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Fall 1999 Speech


“Best practices for small and large developments”.     

Good morning, my name is Rob Andrys  I’ve been asked to chair this segment of today workshop not only because I belong to the FGCU Green Building Project but because I have a passion for this subject.  

This segment of today’s workshop is entitled “ Best practices for small and large developments”.   

          We’re going to hear how sustainable practices translate into good economics and the bottom line.

 Although sustainable design is a new ketch all phrase to explain a huge volume of ideas, it is based on centuries of good common sense. 

The Roman’s learned and created laws to limit the growth of cities along the Po River where farming and flooding took place.  The cities were built in the less fertile hills, while the farming took place in the river valley.  This ensured that cities had a permanent area for food production and the cities would be above the flood elevation.  Only in this century have the Italians stopped this development practice by building in the river valley and they paid dearly in the late 1990’s when the Po River flooded.

          The speakers here today have translated their ideas and theories of designing communities to work with nature instead of fighting it. Everyone senses that this pays off in the long run, but it also pays off in the short-term as they will explain.  If your development ignores the assets into which it is placed, but instead tries to bulldoze a new dream reality unrelated to the surrounding ecosystem, you fragment the natural environment onto which the development must ultimately rely upon. 

          So how do you avoid a development nightmare?

Good Design

Design is a small word for a lengthy procedure.  It is not a single action or command, but a process.

Whether it is designing a community or a truck, there is a method.  A process of observing what is or is not the present condition, of gathering information about the subject, communicating with others who have informed or similar experiences, assembling this information.  Then stopping long enough to think all this information through, proceeding on to make assumptions, testing them, refining and finally documenting the conclusions.

 Shortcut or leave any of these steps out and you get shotgun-design or what we call “Ready, fire, aim” results.  Rapid-fire developments that were so pervasive in prior decades are economic suicide today.

          Good design allows for careful consideration of all aspects of development, here are 10 items I feel must be addressed;


1.  Understand all aspects of the site, in all weather models.  Get to know it’s strengths and weaknesses.

2.     Get realistic with the carrying capacity of the site.  How much is economical and how much is too much.

3.     Examine the percentage of roads and parking lots verse buildable and natural areas.  Too many developments are built for the cars rather than the people living there resulting in a network of roads and cul-de-sacs rather than a interconnected community.

4.     Create a detailed outline of the economic outlay and Performa for the development.  Some uses are better placed elsewhere.

5.     Estimate the future overhead and maintenance of the property and structures. 

6.     Factor in the assumed level of risk in the location developed in terms of hurricane damage or flooding losses.  Can you withstand losses that are low, moderate or high.

7.     Consider the marketability of the development

8.     The ultimate goal of livability of the community created.

9.     The longevity of its economic lifetime.  Will it still be a highly desirable place to live or work after 20 years?

10. Finally, is it sustainable? Will there be an equitable balance between the requirements of the natural areas, the economic realities and the intangible but crucial social demands of the new community?


I think after you hear our panel describe how they shaped their developments to respond to these issues you will see how important the design process is in successful communities.


It is with great pleasure that I may introduce to you our speakers.


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