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Getting it right. A model for the suburbs.

The 100 year-old Forest Hills Gardens in Queens, NY is an exemplary model of the direction in which suburbs today should be headed. Built as a planned community with the idea of integrating transit, open spaces, and housing, this charming neighborhood is also incredibly community-minded and eco-friendly. The town square is surrounded by shops and restaurants and connects directly to a train station, making the commute into NYC a short 20 minute train ride away. And since the layout is very walkable and/or bikeable, you may not even need to own a car!

Additionally, there are a variety of housing styles (free-standing homes, townhomes, and apartments) to suit various family sizes and income levels. And although the construction is partially pre-fab (making it cheaper and faster to build), it retains a sense of architectural style and doesn’t have the dreaded Truman Show look, where all the houses look eerily the same.

This neighborhood has a number of key elements for environmental sustainability. The incorporation of green spaces with residential areas not only make the area more pleasant, but also help with the reabsorbtion of rainwater (helping to recharge groundwater supplies) and provide shade to naturally keep homes cooler in summer months. Having shops, restaurants, and public spaces located in the neighborhood help to reduce the need for travelling long distances to run errands, provide local jobs, and create a sense of community. Integrating the train station into the town square makes it easier for residents to opt for public transportation over travelling by car. And by keeping housing units closer together (via the townhomes, smaller yards, and apartment buildings), transport miles are reduced for public services such as garbage pick-up and mail delivery, thereby reducing energy usage.

Check out the link for a great slideshow and more details:

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