They are the latest version of the anti-suburban urban planner’s dream world, but as this article at New Geography notes.
Imaginary “Urban Villages”
Bertaud insists on the importance of cities as unified labor markets. Metropolitan areas will be hampered in their development and innovation to the extent that they are fragmented.
He is particularly critical of planning attempts to create “urban villages” within the unified labor markets (metropolitan areas). He contends that: “The urban village model” implies a systematic fragmentation of labor markets within a large metropolis and does not make economic sense in the real world.”
Bertaud does not accept the notion that:
“… everybody could walk or bicycle to work, even in a very large metropolis. To allow a city to grow, it would only be necessary to add more clusters. The assumption behind this model is either that urban planners would be able to perfectly match work places and residences, or that workers and employers would spontaneously organize themselves into the appropriate clusters.”
He is concerned at the “prevalence of this conceit in many urban master plans,” which he characterizes as “utopian trip patterns.”
According to Bertaud, the urban village “model does not exist in the real world because it contradicts the economic justification of large cities: the efficiency of large labor markets.” The cold water of reality is that “… the urban village model exists only in the mind of urban planners.”
Retrieved March 6, 2014 from http://www.newgeography.com/content/004203-urban-planning-101