Many of today’s leading new home developments, like Craftsman Village, are designed to support “sustainable living.” While that term is used often in relation to environmentally friendly living, what this lifestyle term means for a new home buyer may not be all that clear. Here are some points to keep in mind when trying to understand what the sustainable living experience is all about.
There are many definitions of sustainable communities – some more technical and best suited for an audience of community planners and architects. The following definition from the Maryland Department of Planning is somewhat technical but offers a more accessible definition for people less familiar with the jargon of planners:
“They [sustainable communities] share a common purpose: places where people thrive to enjoy good health and create a high quality of life. A sustainable community reflects the interdependence of economic, environmental, and social issues by acknowledging that regions, cities, towns and rural lands must continue into the future without diminishing the land, water, air, natural and cultural resources that support them. Housing, transportation and resource conservation are managed in ways that retain the economic, ecological and scenic values of the environment. And they are communities where the consumption of fossil fuels, emissions of greenhouse gases, water resources and pollution are minimized.”
Essentially, sustainable communities are about creating a healthy place where we can live, work, and entertain ourselves and our families with as little damage to the environment as possible. We achieve these outcomes in a number of ways, but following is a list of some of the design features of a sustainable community that you might recognize and appreciate:
Plenty of green space and recreational areas (e.g. lakes and parks) to encourage outdoor activity and healthy activity options close to home.
Beautifully designed streetscapes that also support healthy living by making it safer and aesthetically more pleasing to walk and interact with the neighborhood around you. Streetscapes that conform to sustainable design principles take into account: the exterior design of homes (e.g. welcoming front porches, windows and picturesque walkways); the curve and width of the street (gentle curves and narrower roads force cars to drive slower making neighborhood strolls safer and more enjoyable) and; aesthetic street structures that encourage human interaction (e.g., center squares, stylish street lights that are closer to pedestrians, and public seating areas like village gazebos, etc.).
Smaller lots help to conserve land and reverse suburban sprawl. Sustainable communities require less land and some developments even attempt to include commercial developments within the community to help create more employment options close to home (and reduce environmentally unfriendly long commutes).
Sustainable communities ultimately take a holistic approach to meeting consumer needs. Not only can you typically get a home built with energy conservation and the most modern comforts in mind, but you will get a neighborhood designed to support healthy living, an appreciation for the natural environment, and positive social interaction.
Learn about the ways Craftsman Village is embracing sustainability principles to create an idyllic and healthy community for new residents – read more here.