A habitat where people, plants and birds flourish: this is our goal. To achieve it, the guidelines for Larch Park emphasize connections — connections between homes, yards, community green spaces and adjacent protected areas. They encourage thinking beyond the property line.
The full comprehensive set of guidelines, intended for builders, architects and designers, is housed on a separate website. Ahead you'll find an overview.
When we visited Edmonton's best-loved communities to research what gives them enduring value, we discovered:
- neighbourhoods that mix modern and traditional buildings;
- local materials used in creative, colourful and innovative ways; and
- homes that fit central Alberta's climate and topography.
Three styles, Craftsman, Prairie and Capital Modern — Edmonton's unique contribution to architecture — best capture these desirable characteristics. While visually different, they are surprising similar in the way they emphasize large windows to capture views and light. All three are typically asymmetrical. This is an advantage as it means designs respond to their building site; the finished homes look like they belong in the surrounding landscape.
As developers, we are taking a number of steps to create a more environmentally intelligent subdivision: a smart division, if you will. These include LED street-lighting, narrower roads, and a construction waste management program.
We recognize that there are many interpretations of what constitutes “green” or “sustainable” home building. For example, you may be interested in energy performance. Other builders and homeowners may prioritize indoor air quality. Others may want maximize recycled content.
Larch Park’s sustainability guidelines are ambitious, but flexible. Homes can either meet BuiltGreen Gold, LEED for Homes Gold or R2000 with a minimum Energuide rating of 80. Or, achieve an Energuide rating of 87 with no third-party verification.
In a typical suburb, plants tend to strictly ornamental. Little thought is given to invasive species, how much water and time different plants require, or how plants might affect local birds, bees and butterflies.
Larch Park instead celebrates the plant communities that grow naturally in the Sanctuary next door. We are planting the boulevard islands with indigenous species, and ensuring you have the resources you need to make similar choices in your own yards.
In addition to plants, the guidelines address the other elements of a successful year round landscape: views, fences, garden walls,driveways, garages and walks. They consider the experience from inside a home as well as the impact landscaping has on the house.
A fundamental principle of sustainable environmental design is to ensure homes take advantage of all of the positive features of their physical location. For example,thoughtful building placement can mitigate winds and maximize sunshine during long winter months. Larch Park's Area-Specific Guidelines are built on this positive-advantage principle, as well as the goal of creating ascetically-pleasing streetscapes.