The chance to do it right with next move

    Over an archway in our kitchen, my wife has nailed a strip of wood that bears the inscription "Simplify. Simplify. Simplify."  Yeah, right.  With two teenagers and a lovable but super-sensitive dog, our lives are anything but simple.  (You probably have the same or similar complications in your own lives.)  But soon enough we will have the opportunity to put up or shut up when the kids are off to college and their own lives, and we make some lifestyle decisions on our next phase in the circle of life.
    Baby boomers haven't always had the opportunity during their careers and child-raising years to choose precisely where they want to live.  We have moved where our jobs have taken us, where we thought the best schools were for our kids, and where others have suggested the best neighborhoods were.  As the suburbs have expanded into the exurbs, and the exurbs expanded into rural farmlands, reliance on the automobile has further complicated our lives, not to mention added to our expenses (gas, insurance, parking fees).
    That could be why the "New Urbanism" seems to be taking hold in many towns I visit.  New Urbanism began as something of an environmental term, denoting green living that helps reduce reliance on oil, greenhouse gas emissions and the like.   But like many terms that strike a chord with a broad spectrum, New Urbanism has broadened to denote a move toward living where you work and play.
    Daniel Island just outside of Charleston, SC, is a good example.  From most of the residential areas of the community, you can ride a bicycle to the supermarket, ice cream shop, offices, schools and restaurants.  A large tennis stadium on Daniel Island hosts an annual professional tournament, and a soccer stadium is home to a semi-pro team.  Black Baud, a leading developer of software for fund-raising applications, maintains its corporate offices right in the community.  Although the two excellent private golf clubs on Daniel Island, one by Tom Fazio and one by Rees Jones, are at the extremities of the community and therefore require a car ride, residents won't feel too guilty about the two-minute drive depleting the ozone layer.  Daniel Island's real estate runs the entire gamut, from Charleston-style homes with little or no property to large single-family homes on more than an acre.  Prices range from the mid six figures up to the millions, but there is something about living in such a planned, all-inclusive community that tends to be, well, all inclusive.
    For those who live to shop and eat, developers of large retail centers are beginning to include offices and condominiums in their plans.  I have driven recently through two such developments in Williamsburg, VA, and Wilmington, NC.  Both are within just a few minutes drive of a nice selection of private and semi-private golf clubs; prices for living where you shop tend to be much more reasonable than inside the gates of the local golf course communities.
    A related article today in the Hartford (CT) Courant piqued our interest with its reference to author Jay Walljasper and his new publication, The Great Neighborhood Book.  The author is affiliated with the Project for Public Spaces , "a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build communities."  The organization's excellent web site provides highlights from Walljasper's book, including six characteristics that make a neighborhood great.  You can read them for yourself, but we were struck by #6, that "Good places are inspired by the people who live there...and that the people who live in a neighborhood are the world's experts on that particular place.  Any project to improve things should be guided by the community's wisdom, not the dictates of professional disciplines."
    Those of us preparing to relocate in the coming years would do well to keep that in mind, whether we choose a New Urbanism lifestyle or not.  My wife and I have that on our list of things to consider when we choose our home on the course.

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...