Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Neighborhood

Our new neighborhood, Agritopia, is an urban farm designed upon some fairly revolutionary principles for Arizona culture. From their website:

We believe that it is important to focus on people rather than "stuff". People are the most valuable result of creation and meaningful relationships between people are to be fostered. A simpler life, devoting time to relationships, rather than acquiring and maintaining "stuff" is a richer life.

Also, we can see from God's creation certain attributes. Among those are form, beauty, variety, order, and functionality. All good design flows from consideration of these fundamentals.
If that last paragraph sounds spiritual, that's because it is. The family who began Agritopia are followers of Jesus and they've designed the neighborhood on some key values:
  • Reduce physical barriers to relationship: Favoring pedestrians over cars, the streets are very narrow and the sidewalks very wide. The usual concrete block walls of Arizona have been replaced with shorter white fences.
  • Reduce social/economic barriers to relationship: Most suburbs are homogeneous due to similar priced houses and culture (i.e. starter homes, retirement neighborhood, upper-class white families, etc.). There are homes available for people like us (first time home owners and quite low price range) and people much wealthier, creating a more diverse neighborhood.
  • Promote sharing: Shared pools, parks, and even yards encourages personal interaction between neighbors while saving families time and money on maintenance. There are still individual yards, but when you have incredible parks within walking distance, a yard doesn't seem quite as necessary.
  • Promote a simpler lifestyle: Homes don't need to be oversized monstrosities; space can be used in a pragmatic and beautiful way without taking up tons of space. The focus is moved from accumulating "stuff" to investing in friendships and family.
  • Honor agriculture: Agritopia is still farmland, and you can purchase the farm's produce at a farm stand within walking distance. Joe's Farm Grill is located in the neighborhood, and they use the produce directly from the farm.
I'm proud to move into a community that doesn't completely embody isolation, consumerism, and homogeneous suburban sprawl. I'm stoked to have sidewalks and green grass and an incredible coffee shop within walking distance. It turns out that a young couple from our church also lives in the neighborhood, and we're excited to get to know our new neighbors when we're all moved in. I'm eager to see what owning a home is like, and ready to be the best neighbor I can be to the people around me.

2 comments:

  1. Very cool. I keep telling Brian we need to move to Arizona!:)

    But seriously, I'm stoked for you guys. Seems like totally your kind of place .

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  2. We're quite stoked too, Kristy. And if you don't go into the Peace Corps, perhaps you SHOULD move to Arizona. ;)

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