Can downtown living be emulated in the suburbs?

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Four hundred acres of land that will be known as Hartness. Renderings provided by Hartness.

In today’s hectic world, convenience and location are priority considerations for the new homebuyer. Families take into account area schools, safety, proximity to the workplace, nearby shopping, medical care, social opportunities, and even local entertainment. The commute to each regular destination is carefully measured and considered in the decision-making process.

Living in the heart of downtown Greenville, I understand the benefits of having convenience right outside my doorstep. Not only do I live surrounded by businesses, restaurants, and shopping, I live amid an active social community.

Downtown is filled with continuous activity, community festivals, and events that celebrate Greenville. It is no wonder that downtown living in any thriving city is highly sought after.

So, the question I wish to pose is this: Can the convenience and lifestyle of downtown city living be emulated in the suburbs? I truly believe it can.

The solution to bringing community, convenience, and social enjoyment to our surrounding neighborhoods lies in the principles of a recently developed neighborhood planning approach called New Urbanism.

New Urbanism seeks to thoughtfully design and build aesthetic communities that are “human-scaled.”

Essentially, a neighborhood would have some necessities for life and lifestyle within walking distance of one’s domicile. New Urbanism was partly developed on the strong belief that one’s surrounding environment directly affects the positive or negative quality of one’s lifestyle.

Today, we are fortunate if we have pools and clubhouses within our own neighborhoods, let alone parks for recreation, eating establishments, shopping, or community activities. When we step outside, we must act as pedestrians in competition with vehicles on the road when we do wish to take advantage of the outdoors within our neighborhoods. We even hesitate to let our children beyond our yards because it feels as though we are sending them into harm’s way rather than into a safe and trusted community.

New Urbanism calls for centralizing a neighborhood’s convenience, safety, and community to mirror downtown Main Street patterns on a micro-level.

When this occurs, the neighborhood culture is richly enhanced. It allows for public amenities such as parks, plazas, retail, restaurants, and event centers that are communitywide and community shared to be immediately accessible. Because of such conveniences, home sites can be “right-sized” to accommodate for the more social lifestyle taking place outside of the home within the shared community.

When we take careful stock of the current neighborhoods and communities that surround us, let’s consider what New Urbanism brings to the table: safer and more aesthetically pleasing environments buzzing with social energy that encourage diversity.

Currently, I am leading the development of Hartness, a walkable community on the eastside of Greenville based upon the principles of New Urbanism.

Hartness homes will be close to daily conveniences, public spaces, and nature. Residents will experience the thoughtfulness of exceptional design and planning, as the beautiful hardscape of the Village Center’s plazas, restaurants, shops, and cottages transitions through a pedestrian network of walkways into the softer landscaping of “green streets,” gardens, and pocket parks, ultimately leading to the nature preserve. We will provide a community that is a pleasure to experience for both visitors and residents, and one that utilizes a much softer environmental footprint than traditional development practices would provide.

To learn more about New Urbanism, visit CNU.org, and to learn more about Hartness, “The South’s Great Village,” visit hartnessliving.com.


Sean Hartness is the CEO of Hartness Real Estate.

 

 

 

 

 

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