Sustainable Communities


So many things are involved in making a community sustainable. This space is dedicated to Centennial Group members' endeavors to educate themselves and others on the many possibilities. We are looking for ways to improve and promote neighborhoods with a strong sense of community, walkability, and connectivity. We are looking for energy efficiency in buildings, transportation, and planning. We sponsor speakers and field trips to investigate the best new ideas in community planning - including retrofitting. We'd like to encourage you to join us in our journey!
For more information, please contact the Centennial Group.

Investigating Smyrna Developments and Redevelopments

On a warm sunny Sunday morning, nine members of the Centennial Group met near Atlanta Road and I-285 to tour West Village, Ivy Walk, and Smyrna Market Village. Our guide was Liza Mueller, a landscape architect by trade and an active member of the Congress for the New Urbanism ( ).
Our objective was to walk these three developments, getting a feel for whether they embodied "smart growth" - communities where you can live, work, play, walk, shop, dine. Ideally, they would save green space, connect easily to mass transit options, and incorporate energy saving features.
West Village
West Village consists of several types of homes - rental and owner-occupied - clustered around a small "village" of shops and restaurants. Sidewalks are nicely landscaped, setting the boundaries between walker and vehicle…adding to a sense of safety.
Liza Mueller orients the tour
West Village Shops
One Ivy Walk
While there is a lovely median, it is not of sufficient size to be a shared green space (with benches or other enticements to linger).
There are occasional benches in front of the shops. The homes are densely situated along a fairly steep grade winding away from the "village" area.
The density did not appear to be offset by comparable saved green space, which was a major disappointment to our group.
West Village Median
Next we visited One Ivy Walk - further north at Atlanta Road and Cumberland Parkway. Again, this is mixed use development, this time with an outer ring of shops and restaurants facing the road and a gated interior of homes.
It was clear that a lot of consideration was given to architectural details with a variety of colors, designs, and set-backs making the development look more inviting and less like an "instant village."
One Ivy Walk
Keeping away from the typical suburban parking-lot-in-front configuration proved to be a challenge on this property. And the gated housing section limits the integrated community feeling.
One Ivy Walk
We were again dismayed at the lack of saved green space, seeing only tiny pockets of green.
Smyrna Village Green/Market Village
Our final destination was a few more miles north: Smyrna's successful redevelopment of their old downtown into a vital Village Green and Market Village. The Village Green encompasses a community center, library, city hall, and office space. It is surrounded by parks and housing.
Adjoining this first phase is the second phase: Market Village, consisting of townhomes, shops, restaurants, and more office space.
Mike Sizemore graciously met with us in the shade of a café veranda for a quick overview and history of the development, having been involved as project architect.
Smyrna Village Green and Community Center
Smyrna Market Village
One of the things we liked about this development was the commitment from the town leaders to provide true community space, including parks. The success they've achieved has improved surrounding property values and allowed the city to actually lower property taxes!