The last nine days have been thrilling, inspiring and little exhausting. It has not been easy to have healthcare providers talk with designers and get transportation planners to talk to housing experts. They speak a different language, they argue about priorities and funding sources. It's been difficult to get everyone to leave their niches behind to broadly and comprehensively plan for both the short and long term future of the region. All who participated in the activities of the charrette are now a little uncomfortable, having left behind traditional silos, regulations and rules and very inspired to imagine how with a little courage and creativity the region can be transformed.
Speaking to a packed house, Andres Duany gave the final presentation for the Lifelong Communities Charrette. After providing a basic primer connecting the fundamental principles of Urbanism to the needs of the growing older adult population, he gave an overview of the six master plans. He highlighted the housing and transportation options built into the design concepts and discussed how programming could promote civic engagement. Duany demonstrated how his team, re-knit very disconnected communities with greenways, sidewalks, streets and local transit systems; how they created flexible space that can be used for healthcare clinics, public spaces, streetscapes, benches, corner cafes all of which promote social interaction rather than isolation. In every instance, he demonstrated the impact of the Lifelong Community development on the larger community. In Fayetteville, for example, the design team looked at the areas around the medical center, the senior center, the elementary and high schools and the courthouse.
The plan calls for greater east-west connectivity and for a loop bus that can connect the activity centers on 25 minute headways. A design for supportive housing incorporates the look of separate cottages that are actually connected at the back to provide the services the residents might need. The Mableton site is similar in that it knits the Mable House arts center, the amphitheater, the post office and the library together in a walkable environment. The Conyers plan builds in greenways by uncovering several streams and building in more natural processes for managing stormwater. The greatest density on the Conyers site backs up to I-20 while the housing near old town Conyers is more consistent with the character of that area.