Conservation Communities
September 4, 2002 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Conservation Communities are a recent development in subdivision design. Rather than dividing the land up into equal portions, houses are clustered together and the residents share a common green space. Though they're becoming more common, there is only one that has its own record label.
posted by ewagoner (10 comments total)
Cool. Makes sense. Looks great. I'd live there.
posted by AlexSteffen at 5:11 PM on September 4, 2002

Not me. I wouldn't even consider living in a subdivision that has one of those evil homeowners' associations that makes everyone paint their mailboxes the same color. There's no way in hell I could stand for communal yard space, and I like having a driveway and attached garage.

But hey, if that's your bag...more power to you.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:23 PM on September 4, 2002

Homeowner associations aside, it seems like it would be a nice place to live. i can see a couple of potential problems, however. First, the buyer had better damn well hope that they don't decide later to reparcel all that open space into more houses. There is probably some sort of contractual agreement, but i'd still be leery. Also, i would hope that these houses are well sound proofed. One of the main benefits of the distance between the houses in our neighborhood is that at 2am i can start watching a DVD with the 5.1 cranked up and my neighbors don't hear a thing.

i wouldn't trade that for the world.
posted by quin at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2002

I like the idea--It sounds like a townhouse/garden apt. development (with some single-family, separate houses mixed in)--but it is more isolated from trad. suburbia/city life, which may be a problem, because its idea of community is inward-looking instead of joining its surroundings. Doesn't it then run the risk of becoming just a different sort of gated community?

Also, the schools, offices, factories, entertainment options, etc are all outside--which in traditional city neighborhoods and traditional suburbs help to tie communities together.

I love the principles of house-building in the orange twin community though! we need more houses built from recycled/reused/reconstituted materials.
posted by amberglow at 7:07 PM on September 4, 2002

Irony: some of the tenets of this design schema are not in the least new. These used to be called "villages." And all of the advantages listed are also the good qualities of what is now known as "cities."
posted by acridrabbit at 7:09 PM on September 4, 2002

acridrabbit has a point, but aside from that, here's an example of this idea from 1963.

6 acres are devoted to 90 home footprints and there are eleven acres of greenspace in the middle with a pond, and, of all things, a volleyball court. There's a pool and a lake next door, as well as a townsquare with useful things like restaurants and a pharmacy.

Having lived here for 2 years, I can say that I'm about done with homeowner's associations. :)
posted by astrogirl at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2002

This is another manifestation of cohousing. Although certain granola elements seem to consider this a great way to go, touting the benefits of community that come from living and (at least in cohousing) eating together. Of course, a lot of the world already lives this way, and hardly surprisingly, the moment they develop a true middle class, it stops living this way. And as noted above, when Americans find themselves in semi-communal arrangements if only for legal purposes (homeowners' associations, co-ops, condos, townhomes, even at the municipal level) they have vicious fights over obscure things.
posted by dhartung at 8:08 PM on September 4, 2002

Thanks for the great post, ewagoner. It seems like a more interesting response to questions of infill and mixed-use development, too.
posted by mediareport at 9:31 PM on September 4, 2002

Interesting idea, but far from the sort of place I would want to live. It seems like they've combined all the things I dislike about the burbs with all the things I dislike about living in a city. You have a lawn to mow, seed, weed, and god knows what else, there are certainly rules about what you can and can't do to your home, and you still get to hike blocks to and from your car to unload groceries, and shovel it out whenever it snows/gets plowed in (OK, I'm thinking from a Northern point of view, but I hope to never live in the South, my allergies are just too bad. I need my nine months of snow and ice for relief) instead of parking in a nice warm garage attached to your house.
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:55 PM on September 4, 2002

Tragedy of the commons, anyone?
posted by dagny at 12:19 AM on September 5, 2002

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