The Heart of the Commons-- Design

This artist rendering (below) of the project map depicts the essence of our landscape design process. Because we want to design with nature, we put a great deal of emphasis of the natural features: steams, ponds, wetlands, slopes, rock outcroppings, roads, trails, forested areas and our big south facing meadow and hillside because we want to protect and enhance these features and utilize them in creative ways to improve the landscape and our potential to grow food.  For example, protecting wetlands encourages bio diversity, stores water and slows down run off, integrating open space with woodland areas is a great asset for food production.

Next, keeping natural features in mind, we studied the farms traditional settlement patterns and the way that land has been used, trying to see how to protect and enhance these patterns as we added new areas and buildings. For example, we looked at where people have historically gardened and farmed, we studied social patterns like where people gathered and where they established boundaries like fences, walls and pathways.

To do this, we thought a lot about connectivity or how one building or area would connect and enhance with others in the manner that a Vermont Village Green enhances the surrounding buildings and vice-a-versa. We tried to weave natural and built features with human patterns, like the need to be close to nature with the need to feel a sense of belonging to the surrounding community.

We have woven common land throughout the residential area as a means of enhancing the use of private spaces that merge with adjacent public spaces. We consider the use of natural and architectural features as a means to generate interest and bring people together to socialize and share resources like gardens and lawns, while, at the same time provide very private spaces to be alone.

Finally, all this is meeting high engineering standards for roads, water supply, controlling run off septic and power—another aspect of connectivity and whole systems design.





We are using the Geographic Information System (GIS) approach to create useful maps for the project. We have generated a lot of data, for example: contour lines, the locations of streams, roads, and wetlands, lot boundaries and house sites, the location of good agriculture or wood lands and infrastructure, like a septic system. We even consider spaces for good social interaction and features in the landscape that protects privacy while fostering a sense of neighborhood.

You can see that our maps perform many tasks.

If we put all this information on a single layered map it would be a non-sensible jumble pile up caused by too much competing information. Using GIS standards our maps are layered with each layer depicting a part of the many pieces to this puzzle.

Click on this link: Layered Map  to access our Laying Tool map. Once open, you can go to the tool bar located in the upper right corner window and in the middle of that tool bar is an icon that looks like stacked or layered papers, click on that icon and the layers will open. Once open, you can familiarize yourself with the various layers by clicking them on and off.

After exploring the map a bit,  you have questions about the layering tool, its options, and, perhaps, the project itself. This would be a great time to contact us so we can have a good conversation and fill in some blanks with you.