups; and playing an active role on the
committees and Boards responsible for operating Celebration.
The community’s foundation is based on ﬁve cornerstones:
Health, Education, Technology, Sense of Community and Sense
Residents love the small-town feel of the Memorial Day Flag
Ceremony, July 4th parade and Veterans Day programs. The
Family Camp Out, Movie Nights, Great Egg Hunt, Celebration
Games, Fall Festival and Holiday Festival and Kids’ Shopping are
a testimony to the importance of family here.
Celebration is a community where residents strongly believe in
caring for their neighbors. This compassion even extends outside
the geographical boundaries of the town.
- Celebration Website
3. The Cotton DistrictStarkville, MS
The Cotton District is located in Starkville, Ms
and is directly adjacent to Mississippi State
University. It was founded by Dan Camp
and is considered the ﬁrst new urbanist
Dan Camp is a former shop teacher and a
self taught architect who bought land in a
former industrial inﬁll site and built over 200
dwellings and a small commercial center
since 1972. He used the original street grid
from 1830 and designed the buildings in the
historical southern vernacular, and created
a dense walkable community on a human
Most of the people who live there are
college studenta, however it has attracted
others as well. Dan Camp‘s community has
been highly praised by new urbanists.
Starkville, MS and The Cotton District inside it has a very rich history and has been
inhabited for over 2,100 years. Many american indian artifacts have been found in
Starkville and the surrounding area.
The site that the Cotton Distict is build on was an old Cotton Mill that shut down in
1964, leaving the workers houses and itself in a state of dispair. In 1967 Urban
Renewal laws were adopted by Starksville and the Cotton District was deemed an
Urban Renewal site, however a small part was left out of the redevelopment plan.
Camp became interested in the project and was able to accquire land in the parts
that were left out and began plans for a small strip of townhoses in these areas. Over
the years he was able to accquire more and more land, each with their speciﬁc
challenges, until the Cotton District as a precedent for New Urbanism came about.
Population density is 851 people per square mile and housing density is
396 per square mile.
Median income for a household is $22,590 and 31% is below the poverty
line, however that is probably due to the large population of students living
in the Cotton District.
Comparitively, The Cotton District
hsa a fairly diverse racial makeup,
with only a little over 60% being of
This is probably due to the fact that
this kind of living, as well as the
affordability attracts all kinds of
people and is something we
should strive for in our project.
It is interesting to note that half of the
population is under the age of 24,
and over 75% is under the age of
44. This is probably due to the
proxemity to Mississippi State
This can lend some important
information about the culture and
type of atmosphere created in the
In addition to the age makeup of the population, it is also interesting to note
the diversity of the types of households. Only a quarter of the population
has children and only 35% are married. Most, over 50%, are non families,
roommates living together, etc. 30% of households are single men or
women that live alone.
Crime rates in The Cotton District are considered low and ranked about half
the national average for crime.
Dan Camp was able to create an excellent
example for New Urbanism with the Cotton
District. He was able, in the past forty or so
years, to create a dense, safe, and
walkable community that is diverse in age,
race, and income; while still keeping the
history, culture, and architecture of the area
Many architects and urban planners for
new urbanism come to Starkville to see the
Cotton District that was created by Camp
as precedents for their work, and the type
of community that they are aiming to
5. Mesa Del Sol
Early renderings of the project
show its sheer scale as well as
the dense urban enviroments
that the designers are trying to
Mesa Del Sol is the largest New Urbanism design
project ever to be attempted and may take ﬁve
decades or longer to reach full buildout. It was
designed by architect Peter Calthorpe and is trying to
create a better and more connected way to live. The
plan includes schools,
shopping, parks, swimming pools, etc. It is also
planned to have:
- 38,000 residential units
- a housing population of 100,000
- a 1,400 acre industrial ofﬁce park
- four town centers and an urban center
- a downtown that would provide a twin city to
Mesa Del Sol has been in planning since the 1980s,
and ground broke to start the project in 2005 with
building of the new infrastructure for the site.
6. Aperture Center
The Aperture Center in Mesa Del Sol is meant to be a
mixed use center for the development. It was designed
and build for a variety of building types including retail,
resturants, a visitors center and a hub for social interaction. They also have worked with the University of New
Mexico, which will have a center in the new building as
well as Digital Media Center with a screening theater and
ﬁlm editing suites and instructional studios.
it was designed by Jon Anderson and the facade is
supposed to give a weathered presence as if it is an
artifact of the site, like weathered bones one could
possibly ﬁnd in the high desert. The arrangement of
entries and the way the building responds to the conditions of the site promotes social interactioin in an outdoor
enviroment. The building is meant to be an “Urban
Activator” on all sides.
The design in the glass on the facade of the building is meant to mimic
the beaity of weathered bones that could be found in the desert while