Since 1989, Sean Hodgins’s development company Century Group has owned about 500 empty acres of agricultural land in the Vancouver suburb of Tsawwassen, and what to do with it had been a matter of contention in the town for years.
Traditionally a farming community, Tsawwassen had seen suburban development grow up around the site, putting it into a sort of limbo. For many locals, the land was too agricultural to develop into edge-to-edge housing, but there was too much housing in the area for it to be used as a farm large enough to compete with industrialized agriculture.
So Hodgins and his company began looking for a middle way to give people what they said they wanted: to be connected with farming and food.
Their solution is a relatively new sort of suburban development, where farming and community are co-located and integrated: an agrihood. Called Southlands, the project is a New Urbanist-style development, with a village-like mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented design. It has room for 950 homes centered around a market square that connects to a 325-acre farm. The project is beginning to see its first stages of life, both on the farm and in town, where half of the first 75 homes are sold and residents are beginning to move in.
The project is building on a similar model used in a farming-centric community in Georgia called Serenbe, which is woven through with parks and farmland as a way of pushing back against the unsustainable farming practices of big agriculture and giving people a better sense of how food gets from the farm to their plate. Hodgins says Southlands is aiming to have the farm and the neighborhood support each other.…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…