Move Over Suburbia... For "Prefurbia"?

Twin Cities developer and software guru Rick Harrison believes that, through innovative urban design configurations such as 'coving,' suburban areas can be transformed from "disdainable to sustainable."

Harrison aims to emphasize efficiency and livability through advanced design configurations that he visualizes through software created by his design studio. Using this unique software he is able to configure the shape of a residence to the lot that it will sit on without giving up any of the coveted maximum square footage.

"His wife calls such communities 'prefurbia,' a take on the term suburb. Think of a PREFerred community rather than a SUBstandard one."

"Professional Builder Magazine even gave him an achievement award for his concepts, which have been used to varying degrees in 700 communities around the country."

"Several years ago he started with a concept he called 'coving.' It is an alternative to traditional grid-style planning that focuses on siting homes on non-uniform lot shapes along curved streets. The goal is a minimum of pavement and a maximum of green space."

Full Story: Planning subdivisions with a twist



Maybe I'm just a pessimist,

Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but it seems that though the technology in use has potential, it simply creates a more enjoyable and efficient way to build an unsustainable society. Where are the jobs? Where are the schools? Sure the cross cutting sidewalks make for a better walk and provide a respite from the progression of garages found on the roads, but that seems minor compared to all the issues surrounding suburban sprawl. Prefurbia my cut down on infrastructure waste, but it does not seem to cut down on auto dependency. It may be more sensitive to the needs of the local topography and ecology, but without mixed use and mass transit, its impact is still significantly destructive.

Am I missing something? Am I overly negative about this? Or is Prefurbia fatally flawed?

Perhaps I haven't read enough

...but there seems to be nothing "better" about Mr. Harrison's ideas in terms of sustainability than what suburbia already has to offer. It seems to me that Mr. Harrison is simply interested in making the current trend in developing more interesting for drivers. the cover of the book is an illustration of what seems to me to be a residential neighborhood that is...still completely dependent on automobile use. But I suppose I shouldn't judge a book by its cover (hehe).

Lipstick, meet pig. Make friends.

As long as "prefurbia" still means building houses with "front-loaded three car garages," then it's just the same old suburbia, but now with a nifty new portmanteau to make it sound oh-so hip and cool. What-a-joke.

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