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The term community design describes a planning process, as well as specific planning goals. As a planning process, community design describes the collaboration of different interests within a community towards a common vision. A community's vision includes a detailed description of where the citizens want to be in the not too distant future, generally 10-25 years. It is an expression of the hopes and values of the community's residents, and is designed to provide focus and direction for future planning efforts.

As with the planning process, the term community design describes planning goals that draw upon multiple fields of expertise in an effort to create more attractive, livable communities. Community design is a multi-disciplinary approach to planning and design, which includes the fields of planning, architecture, landscape architecture and sociology.

Community Design Goals

  • Character: A place with a unique image or identity.
  • Legibility: A place that can be easily navigated and understood.
  • Diversity: A place that can be enjoyed by a variety of people and includes and/or is linked to places with a variety of functions.
  • Preservation: A place that includes the preservation of natural, cultural and historic resources.
  • People Oriented: A place that accommodates a variety of human and social functions, including walking, socializing, playing, working and living.
  • Mobility: A place that allows an ease of mobility for motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
  • Safety: A place that is a non-threatening environment for residents and visitors.

Common Misconceptions

  • Community design does not promote one style of building over another.
  • Community design does not discourage new development.
  • Community design is not another layer of land use regulations.

Successful Community Design

  • Collaborative Efforts: A planning process that involves the community, landowners and local officials.
  • Design Guidelines: Planning documents that include creative and objective design guidelines in the municipality's land use ordinance.
  • Practical Applications: Planning that is cognizant of land economics and marketing conditions.
  • Uniqueness: Planning tailored to the unique qualities of the community.
  • Imagination: A planning process that uses the community's imagination to spur new ideas.
  • Comprehensive Planning: An inclusive planning process that involves municipal officials, residents and business owners.

Hunterdon County & Community Design
The Hunterdon County Planning Board provides assistance to local officials and County residents on community design issues through local workshops, seminars and information sharing. Other projects include the Hunterdon County Annual Planning & Design Awards Program, which recognizes outstanding planning and design projects throughout the County. Additionally, the County Planning Board's Growth Management Plan includes a community design element based upon public input received during Vision21, the visioning phase of the plan.

Related links

Provided by the Hunterdon County Planning Board