At its core, the movement (often referred to as ‘new urbanism’) arose from a growing disenchantment with the urban sprawl that accompanied the introduction of the automobile and has characterized the development of cities since.
Modern Urban Village development is typically characterized by medium-density housing, mixed use zoning, good public transit and an emphasis on pedestrianization and public space.
Contemporary urban village ideas are closely related to New Urbanism and smart growth ideas initiated in the United States.
Urban villages are seen to create self-contained communities that reduce the need to travel large distances and reduce the subsequent reliance on the automobile. The decline of noxious industry and the emergence of the service economy allows the mixing of employment and residential activities without detriment to residents.
Through more consolidated development, urban villages can reduce the intrusion of urban growth on the countryside. (in contrast to the single-use zoning that car-centric urban sprawl during the industrial and manufacturing eras.
These environmental consequences of urban sprawl have come to dominate discussion promoting urban villages in recent years.