Tradition Turns To Urban Land Institute For "Green" Guidance

The architects of Tradition are looking for better ways to incorporate the environment and the economy into their designs. So this week, they've invited 14 of the country's top developers to south Mississippi. They've asked the Urban Land Institute panel to recommend new ways to make the master planned community both green and sustainable.

Tradition has plenty of land to build on.  And it has a concept to create that will ultimately blend 15,000 homes, and two million square feet of retail space in north Harrison County. According to Tradition President Gerald Blessey, "We're doing well. It's going to be a great success."

Masonry work on the first 30 Tradition homes is nearly complete. The next wave of construction may be influenced by people like Dan Van Epp. "What I see is a tremendously beautiful community that's been through an absolutely devastating experience," Van Epp said outside Mary Mahoney's restaurant.

Van Epp is a nationally known designer with the Urban Land Institute. His group came to Harrison County to figure out "how can we help construct a development pattern that might make even more sense for the gulf coast as we go forward here."

The initial idea behind Tradition had the environment in mind. Walking from a house to a park across the street or a store down the block was an integral part of this master planned community. The Urban Land Institute panel will play off of those ideas, when it collaborates later this week on a new vision for Tradition. "Yes, I think our consciousness has been raised," Blessey said. "We think these experts can help us combine these new techniques for building in a more environmentally sound way and still be economical."

New building techniques for Tradition will be discussed on Friday.

Tradition designers think the ideas they get this week could make their master planned community a national model that other developers could follow.