Smart Growth Illustrated
Northwest Landing, DuPont, Washington
When building Northwest Landing, developer Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company and designer Calthorpe Associates wanted to design a unique community that did not require using an automobile for every trip. Built on the 3,000-acre site of an old explosives factory in the historic town of DuPont, Washington, Northwest Landing was designed with a fine grid of streets and sidewalks that encourages walking and bicycling. The development currently has 7 miles of paths and at build-out will have 30 miles, maintaining pedestrian connections through its 1,386 acres of preserved open space.
Northwest Landing has industrial and office buildings within walking or biking distance of most homes. Well-known companies like Intel and State Farm are large employers in the community. An increasing number of small retailers are moving into shopping districts, and a downtown area is planned for when the community is large enough to support it. In 2002, Northwest Landing had 3,000 residents and 3,082 jobs. At full build-out it will house 12,000 residents and over 20,000 jobs, with a goal of 30 percent of the residents working in the community. Weyerhaeuser paid $2.2 million of advance impact fees to the school district to build an elementary school. Now children can walk to school rather than being bussed to a school 45 minutes away.
The design of the streets and houses also encourages walking. Streets are narrow to slow traffic and make crossing easier. Lots are narrow and deep so pedestrians pass more of their neighbors during a given walk. Front porches are the focus of house designs so walkers can visit with neighbors as they pass. Garages are placed on back alleys so cars won't hit pedestrians as they back down their driveways. There are many different types of homes, including apartments, condominiums, single-family cottages, medium-lot single-family homes with granny flats, and large-lot homes. There will also be a new retirement community specifically targeted to military retirees and their spouses that will take advantage of the amenities at Fort Lewis right across the highway. All the housing types reflect the distinct northwest cottage style that was predominant in the historic town of DuPont. The multifamily housing has street facades similar to the single-family homes, which helps make the streets more attractive.
Adjacent to the future downtown area of Northwest Landing, the developer has built a park-and-ride facility for commuter bus service to Tacoma and Seattle. Within walking distance of many residents, this facility could also serve the future Sounder commuter rail line if it is extended to DuPont.
Thanks to good design and the support of a local walking club, Northwest Landing has hosted a wide variety of recreational fundraising walks . Northwest Landing's web site also provides a walking map of the community. All this good design and organizational support led both Sunset Magazine and Walking Magazine to name Northwest Landing one of the most walkable communities in the United States in 1997.