Innovation

Planning for evolution over time

What happens to a master planned community after the last house is sold, the last commercial building leased? Even with Homeowners Associations in place, and a set of CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) how much can one expect a community to evolve and change over time? Talking with David Nelson, Senior Vice President Land Development, of A.G. Spanos Companies, The Real Story got some insight about the time horizon for his community-in-the-planning, The Preserve.

In today’s podcast, David talks about time to entitle a project (he is projecting about 18 months), the time to bring it to market (about five years) and the length of time for the sales of all of the residential, commercial and retail offerings to be completed, which he sees at about 20 years from today. He is candid about the opportunities and the challenges of planning for a future that most of us can’t imagine. . . and then adds to the equation the fact that the community doesn’t stand still on the date that it is sold out; indeed, another life cycle of about 50 years begins then, as organic changes, driven by human need and desire, continue the process of community evolution.

Planning for evolution over time

Planning for evolution over time

What happens to a master planned community after the last house is sold, the last commercial building leased? Even with Homeowners Associations in place, and a set of CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) how much can one expect a community to evolve and change over time? Talking with David Nelson, Senior Vice President Land Development, of A.G. Spanos Companies, The Real Story got some insight about the time horizon for his community-in-the-planning, The Preserve.

In today’s podcast, David talks about time to entitle a project (he is projecting about 18 months), the time to bring it to market (about five years) and the length of time for the sales of all of the residential, commercial and retail offerings to be completed, which he sees at about 20 years from today. He is candid about the opportunities and the challenges of planning for a future that most of us can’t imagine. . . and then adds to the equation the fact that the community doesn’t stand still on the date that it is sold out; indeed, another life cycle of about 50 years begins then, as organic changes, driven by human need and desire, continue the process of community evolution.
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Is sustainability and architectural goal or a lifestyle?

Is sustainability and architectural goal or a lifestyle?

Ron Jones, one of the founders and principals of Hunt Hale Jones architects, planners and interiors, thinks that most of the talk about sustainability puts the responsibility on architects and planners for new designs, new materials—when in fact, almost half of the changes needed to improve the sustainability of a household or a community are lifestyle-based decisions.  Says Ron, “Sustainability has to be a lifestyle goal; a change in culture.”  Without that commitment to individual action, people may live in energy-efficient homes, but drive three hours to and from work.

One of the opportunities the Bay Area offers in the future is the adaptive reuse of old, non-residential properties into living spaces.  Think about old school buildings being repurposed for loft living, or the hangars at military bases being transformed into a new, residential form.  Ron is also looking at how people live in their homes—is the living room outdated, to be replaced by a great room?  Will outdoor spaces be seen as extensions of the interior living spaces?  So many decisions will be made based on generational psychographics – based on personality, attitudes, lifestyles and outlook– instead of the old demographic profile.  Age seems to be the wild card for people designing the next generation of homes, because the Boomers show absolutely no interest in aging—gracefully, or at all… and that opens up new opportunities for active, interactive community design.

If you were designing your own neighborhood, how green would it be?

Chip Pierson

Colleen Edwards interviews Chip Pierson, Dahlin Group Architecture Planning

There’s a lot of press these days about sustainable environments. Green communities.  Smart growth. New Urbanism.  What’s the human-scale proposition behind the planning terms?

Chip Pierson of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning talks to The Real Story about one of the key components to “living green” – how critical the relationship between transportation and schools, work, shopping and home.  In community planning, we see more emphasis on creating destinations that are walkable or in bicycling distance, instead of repeating the heavy reliance on the automobile for major connections—between work and home, as well as the daily trips to schools or running errands.

According to Chip, studies show that 40% of the greenhouse gases come from automobile use.  Community planning that reduces private vehicles as the only means of transportation goes a long way toward creating more sustainable communities

There are a number of groups studying the impact of planning on sustainable living, including the Congress for the New Urbanism.  In its website, the CNU folks identify shared space as the organizing element of a community, where architecture physically defines the street and places of shared use—like plazas, squares, cafes and porches—that promote interaction of people and their neighbors.

The public realm, then, adds character to the neighborhood, promotes security and increases community pride—all of those intangibles that make some neighborhoods feel so good, even when you can’t put your finger on the one key element that drives it.  It is the interweaving of streets, parks, transportation choices, scale of architecture and the sense that whatever you are looking for is within reach that sets these neighborhoods, communities and towns apart.