Over the past year, our consultants have noticed how builders and developers are designing master plans, apartment projects, resort subdivisions and/or single family homes that focus inward, rather than on the relationship with their surrounding land uses. This is sometimes a function of “less than desirable” surroundings, but more often than not it is a choice that developers made to add value to their project by creating a “community within a community”.
An example of this is Sofia Lofts by Nakhshab Development & Design in the Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego. This 16-unit rental apartment project was designed for interaction between its residents by orienting the homes around a central courtyard with BBQ grill, lounge area and even a retractable screen for showing movies. Even the product itself was designed to attract a mix of renter profiles, ranging from smaller studios to larger two-story units for families, with a vision for “aging in place” in spite of the small project size. Another example is the Grow master plan on Bainbridge Island outside of Seattle. It offers a mix of sustainable for-sale and rental attached and detached homes that orient to one of three cores – The Village (single family and townhomes “amidst shared gardens and inviting green spaces”), The Grove (townhomes and flats set “around a quiet woodland and orchard of native trees and ‘edible landscaping’”) and The Park (townhomes, flats and single family homes around “The Park”).
Our Vice President of Advisory Adam McAbee filmed the video shown here, which provides another two examples – one is the resort-oriented Cottages at KaMilo on the Big Island of Hawaii by Brookfield Homes, and the other is the semi-custom single family neighborhood Mainhouse in Encinitas, California by City Ventures. All of the projects discussed here are great examples of how a project can be successfully designed to look within.
Some of the key insights learned include:
- Builders and developers can add value by orienting product inward instead of outward.
- This type of design can work well when a site’s surroundings are a challenge.
- This orientation can work with most residential product types.
- Interaction between the residents of the community is the primary goal.
- This type of land planning can diversify product of similar density.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you with your housing development.