“The experience of the Community Core is one of splendor, honor, and pure enjoyment”
– Robert Stark
The Community Core is a dense, vertically integrated mixed use neighborhood (or district) with a mission. Why vertically integrated? Because stacking residential, office, academic, entertainment, fitness and other uses on top of an aesthetically enriching and socially interactive streetscape of shops, eateries, and other commercial businesses establishes density and the perception of substance. A lot of people in the same place at the same time doing different things generates energy, and creates a dynamic, constantly changing environment.
The Community Core must be located at the epicenter of the local community and it must have immediate access to primary regional connectors, e.g. light rail and/or freeways. As such, the Community Core serves simultaneously to define the heart identity of the local community and to define the logical hub of the surrounding region. As hub of the region, the Community Core connects the various and otherwise disparate assets of a region, natural and cultural, to a common (and shared) point, maximizing efficiencies and strengthening synergies, i.e. actualizing the potentials of regionalization.
The Community Core’s mission is not merely physical or commercial but, most importantly, cultural. Its agendas are quality of life in the 21st century and how to be competitive in the global economy. Both agendas are dependent upon a walkable lifestyle that delivers mixed use density interwoven with health and wellness, higher education/research, and the arts. Such rarified environments will attract and keep the best and the brightest, which enables a community to be globally competitive. This principle applies to and is necessary for urban centers, inner ring suburbs, bedroom community exurbs, and major university campus neighborhoods to position themselves in the global community. Interestingly, the most desirable lifestyle of every era seems to emanate from a place of gathering characterized by an eclectic mix of commercial, social, scientific and artistic offerings. In ancient times, the core was found at the city gate where trade routes provided these things. The often employed central piazza flanked by the palace, the parliament, the great museum, the opera house, the academy and the cathedral served as the community core for centuries.
Today, the Community Core requires a grid of streets that creates a neighborhood of short walkable city blocks. At a minimum, three north-south streets should intersect four east-west streets to create a district of six city blocks. Critical mass is vital to the credibility of context. There is magic in the grid. Each city block provides a four-sided opportunity to create a unique pedestrian rhythm of interactivity with a variety of storefronts and experiences. Here, retail serves a higher purpose, to adorn and to activate the streetscape, to define place, and to create experience. Here, people are empowered by the sense of community (belonging to something greater). The experience of the Community Core is one of splendor, honor, and pure enjoyment.
Community Core real estate development services include residential, office and mixed use developments.