Traditional Planning

Many of the projects we pursue involve historic buildings. 'east arbor' has a demonstrated capacity with older styles, particularly when tasked to combine new material with the older, existing building fabric. We enjoy working with existing structures and welcome the unknown challenges that inevitably come from the projects. While we focus primarily on buildings, we are equally interested in the history of city planning and design issues that are not limited to individual structures.

As the early use of automobiles became widespread, homes were located further from the core cities. The segregation of residential, commercial and industrial uses into separate zones was more easily accommodated and seemingly reasonable. After all, very few would seek to locate a noxious chemical plant near an elementary school. However, when this ostensibly good idea is carried to its extreme, it can have negative effects. If commercial enterprises are banned from residential zones, the convenient corner store is often moved to a distant strip mall. Vehicular transportation is required to travel between each individual zone.

In contrast, traditional neighborhoods, and newer, traditionally-planned communities allow and encourage walking. By providing for mixed-use development, municipalities can increase the opportunities for simple human interaction. Houses can be smaller, because the amenities we all desire are available elsewhere. The basement bar is replaced by the corner pub. The home entertainment room gives way to the local cinema. A simple walk in the neighborhood could take the place of the home gym.

With the building trade’s recent focus on “Green Building,” we imagine that increased attention will be directed toward good planning practices, their effects on making homes reasonably sized and – as a result – more affordable. Given that traditional planning promotes walking, it is decidedly environmentally friendly and healthy as well. The increased activity on the street supports stronger neighborhoods. Once again, time-tested practices prove their value as they are woven into Modern life.

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