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The ‘Mora Index’ for growing a connected, freedom-loving kid


The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

As a 12-year-old, I remember well the territory I was comfortable exploring on my bike with friends and siblings. We could ride on a dirt path from the residential road through an empty lot to the usually vacant parking lot behind Safeway. The empty lot had little hills that helped us hone our bike handling skills. And the Safeway store offered us refunds for empty bottles and plenty of ways to spend the new cash.

These days, as parents we put a lot of money and time into taking care of our kids. Different families make different choices, but the community we live in makes many choices for us too. During the week we drive our kids from one activity to another, and then on weekends we drive to big box stores to provision ourselves for the coming week. These rituals can be fun… come on, admit it, Costco has us nailed, offering free samples of prepared food sold in volume, cheap pizza or a cone at the checkout. But it is not a kid’s world. We don’t feel safe letting our children run around by themselves as we shop.

Going somewhere and buying something… that is what grown-ups do. So isn’t it the Holy Grail of freedom for a kid to be able to get somewhere by themselves and purchase something of high kid-value?  How many parents with school-aged children in your neighborhood would think it safe to send their kids to the grocery store alone? Architect Ross Chapin is an advocate of small scale communities. In his book “Pocket Neighborhoods”, Chapin describes what he calls the “Popsicle Index” – the percentage of people who think it is safe to let their kid walk to a store and buy a Popsicle without adult supervision.

On Bainbridge Island, we are lucky to have Mora’s Ice Cream, surely a part of many families’ ritual outings long before a kid has much independence. So. If you lived within walking distance from Mora’s in downtown Winslow, would you let your daughter walk there by herself to buy a treat?

To reach that Holy Grail safely, a child needs to start much earlier in life with smaller circles of independence, or safety zones that expand with the age and confidence of the child. A safe base creates independence. The Grow Community is designed so that no one ever crosses a street while inside the community. Courtyards between homes are the protected close-in zones, with opportunity to meet the neighbors as the first integration into the larger community. Living in this community, a child will graduate to playing alone at the community center, with helpful eyes watching out for the unexpected.  It takes a community to keep an independent child safe, to contribute to raising independent children.

When children graduate to the outer circles of the community, there are many options for walking and biking—to get to two nearby elementary schools, Ordway and Odyssey, the two Island middle schools, Sakai and Woodward, and the high schools, Bainbridge and Eagle Harbor. The library and a park is even closer. The Farmer’s Market is practically across the street. Hmmm.  Maybe this smaller world helps us stay out of our cars and gives our kids the autonomy they crave a little earlier!

Check out ‘5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids’ also written by Leslie Schneider

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.

5 Minute Lifestyle; 5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids


The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

How did you feel about your neighborhood as a kid?

Before I was even 11 years old I could walk on my own to the library, or to a couple of stores in my neighborhood to spend my dimes and quarters. When I visited my grandparents in the summer, my cousins and I would walk to the public swimming pool or a community center for day camp classes. These memories define my childhood because I was not dependent on adults driving me there. My world had a connected set of places that I could “own.”

In the 5-minute lifestyle of the One Planet Grow Community, our homes are walking and biking distance from many family-friendly destinations, and they become such a part of our lives that we don’t even have to plan for them.  The Grow Community on Bainbridge Island offers so many activities that will live in our kids’ memories as part of where we live.

Here are a few favorites that are great for a range of ages:

The Farmers Market in Winslow

For almost half the year, the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Town Square is just a block away. Kids experience the color and bounty of fresh local food, the energy of the music, and even a marketplace where kids are the artisans and vendors.  Keep walking through the market, and just around the performing arts center is the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, with fresh displays as well as the longstanding history exhibits. Come home by way of Winslow with occasional visits to the Curious Child for the latest instructional games and toys, and you’ve got a weekly tradition that will live on for years in your kids’ memories.

On any day, a five minute stroll on friendly sidewalks through Winslow gets you and your kids to the playground behind the Town & Country grocery. From there, another 5 minutes on trails through Waterfront Park opens up to the beach. Low tide under the ferry dock is an unbelievable zoo of anemones, at least seven different species of sea stars, and frequent startling spurts from buried clams. A few times each season there are beach naturalists to help identify your finds. Bring rubber boots or water shoes, and don’t forget to buy the makings for dinner at Town & Country (grocery store) on your way back.

Kayaking on the Sound

For the days when weather discourages extended outdoor time, the Bainbridge library is just a five minute walk up the street, and another five minutes lands you at the Aquatics Center for swim lessons or free play in the lazy river or down the 20′ water slide. Diagonally across High School Road from the library and behind the Commodore Options school is the Bainbridge High School Gymnastics Room that hosts many Parks and Recreation classes, including the urban gymnastics for older kids  called Parkour (it’s much safer than jumping between tall buildings).

Biking around the island

Five minutes on bikes (or 10 minutes by foot at an adult pace) and you’ll be at the ferry for an excursion to Seattle (and you can lock the bikes in the protected Bike Barn). Or stay on the island for an adventure at the Kids

Discovery Museum across the street. “KiDiMu”, as it is mostly called, has built a strong following in its new location in Island Gateway, and soon the Bainbridge Art Museum will be another destination in that same campus. On

Fun at the KiDiMu

that same route, kids probably won’t love their appointment at the Virginia Mason clinic, but stop at Mora’s ice cream on your way back and all will be forgiven. In the car-dependent life, we weigh the benefits of a great destination with the costs of our own energy and time getting kids buckled in, travel and traffic, and finally finding parking in the vicinity of the destination. Then there are the real costs of gas and parking and maintenance, but we don’t usually track these carefully, willing to accept an average monthly budget for such necessities. In a car-free 5-minute lifestyle, instead of a hassle, getting there is half the fun!

If you’d like to learn more about the 5 Minute Lifestyle, check out our blog on Sustainable Transportation

 

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.

Growing A Concept

The concept for Grow Community began with a question:  If you could imagine the ideal place to live, what would it be like?  We began to answer this question as we talked with friends and colleagues.  But the idea for Grow really took shape when we reached out to the wider community and challenged people to think about how a neighborhood could be intentionally designed to improve their quality of life.

Over the last two years we have created a vision of a neighborhood where people of all generations and a diversity of economic means can live mindful of their impact on the planet.   An intentional community where environmental, economic and social sustainability are equally valued and where all people can focus on creating abundance, in their relationships to others, to nature and to the community.

This vision is only just the beginning.  We have designed a site plan for the first phase of the community and built three model homes to invite people to learn about the project, about the community concept and the sustainability goals that we have adopted through the One Planet Living program.  These homes are prototypes, representing the various living opportunities that we plan to build throughout the project.  We encourage you to stop by, walk through the community garden, experience the homes and tell us what you think.

Over the last three weeks we have had more than 850 visitors and we have learned an incredible amount of information, about the homes, the community design, the community programs.  We are already incorporating this feedback in to the final house designs and will continue to improve the plans as we learn more from our visitors.

We are now getting ready to launch the next planning phase to create the Community Center and the other spaces that might be associated with it, including non-profit cultural and educational uses, a large open space and community garden.

We have only just begun, and the one thing that we are certain of is that this community will grow and evolve along with the people who contribute to it.   Our vision, our plans, our designs are just the seed.  We are looking forward to seeing what it grows into.  Whether you are a friend, neighbor, visitor or potential resident, we hope you will join us in shaping this community.

 

Now Taking Reservations.

We are now taking reservations on homes in the first 3 phases. We are also taking back-up reservations, and creating a wait-list for rentals and homes in later phases. Regardless of your timeline If you are interested in living at Grow we encourage you to schedule an appointment soon.  Please contact our Sales/Leasing Director, Joie Olsen at 206.452.6755.

Model Home Tour Schedule.

Our Model Homes will be open for tours on the weekends through September from 1-4pm (with extended hours for Labor Day weekend 10am-4pm) and by appointment. Contact us 206.452.6755 to schedule an appointment.

Grow Community Sustainability Tours.

Interested in a sustainability tour? Join us Thursday afternoons at 4pm for a sustainability tour with our Architect, Jonathan Davis (Davis Studio Architecture and Design) or a member of our development team. We can walk you through all of the sustainability features incorporated into the designs of the homes and the community at Grow. Please RSVP here or call 206.452.6755 to schedule this tour.

Share Your Thoughts With Us.

Already toured our Model Homes? Would you like to share your thoughts? We would appreciate your feedback. We have only just begun, with an expectation that this community will grow and evolve along with the people who contribute to it. Our vision, our plans, our designs are not yet complete. Whether you are a friend, neighbor or resident, we hope you will join us in shaping this community. Please share your thoughts, reactions, ideas about the home designs, the community, anything really.

5 Minute Lifestyle; Sustainable Transportation Options For Residents At Grow Community

sustainable transportation at grow community bainbridge[The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.]

Building a healthy community takes more than just building energy efficient homes. Solar panels on your home and energy efficient appliances are a great start, but it’s only the beginning. There’s a much deeper story to be told.  Whole communities are built on the understanding that sustainability is defined not only by physical impacts to our environment, but also by the experience of support, equity and connection for the community’s members.  One Planet communities address all aspects of sustainability, from the ecological to the economic and cultural impacts, with social well being and quality of life as a foundation of the concept.

One of the principles behind Grow Community’s One Planet sustainable development model is reducing carbon from transportation. With this principle in mind, we set out to provide several sustainable transportation options for residents of Grow Community to make it easier to live without a car, or with only one family vehicle. Grow Community is a 5 – 10 minute walk (or leisurely bike ride) from downtown Winslow and the ferry to Seattle and the location of the development was carefully chosen to support a lifestyle that isn’t dependent on a vehicle. All of your in-town amenities and transportation needs are close by, and, if you work in downtown Seattle, commuting is easy from Grow.

[Related: 5 Minute Lifestyle; Five Local Food Havens Minutes From Grow Community]

We know that residents will still need a vehicle on occasion, and there is room for each resident to have their own car. But what if you would prefer not to own a car, or need a second car only once in a while? That is when Grow Community’s car-sharing program for residents comes into play. For a small monthly fee residents can opt-in to our Nissan LEAF car-sharing program and book our electric car for trips around town or into Seattle. The car is charged by it’s own dedicated solar panel array and is a 100% emissions free transportation option for Grow Community residents.  If interest is high, we will add a number of cars to the car share program, making this a choice that residents can depend on.

For the more casual outings, we have community bikes available for our residents. We are providing the bikes as a healthy option to easily get around Bainbridge Island, and we are hoping the bikes will help people explore the community. The bikes, made by Public Bikes, have already been popular with our own project team—a great way to get around town.

By providing a number of different options for Grow residents to choose low-carbon transportation options, we hope to reduce our overall carbon footprint, create healthy options for getting around town, and demonstrate how sustainable transportation choices can be easy on the pocketbook.

Scroll down to check out some pictures of our new Nissan LEAF and community bikes! 

grow community nissan leaf

 In the picture above you can see Grow Community’s new LEAF with it’s EV Station (on the right) and the solar array which is charging the station (the structure just to the left and behind the vehicle). In the background you can see our three solar powered model homes, now open for public tours. From left to right: The Aria, Ocean and Everett[Read more…]