Protecting Ecology

The design process for each site includes review of existing natural systems including vegetation, the water cycle, geology, climate, and animals.  A complete understanding of how all these elements are interconnected is critical to succesful sustainable planning. One example is Tuxedo Reserve, located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains one hour by train from New York City. The magnificent natural systems of this site were studied using field-testing of animal migration patterns, plant systems, and wetlands. The studies allowed this new community of 1,195 residential units to be designed to preserve natural ecosystems to the highest extent. The resulting plan clusters homes into a series of hamlets on low impact sites. Biofilters and rain gardens filter stormwater and direct it to recharge aquifers, and maintain the delicate water ecology. New landscaping may only include native plants that require minimal watering. A town center contains 30,000 sq feet of shops, a health club, professional offices, condominiums, and townhouses in order to reduce vehicular travel. A Smart Code of architectural, planning, and landscape controls was prepared with collaboration of Hall Alminana.