Flower pot

Sustainable Community Study

Project Intention

Design Statement

  • When I was asked to look at a site in Eastern Oregon and how it may work as a sustainable development community, I was very interested and excited about the potential for this site. The site in Eastern Oregon is full of magnificent views, unique features, wildlife areas, a natural waterway, and a fragile ecosystem. It contains all the resources needed to function as a sustainable community.

Project Goal

  • Working in collaboration with the developer; our goal was to develop a sustainable community while working with the natural topography, ecological preservation, and the natural and cultural elements.

Design Guidelines

  • Provide a variety of housing types and lot sizes to accommodate a diversity of lifestyles.
  • Connect this development with the downtown area via walking trails and roadway network.
  • Enhance biodiversity by preserving natural open spaces and building up native habitats and fragile area.
  • Decrease the impact of development by using a "Building Envelope" approach to construction. This approach outlines the square footage needed for each unit and minimizes disturbance of the existing topography and site. Any areas outside of the Building Envelope are treated as protected areas.
  • Work within the natural contours lines of the site for secondary roadway and other site features. Focus on minimizing the cost and disturbance of cutting into the existing contours.
  • Enhance the existing natural water flow by building up the ecosystem to support biodiversity and the local wildlife.
  • Cluster smaller housing units to create shared resources within the cluster such as a community garden or a gathering space.
  • Landscape with native species to protect soil, water resources, plants resilient to the summer sun and winter winds.
  • Preserve the culture of the area by maintaining the site as an open site so everyone can enjoy the many features and assets, as well as incorporating historic elements on the site. (i.e. Historical materials, sculptures, artwork, building materials, etc.)
  • Strategically orient and space homes so that each home has a view of the natural elements and limited views of the neighboring homes.
  • Encourage community activities such as hiking, bicycling, bird watching, or as a special place to go to for a retreat.
  • Minimize waste and pollution.



  • Conserve natural areas.
  • Reduce carbon footprint.
  • Cleaner air and water.
  • Reduce construction costs and impact.
  • Increase in wildlife habitat.
  • Enhanced quality of life for the environment, individuals and the community.
  • Add value to the community by preserving the unique rural character.
  • Use renewable resources where possible.


  • The importance and challenges of respecting the natural elements and assets of the site will lead to creating not only a sustainable community but a living community that will integrate biodiversity, wildlife, resource sharing and connecting the responsibility for the viability of this community.
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