Riverbend Traditional Neighborhood Development

The Riverbend Traditional Neighborhood Development was created to help meet the demand for affordable housing in the ski resort town of Dover, Vermont. The Windham & Windsor Housing Trust hired Stevens & Associates—in association with Monroe Whitaker, Landscape Architect—to conduct a feasibility study and conceptual design.

A mix of multi-family homes, single-family homes, and community open space was included in the proposed project. After conducting a site analysis to identify opportunities and resource constraints, two alternatives were developed:  a conventional cluster design, and a traditional neighborhood design (TND).

The conventional cluster design consisted of 1/4-acre lots for single family homes and three lots for multi-family buildings. Roadways were gravel with roadside ditches and community open space was limited. On the other hand, the TND is a pedestrian oriented design that results in much higher housing densities. Buildings are close and oriented towards streets and open spaces. Parking is located to the rear of buildings and on the street. Roadways are narrow, paved with curbs and sidewalks. Roadway geometry is designed to reduce vehicular speeds throughout the neighborhood.

Although the TND design is more complex, it results in a higher yield with more meaningful community space. The design for the Riverbend community provided spaces for people to interact, and offered clear, private boundaries and semi-public areas, such as porches and front yards. These features are intended to foster a close neighborhood network, increase safety, and create a sense of civic ownership. Although more expensive overall, the higher yield resulted in a cost per unit equal to the conventional cluster design.