Land development consulting merges the science of city
building with the art of placemaking through a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to project delivery. Encompassing the fields of planning, engineering, surveying,architecture, landscape architecture, construction, marketing, finance, and a host of other specialties, land development consulting is a dynamic profession that requires consultants to be technically skilled and creative. They must have their finger on the pulse of the community—the political climate, cultural and environmental priorities, infrastructure needs and desires—in order to reliably advise their clients, produce sound designs, and contribute to the development of high-quality places.

In order to fully appreciate the nuances of today’s land development industry, it is important to understand its evolution. This first chapter examines the industry drivers- demographics, historic events, and economic, political, and
social factors—that serve as the impetus for this growing
branch of consulting. Also touched on in this chapter are the tenets of design—strength, function, and aesthetics—as well as brief introductions to the prevailing design philosophies including green or sustainable, neotraditional, and conventional. Last, and most important, this overview establishes a land development design process—clarified and detailed throughout the text—that can be used to navigate the increasingly complex maze of development regulations, required approvals, and permits.

This edition, like the second, presents the material in chronological order according to the typical land development process. While site design is a continuous process, it encompasses at least seven distinct steps (or stages), each with an associated deliverable documenting the migration through the design process.

The conversion of land from one use to another is the generally accepted definition of land development. As used in this book, this definition is confined to land conversion associated with the modern communities that are being constructed, or reconstructed, for people to live, work, worship, shop, and play. This age-old process began when ancient societies organized themselves into tribes, settling on and claiming land, forming villages and primitive towns, for the mutual protection and livelihood of all. The great civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome can be traced to humble beginnings of tribal communities. Their growth in size and complexity is typical of urban development and not unlike what we are experiencing today. With their complex roadways, aqueducts, commercial markets, and residential areas,

the ancient problems associated with land development
endeavors—those of adequate transportation, waste disposal, drainage, water supply, population densities, and others—posed a challenge then and continue to require innovative solutions today.

Today, the process for finding solutions and developing
scenarios for land use that serve the greater good is a systematic one and is, to a large degree, uniform in principal and practice. The systematic approach to land use planning, analysis, and engineering is known as land development design. Carried out by highly educated and versatile urban design experts, land development design and consulting encompass a host of tasks including feasibility studies, zoning applications, environmental permits, and the hundreds of steps necessary to conceive, design, construct, and document a land development project.

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