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Success and failure of best practices and master planned communities


For thousands of years, different people have had different ideas on how land should be developed and how Cities should be shaped. Sometimes it was out of necessity, sometimes it was to fit within particular religious parameters, sometimes it was to highlight a feature such as a government building or natural resource, and other times it was to make the most money possible. These competing interests are something that continues today.

One of the ideas with modern master plan communities is that it allowed the absolute best planning practices to be implemented, then economic reality scaled those ideas back. In 1962 Reston Va and then Coral Springs FL and Columbia Maryland made an attempt to really look at the big picture of things and create places that people really wanted to be. I personally live in a hybrid version where the final build out will be about the size of Celebration Fl in terms of population and be a fully integrated mixed use community, but fully contained and regulated by a small Town that could be dwarfed by our neighborhood. We were one of the first 100 occupied home in the development. When we moved in, there were 3 others that also had AICP behind their name and a couple others that were PE.

But do any of them get it 100% right from a planning perspective? Are there places that seem to have everything right in terms of overall layout, pedestrian and auto ballance, green infrastructure, and are economically sustainable?
What have been some of the downfalls of these communities?
What are some of the best ideas that you have seen these communities implement?
If you could do a full plan for a master plan community, would you?


It depends on what's around and all that. Things like the Garden City idea were great, but it implied a single city with one work node surrounded by other stuff. Today we get a lot of the retail mini downtown style with houses, but not so much work because that's in the actual city. Planning for the way cities are today I would plan for a retail hub surrounded by multi-family and single family outside of that. I go with the idea that you create a mini village that the person doesn't need to leave other than work, which I assume they commute into the city. Mass transit connections would be a key part to the whole thing. It would have to be something better than a commuter bus route. Something like rail or BRT would work best.