Green Design is Good Business


November 2004

Green Design is Good Business.
Urban sprawl eats up more than 1,200 acres of open space, farmland and wetlands each week in New England (including nearly two acres an hour in Massachusetts alone), has Americans spending more time in their cars than ever before and makes "neighborhoods" and all the wonderful things they entail obsolete. Forward thinking city planners, however, are fighting back with "smart growth" programs, which unlike sprawl, make the link between development and quality of life. Smart growth encourages communities to craft a vision and set standards for development and construction that are grounded in community values of architectural beauty and distinctiveness, while providing expanded choices when it comes to housing and transportation. This in turn, increases the likelihood that buildings, and therefore entire neighborhoods, will retain their economic vitality and value over time. The basic principals of smart growth apply to existing urban centers and to new high density community development projects.

Enacting growth boundaries, which allow growth without creating sprawl.
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (, a non-profit school that specializes in the study and teaching of land policy, estimates that the Northeast alone could save $40 Million over the next 25 years with high density development. High density development refers to the creation of new or revitalization of existing pedestrian-friendly urban centers, which are ideal for living and working. What makes an urban center pedestrian-friendly is the grouping of public amenities (i.e. libraries, recreation centers), businesses (i.e. restaurants, boutiques) and mixed-housing options within walking distance of each other. Doing so fosters the creation of neighborhoods, a sense of community.

Creating healthier environments.
Residents and workers within compact, well-planned areas drive three to four times less than those of sprawling communities. Instead of having to constantly jump in a car in order to run errands, shop or conduct business, they walk, bike or take public transportation to their destination. This results in a reduction in carbon dioxide pollution and more physically active residents.

Cost efficiency.
On a per-unit basis, local governments have found that it is more cost effective to provide and maintain services like water, sewer, electricity, phone service and other utilities in more compact neighborhoods than in dispersed communities.

The preservation or creation of green spaces.
The preservation of existing parks and open spaces within older urban centers or including them within the design of new ones results in an increased quality of life by providing areas for recreation and relaxation.

How you can help.
Should you like to learn more about smart growth, please contact DeStefano Architects anytime at 603.431.8701. We keep abreast of smart growth initiatives across the country and believe in building communities, not just buildings, whenever possible.

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