Agriculture is the New Golf

Agriculture is the New Golf: Rethinking Suburban Communities

There is new movement to plan suburban communities around farms instead of golf courses. Can it catch on?

It has often been observed that suburbia is a place where the developer displaces animals and rips out trees, and then names the streets after them. 

Whether you see that as destruction or reinvention, the tendency is nothing new. All of America was built on this sort of land transformation, some of it smart, much of it not. But the devastation wrought from decades of intervention by heavy equipment has manifested itself in a range of ills from economic collapse to loss of biodiversity. So today we’re faced with a strange scenario: Our relentless pursuit of the American Dream now has us scrambling for a return to Eden.

Practicing golfer at Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park in Pittsboro, NC

“We’re at a watershed in terms of reaching the limits of sustainability both environmentally [and in] time and expense,” says June Williamson, coauthor with Ellen Dunham-Jones of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs. “There are many dynamics pushing and encouraging a rethinking of our development patterns. The opportunity is there to reshape those settings in a way that will reflect changing demographics, recognize climate change, and acknowledge the need for new suburban development patterns.”


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