for more charm, just add people
i read a fascinating article in the toronto star this weekend about a new (or not so new, depending on your point of view) way of building cities. the idea is to concentrate lots of people into one area without building towering condos. instead you build smaller 2 and 3 stories homes, each with a backyard... and you get rid of the streets, replacing them with narrow "pedways". cars are regulated to small, one-way driveways that don't run through the community, so pedestrian traffic, and greenspace are maintained. john stillich, the guy behind this whole thing, calls it "newburg":
Newburg achieves its greater density by eliminating front yards, driveways - and streets. Instead, all homes have a small space in front for private landscaping and look onto broad pedestrian walkways that Stillich calls "pedways."
At about 5 metres, these pedways are just wide enough for an emergency vehicle but are reserved for people to stroll, cycle and roller blade. Cars and detached single garages are confined to wide back lanes that open onto commercial main streets where shops, restaurants and offices are topped by apartments and condos. Between the houses and the garage are the backyards.
if you have access to the actual paper version of the star (i do) there's a nice big layout graphic showing you exactly what he's talking about. it's really a very good idea, so i've sent the guy an email and asked him if he needs any help.
edit: both chris and margaret have asked me to post a scanned copy of the layout graphic i mentioned, so here you go: