Suburbia. Lets be honest, it’s kind of a dirty word. We use the word ‘development’ because we live in fear of the word ‘suburbia’.But, Im going to say what everyone is thinking: most developments are suburban. And that’s okay. So, come out of the closet, be proud of the suburban dweller you are. You no longer have to hide because this isn’t your moms suburbia. Remember getting lost in suburban developments because every single house was the same and every single street was named after a different kind of apple? Well, no more.
The development I’m featuring today is called Sol Austin, and although they’ll do anything to avoid the S word, they are a suburban community. They boast that they are ‘apart from the usual cookie cutter suburb look’ and that ‘Sol doesn’t consider itself a suburb at all’. Hmmm, but do they protest too much? Consider this a bit of a suburbia manifesto. Places like Sol Austin are redefining what it means to live in a suburban development, willingly or not.
How it measures up:
38 lots on 5.5 acres, house sizes range from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet, prices fall between $217K-$345K, located 3 miles from of Downtown Austin, 1 block from the nearest bus stop, and monthly savings of around $160 due to sustainable technologies.
Don’t live here if:
You beat up people who like graphic design and own abstract coffee-table books. (wimps)
Sol Austin has everything we like, literally everything. Open floor plans, high ceilings, natural lighting, oh my! SIP panels, solar panels, CES panels, awesome panels, oh my! Not only that but they have concrete and bamboo floors, metal roofs, a geothermal HVAC, energy star appliances, FSC certified wood, and low VOC paints, adhesives, and caulks. Homes are 100% electric and can achieve Net Zero Energy. And I’m just getting started on how great this place is.
They are also one of the first developments to have have a sub-grade bio-filtration system. Basically, run-off flows through a sedimentation pond and into various chambers located under the community park, eventually percolating through sand and gravel until finally entering an aquifer. Sol Austin does a great job of reducing impervious surfaces with joint access drives and limiting water usage with drought tolerant plants. Also, all the homes are equipped with rainwater collection systems.
Sol Austin also has a unique balance between public and private spaces. Houses come equipped with small private outdoor spaces, but the community also places an emphasis on large public outdoor spaces. The homes are all located uncomfortably close together, but the windows are spread apart to discourage peeping toms. Homeowners not only share a close proximity, but also in most cases share driveways. When construction is complete the developers also plan to build large community gardens that will work on the honor system.
And the list of good stuff goes on and on. Not only are the homes surprisingly affordable for the average homebuyer, but are also affordable for the not so average homebuyer. 16 homes are reserved for low income families earning 40 to 60% below the cities median income. Sol Austin holds themselves to three standards — fairness, sustainability, and affordability. cough, cough. sounds familiar.
Additional bragging rights:
Possibly owning your own courtyard
The last word:
Dear Sol Austin, You know longer have to be scared of the ire and prejudice associated with being suburban. We at Postgreen accept you just as you are. You are beautiful, no matter what they say. Love, Postgreen
We are fortunate enough to have footage of this project from Mark’s travels. This was taken during construction, so forgive the slightly unfinished look (and Mark’s unsteady hand).
also if any of you have suggestions for a development i cover next week, I would love to hear them!
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