A concept relatively new to New Zealand, Eco-Subdivision consists of a variety of concepts and techniques that promote developments to achieve minimal adverse environmental impacts.
The use of materials available on site, minimal impermeable surfaces, the use of swales and wetlands for storm water management and filtering, sites oriented for high solar access, extensive plantings for wildlife habitat and food gathering, are all concepts utilised in these types of developments.
Some examples of this type of subdivision revolve around community participation in day to day life and operation of the development itself. See www.earthsong.org.nz for details of a recognised and successful development of this type described as “an innovative urban cohousing development”.
Some of the above concepts along with recently rediscovered urban design principles, such as pedestrian connectivity, better use of green space, higher density housing, and better accommodation of cycling and walking routes within new development areas, are being incorporated into modern subdivisions in order to try and create “healthy” places for people to live, work and play. The use of these principles can produce developments with high appeal due to their appearance and “liveability”.
The “built” form of eco-subdivisions usually utilises materials sympathetic with the surrounds and have a low environmental impact. This type of subdivision represents a new approach to development, and Surveying The Bay strongly encourages consideration of environmental impact as part of the design process.