We have a problem
Few people recognize to what extent real estate and our patterns of land use planning have influenced our quality of life over the past 50 years or more. Typical sprawl real estate design has had unintended consequences that have created or worsened numerous crises. Our health (public and individual), wealth (national economy and individual), communities (social networks), and planet (local environments and global planetary health) have all degenerated in recent decades. All of us will pay the price, whether we become ill from toxins and poor food, or are forced to pay much higher taxes to repair climate-change induced disasters.
At Nature Towns, we believe a major part of the solution lies in building the right thing: Regenerative Real Estate.
“If those who are able to do it don’t, we will all fail. Is failure an option?”Karin Ascot
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”Margaret Mead
Before defining solutions, a goal must be set. At Nature Towns we promote Regenerative Lifestyles to simultaneously and equitably regenerate our:
- Community, and
Support For This Idea
Support for the idea of walkable communities is broad and at multiple levels. At an international level, this idea is seen as following the traditional pathway that still supports the majority of development around the world.
National Level Support
Organizations such as the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a national network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts, and the American Planning Association (APA) and their Healthy Places initiative support walkable places. The Nature Towns concept project also lies squarely within the vision of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) as well.
Numerous nationally recognized architects, planners and economists are aligned with this type of work, including Duany Plater Zyberk (DPZ), Ross Chapin, Randall Arendt, Charles Marohn of Strong Towns, and Sinclair Black (see testimonial on the front page).
If this is such a great idea, why hasn’t it been built yet?
Similar developments have been built, but the approaches taken so far have failed to design holistically from the start. That has created successful developments, but poor farms. Consider the research by the Liberty Prairie Foundation which found that the farm should have been designed prior to the housing in Prairie Crossing near Chicago. The ULI reports that there are more than 200 agrihoods in the USA, but many are suffering from the same problems that Prairie Crossing reports.
Nature Towns avoids that critical problem by designing the farm first, from the point of view not only of the physical design, but also for the economics and cash flow. If the farm operator cannot make a reasonable profit, the project is unsustainable in the long term. Furthermore, the project must deliver economic, environmental and social benefits to the community over the long term.