Monday, November 21, 2005

Human Scale Neighborhoods 

I am IN to “human scale”—human scale life, human scale work, and human scale neighborhoods. Please don’t attach a cell phone to my ear, Spock fashion, or install me on the 27th floor of a high-rise from 9 to 5, five days a week. Give me adventure, genuine diversity, and unrestricted opportunity.

When I am home if I that's not out on the land, let me find my way to a mix of housing types clustered around one or more distinct neighborhood centers which support jobs, commercial activity, and a whole range of amazing amenities. I want to walk or ride my bike. Stop and visit with my neighbors. See color, feel the energy of lively streets and gathering places.

Over the years I’ve come to see that neighborhoods where the car is king tend to lack both diversity and a sense of community. Who needs endless shuttle trips? Who needs the problem of “sprawl”? Let's opt for more efficient forms of infrastructure found in ECO communities and sweet compact towns and neighborhoods. Let's choose designs (again human scale) that enhance friendly relationships, and the sense of community that grows social equity.

Talk to me about sustainable— materials, building, and techniques. That very concept works to create neighborhoods with a lively mix of residential, retail, office, and light-industrial land-uses which are free of water, soil, or air contamination. This is not only efficient, it adds value. I want a healthy home and a helathy environment. I want to support local economies and be part of creating the win-win-win situation that attracts folks with a twinkle in their eyes and an outstanding return on my investment.

And I'm not dreaming!

Here in the Asheville area, the Montford area actually exemplifies the concepts of human scale and sustainable, beautifully manifested. As that neighborhood changed, small parcels of land and old buildings became available for new uses. What our son refers to as “gentrification” began to, and still is taking place.

Mission style bungalows from the 1920's and grand mansions regained their energy. Restored or retro-fitted the buildings evolved into a new urban fabric. In a short span of about five years, the mix of residential and commercial buildings began to make full use of the existing infrastructure and services while preserving a sense of history, place, and cultural context.

On any given day, you could,and can see “Green” builders retrofitting buildings, and saving construction materials. People got together, made decisions and protected community spaces, preserving land, and encouraging healthy and vibrant spaces.

I LOVE stewardship.
It makes so much sense.

janeAnne is the Principal Broker at ECO-STEWARD REALTY in Asheville.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?