Can Prefurbia Solve North Dakota’s Growth Problems?
North Dakota is experiencing explosive growth, yet it’s cities are not well prepared for the onslaught of development, nor are proper mechanisms in place to assure that the new growth serves as a solid foundation for the future. Prefurbia design and regulatory innovations will be introduced during the keynote lunch presentation at the Economic Development Association 2012 Summer Conference (June 20th) in Williston, North Dakota. Just minutes from the conference location is Creekside Ridge, a beautiful ‘Prefurbia’ designed neighborhood under construction with ‘coved’ single family lots and ‘BayHomes’:
One of the problems in serving this growth is that many single and multi-family units are served by ‘systems built’ housing where sections are delivered from a factory for faster on-site construction. This is one reason for a repetition of units. However, there is no reason that systems built housing has to be built as if stamped out of steel. The housing manufacturers we have communicated with (to serve our customers) all agreed for customization to create a better fit on lots as well as providing better views (that are made possible by the innovations in Prefurbia and the technology of PPS). Many existing floor plans can be used with minor change. Most of these companies are happy to provide innovative, attractive and affordable housing that fits within their dimensional limitations.
The bigger growth issue is also fairly simple to solve – how to set up a regulatory process (quickly) that assures higher quality land development and building design with the ability for implementation without sacrificing developers profitability. Cities cannot have ‘sustainable’ growth when the quality of their housing and commercial development is substandard. Cities need to consider factors beyond immediate need. Any form of housing will sell (or rent) instantly in the Bakken region. Given a choice between sleeping in a car, a ‘man camp’ or a small unit lacking architectural character, landscaping, or neighborhood design – the small unit will sell. What happens to these cities when the oil boom is no longer the driving force? Will people continue to move to the area because it offers better living standards and can continue to attract other industries?
Many cities within the Bakken Region suffer from flooding – some of these cities still demand minor subdivision streets to be 37 feet wide – or wider! With streets 25% wider than the typical American suburban street section (28’ wide) no wonder they suffer massive floods that plagues much of the State! Since the solutions of Prefurbia typically reduce street length 25% (not width), when combined with a standard width some of these cities can experience a drastic drop in run-off, but only if future development is designed with these methods. In the example below both land development designs contain the same unit count and mix with identical minimums. The Prefurbia plan has over 35% reduction in public street surface while also embracing less intrusive (and costly) surface storm water. Additional advantages of the Prefurbia land planning methods are a considerable increase in space per unit, better traffic flow, pedestrian connectivity, adherence to the natural contour, and premium locations virtually everywhere:
Most of the innovative techniques of Prefurbia are taught within the Performance Planning System (PPS) which is being adopted by consultants who desire to serve their clients (cities and developers) better.
Cities who seek Prefurbia regulatory solutions can work with consultants who have gone through specific PPS training, or we can furnish their needs with solutions that qualify for HUD Sustainability Grants.
July 2012 – Beta PPS Virtual Reality 2.0 available:
This week Neighborhood Innovations, LLC will be attending the Cleantech Open Conference in Santa Clara, California exhibiting PPS with the Second Generation Virtual Reality. The free PPS-Viewer software has already been updated to this next generation. To explain why this new version of PPS is so important for cities and land developers, refer to the image below:
PPS with Virtual Reality makes communication with lines and arcs (image 1) obsolete. Cities and developers deserve to be able to properly visualize what the development will look like when built and know precisely what the impact will be without having to pay extra for that luxury. That is not possible in CAD, yet it is simply a byproduct of the normal workflow of PPS!
Rick Harrison Site Design Studio (RHSDS) continues to develop and refine innovative techniques for the design and regulation of land development and building construction serving as the planning consultant for land developers and home builders.
Neighborhood Innovations, LLC. provides the technology that makes the innovations possible through the PPS product which includes the educational material for all cities, consultants, developers, and educators to benefit from advancements developed within RHSDS at affordable pricing.
To learn about our innovative, award-winning Sustainable Neighborhood Planning (taught with PPS),
go to: www.rhsdplanning.com