Interview: Darius Sollohub of the NJIT School of Architecture

Newark is the fastest growing city in the Northeast, leading the nationwide trend of people migrating into cities. The Wall Street Journal ran a piece describing the demographic aspect of this move — boomers and millennials, mostly — and identifying higher energy prices as one of the main reasons for this trend.

The Journal (and a similar CNN piece that ran the day before) described the New Urbamism phenomenon, which closely identifies with walkable neighborhoods intended to encourage community. To get some insight into the New Urbanism movement and how Newark’s future is being guided from an urban design perspective, I interviewed Darius Sollohub, Associate Professor of Architecture at NJIT.

The interview is about 31 minutes. Press the play button below to listen.


On the podcast, we discussed:


  • Darius’ history with the NJIT School of Architecture and how the school has participated in research and advisory in the city
  • What New Urbanism means, the origins of the movement, and some of the critiques and benefits
  • How Newark’s redevelopment can benefit from the New Urbanism model
  • Whether Newark is taking the right approach in its urban design, and how design can make a difference in urban problems like crime and quality of life
  • Bonus! What will Newark be like in five years?

Newark Mayor Fed Up with Cheap Box Houses

Newark Mayor Fed Up with Cheap Box Houses
From a December All Things Considered on NPR.

A building boom in Newark, N.J. has produced rows of bland, cheaply made houses. Frustrated with these “Bayonne boxes,” Mayor Booker has enlisted a group of architects to come up with better, more varied, housing for the city.

Star Ledger: ‘Bayonne boxes’ may get the boot in Newark

‘Bayonne boxes’ may get the boot in Newark
We’ve lived in a rental unit in a Bayonne Box for almost four years, and, while the building is livable, it’s certainly not inspiring. The tight proximity to the building next door means that we have to light the apartment during most of the day — every other room other than the living room is dark.

The new regulations, which are doubtless the result of the recent planning forum hosted at the Newark Museum last fall, should help to reinvigorate the city’s landscape with more interesting and sustainable structures. Zemin Zhang, a Daily Newarker contributing writer, wrote two excellent pieces about the Bayonne Box phenomenon:

As for us, we’ll be moving out of this building later this year into what we hope to be a more architecturally optimistic space.

The revised Newark regulations call for uniform setbacks, additional windows, narrower driveways, larger backyards and increased space between houses.

The city is also encouraging the use of balconies, bay windows, stoops and porches and is calling for 30 percent of the front of homes to be filled with windows.

The city is also recommending significant changes for driveways and parking. In order to encourage mass transit, officials plan to wave the one space per dwelling require ment if the home is within 1,200 feet of a station for the light rail, PATH train or NJ Transit bus station.