In an attempt to give the idea of New Urbanism some credit, we figured taking the principles laid out on NewUrbanism.org and applying them to what we experience, everyday, in Carlton Landing. We also believe one post would not do the principles justice, nor be able to share our experiences in living it daily. So, welcome to the first of 10 posts on New Urbanism as it relates to our the experiences in this wonderful place.
Wikipedia define’s New Urbanism as an urban design movement which promotes environmentally friendly habits by creating walkable neighborhoods containing a wide range of housing and job types. (see the whole wiki here) We define it as the best way to build a town that promotes the old school principle’s of knowing who you live next to, investing in a relationship with them, and growing from the wisdom of those around you. Our lovely corner of the world was brought to life by the visionary architects at DPZ . You may have seen their work in Seaside, Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, or the many other communities they have designed. We were honored to watch the process unfold during a recent Design Charette on some additional land our town founder had his eye on across the cove.
Walk a Mile (or two) in Our Shoes
In a sustainable community, it makes sense that walkability would be the first principle listed on the NewUrbanism.org site dedicated to promoting the movement and offering online courses to help you understand. Walkable communities promote a more active lifestyle, easier access to work, and opportunities to landscape buildings beautifully. All this leads to less stress, more efficiency at work, more family time because the commute is non-existent, and garages are located in the rear of the home to provide more space on the front of the home for nice porches, flower beds, and trees. When cars are not necessary, the community becomes safer for you and your family to take in the sights without the fear of an accident. The effort is made to keep most everything you could possibly need within a 10-minute walk. If everything goes as planned here, that will definitely be the case for Carlton Landing.
Roads and Bridges
Carlton Landing has done a magnificent job of laying out our community to promote this principle. This city boy was just plain annoyed by narrow roads and bridges. But, after taking a deep breath and trying to understand why roads and bridges are narrow, you begin to realize that in order to promote safety, narrow roads and bridges are necessary to control speed of traffic. You say, “well if their are no cars, why do you need to control traffic?” and I say, because there will be reasons you have to drive outside the community and when you do, we want you to drive carefully. Also, this is a brand new community and we have the constant lookie-loos driving through to see what all the fuss is about. Besides, lookie-loos mean potential new neighbors and that is something we are all excited about!
Wide Sidewalks and Very Little Yard
Carlton Landing is blessed with wide sidewalks and this is because our town planners have encouraged homeowners to build their homes close to the sidewalk edge. Shockingly, when houses are built this way, community happens! I cannot count the number of times we have been sitting on the porch, front steps or on the sidewalk and the next thing you know, you have a group of friends and neighbors congregating for some good conversation. Countless times we have been watching kiddos play outside and the next thing you know, 4 families are throwing food on the counter for a pot-luck and calling it dinner. We live in a day and age that front yards aren’t used like they were back in the day. This whole place is your front yard! The little bit of yard we do have is perfect for our little Hazel puppy. Besides, the idea is to get out there and be in community with those you live with, get to know them, and make an impact in their lives and the lives of their children!
To some, it may seem an odd way to live. But, we encourage you to come give it a try. You will be amazed at how different your life is and what an impact that has on your family and work life. We have an awesome opportunity to reshape the lives of our children by surrounding them with wisdom and like-minded beliefs of our neighbors we come in contact with on a daily basis. What a stark difference from where we were in the city.