IntroductionEcological is a regenerative land development firm thatspecializes in creating unique, eco-agro communitiesthat are built in harmony with their natural surroundings.Our mission is to achieve a new standard of developmentthat does not merely sustain the environment butactually repairs and strengthens our communities’ecological, economic and social systems.
The End of Conventional, Unsustainable Development Throughout the past decade, development has typically been viewed as a negative force in towns across the country. The conventional approach to development has been characterized by the following attributes: • Conventional cookie-cutter subdivisions • Suburban sprawl • Unsustainable “McMansions” • Depletion of natural resources and ecological systems The heavy ecological footprint and lack of connectivity fostered by conventional“As Americans seek out cheaper, (relatively) development has degraded the fundamental sustainability of our communitiessmaller, greener living options, new home by discouraging social interactions, draining natural resources and proving highlysizes are falling for the first time in living expensive to maintain.memory. ‘After a long run-up in median homesize, peaking at 2,309 square feet in 2007,home sizes shrank to 2,091 square feet in2009. It’s the largest decline ever seen’ said Municipalities and communities have realized that the high financial andNAHB chief economist David Crowe.” ecological costs of conventional developments are unsustainable and thus - National Association of Home Builders no longer desirable. Wall Street Journal The New Standard for Healthy Living: Eco-Agro Communities Consumers are looking for a return to core values—a connection to the land, access to locally produced food, a healthier lifestyle and a traditional neighborhood community with a more welcoming aesthetic. Ecological’s eco-agro communities are the future of healthy living. Our master plans use sustainable planning techniques to address individual, “ In Seattle, a hotbed of green-building activity, new homes with green certification community, environmental and economic longevity by ensuring they strive sell for 8.5% more per square foot than to achieve the following: comparable non-green ones, according to a report from GreenWorks Realty. They also sell Preserve, restore and regenerate natural systems 22% quicker.” Wildlife Habitat, Green Infrastructure, Open Space, Access to Nature - CNNMoney.com Connect to local food Farmer’s Markets, Orchards, Community Gardens Create communities and promote social interaction Trail Systems, Community Barns, Recreation Construct smaller energy efficient green homes High Quality Construction and Classic Design, Low-Impact, Low-Maintenance, Healthy Indoor Air Quality, Local Vernacular Develop in areas of existing irreplaceable infrastructure “The number of operating farmers markets Distinguished School Districts, Access to Mass Transit and Strong Job Markets, in US since 1994 has increased from 1,755 Main Streets / Downtowns to 6,132, with a 16% increase from 2009 to 2010.” - USDA Farmers Market Growth
The Path to Eco-Agro Communities It Begins With Process Ecological approaches each project with a collaborative design process. By engaging local stakeholders and regulators from the onset, Ecological aligns the needs of the land with the community’s values and municipal goals. We follow a holistic process that begins with understanding the ecology of the land as well as the values of the community. We actively engage stakeholders, local residents and municipal regulators through design charrettes, personal interviews and larger community meetings to help us create a “story of place”. Employing a cooperative and inclusive approach to development allows Ecological to address the underlying needs of the community and the municipality, coordinate a shared project vision and bring it productively and efficiently through the comprehensive process.Environmental HealthEcological’s designs improve a site’s soil health, water quality and wildlife habitatthrough the protection and regeneration of natural systems. In addition torestoring these environmental systems, we blend site sensitive homes into thelandscape that are generally smaller, healthier and highly energy efficient.Key components of an Ecological project may include: “US commercial and residential buildings • Land preservation through easements, covenants, codes and/or restrictions are responsible for 38% of the nation’s CO2 emissions and 9.5% of the world’s total energy • Wildlife habitat restoration and invasive species management consumption. Green buildings, on average, • Native, drought resistant planting/landscaping use 33% less energy than conventional ones. Existing green buildings in the US effectively • Reduction or elimination of pesticides and fertilizers reduce CO2 emissions in an equivalence of • Newly constructed wetlands to treat stormwater and wastewater taking 208,000 cars off the road every year.” • Locally sourced and sustainable construction materials - Greg Kats, USGBC, and The Sustainable • Improved indoor air quality Building Task Force • Environmental education programs that encourage land stewardshipEcological uses principles of regenerative design to improve thequality of the land so that it is healthier than before development.
Economic Health Ecological’s master plans employ classical design and traditional neighborhood planning to create communities with a unique sense of place. These tenants foster evolving and enduring neighborhoods that generate and maintain value for both the residents and the municipality. • Timeless design • Homes that retain value and resist market volatility • Reduced maintenance costs due to high quality construction and innovative design Additionally, municipalities enjoy the benefits of consistent sources of tax ratables and improved infrastructure that requires less service and maintenance.“Prairie Crossing, a conservation communitynear Chicago, has created value in themarketplace through innovative designand amenities-homes are selling for 33%higher than comparable homes in area.That premium can be attributed, in part, In creating a place, we are not only creating value for the residents andto the project’s high level of amenities, community as a whole, but we are also providing the municipality withconservation ethic and open space. “ much needed tax revenues and diminishing its service burden. - ULI “Smart Growth: Myth and Fact” Social Health Ecological’s mandate is to encourage social interaction by creating communities that not only reconnect residents with nature, but that also provide opportunities for interpersonal exchanges. Ecological strives to build neighborhood relationships through common amenities such as: • Community orchards and gardens • Nature trails • Common barns, social gatherings and agricultural activities Our projects also include educational programs that teach residents and the public about the development’s many unique ecological features: • Guided nature walks • Handbooks for residents describing the ecological features of the land and their homes • Environmental lecture series “Social connectedness is one of the most powerful determinants of our well- being. The more integrated we are with Social health is just as vital in creating a well-balanced community our community, the less likely we are to as environmental and economic sustainability. experience colds, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, depression and premature death of all sorts.” - Robert Putnam, “Bowling Alone”
Mine Brook RoadBasking Ridge, New JerseyEcological’s most recent project is currently underway in Bernards Township, NJ, andit serves as a prime example of the eco-agro communities we strive to develop.The 89-acre site is one of the last remaining parcels in a town that had become afighting ground to prevent conventional development. Ecological approached thetownship and the neighboring residents to fully engage them in the design process.As a result, we collaborated with the town to design a project that protectsand enhances all of the attributes of the land that were most important to thecommunity and the environment. • Land preservation - More than 70% open space preserved without any public funding • Ground Water Recharge and Soil Health – Natural stormwater management systems that improve soil and habitat health, create new wetlands and naturally treat road runoff before it is returned to the ecosystem • Sustainable Agriculture – Easily-accessible agricultural uses on-site that encourage community participation in sustainable, organic farming and greater understanding of our relationship to the land • Green Building and Energy Efficient Design – Homes will be built to stringent green building standards • Viewshed Protection – The most significant viewsheds into the property will be preserved through a 200 ft. setback and a design that creates vast swaths of meadow • Natural Resource Enhancement – The existing woodlands and hedgerows will be preserved and enhanced; new wetlands will be constructed to improve water quality, provide areas for habitat and increase groundwater recharge Preserve Open Space by Clustering Homes We strive to preserve as much open space as possible in our projects. Where applicable, we use a hamlet design technique to cluster homes around a courtyard, while still maintaining a grand viewshed from the back of the home. In addition to pastoral open space such as woodlands and common meadows that ensure a sense of privacy, much of the open space is integrated into the community experience through organic food gardens, orchards and walking trails.
Willow SchoolGladstone, New JerseyThe Willow School is a notable example of how our design team is able tointegrate regenerative design features into a project that improves all systems,from the surrounding site, to the building, to the educational curriculum taughtto the children. Our vision for the project was well ahead of its time. The WillowSchool became the first LEED-Gold project in the Northeast, the second LEED-rated building in New Jersey, and by phase two of the project earned a platinumlevel-rating, the highest rating possible. As the lead environmental planners, sitedesigners and landscape architects for this project, the design team played anintegral role in helping this institution become a national model for both holisticeducation and regenerative design and development.Sustainable design elements used in the project include but arenot limited to: • Native and drought resistant landscaping that does not require irrigation • Rainwater harvesting, storage and reuse as the school’s wastewater supply • Improved habitat for birds, butterflies and small mammals • Heat-island effect reduction by providing shade for 33% of all non-roof impervious surfaces using existing and newly planted trees • Site management practices that restore native plant species, improve biomass, reduce runoff and result in a more diverse ecosystem • Constructed wetlands to manage stormwater and to treat human waste to recreational use water standards before being allowed to infiltrate the aquiferThe students learn in a new way that incorporates their everyday environmentinto their education and helps them to fully understand the consequences ofwhat might seemingly be their most insignificant actions—things as simple asturning on a light or flushing a toilet.Wetland StormwaterManagementWe employ passive stormwatermanagement systems that usevegetated swales planted with nativespecies to treat stormwater throughnatural biological processes. Restoredand constructed wetlands are designedto temporarily hold rainfall and give ittime to infiltrate and refill local aquifers.These wetlands and raingardens serveas outdoor classrooms, new areas ofwildlife habitat and are a vital means ofimproving local water quality.
Ecological’s Team includes the foremost financial, regulatory and environmental experts in the world. • Anthony Sblendorio, CEO and Co-Founder Founder of Back to Nature • Joseph J. Grano, Jr., Chairman and Co-Founder Former Chairman & CEO of UBS PaineWebber • Governor George E. Pataki, Board Member and Co-Founder Former Governor of New York • James M. Orphanides, Partner Former Chairman & CEO of First American Title Insurance Company • William G. Reed, Board Member Founding Board Member of U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) For more information about Ecological’s approach to development, visit us at: www.ecologicalgroup.com267 Broadway, Floor 3New York, NY 10007212.354.1560 Phone646.625.5414 Faxdevelopment@ecologicalgroup.com Printed on recycled paper using soy inks.