The “New Ruralism”

Whenever I have thought I had an original idea, there are always a bunch of folks out there thinking the same thing.  I used to be discouraged when this happened.  But I have come to understand that it’s just a confirmation that I’m on the right track.  It just means that it’s the right time for certain things to coalesce in a certain way, so they do, and I’m in tune at the same time other thinking people are.

I just discovered there’s a word for what we’re doing at the Village.  It’s called “the New Ruralism”.  The word was apparently coined at about the same time I began developing the Village on Sewanee Creek.

There is another major trend called “New Urbanism”, that I discovered had a lot in common with what we are doing.  It’s all about old fashioned small town neighborhoods with fairly high population density so that everyone can walk everywhere, surrounded by green space.  It’s a major trend.

Read more of my BLOG and you’ll see that we are all about developing a close knit community connected by foot trails, planned activities and amenities that bring people together surrounded by nature.  But there’s a big difference.  We’re not about high density.  While the old-time neighborhood community is important to people who come here, they want some elbow room.  They want to connect directly with the land.  That’s why our lots are bigger, ranging on the small side from an acre and a half to 8+ acres in the current phase.  It’s also why we will have a community garden with an organic coach to help people develop skills and connect with the land while they connect with their neighbors.   But each lot will be large enough so that villagers can take their new skills back to their own place and apply them privately on a larger scale.  There’s a time for community and there’s space for seclusion.  Most of us need a good mix of both.

Here’s how one white paper defines this phenomenon.
“New Urbanism promotes community through planning that mandates the interaction of neighbors designed to recapture the sense of community that was once the defining characteristic of American small town life. The small home sites and close proximity of homes stimulate a sense of community.”
“In a New Ruralism setting, participation in community activities is more by choice with privacy options carefully preserved. Larger home sites, often separated by nature preserves or agricultural land, provide a buffer between neighbors. Here the front porch is a place to scan the vastness of your domain.” It “provides an opportunity for community of like-minded neighbors, but only as desired.”

… And I thought I was being so original when I required large covered porches in our covenants!

Interested in learning more about the New Ruralism?  Just Google it.  There’s a lot written about it even though there aren’t many places actually doing it yet.  It’s nice to confirm that we’re on the right track and that there is a handy label for what we’re doing.

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