As the population boom along Colorado’s front-range continues, many housing developments have been popping up throughout the area in an attempt to satisfy the need to house the burgeoning growth. While many of these new developments tout their environmental and community principles to attract buyers, one PUD (planned unit development) project we have had the opportunity to work on takes those ideas seriously and is truly committed to building a green and inclusive community.
This project, called Main Street Erie, is still in the approval process. When it is ultimately built, Main Street Erie will provide new housing options for the growing town of Erie (located in Weld County), while simultaneously following many of the environmental and community ideals that the citizens of Colorado hold dear to their hearts.
The design of Main Street Erie is informed by New Urbanist concepts and inspired by the idealized small town of America’s yesteryear. White picket fences blend with detached walks, traditional architecture with inviting porches, and cozy alley homes to bring back the charm of an idealized residential development your grandparents may have grown up in as children.
To be efficient with land area, homes are placed closer together with smaller yards. Because most of the lots do not provide a large amount of outdoor space, and also because many of the lots have extra accessory dwelling units (ADU’s), it was determined that a community garden space would be a good addition to the project. A large portion of the property was set aside for a garden area with nearly 30 garden plots. In the community garden spaces, residents can work together getting their hands dirty nurturing their green thumbs, while interacting with their neighbors.
The inclusion of ADUs in this development will help address the need for multiple housing types. ADU’s can help provide variable housing sizes, which in turn may lead to a more diverse cross-section of community members.
Near the community garden plots will sit a clubhouse with outdoor gathering spaces, including a whimsically oversized chess board to entertain young and old alike.
Just north-east of the clubhouse a large communal lawn space is planned that will make a perfect community gathering spot for residents and their families to relax and have fun with their neighbors.
This project is an efficient use of the land due to the manner in which housing types are sited together. Homes are situated and designed for maximum solar gain. This will help maximize the efficiency of solar panels. But at the same time, care has been taken to incorporate vines and other plantings along the south sides of buildings to shade the structures from southern exposure, to help minimize heat gain as much as possible.
Main Street Erie has been a great project to be involved with. With no foreseeable slow-down in development along the Front Range of Colorado, it is good to see neighborhoods and communities like Main Street Erie being planned with sustainable and community building aspects being included from beginning.