Jed and Katie selby, both long time members of the whitewater kayaking community and team wavesport, are doing a built green traditional neighborhood development (TND) on the banks of the arkansas river in the town of Buena Vista, CO. Built green is a certification from the Colorado Government that a house gets when it's extremely energy efficient. Along with the town Of Buena Vista, they've applied for Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant to build one of the longest play parks in the world. All lots will be within a two to five minute walk from the public river park. The focal point of the development will be the central square right next to the main play spot. This spot, complete with a foot bridge above and a restaurant right next to it, will be custom made to host kayaking events.
In typical developments of today, all uses including office parks, schools, shopping, Recreation, and civic buildings, are physically separate and connected by arterial roads. This system makes almost everyone completely dependent on cars. Basically, TND is the practice of Building towns the way they used to be built, around the needs of pedestrians instead of cars. This is done in part by creating mixed use (buildings with apartments above and store fronts below) buildings, and enough density so that there are enough people within walking distance to support these stores. The next challenge is to make an interesting public ream. This includes wide sidewalks, trees, narrow streets to slow down traffic, and houses with porches built right up next to the sidewalk. This may sound easy, but this is all illegal according to current zoning laws. To do a project like this, the town must give you the freedom to completely re-write the local zoning codes.
Jed and Katie's website, www.southmainriverpark.com
shows the whole layout and is very informative. If walking from your house to an awesome play spot interests you, check it out.
Feel free to call or email me for more details.