The New Town: The Urbanist Utopia of St. Louis
Posted by Suzanne Hunn on Monday, January 28th, 2019 at 2:54pm.
Imagine a town built not for cars, but instead for people. Imagine this town is not in the heart of a pulsing urban center but rather a suburban oasis. This is New Town in St. Charles, Missouri–– a community born of Traditional Neighborhood Design and New Urbanist influence.
With the help of an architectural firm and a building company, the City of St. Charles created a design for New Town using input from the public. Construction of the town began in 2004 and the first residents arrived in April 2005.
The New Urbanist Influence
New Urbanism is the coined term for the urban design movement that promotes environmentally friendly habits with walkable neighborhoods and a variety of jobs and types of housing. The central concepts behind new urbanist designs are a sense of community and ecological practices. The movement became popular in the US in the early 1980s and has been influencing aspects of urban planning, land-use strategies, and real estate development ever since.
Unlike the typical urban sprawl of conventional cities that make cars a necessity–– which is particularly observable in St. Louis ––new urbanist communities offer a far more people-friendly and environmentally-friendly alternative.
New Town, New Vibe
New Town is situated 18 miles from the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, so it’s surrounded by fertile wetland. Neighboring the Great Rivers Greenway District and the Katy Trail State Park, New Town is lush with many species of wildlife.
Even during the severe floods of 1993 when much of St. Charles County was underwater, the site where New Town would eventually be built was mostly spared due to its higher elevation. Despite the elevation, New Town’s developers took extra care to ensure its safety from future floods by building a series of lakes and canals for drainage and using the excavated dirt to raise the elevation by several more feet.
With the development of New Town comes beautiful homes within five walkable neighborhoods, a town plaza surrounded by waterfronts, open green, many parks, an amphitheater, outdoor ice rinks, an organic farm, and commercial space. The lakes are stocked for fishing, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking in the summertime. The commercial spaces include a handful of small businesses, restaurants, and cafes, as well as the headquarters of the construction company that built the town–– Whittaker Builders. There’s a clear emphasis on public spaces in New Town.
Upon completion, New Town will cover 755 acres, contain up to 5,700 living spaces, and will be one of the largest new urbanist communities in the US.
New Town is located near MO Route 370, which runs east-west and connects northern St. Louis County to St. Charles and St. Peters. Though, this highway is only needed when coming to and from New Town–– everything within the town is in walking distance. The roads are narrow and the sidewalks are wide to encourage walking.
Homes in New Town
All the properties in New Town are designed with the know-your-neighbors concept in mind. As of October 2017, there are approximately 1450 homes and businesses that have sold and closed within New Town. However, when it comes to personal taste, there’s a wide variety of homes to choose from. You can find both the traditional, Missouri farmhouse-style cottage with low-pitched roofs and symmetrical windows and a smattering of non-traditional architectural styles.
- A 626-square foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bath loft home in New Town has a base price of $99,500.
- A 4-bedroom, 2 ½-bath detached single-family home recently sold for $417,000.
Other Quick Facts about New Town
School District: Orchard Farm Schools
Local Grocery Store: Marsala’s Market
For more information check out The New Town at St. Charles General Assembly.