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2012 EDITION Roswell to give downtown new look

Renowned architect reveals new vision for city’s gateway

By Hatcher Hurd

ROSWELL, Ga. – Andres Duany is an architect and one of the leading proponents of the national New Urbanism Movement, which incorporates several principles in creating a return to walkable, urban, mixed-use communities that conserve resources, maximize infrastructure to create "complete communities." He is also the consultant to Roswell’s Gateway Project for creating a new

streetscape to go

with the transportation improvements for South Atlanta Street.

But Duany was enthralled with the possibilities of revitalizing an area already identified as the Groveway District that parallels the east side of Atlanta Street from the Chattahoochee River to City Hall. He shared his vision with city leaders of what sort of development the area could have that would mixed-use, pedestrian system of three walkable villages along the southern end of the city at the river.

Duany and his company Duany Plater Zyberk (DPZ),

have designed many

pedestrian communities including Seaside, Fla. He said one plan for the entire project simply would not work.

Duany said, "It is a road that continually changes. If you try to use one idea for it, it won't work."

Instead, he envisioned creating three distinct villages along that stretch of road, each a mile in diameter. That meant each would be walkable and each would have the infrastructure there to make it work. It could also be done more cheaply than what is now envisioned. The north village would on

center the and City the Hall.

The second village would include the city’s historic square


portion south of the City Hall.

The third village would begin just south at the bend of the road at Atlanta Street Baptist Church that would incorporate much of


small retail and residential there that already exists. "I did this because I to

had talked what the the people

about their problems and concerns. I couldn't go back and not respond. If I only did

city asked, those people would have


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been disappointed," Duany said.

Instead, he found what he called


possibilities" for the area. "Rebuilding that highway won't be neutral. Whatever is done will create great changes for the area," he said.

The biggest mistake would be to open four

lanes to move traffic faster through the area. Slowing traffic actually makes it move faster. He said 30 mph is the optimum speed because it allows the cars to bunch up more. At faster speeds cars spread out and if measured at through points will actually see fewer cars passing.

The Roswell mayor was

excited about the idea. "We will have to expand the scope of the project to look at it, but we can do that,” said Mayor Jere Wood. “I like what he is saying. He is talking about communities within communities like you see in Virginia Highlands and

Little Five Points in

Atlanta or like Canton Street here in Roswell," Wood said.

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