New Terms for Old Fashioned Neighborhoods
Back in the day, neighbors sat on their front porches, and got to know each other. When they needed something, they would walk a short way to the corner store. Communities were built around a central gathering area, where schools, parks, libraries, and community centers, and other shared neighborhood spaces were popular.
This isn’t just a nostalgic memory from a “Leave It to Beaver” TV episode, we really have lost our sense of community, somehow.
The loss of the old neighborhood probably happened right about when urban sprawl began.
It wasn’t intentional perhaps, but by spreading our neighborhoods far and wide, we grew disconnected.
Recently, there’s a drive to get back to the real old fashioned neighborhood. It’s a new spin on an old concept, and it’s being reinvented in today’s modern green neighborhoods, and a new phrase “new urbanism“.
The green movement isn’t just about green houses and energy efficiency. It’s going to the next level:
Now whole communities are being created with green concepts.
There’s an increase in new projects such as green condominiums and apartment complexes, and planned green suburban and urban communities. There’s even an upward trend in green pre-fabricated housing.
Green communities consider smart land use, carefully planned development, sustainable neighborhood resources, water and natural resource conservation, and more. Green community living encompasses more than just protecting the environment; it also involves the enhanced livability of the community and a stronger sense of neighborhood identity for the people who live there.
A related off-shoot of the green movement has its own catch phrase: new urbanism. This is defined by the Congress for New Urbanism as “a growing movement [that] recognizes walkable, human-scaled neighborhoods as the building blocks of sustainable communities and regions. By focusing development, New Urbanism promotes efficient use of infrastructure and preservation of habitats and farmland. With green building leaders, the Congress for New Urbanism is establishing new standards for green design at the neighborhood scale. (From CNU[dot]ORG)
New urbanism includes compact, mixed-use urban development where people and shared community spaces combine to create efficient, livable neighborhoods. Far from the urban sprawl of past years that contributed to generic, faceless suburbs and detached communities, new urbanism promises to bring back the feel of a real neighborhood. A new urban community promises a neighborhood where neighbors can interact, be involved, and feel a sense of pride and ownership in where they live. The green housing movement and new urbanism share some common tenets that promote sustainable living. Due to the focus on efficient, sustainable living, new urban neighborhoods are also commonly referred to as green communities.
EPA Green Community Program
On an even broader scale, entire communities are taking it upon themselves to craft a vision and plan for sustainable living. The Environmental Protection Agency offers a program whereby communities and towns can work together to develop a strategy to reduce their environmental footprint. Learn more about the EPA Green Community Program here.
In summary, choosing a greener home can actually mean choosing a better neighborhood, and returning to a more community-focused way of living. The many options available in green construction and building is providing you with more choices all of the time. A green, eco-friendly lifestyle can be yours if you educate yourself about the options available.
Nestor Santtia, an experienced General Contractor, Certified Green Building Technical Professional, and proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council. I’m confident in helping you with your home energy deficiencies.