How do you create a space where the educated, worldly, technology driven elite wants to live? The answer: Take the principles for Smart Growth and bring them to life all at once.
Tom d’Alessandro, Blakefield & Associates, and Hunter Freeman, Withers Ravennel, spoke about doing just that at the 2016 NC Green Industry Council’s Green Infrastructure Water Symposium in mid-June, when they shared plans for one of the country’s largest developments, Chatham Park in North Carolina.
Residents at Chatham Park are expected to top 55,000, with another 22 million sq. feet of commercial space, or “employment” as Tom called it, in tightly clustered development centered in five “villages.” Residential housing will span 23 product types across multiple income ranges. Open space and parks are planned to cover 2,000 acres. The city of Pittsboro, of which Chatham Park will belong, is just 4,000 people now. Build-out will span 30 years.
Not quite half (42%) of Chatham Park’s water needs will be met with purple pipe reclaimed water processed on-site. Other innovative green infrastructure technology and practices include green streets: In the past, NCDOT prohibited stormwater treatment in the right of way (ROW). Chatham Park is piloting green streets to demonstrate the effectiveness of distributed stormwater control.
“This is a new vision. We can’t afford to have grassed ROW that don’t serve another function,” Hunter said. “Every street in Chatham Park is being designed as a green street. It pays the developer off in that it increases the amount of land that can be developed.”
Working collaboratively across disciplines, multiple viewpoints are at the table in implementing Chatham Park’s green streets: transportation engineers, stormwater engineers, landscape architects and landscape contractors. They’ll be transforming clay soils into sandy soils that infiltrate. The transportation engineer wants to know what happens if it fails, so individual BMPs are [over] engineered with three layers of redundancy, Hunter said. “All the disciplines overlap in a 15-ft.-wide footprint. We all have to communicate together on the design. You cannot just contribute your part and then just walk away.” Even their commercial landscape installation/management company is already engaged in the process.
Everyone at the table does not always have the same priorities.
“I learned that stormwater and environmental protection are down the priority list,” Hunter said. Roadway safety, pedestrian safety and streetscape uses (parking, utilities) are all higher ranking. Hunter’s goal is to “look at stormwater as a resource and as a way to add value to the project, not just to meet regulatory standards.”
In other words, really smart growth.
Chatham Park: 7,000+ acres of New Thinking, Thomas d’Alesandro, Blakefield, LLC, Wilmette, Illinois.
Chatham Park: Putting Green Infrastructure to Work, Hunter Freeman, WithersRavenel, Cary, North Carolina.
NewTerrain July 15, 2016.