Hawaii's First Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Sustainable Community

October 11, 2019

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The City and County of Honolulu's adoption of TOD's (Transit Oriented Development) around each transit station as proposed by DPP (Department of Planning and Permitting), include creation of mixed-use denser development nodes within a quarter mile radius (approximately five minute walk) and half mile radius (approximately 10 minute walk) of each transit station, with the idea of creating pedestrian friendly walkable communities that can reduce automobile trips, encourage transit use and serve diverse housing needs. It's remarkable how similar the DPP's TOD's idea is to Jim's Sustainable Community TOD Master Plan that has reached its 25th anniversary since launching in 1994. Jim's plan is as visionary today as it was then especially in that it envisions multiple sustainable development strategies into the TOD, something nobody has yet to achieve in Hawaii.

The Master Plan is linked below as are two articles Jim wrote to describe the concept. The "Sustainable Communities - A New Paradigm for Paradise" article was published by Hawaii Architect magazine, May 1994, and the "The American Dream - Form Should Follow Family" was published by Hawaii Pacific Architecture, September 1995.

The articles describe a sustainable community as one in harmony with nature that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The TOD's are described as a more compact development in order to preserve our precious aina as open space to combat the adverse impact of contiguous suburban sprawl. The Sustainable Community TOD's are believed to be not just places for living but Living Places, more liveable and convivial not just because they are pedestrian friendly within a usable five and ten minute walk, but because the mix of uses, mix of housing, mix of transportation and mix of sustainable development strategies provide a diverse cross section of family types and income strata within proximity of their daily needs. Jim calls this mix MIXED HUTS (a mix of Housing, Uses, Transportation and Sustainability components).

Link for Sustainable Communities TOD Master Plan: Sustainable Community Master Plan By Jim Freeman

Link for "Sustainable Communities" TOD article in Hawaii Architecture: Sustainable Communities By Jim Freeman

Link for "The American Dream" TOD article in Hawaii Pacific Architecture: The American Dream By Jim Freeman

Jim created the concept master plan as part of the effort of AIA Honolulu's Committee on Sustainable Communities that was most active 1993-1998. Other committee members included Rex Maximilian, Alex Neuhold, Chris Belknap, Paul Ponthieux, Carlo Priska, Greg Field, Red Mahan and Robert Bell.

FSC Architects is an international resort design firm focused on creating bespoke authentic guest experiences they believe are the most memorable by enriching life. They specialize in hotel architecture, resort design, resort master planning, integrated resorts, boutique resorts, mixed-use and residential projects that require their excellent place-making skills and transcendent adaptation of culture, climate, place and natural environment - much of it originating from the early place making ideas about Living Places and sustainable communities mentioned above.