What does the word community mean to you? It could simply represent a group of people living in the same area. Perhaps it’s understood as being part of company or school. At DeSantis Homes the word community is spoken with the highest regard as we believe the word poses one of the most important meanings in the industry. Community encompasses a feeling of fellowship with others, sharing common interests, attitudes, goals, and quality of life. Community goes beyond co-existing with your neighbour, it allows for valued experiences, cherished memories, and integrated living.
This year, DeSantis Homes will introduce a new way for people to come together in community and have the opportunity to enjoy a home with those who share interest in alliance. Livingway. Coming to the small town of Winona just off the QEW between Stoney Creek and Grimsby. These Urban Towns will have a variety of stacked one and two-bedroom towns with optional third bedroom/den, inspired by the Dutch urban planning concept, Woonerf.
The term Woonerf means “living street,” and Woonerf communities are where streets come to life – with people, not traffic. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, that’s because the concept is relatively new to North America. In fact, Livingway will be the first community of its kind in the stretch between Halton and Niagara.
This street model of shared space, walkable paths and no traffic was first implemented in the Netherlands. A Woonerf design places emphasis on the overall quality of life, rather than the speed of it. A street in which pedestrians and cyclists have priority over motorists. It’s for this reason that DeSantis Homes’ belief in community parallel the concept, offering the residents a greater sense of ease when allowing their children to play outside safely or sitting on their private roof top terrace in peace.
To see it in practice, consider the Netherlands. Bloembollenhof for example is an affordable-housing development in a small suburb of Amsterdam designed by S333 Architecture & Urbanism. “Appearing more as a cluster of low-density housing typologies, Bloembollenhof resembles a rural village that retains dense urban characteristics.” Reads the article Going Dutch written by Avi Friedman in the Summer 2022 edition of the Ontario Home Builder Magazine. “Houses are made in simple geometric forms, yet incorporate several amenities.” the author states.
Amenities are the heart of a community and Livingway’s eight-acre site is a beautifully landscaped park with lawns, trees, and lots of raised beds. Tables and chairs scattered throughout the area encourage people to stop and mingle, as do the large play structure, communal barbecues, and splash pad, which converts into a skating rink during the winter. A pavilion offers a shady reprieve, as well as a great location for birthday parties. There’s also a community garden!
By implementing Woonerf techniques, an urban street is transformed to become a wide social space where pedestrians are encouraged to make use of the entire roadway, move freely from one point to another and participate in recreational activities safely. Livingway is about quality of life, greener living, and an over all simple lifestyle because simple is better. Here, there’s no need to be car-dependent considering all the local amenities walking distance from your front door like Costco, Metro, and an abundance of restaurants and shops. However, if you wish to use a vehicle, you can consider taking the sustainable route by borrowing your wheels of choice through the on-site Car Share program, which offers E-cars, E-scooters, and E-bikes. And if borrowing isn’t your thing, no worries, as every home is accompanied by an underground parking spot.
In the rendering of the townhomes above, you will notice their clean, modern design. Without a doubt perfecting this level of simplicity without compromising the flow of these open-concept plans was a complicated process that DeSantis Homes achieved with precision and thoughtfulness. Efficiently designed to maximize functionality, each home features two storeys of comfortable, practical living space.
The Woonerf approach to city planning is blazing new trails in improving the quality of life in residential streets all across the world, and DeSantis Homes is enthusiastic about its future in Winona.
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