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Energy and Environmental Building Association, 1999

Perry Bigelow - The Way Neighborhoods Were Meant To Be

 
HomeTown provides children with a free range - In HomeTown, without encountering a car going more than 20 mph; children can
- Walk to 8 Neighborhoods and 8 private Neighborhood Parks
- They can walk to 3 natural prairie areas with ponds or wetlands
- They can walk to 2 larger public parks
- They can walk to the Neighborhood Store & Cafe
- They can walk to the Post Office
- They can walk to the town center shops & offices
- They can play in the streets and Living Lanes
- And they can walk to school.

Again - they can do all this without encountering a car going more than 20 mph.

HomeTown ends the dog days of summer when kids become bored by 10:00 in the morning because they can't play outside anywhere except in their own rear yard and on their own boring swing set.  With their short attention span, they've "been there and done that!"  In HomeTown, children can participate in an endless array of interesting activities without the necessity of "mom's limousine service.

Children rarely meet automobiles that don't belong to HomeTown residents or guests because outside cars will not use HomeTown as a short cut - they can drive around HomeTown faster than driving through it.

HomeTown, in large measure, is culturally sustainable for two reasons:

1) It is a physically safe and nurturing environment for children.

2) Because children have a large free range within which to exercise their influence they can learn how to responsibly reign - to be kings and queens.

IV  HomeTown

HomeTown will have about 1100 homes in 8 distinct neighborhoods on 150 acres of former cornfield. It is in the City of Aurora about 30 miles west of downtown Chicago. All homes are detached, except for some that are attached at the garage. The price range is $100,000 to $250,000.

We opened our models 1 1/2 years ago and HomeTown has 180 sales. HomeTown is currently selling at and annualized rate of 130 homes per year.

We try to think of HomeTown through the eyes of a resident rather than through the eyes of a planner. A resident's interests radiate outward from his home.

In other words, the home and the homes and area immediately surrounding them are most important, then the neighborhood, then the larger community. We designed HomeTown accordingly.
 
The primary spheres of shared human activity in HomeTown are
- First the homes,
- Then the typical Mini Neighborhood,
- Then the Neighborhood with itsNeighborhood Street, Neighborhood Park, and the corner store and café,
- Then the public parks, and
- Finally the Village Center and school. 

Each sphere of activity is connected with pedestrian ways to the next larger sphere of activity. Pocket Neighborhoods are connected to each other as well as to the Neighborhood Park by oversized 6'-wide public sidewalks. Neighborhoods are likewise connected to each other and to the Public Parks. 

Each sphere of shared human activity and their connections provide for the most important element of any Neighborly Neighborhood--freedom and mobility for children and old people without dependence on the automobile (which they can't use themselves) along with the opportunity for children and old people to interact everywhere all the time.

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