Twenty years ago, Landlab Founder, Sean McAdam, purchased 50 acres of land behind his house in an effort to control the sort of development that would happen there. He quickly discovered that the development industry and municipal governments tend to approach questions of urban planning and architectural design as though they are trying to make life better for cars and trucks instead of people and their environment. McAdam balked at zoning regimes that required oversized roads, the unnecessary separation of land uses, and the imposition of regulations that he felt conspired to degrade the natural beauty of the land and, ultimately, the lifestyle of the people who would eventually live on it.
Armed with the view that people are inherently drawn to communities that are built to human scale, McAdam designed that first project around the people he envisioned living there. He insisted on high quality design elements in both the urban planning and in the way that new homes were situated on the land. This approach made his first development an immediate success and further convinced McAdam that the application of standard-issue government regulations and run-of-the-mill development practices not only lets down the people for whom developments are ultimately built, but represents a real lost opportunity for the development business case.
Within its first ten years, McAdam’s vision led to the creation of three highly successful developments and set the stage for what has come to be known as Adaptive Development. Today, Landlab still pursues its own development projects while consulting with landowners and developers on how they can maximize their profits by designing and building better, more beautiful communities.