May 2, 2006

‘Building Great Neighborhoods is Profitable’

One of the things that often quickly separates a new development from an established neighborhood is the greenery. Typically, new subdivisions are built after bulldozing most if not all existing trees. Then the homes look bare, until a few decades go by and the area looks "established.

The new Vickery development, however, "appears to be brand-spanking-new, which is true. The community, which eventually will total 600 residences with office and retail space, began in 2003," writes columnist Maria Saporta at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "On the other hand, the development feels as though it's been there awhile, playing off many of the smart-growth principles that resemble a more historic community.

"But one major feature that gives the Vickery community a lived-in feeling is its trees and green space."

That's not simply good luck. Developer Pam Sessions said that plans for siting houses and roads were often readjusted to save existing trees. And, her company spent $20,000 transplanting 44 mature trees within the neighborhood, incuding oak, birch, cherry, magnolia, hemlock and maple.

"All the trees make such a big difference," she told the Journal-Constitution. "They make it feel like the community is established. . . . Building great neighborhoods is profitable. When more developers realize that, we all will be better off." Indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Eventually developers will catch on that providing shaded areas (especially in the south) and mature trees which usually
    invites wildlife increases the value of the homes. This aesthetic value translates into dollar value that people will
    pay for. At the same time its saving trees and the homes of many birds and critters!
    "Conservation subdivisions" are often attractive to people who are willing to pay more for a home in the trees.
    Developers often have to weigh the costs of building around these mature trees as opposed to bulldozing them. Thats
    where they decide whats most profitable. My local government requires a permit (with a fee) to cut down any tree that
    is 30 inches in diameter or greater, and specific trees are considered "champion" trees which are not allowed to be
    cut down at all. These sorts of things help, but even we still get those bare subdivisions- the ones that were once
    a field, not a forest. I can't imagine what transplanting all those trees must've been like!