Sprawl, America’s predominant form of development, is a physical manifestation of a particular way of thinking. Andres Duany, one of the founders of the New Urbanist movement, describes our situation well. Prior to World War II, “developers were generalists- they set out to build entire villages or urban neighborhoods… today’s developers are specialists. One builds only shopping centers, another office parks, another houses. Traffic engineers design only the roads, environmental analysts worry only about the open space… but no one looks out for the big picture. The result is a collection of monocultures: a disaggregation of the elements of community into specialized areas.”*
Perhaps the most detrimental consequences of our tendency to compartmentalize is that we view the natural environment as an entity separate from ourselves which we are either in favor of preserving or not. Thus our current form of growth ignores that our fate is fundamentally intertwined with the fate of our natural environment. South Main embodies a commitment to aligning the built and natural environments. While our Built Green Colorado requirement is a central to this commitment, we believe that our urban design is the most important aspect of South Main’s sustainability.
South Main incorporates daily needs within an easily walkable radius, removing the imperative to drive. The neighborhood is built around the human, not just the car. Wide sidewalks, tree-lined streets, and on-street parking to separate pedestrians from moving vehicles compel visitors and residents alike to move through their day on foot. In a world of finite resources, the importance of walkability can not be overstated.
*Andres Duany “A New Theory of Urbanism” Scientific American, December 2000