The pandemic has us focusing more on the criteria for choosing a city, a neighborhood and a home. It comes down to aesthetics, economics and future happiness — the foundation of organic urbanism. Aesthetics drive the economics of a neighborhood and a home. The health of a city and neighborhood contributes to the happiness and the future value of a home. The sense of community magnifies the desirability of a home and neighborhood.
Pandemic Highlights the Best Cities, Neighborhoods, and Homes
We can see with greater clarity how the interplay of well thought out cities, neighborhoods and homes can create real happiness for its residents.
Our Attention Turns to More Humane Neighborhoods
In troubled times our attention turns to more humane neighborhoods like Greenway Parks, an exalted example of Organic Urbanism. Greenway Parks exemplifies a time when parks are more frequently used, kids are hanging out, riding their bikes, skateboards and scooters or just having fun rather than being shuttled from one structured activity to another.
The Relationship of Homes and Neighborhood
Here, I will discuss the attributes of the Greenway Parks neighborhood and a home designed by architect Max Levy that combines with Greenway Parks to embrace nature.
Greenway Parks Is a Good Example of Organic Urbanism
Greenway Parks is a good example of Organic Urbanism, where a small niche neighborhood has naturally evolved over 90 years. Waves of homes were designed and built each decade, marking architectural styles like rings of a tree. Dallas grew and flourished around Greenway Parks, adding vibrancy. Surrounding substantial roads were built, adding convenient access to downtown and premiere private schools.
Greenway Parks Single-Family Zoning Was Preserved
Simultaneously, Dallas protected Greenway Parks from developers who might have desired to rezone the neighborhoods for apartments or denser use. As the neighborhood evolved and continued to grow in value, the Greenway Parks neighbors negotiated among themselves to create a conservation district that put further restrictions on the size and footprint of homes that would be built. The City of Dallas supported and implemented this conservation district initiated by the homeowners for Greenway Parks, further protecting the scale and design of the neighborhood.
Architect David Williams’ Vision Blossomed
The inspiration and vision of legendary architect David Williams has survived and blossomed over 90 years. His residential development plan for houses to be built around parks and greenbelts retains its relevance and even becomes more relevant today. More than ever, homeowners want to walk, run, ride their bikes and play in their own neighborhood.
Density Creates Isolation – Low Density Promotes Interaction
During times of sheltering in place, neighbors in Greenway Parks saw their neighbors even more as they were working from home and taking intermittent walks in their neighborhood, giving them a chance to say hello to their neighbors. Childrens’ organized leagues and activities were canceled, but the greenways were a perfect place for children of all ages to play while maintaining a social distance.
Individual Expression and Neighborhood Cohesion are Ingredients for Organic Urbanism
Individual neighbors express themselves and contribute to the neighborhood by restoring historic homes, renovating traditional or midcentury modern homes and building new architecturally significant modern homes. The Greenway Parks neighborhood and architectural environment invite homes of all styles that relate to nature. As a result, Greenway Parks has some of the best renovation in Dallas and some of the best new homes in Dallas.
Greenway Parks Neighborhood Attracts the Best Architects
Max Levy, FAIA, is a good example of an architect whose aesthetics and creativity has flourished in Greenway Parks and reflect the positive dynamic of a home and neighborhood. Architect Max Levy is inspired by the smallest notes of nature — a leaf, a cloud, a raindrop. Max is also inspired by the vast context of the environment — West Texas, a lake, a pond, a forest or a neighborhood. In Greenway Parks we can see Max was inspired by both nature and the neighborhood.
Nature and Neighborhood Inspire Max Levy
One sees the inspiration in this home that Max Levy designed in Greenway Parks. It is wonderful to think about a home that is immersed in nature and the greenways of Greenway Parks. It is even more fun to think about this home that is immersed in nature and is also designed around a free standing room wrapped in screened windows permeated by nature. The physical transition from being inside the home and then going outside before you enter a free standing room provides a personal transition as well.
Second-Story Screened Room Is Layer of Harmony and Nature
Just as this Greenway Parks home is a lovely retreat from the chaos of city life, a second-story room nestled in the treetops with a separate outdoor entrance provides another layer of harmony and nature. And maybe most interesting is this room maintains its visual sightlines through the veil of nature along with almost every other room of the home. Here, one becomes removed from the family and even more connected to the family when one is working or relaxing in this center of the home.
Hide In Plain Sight
In this home one can even hide in plain sight. In the second-floor bedroom hall, there is a full-length window ledge that allows one to fully recline when one wants to read a book or study and be away from any distraction.
Push and Pull of Private and Public Spaces
Architect Max Levy displays his brilliance in every home he designs. In this modern home Max accentuates the push and pull of private and public spaces — the delightful dynamic of open shared space and an easy departure to a desired private space. Yet all of these spaces are remarkably visually connected.
Vertical and Horizontal Connection of Rooms
The large public spaces have windows on three sides, allowing sunlight to enter the room throughout the day. Wings of the home are connected by a wide horizontal hall suitable for an embassy. The main rooms of the home are separated by the courtyard which provides each room more intimacy and simultaneously provides more visual connection with others in the home. There are even diagonal connections between different floors of the home. From a second-floor bedroom one is able to look across the courtyard into the glass-walled kitchen located on the first floor. The effect is similar to the Frank Lloyd Wright Theater Center renovations by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who have designed rooms in connected spaces one half floor apart that visually connect activities between floors without feeling obtrusive.
Modern Vision and Extensive Warmth
The design of this Max Levy, FAIA, home conveys modern vision and extensive warmth. The materials selected for the interior and exterior are indigenous to Texas and to Greenway Parks. The architectural design of the home draws from the community and yet it is distinct from the community.
Organic Urbanism Increases Neighborhood Safety
In this home, one enjoys the Organic Urbanism of Greenway Parks, the shared greenways of the neighborhood, along with being on the protected edge of the neighborhood. The Greenway Parks neighborhood has private neighborhood security to supplement the Dallas police security. The security of this Max Levy-designed home is further bolstered by two blocks of homes in one direction, and the impenetrable tollway wall sited above the depressed tollway in the other direction, at the other end of the neighborhood. The large 1/3 acre lot allows for a swimming pool and gardens, visible from every room in the house.
The overriding element of the home is nature which permeates it. This home is a triumph in precision, warmth and design that promotes humanity.
Interplay of a Neighborhood and Home
When the pandemic has many of us rethinking our home and the neighborhood in which we want to live, it is fun to see how much more successful and desirable homes are in an inspired neighborhood.
Greenway Parks is a Triumph of Economics, Aesthetics, Health and Happiness
Greenway Parks is a triumph in economics as it has the most valuable land in Dallas. Greenway Parks is a triumph in aesthetics as almost every home is architect-designed and architecturally significant. It is a triumph in health and happiness as homeowners sheltered in place, exercised, interacted from a distance\ and were able to be productive, healthy and happy living, working and playing in their home and neighborhood. Greenway Parks is a triumph for Organic Urbanism as it shows when neighbors are allowed to express themselves individually and collectively the neighborhood will thrive.