New Urbanism Breakdown
New Urbanism promotes the creation of diverse, walkable, compact, vibrant, mixed-use communities composed of the same components as conventional development, but assembled in a more integrated fashion, in the form of complete communities. – New Urbanism.org
If you have spent any time around Evans Farm, you have likely heard the term “New Urbanism”. But do you know exactly what New Urbanism means and its influence on Evans Farm? Let’s break it down for a better understanding. New Urbanism is a style of planning and design that began in the United States in the early 1980’s, at Seaside, FL, and is heavily based on urban design practices and community planning patterns that were prominent in many vibrant communities throughout much of history.
New Urbanism design principles promote neighborhoods, neighborly community patterns and environmentally friendly development. Ultimately, New Urbanism is about “Placemaking”, creating plazas, parks, neighborhoods, and communities, each “Places”, that are desirable, comfortable spaces for human pleasure and community enjoyment.
NewUrbanism.org defines New Urbanism with 10 principles that influence the design standards. These are:
1. Walkability – Evans Farm has several nodes that have all been designed ¼ mile from each other. This allows community members to walk from the commercial district, to the entertainment pavilion, to the local elementary school and then to the local ball fields,without getting in a car. There will also be over 4 miles of bike/walking paths connected to over 30 miles of hiking/walking paths in Alum Creek.
2. Connectivity – When being designed, the developers accounted for automotive traffic, as well as, pedestrian traffic. One example is, alleys have been incorporated in the design allowing vehicles to avoid much of the pedestrian traffic, since people will mostly be walking on the sidewalks, in front of the houses.
3. Mixed-Use and Diversity – It is our goal to have a diverse range of families (age, culture,
race, religion, income levels, etc.), as well as, businesses.
4. Mixed Housing – Since Evans Farm has 13 approved builders, a variety of styles, sizes, and
prices of houses will be built in close proximity to each other.
5. Quality Architecture & Urban Design – Evans Farm has developed architectural standards
that must be followed when designing and constructing every house. These design
standards maintain a higher level of architecture that is not necessarily found in other
Central Ohio communities.
6. Traditional Neighborhood Structure –Evans Farm provides varying lot sizes while
designing open spaces within two blocks of every resident.
7. Increased Density – Shops, buildings and houses are built closely together to allow
walkable distances for community members.
8. Green Transportation – Evans Farm promotes walking, bicycling, and battery-operated
9. Sustainability – Sustainability guidelines have been written to explain the vision of Evans
Farm, related to sustainability. These guidelines elaborate on development and
maintenance of the community.
10. Quality of Life – The vision of Evans Farm is to use all of these principles to create a life
worth living for every individual living, working and visiting this community.
Norton Commons Tour Overview
Our development team has traveled across the country, and in fact, around the world to study
numerous New Urbanism communities as well the desirable (and undesirable) traits of historic and
desirable older towns. To this point, in our interest to share the Evans family and development
team’s focus on these community design principles, we have held several seminars, forums, and
numerous public presentations, over the past 18 months, to bring focus to the future New Urbanism
community, Evans Farm.
Recently, the Evans Farm team was asked to host a tour to one of these New Urbanism communities
to promote a greater understanding of community design and development. Through our travels,
two communities were identified as being similar and reflect a great deal of the vision defined for
Evans Farm. These communities are Westhaven, in Franklin TN and Norton Commons, in Louisville,
KY. With our friendship and a great deal of help from Charles Osborne III and David Toms,
developers of Norton Commons, a bus tour to Norton Commons was arranged for Monday, October 9.
A few days after we returned, builders who accompanied us on our tour were asked to provide their
thoughts on the visit and their experience. The following paragraphs share a few of the builders’
The New Urbanism Experience
Written by: Dan Troth, GreenTech Construction
“The bus leaves at 7am sharp!” was the word that went out. It was still dark out as we loaded onto the bus and took our seats while breakfast treats and cups of coffee were passed through the aisles. We were finally heading out on the field trip to Norton Commons that Dan and Tony had been promising us. The three and a half hour ride to the Louisville, Kentucky village passed quickly and we unloaded near the center of town. We walked down beautiful tree lined streets where one quickly notices something big that is missing: garages. Each home’s garage is entered from the rear and cannot be seen from the street, as one of the goals of New Urbanism is to minimize the use of cars.
Almost all of America’s suburbs require us to get in a car to go anywhere while communities like Norton Commons and Evans Farm allow us to safely step out of our homes and walk down a street, wave to neighbors sitting on their front porch and meet friends at a coffee shop or restaurant. You can walk to the YMCA or to the bank or drop your kids off at school or go shopping. And if you want to take a bike ride on pathways or go sit by a pond or stroll through a park or just watch your kids or grandkids play a ball game, it’s comforting to know that it’s all close at hand, without the necessity of a car. Another striking difference between Norton Commons and your typical suburban development is the great diversity of housing styles that appeal to all ages and to a range of income levels with the goal of creating a diverse and welcoming community. Reading about New Urbanism and Walkable Communities and seeing pictures in magazines is one thing but when you actually stand and walk in one it feels quite different. You hear yourself saying, “This works. I would like to live here.” I understand what Dan and Tony have been talking about for the last two years and feel their passion and vision. Evans Farm promises to capture a sense of community that many feel has been lost. It brings back a healthy and sustainable connection to each other that is sure to last generations and as a builder I am proud to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
*Please join with us in gratefully giving back to our community by bringing some non-perishable food items for our local food bank.
Ask a Builder
Answers written by: Mark Braunsdorf, Compass Homes
What was your first impression when you entered the neighborhood?
My first impression when we visited Norton Commons in Prospect, KY, was the attention to detail and how much thought must have been put into the community prior to development. As a builder, our philosophy at Compass Homes is to put “more thought per square foot” into each home and I immediately noticed the little details that were utilized during development.
Describe the feeling of walking down a residential/commercial street in Norton Commons.
We were able to walk the entire neighborhood, and didn’t have to get in a car the entire day. I was struck by the interactions that took place with people we saw, complete with smiles and waves from neighbors. Cars at intersections even turned a different direction to allow us to continue walking (because there are multiple ways for them to get where they wanted to go), and a fire truck even stopped and the firemen said hello to us.
Based on Norton Commons, what does “community” mean, in your own words?
Community for me is about the opportunity to connect with people. At Norton Commons, it reminded me of living on a college campus. In College, it was the outdoor and indoor common areas that made the interactions with the people in our community unique and special. Norton Commons has this same uniqueness. Community is the ability to communicate and live outside your home with others who support and know you.
How do you believe Evans Farm compares to Norton Commons?
I believe that Evans Farm will be quite like Norton Commons in that in 10-12 years the trees will mature and you won’t be able to tell the difference between this community and one that is 150 years old. The feeling of connectedness will be dramatically different than what we currently experience in our subdivisions.
What are you most excited about with the Evans Farm development?
We are excited to be a part of such an innovative community. Since we are a boutique-sized homebuilder we are able to select where we want to build. Similar to the other communities around central Ohio, we are excited to be a part of a community that will provide homeowners maximum equity while ensuring they are connected and part of a community while living in their home.
Compass Homes is a boutique-sized homebuilder building homes with “more thought per square foot” and efficient designs in communities with the highest rated schools in central Ohio. We do this through having detailed processes and a highly trained and experienced staff who are passionate about what they do and genuinely care about our clients.