People often wonder what actually sets Hendrick Farm apart. Step foot in the neighbourhood and it will immediately be clear that something feels different. There is no space wasted on huge driveways that overtake the front of the house. There are no colossal garage doors that feature more prominently than the front door. The streets seem more intimate somehow, not like the wide open spaces in all the other suburbs attached to larger cities in North America. You can find people sitting on their front porches and chatting with neighbours walking by to get their mail. You can find groups of children playing in the parks that are sprinkled throughout the houses, or zooming by on their bicycles.
That feeling—of walkability, of intimacy of outdoor spaces, of community—can all be boiled down to our urban planning and architecture. Through these, Hendrick Farm has rejected today’s automobile-dependent, cookie cutter suburbs and reclaimed traditional village design, embodying the best aspects of some of the world’s most sought-after neighbourhoods.
How? Hendrick Farm developer, Landlab Inc. partnered with world-renowned urban planning firm DPZ Co Design to design a neighbourhood for people first.
Front porches and gardens have been designed to provide a social connection between homes and the community. Garages and parking spaces have been detached from homes and moved to the rear, shifting the streetscape hierarchy from a focus on cars to a focus on people. Homes have been built using authentic and high quality construction materials. Rather than a vinyl-wrapped box with some brick pasted on the front, we’ve treated the whole house with equal architectural intent. Short picket fences create a clear delineation between the public sphere and the private sphere, without leading to a sense of closing off.
Urban green spaces have been designed to create smaller pocket neighbourhoods, forging distinct senses of place and anchoring various architectural styles. Landlab Inc. has preserved the acres of onsite forested land and added trails to make it accessible to residents and the public alike—connecting areas of Chelsea that were never previously walkable and ensuring everyone has access to nature. A natural playground has been built to allow children to create their own adventures and discover their own boundaries.
At its core, Hendrick Farm has been purposefully designed to encourage walking, play, recreation, social interaction, healthy lifestyles, and a sense of community. It’s a place to live, work, and play. It’s a place to grow up and a place to retire. It’s a whole community where people have real connections to their neighbours when they want them, and lots of space for privacy when they don’t. Only 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, it’s close to everything yet still a world away.
“Hendrick Farm…is a vision of a healthier, more viably sustainable lifestyle choice for a new generation.” – Toronto Star