Nature Towns are places that give you the highest quality of life at the lowest cost.
These are complete communities where everything you need is within walking distance. You can pick up your kids, your groceries and your (organic!) dry-cleaning, all while you walk the dog.
Residents have easy access to nature because the compact, 80-acre town is surrounded by a greenbelt. The town is small enough for you to walk across in 15 minutes, but large enough for 3000 people in 1300 households, including about 200 live-work-retail buildings with your neighbors’ businesses on the ground floor.
Neuf-Brisach, France, inspiration for our pilot project near Austin, TX.
Nature Town Features
Inside the town boundaries you’ll find:
- single-family homes
- garden court homes
- human-scale 3-story apartment buildings (multiplexes)
- pocket parks
- dog parks
- large central plaza, the public gathering space
- much more!
See link for a full list of features.
The majority of the greenbelt around the town is operated as a regenerative agriculture farm. This farm comprises 75% or more of the entire Nature Town site, a minimum of 240 acres.
It’s all walkable!
Before the advent of automobiles, just about every place was walkable. This changed as planners redesigned cities with wider roads and vast parking lots to favor the car.
Neuf-Brisach in the Alsace region of France: Built in the 1700s, it is approximately 320 acres in total, with an 80-acre walkable town in the center. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The photo to the right shows Palmanova, Italy. The green star represents the outer limits of the town. As in Neuf-Brisach, the ‘greens’ comprise approximately 75% of the total area while the town makes up the remaining 25%.
Today, new walkable towns surrounded by green infrastructure in the form of regenerative agriculture present an exciting solution to multiple challenges. In Nature Towns, the outer, green ring is no longer designed to repel invaders, as in the citadels and star forts of earlier times. Instead, the regenerative agriculture amenity (farm) functions as a buffer that produces the most nutrient-dense food available, while sequestering carbon and protecting residents from wildfire, drought and flooding.
This protection from climate risks also protects residents’ property values, making their lifestyles more affordable, convenient and resilient.
This land use pattern is the only one we know of that holistically integrates a community with green infrastructure in such a way as to protect the residents who live there. In Nature Towns, the greens are owned communally by the residents and operated by a master steward, who is responsible for achieving regenerative goals (such as tons of carbon sequestered) on an annual basis.
Properly designed, Nature Towns are regenerative places that support regenerative lifestyles. A regenerative place allows you to regenerate your health, wealth, community and planet simply by moving in. No extra effort required!
Comparable concepts include:
- Sir Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City Movement and other places originally planned as self-contained communities with greenbelts. Note that most of these places no longer exhibit the pattern of a garden city, as the greenbelts have been paved or otherwise developed.
- P.A. Yoeman’s City Forest
- Star Forts, Gallery – these were all designed as military fortifications, starting in the mid-1400s in Italy.