Culpepper Landing

Characteristics of our Traditional Neighborhood Development

Characteristics of a Traditional Neighborhood Development

Design Purpose and Community Benefits

 

Culpepper Landing community is a “TND” – a “traditional neighborhood development”.  That means that it has been specially designed to encourage pedestrian-ism – walking.  Increasing pedestrian-ism has numerous benefits:

 

                     Community interactions increases so that neighbors get to know one another;

                     Vehicular traffic declines because people can go to parks, restaurants and churches without getting in their cars;

                     Streets and parks become safer because of the number of people using them;

                     Children and older citizens, who may not be able to drive, can safely walk; and

                     Residents’ health increases and obesity decreases.

 

Many of the traits that people seek out in a neighborhood – a feeling of community, a sense of place or safe conditions for their children – spring from this emphasis on pedestrianism and can only be collectively achieved through TND design.

 

In order to encourage people to walk, a number of conditions must be created.  It must be safe to walk.  There must be worthwhile destinations within walking distance, and the journey must be pleasant.  Important elements of TND’s, working in concert, create these conditions.  The Founder must initially create these elements.  It will be the community’s responsibility to preserve them.

 

TNDs create safer streets in a number of ways.  They use a network of smaller, connected streets rather than smaller streets feeding into bigger streets that feed into yet bigger streets that will be difficult for pedestrians to cross.  Thus, it is important not to close off connections.  TNDs use more narrow streets than conventional development with lower design speeds to force vehicles to slow down and also allow pedestrians to cross streets quickly.  Cars parked along the sides of streets in TNDs also cause traffic to slow and reduce the visual impacts of having numerous parking lots.  Pedestrians also feel safer with a barrier between them and traffic.  Street trees provide a similar barrier, besides increasing the beauty of streets and providing comfortable shade.  Alleys or lanes often provide the primary means of vehicular access to homes and businesses in TNDs.  This means that there are fewer driveways and parking lot entrances for pedestrians to navigate.  Houses and businesses in a TND typically are closer to the street, increasing safety by the many “eyes on the street.”  Similarly, parks and open spaces are normally surrounded by residences, providing 24-hour security.

 

When correctly designed, almost every residence in a TND is within a five-minute walk from some significant destination.  Typically, TNDs have greater densities near their cores in order to maximize the number of people who can easily reach the stores and restaurants or other destinations that often locate in these areas.  These areas are supposed to be vibrant and attractive, so they may have somewhat more light, a little more noise later into the evening and tighter parking conditions than other parts of the neighborhood.  This is a cost of their being worthwhile destinations.  Other communal destinations such as parks, amphitheaters, churches or schools have different neighborhood interactions.  It is these destinations that give the community its character.  Similarly, the parks and common areas of TNDs are usually open to the public, including people outside the TND.  In this way a TND gives something back to the surrounding neighborhood.  This also makes these destinations richer interactions in the larger community, beyond the edge of the TND.

 

Finally, the journey of the pedestrian must be pleasant and interesting.  Sidewalks and trails often tie the TND together although sometimes streets are so small that no sidewalks are necessary.  Along these paths, houses and shops pull up close to the street, providing interesting visual stimulus.  Porches and stoops are encouraged in order to increase neighborly interactions.  The typical TND creates a “building wall” along the street made up of the fronts of houses, shops and other buildings, and the community uses an architectural code to assure that the shared public area of the street is beautiful and interesting.

 

The benefits of pedestrianism are many.  The design elements of TNDs that deliver those benefits can be accidentally destroyed through inattention.  A through street is closed.  The fire chief strips the parking off of a street.  A parking lot is constructed up on a street.  A park is closed to the public.  The TND features and the design principles of Culpepper Landing must be protected through the years in order to continue to produce the desired benefits and it is the residents’ responsibility to ensure this protection.

 

The vision for Culpepper Landing is grand and will take several years to achieve.  However, the long-term success of the community depends on you and your involvement in this great community.  Welcome to Culpepper Landing!