Monday, April 16, 2007

What makes a good project?

Back in 1993, UC Berkeley planning professor Dr. Tim Duane spoke at a Foothill Conservancy meeting in Jackson. Since Duane grew up in Nevada County, he had personal as well as professional experience with foothill growth.

Duane talked about growth coming to the foothills in the form of "equity-amenity refugees" -- people with large amounts of equity from the sale of their urban homes looking for an amenity-filled lifestyle. Sound familiar?

He warned about problems other areas had with wastewater disposal when they grew beyond their infrastructure capacity. He talked about clustering development to protect wildlife habitat and open space. And he raised a number of other points for the audience to consider.

At the end of the presentation, Pat Crosby, now a city councilman in Sutter Creek, asked Duane, "What makes a good project?" I'll never forget Duane's answer, because it was so simple.

He said, "A good project is well designed, built in the right place, at the right time." That pretty much says it all. Good design alone is not enough. Location alone is not enough. Timing alone is not enough. A good project must contain all of these elements, together.

More on this another day. . . but see more development principles

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