A century ago, neighborhoods were places where homes, shops for daily necessities and gathering places were all within walking distance. After World War II building codes changed to separate business and residential properties and neighborhoods were replaced by suburbia. Conventional suburban developments created "sprawl" in which most people now live. New Urbanism is a movement of architects, planners and developers, using principles of planning and architecture to create new neighborhoods.
The town vision for Orchid Bay applies the principles of New Urbanism in a unique way. At Orchid Bay you'll be part of a community that reflects and celebrates the beauty of its environment. Orchid Bay has cobblestone roadways and small streetscapes - we haven't paved paradise. Gentle lighting offers security, without eclipsing the beauty of the night sky. Many resorts and developments in the U.S. and Caribbean look and feel identical, Orchid Bay offers an inviting alternative. All that we plan for Orchid Bay, while influenced by New Urbanism ideals, is supremely guided by the preexisting beauty of the land and its inhabitants.
Principles of the New Urbanism
Dwellings are within easy walking distance, approximately 5 minutes, of a central area. Residents can easily walk to areas suitable for recreation, shopping and public gathering.
Neighborhood streets form a connected network. By providing a variety of routes the network design disperses pedestrian and vehicular traffic and eliminates congestion. The streets are relatively narrow and shaded by rows of trees. This slows traffic, creating an environment suitable for pedestrians and bicycles.
By placing retail and residential properties in close proximity, residents are able to walk to places for dining or buying the necessities of daily life.
Neighborhoods provide a variety of dwelling types. Each neighborhood contains single family homes in a variety of sizes, condominiums and apartment spaces over businesses.
The architectural design of each building is intended to enhance the public realm. Architectural guidelines and an overall community plan ensure a unified streetscape of civic and commercial buildings, private houses and condominiums, and ancillary and landscape structures.
The neighborhood has a discernible center. This is often a square or a green. Buildings in the neighborhood center are placed close to the street, creating a well-defined outdoor room.
Small lot sizes and unified setbacks create green spaces for the enjoyment of both humans and wildlife. Density reduces "sprawl" and improves the quality.
By reducing the need for cars, the carbon footprint of the community is diminished. Residents can easily walk to public transportation stops.
Sustainability is assured using a community plan. The plan not only provides for infrastructure elements such as utilities, but includes a blueprint for continued neighborhood management. The neighborhood is organized to be self-governing. A formal association debates and decides matters of maintenance, security, and physical change.
Beautiful architecture, sense of community, preserved green space and a mechanism for self-governance combine to create a quality of life not easily found in modern society.