Industry News

Creating communities from scratch

Part 1: Architect writes the book on planned developments

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In the beginning, there was land. For designers of planned communities, land is the canvas of creation, the palette of predetermination. Thomas W. Kopf, a planner and landscape architect who works at DTJ Design, in Boulder, Colo., describes the art and science of planned communities in "Building Community," a how-to guide published by the National Association of Home Builders. "Subdivisions no longer cut it," Kopf said. To understand planned communities is to understand how different they are from traditional subdivision developments, he said. View a slideshow of planned community site maps. "The subdivider kind of plans for today, and the community builder plans for the future. The subdivider is excited about the sale. The community builder is excited about the buyer–that's a huge difference," he said. "The community developers are not competing on price, they are competing on reputation," he added. While some subdividers may view such community amenities as open spa...