Conventional suburban versus hamlet design
The conventional suburban site plan above left was drawn for a hilltop site in a large development project. Charlotte architect and urban planner Tom Low, director of Civic By Design, created the alternative New Urbanism plan of a hamlet. The idea is to develop a series of interconnected hilltop hamlets on the model of ancient hill towns.
“The hamlet design framework lies lightly on the land aligning connectivity with the ridge lines and then stepping down in tiers—following the topography, which drops off quickly to steep slopes and limiting the size and urban type to hamlets,” Low explains. “The small greens also serve light-imprint rainwater management purposes.”
While the conventional suburban model lends itself to a monoculture of housing types, the hamlet design accommodates at least four lot types and sizes, with a variety of single-family and townhouse buildings.