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With a less frenetic character than the average metropolis, today’s new urbanist communities are a more tranquil Utopia redefining the concept of a suburb for the next generation.

Alys Beach
Alys Beach, Fla.
There’s no pink sand at Alys Beach, but the hamlet’s stucco masonry walls, exotic buttresses and white-tiled roofs nevertheless reference Bermuda—and it’s undeniably barefoot-chic. Influenced as well by Guatemala’s ubiquitous patio-centered courtyards, Miami-based architects Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (in collaboration with Town Architects, Erik Vogt and Marieanne Khoury-Vogt), drew from various other cultures to create this 158-acre beach mecca atop the sugary crescents of Florida’s Gulf Coast. With open lawns, alfresco events and consistent live outdoor entertainment, Alys Beach boasts 530 homesites, all that abide by Florida’s Green Home Standard. “It’s all about calmness, simplicity and community,” says Vice President of Sales Tom Dodson.” 9581 County Highway 30A E 

Fearrington Village
Pittsboro, N.C.
You’ll likely meet a striped Belted Galloway cow at Fearrington Village, set on an 18th century dairy farm. Dreamed up to mimic a Cotswold hamlet by R.B. Fitch and his late wife in the early 1970s, Fearrington has been a leader in the rebirth of the community movement. “My wife and I grew up in small towns in North Carolina. When we had the possibility of building our own country village, we thought it would be a nice, lifelong adventure,” says Fitch, who erected the complex’s first houses in the mid-1970s. He continues to build about 20 each year across 1,200 acres of rolling pastureland. A picturesque neighborhood, dotted with emerald-green fields, eateries, shops (including a bookstore run by Fitch’s daughter) and a Relais & Châteaux inn, Fearrington instituted the concept of mail kiosks (rather than individual boxes) to spur resident connection. 2000 Fearrington Village Center

 

Hampstead
Montgomery, Ala.
As Alabama’s first Southern Living inspired-community, Hampstead promises a sense of place. Crafted by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, the planners of other key new urbanist communities, such as Seaside, Fla., and designed by husband-and-wife team Harvi Sahota and Anna Lowder, this hot hood incorporates a range of domiciles, from cottages to row houses to estate homes. Intent on sustainability, the richly textured, livable community offers an alternative to characterless, inefficient urban outspread. Built around a town square, its custom architecture integrates lifestyle enhancing amenities—such as a Montessori school, a YMCA, three pools, a library, independent retail, three restaurant and bar spaces, and profuse parkland. A teaching farm—replete with a barn and garden space—supplies community beds, products for the restaurants, instructional opportunities and group rapport. Hampstead High Street

 

Kohanaiki
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Hawaiians call it “talking story.” That’s when they sit down together and share. The Big Island—Hawaii’s largest, most diverse land mass—was once considered sacred to Hawaiians and is entrenched in community. Without any big cities of which to speak, the island culture yields naturally to master-planned, environmentally aware townships. Kohanaiki, on the Kona Coast, encompasses 450 acres of jungle and volcanic rock, and is brimming with tropical terrain. Composed of various types of homes, from townhouses to villas, Kohanaiki is where the likes of NFL player Davon House call home. A mammoth clubhouse (67,000 square feet) reigns as one of the world’s largest. The private residential club’s centerpiece, it has walls bedecked with Hawaiian artifacts, ensuring a strong sense of place. Plus, it holds a Tracy Lee-designed spa, as well as a four-lane bowling alley, a movie theater and a hidden cigar/poker lounge. 73-2055 Ala Kohanaiki

 

Windsor
Vero Beach, FlA.
Get sporty at seaside Windsor, a community that reigns as a leader in the new urbanism movement. Situated on a barrier island between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean, just north of Palm Beach, it features 350 Anglo-Caribbean estates, executed by a mix of notable designers—such as Deborah Nevins, Steven Gambrel and Victoria Hagan. Founded in 1989 by W. Galen Weston and his wife, the Honorable Hilary W. Weston (of Toronto), the Westons chose a town plan conceived by notable new urbanist architect team Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company. With plans to host the Windsor Charity Polo Club in February 2018, the 425-acre neighborhood further fuels an overarching sports motif with its 18-hole golf course, (designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.), a full-scale equestrian center, tennis courts (designed by Wimbledon champion Stan Smith) and a gun club with instruction available by former Austrian Olympian Nikolaus Szapary. 3125 Windsor Blvd.

 

Santa Lucia Preserve
Carmel, Calif.
In one of the largest privately owned land expanses in hilly, coastal California, entrepreneur Hart Howerton honors nature and expresses his commitment to protect it through the Saint Lucia Preserve, which is spread across a verdant 20,000 acres. Howerton’s vision limits the residential development to 350 rustic-elegant homesites, each one remote enough to feel like a rural ranch house. At the community’s heart is a restored circa-1920 Spanish Colonial hacienda that serves as a meeting spot—its ample patio is a metaphor for California outdoor living. On its eco-conscious 18-hole golf course, the weathered-style clubhouse lends the notion of a bygone settlement. A massive equestrian center and hundreds of hiking trails cement the bucolic spirit. 1 Rancho San Carlos Road

 

 

Urban villages aren’t a new idea. In the 19th century, a slew of them cropped up around the United States in a movement historians dubbed Utopian communities. Those master-planned hamlets, usually helmed by a charismatic leader, tended to showcase social or philosophical goals, largely aimed at making the world a better or more perfect place. Fast-forward to today’s well-conceived, self-contained villages, which are ultimately alternatives to homogeneous urban sprawl. These places are devoted to satisfying the senses and encouraging the stress of the city to slip away. Designcentric, these new communities go beyond aesthetics to evoke a common goal—a sense of solidarity that has much in common with the Utopian communities of yore. Strategized as minitownships that promote an eco-conscious lifestyle, they embrace pedestrian friendly networks and de-emphasize the importance of cars. Organized to encourage interaction and cooperation among inhabitants, today’s livable communities, often referred to as new urbanism, encircle central meeting areas—such as town squares and parks. Here are a few across the country that fit the bill.