Developing Unique Communities Across North America

Developing Unique Communities across North America

Most of North America’s population lives in cities, and there is a reason for this: they work. While we have grown to loathe urban sprawl and other perceived negatives of city development, these metropolitan areas are much more efficient in terms of energy use, transportation, and housing. But there are geographic areas that call for a more nodal pattern of development. Let’s take a look at these and how they can be beneficial.

What do I mean by a nodal pattern of development?

It is using existing city centers, or creating new centers, and building around them via planned roadways and intersections. The space in between the nodes, or centers, would be open space.

Areas that would benefit from a nodal development pattern include:

  • Mountainous areas.
  • Highly productive agricultural areas.
  • Ecologically significant zones.
  • This would preserve the integrity of those ecosystems, upon which economies and standards of living are also based. This development pattern is completely consistent with the Parkway City framework:>
  • The Parkway City is really a conglomeration of village nodes.
  • There is a very short transect from the village center to the country, or green spaces, parks, and rural land.
  • The space between nodes could be used for green space and parks, as advocated by the Parkway model.
  • The layout is convenient and walkable.


This approach also ensures that communities can carve out or retain a unique identity. They are not carbon copies of someone’s idea of a perfect city, town, or village. This isn’t Stepford! It’s your town.

Richard Vermeulen - Construction Economist for Green Building

Richard Vermeulen is the construction economist creating profitable sustainability in the built environment. He’s the founder of GreenLight™, author of Green at No Cost, and developer of the Total Benefit Analysis and The Value Process as well as co-CEO, lead economist, and chief estimator for Vermeulens. Richard has developed industry-leading standards for estimating and data-basing complex construction projects throughout North America. In addition to consulting for thousands of major projects over 30 years, Richard has designed and built residential and commercial projects, from hammering nails to hound-dogging bureaucracies. He has traveled extensively, always with an awareness of how cities do and don’t work.

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