Georgia Chapter, Sierra Club
National Sierra Club
So many things are involved
in making a community sustainable. This space is dedicated to Centennial
Group members' endeavors to educate themselves and others on the many
possibilities. We are looking for ways to improve and promote neighborhoods
with a strong sense of community, walkability, and connectivity. We are
looking for energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, and planning.
We sponsor speakers and field trips to investigate the best new ideas
in community planning - including retrofitting. We'd like to encourage
you to join us in our journey!
For more information, please contact the Centennial Group.
Investigating Smyrna Developments
On a warm sunny Sunday
morning, nine members of the Centennial Group met near Atlanta Road
and I-285 to tour West Village, Ivy Walk, and Smyrna Market Village.
Our guide was Liza Mueller, a landscape architect by trade and an
active member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (http://www.cnu.org/
Our objective was to
walk these three developments, getting a feel for whether they embodied
"smart growth" - communities where you can live, work,
play, walk, shop, dine. Ideally, they would save green space, connect
easily to mass transit options, and incorporate energy saving features.
West Village consists
of several types of homes - rental and owner-occupied - clustered
around a small "village" of shops and restaurants. Sidewalks
are nicely landscaped, setting the boundaries between walker and
adding to a sense of safety.
Mueller orients the tour
While there is a lovely
median, it is not of sufficient size to be a shared green space
(with benches or other enticements to linger).
There are occasional
benches in front of the shops. The homes are densely situated along
a fairly steep grade winding away from the "village" area.
density did not appear to be offset by comparable saved green space,
which was a major disappointment to our group.
we visited One Ivy Walk - further north at Atlanta Road and Cumberland
Parkway. Again, this is mixed use development, this time with an outer
ring of shops and restaurants facing the road and a gated interior
It was clear that a lot
of consideration was given to architectural details with a variety
of colors, designs, and set-backs making the development look more
inviting and less like an "instant village."
Keeping away from the
typical suburban parking-lot-in-front configuration proved to be
a challenge on this property. And the gated housing section limits
the integrated community feeling.
again dismayed at the lack of saved green space, seeing only tiny
pockets of green.
destination was a few more miles north: Smyrna's successful redevelopment
of their old downtown into a vital Village Green and Market Village.
The Village Green encompasses a community center, library, city hall,
and office space. It is surrounded by parks and housing.
Adjoining this first
phase is the second phase: Market Village, consisting of townhomes,
shops, restaurants, and more office space.
Mike Sizemore graciously
met with us in the shade of a café veranda for a quick overview
and history of the development, having been involved as project
Village Green and Community Center
One of the things we
liked about this development was the commitment from the town leaders
to provide true community space, including parks. The success they've
achieved has improved surrounding property values and allowed the
city to actually lower property taxes!
here to view more photos of
our field trip!