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Working Papers

Lessons from New Daleville

Working paper #580
Witold Rybczynski

This paper summarizes conclusions drawn from observing the planning and development of a neotraditional residential subdivision in exurban Chester County, Pa. The permitting process was lengthy, due to a zoning change, community resistance, and unforeseen problems. The final, successful outcome was the result of the developer’s patience and his willingness to accommodate the demands of the township. Planners need to look at more varied ways of accommodating cars on small lots. They also need to study how people do— and want to—live, rather than proscribing how they should live. Marketing a concept such as neighborhood or community requires more than simply model homes; it needs model streets. Whatever the theoretical advantages of neotraditional planning, in terms of controlling sprawl, encouraging walking, and promoting sociability, developers and builders must bear in mind that their customers are buying a home, not an ideology.

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