Sunday, September 17, 2017

New England Villages: Storrs Center CT

As noted in recent posts, I have been working on a project which looks at the viability of using historic New England village centers as a framework for supporting 21st rural development.  The idea is that the village model can be updated to support sustainable development in the countryside and to serve as a counterweight to large-lot, exurban sprawl.  I did some field visits recently and thought I would share some highlights.

I have written about the Storrs Center “new town” project in Mansfield CT a number of times, most recently when the town was officially built out (here).  The very short version is that a new, village-like, mixed-use development has been built across the street from the University of Connecticut campus in rural eastern Connecticut.  Now having had a chance to revisit Storrs, I have to say that using my eyeballs and legs confirmed what I had seen online.  It is a first-rate piece of urban design, with human-scale architecture, a great mix of activities (including the only state puppet museum in the US!), and a welcoming vibe.  Storrs is a great working model that I – and I’m sure others – will continue to follow closely in the years to come.

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