The City of New Brunswick, like many other cities, can be divided between sections of good design, bad design, and deterioration. In the photograph below there is the College Ave Campus of Rutgers University. The Campus resembles many of the important factors needed for Urban Design, as listed in Contemporary Urban Design by John M Levy. The first of these being unity and coherence which is present in the surrounding buildings holding classes and lectures while the entire center of the block was devoted to creating an environment where students could complete assignments or just relax. Then there is the implementation of the nicely paved sidewalks which provide easy orientation to the different buildings which include Murray, Scott, Milledoller, and Voorhees Hall. Although the center is not an adequate place to complete assignments during the winter; during the spring, summer, and fall it is able to provide places where students can rest, observe, and meet. With the amount of students that spend time sitting on the benches, it can be observed that they also feel a sense of security and pleasantness in completing assignments without having to look over their shoulder.
Neighboring the College Ave Campus of Rutgers University is the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Throughout these past few years the Hospital has done much redevelopment and expansion in the city of New Brunswick. Much of the redevelopment has shown aspects of unity and coherence, while still incorporating nature and green spaces into the surroundings. The photograph below is the front side of the Administration building of the Hospital located along Somerset street. Although it does not protect from wind and rain, the location does provide availability for pedestrians to walk without the conflict with vehicles. Not to mention that it also provides a means for people to meet up and observe the nicely planted flowers along with the overall structure of the building right before they have to go inside for that four-hour meeting. With the unique layout of the green areas and the path that leads to the entrance of the building, the locations provides easy orientation for it gives the administration building a unique layout that will make it easily identified.
As one walks past Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital into the Residential and mixed use areas of New Brunswick, one of the most common factors noted will be deterioration and a vast amount of parking lots. The next two photographs below are located by the intersection of Suydam street and French street. The first issue noted is with the original planning and development of this area in that it does not contain planting strips along the sidewalks. One of the most revolutionary urban designers who wrote The New Urbanism, Andres Duany, noted planting strips as being essential in creating urban communities because they provide a sense of security and pleasantness. In addition, the deterioration can be noted in the businesses, as many have the signs taped on their walls, and in the houses themselves, as many are crowded upon each other and exhibit minimal front yard, backyard, and interior space. One of the most troubling aspects that affect the design of the area are all the electric lines running along each street, despite the fact that they provide electricity to the homes, they also provide congestion. The main reasons this street experiences more human traffic despite the design is because of the convenience of two supermarkets and a farmer’s market, not to mention a Chinese restaurant, a laundromat, a flower shop, and bakery’s nearby with apartments located right above.
The next major landmarks in passing through New Brunswick are the vast amount of parking lots with local businesses and retail. The next two photographs below are located near the intersection of Jersey Ave, French, and Handy Street where there is often much traffic congestion from the passing cars, trucks, public transportation, and school buses. Despite the implementation of the green areas surrounding the parking lot with retail located directly behind, the location fails to provide a sense of security and pleasantness. There are a limited amount of sidewalks located around the area that lead to the retail behind, which can cause conflict between pedestrians and vehicles. In addition, there are often a number of Hispanic men who stand all over the parking lot, whether they are waiting for rides or hanging out with friends. Although that is not a direct result of the design of the area, it does affect the overall image and security. In regards to protection from the weather and noise, the location does neither because directly behind the retail there is a vast amount of undeveloped land followed by railroad bridge tracks. With the proper funding and leadership this location has the potential to be something more than just a parking lot and a few retail businesses which some are already starting to close down. As of now, the only reasons anyone would come to this location is for the convenience of a nearby Walgreens, pizza restaurant, laundromat, subway and a Chinese restaurant.