Neo medieval urbanism : timeless urban design strategies gleaned from lasting European cities
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Neo-medieval urbanism is the proposal to build urban villages in larger metropolitan areas by mimicking the design of medieval European cities. This development type is modeled after German and Italian medieval towns that existed as independent city states from the 11th century. This method for designing new communities is consistent with the high demand for walkable urbanism and the trend toward transit-oriented development. Neo-medieval urban design has the potential to create human and ecological value through an architecture that restores pedestrians as the principle users of the city and builds community. Neo-medieval features such as scale, aesthetics, context-sensitivity, and natural relationship come together in a comfortable place for people. Such design would achieve environmental objectives including using less fossil-fuel energy and lower aggregate resource consumption. Quality of life improvements when coupled with an inclusionary housing policy, would enable a variety of income groups to live well. Furthermore, neo-medieval urbanism could be a tool for local economic resilience. Neo-medieval neighborhoods need not break much from their lasting European counterparts and thus could be home and workplace to some 5,000-50,000 people. Site studies of Bologna, Siena, Lucca, and Venice in Italy and Bamberg, Rothenberg, Regensburg, and Freiburg in Germany grounded this project. Methods for producing Neo-medieval urban villages include discussion of design features, a process for designing a neo-medieval neighborhood, and a model neo-medieval zoning code. Additionally, the conceptual design for the Lakeline TOD in Austin, Texas serves as a visualization. This paper concludes that neo-medieval urbanism could achieve many local policy objectives and is the ideal form for transit-oriented development and urban villages within cities.