A look into Masterplanned Communities

16 Aug 2018

An interview with Jim Brodie, Executive General Manager - Residential, about what Masterplanned Communities are and the Lendlease business.

What is a Masterplanned Community? 
Essentially, Masterplanned Communities are all-inclusive neighborhoods located on the edge of an urban core. These communities are very large, predominately residential developments that have a mix of property types that promote self-sufficiency. Communities of this type allow residents to live, work and play all in one area, with most of their daily needs able to be met within the community. Property types that may be included, along with owned and rental housing, are places to shop, offices to work in, health care facilities, schools and hotels.
 
Who lives in a Masterplanned Community?
Different neighborhoods within Masterplanned Communities provide life-style choices and have opportunities conducive to different stages of life. Some neighborhoods may be better suited to families, young professionals, retirees or 55+, etc. 
 
What about the concept makes these properties a “community”?
Masterplanned Communities create community by providing well thought out and well-located parks, open spaces and gathering places. Healthful amenity opportunities such as parks, trails, golf courses, tennis courts, bike paths, bike lanes, sidewalks, community gardens, dog parks, ball fields, sport courts, pools and playgrounds are strategically planned and placed within large recreational open spaces in the communities. Places and spaces for people to engage and participate, including schools and community centers are important to creating the fabric of a community, as are the activities and programing that occur in them. A well thought out masterplanned community creates the environment for connection and belonging 
 
Are there rules and restrictions in these communities?
There are recorded covenants that control aesthetics, building types, facades, streetscapes, signage, fences, parking and many other items. These allow the residents, owners and tenants to know exactly how their particular community will look and feel. There are many rules, but this permits the different groups and property types to coexist in a friendly, balanced and cohesive way for long periods of time.
 
What does the Lendlease Masterplanned Communities business look like?
Lendlease has been creating Masterplanned Communities in partnership with the Department of Defense for more than a decade in the Americas. Today, that portfolio includes more than 40,000 homes. 

Our latest development is called Horizon Uptown. Located in Denver, Colorado, the community is entitled for +3,800 houses and apartments and +5m sf of retail and office space. We plan to commence construction in October 2018.

Horizon Uptown

 
What do we envision Horizon Uptown to look like?                                                                     
Horizon Uptown is being designed as a pedestrian friendly environment. There will be community parks and gathering spaces throughout the property. Horizon Uptown will be a community where you can walk from your home to the office and to retail spaces all without having to walk along a road, but rather through parks and green courts. 

The entire community will be enveloped by pods. Pods are areas within a certain radius from one another that are designed specifically to promote healthier living. For example, pedestrian walkways that connect shopping and work places. There will also be multiple pools and fitness centers scattered around the property for all residents to use.

Is there something unique about the property?
Horizon Uptown sits in a unique location.  The property is located at the intersection of two of Denver’s main highways: I-25 and E470.  Two major Denver surface streets that run through downtown Denver also run through the property. Having four major roads easily accessible provides residents access to off-site employment opportunities, and just as importantly, provides opportunities for people who live outside of Horizon Uptown to have easy access to the shops and places of work within the community.  

What do you see for the future of Masterplanned Communities?
Masterplanned Communities will continue to evolve as places to live, work and play, places that residents will be able to get most of their needs met right where they live.

However, the specific details of the future of these properties is full of questions for me. How will the designers and builders create roads and pedestrian walkways that can coexist with self-driving cars and ride sharing? Will there be less traffic as the population continues to grow? Will we need as many roads (length and width), alleys, driveways, space within houses for garages? Houses have been shrinking as design gets more efficient and people want less space, so will we be able to reduce or even completely remove attached and detached garages making houses even smaller? How will more pedestrians and bike riders interact with driverless cars and car sharing? Where will these vehicles park and will more on street parking be needed for pick up, drop off and parking? The list goes on.

What I do know though, is that Masterplanned Communities will only continue to grow in popularity, and Lendlease aims to be a leader in this space across the Americas region.