In Pompeii, Italy and Mani, Greece, two streets more than a thousand years apart follow the same dis-urban code.
These two streets are good examples of urbanism: they are narrow; chiefly or only pedestrian; have proportions and continuous wall for enclosure, and use natural, local materials for all surfaces that add strong texture and detail.
Both disobey a cardinal urbanist rule- eyes on the street. Not only the flanking hoouses have no porches, the ground floor is almost entirely opaque to the street; few, if any, very small windows set above the eye level to prevent eyes on the street LOOKING IN.
A coded, vernacular dis-urban practice(see articles by Besim Hakim). Mani photo by Doug Pollard.
A city neighbourhood displays a perfect New Urbanist cul-de-sac:
This 300-foot long street is built at very high density, being at a favourable location fronting a river. It evolved from an early suburb of the 30s to an urban extension of the 90s.
It respects the street by placing all parking underground. It is connected: it links to the next street via a garage exit and a path. Public transit passes at the entry of the cul-de-sac.
It has a mix of housing forms, types and range of accommodation sizes.
Some non-residential uses inhabit the street, of which residents are only 3 blocks away from a main shopping street, reachable on foot, bike and car.
It sees only the traffic of its houses and apartments, no through traffic; rendering it quiet and safe.
This street is compact, connected, quiet, with mixed uses and varied housing types and with adjacent open space; a prototype for a good urban street.
Urbanism comes in many guises – including an ideal a cul-de-sac.