Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Doug Boone (1945-2012), community builder

Doug Boone was the developer of the St Alban’s neighborhood in Davidson, NC (known at the time simply as “the new neighborhood in Old Davidson”). The neighborhood’s walkable streets and public spaces-- though once hotly debated by the townspeople-- have come to be cherished locally and have helped to initiate a trend toward more livable neighborhoods in Davidson.

Dover, Kohl and Partners had the pleasure of working with Doug, beginning in 1997, to design the St Albans neighborhood. Doug wanted the project to be his legacy and he boldly broke with the conventional development mold in many ways:
  • An open charrette to design the new neighborhood was held right in the lobby of Davidson’s town hall, an unusual move for a developer. Later, Doug received an Urbie award from the Charlotte Observer for having had a public participation process at all.
  • The St Alban’s church was located prominently in the neighborhood (instead of next to a subdivision) – a central victory of the project.
  • Rowhouses, live-work units, and single family homes are mixed closely together.
  • Streets are designed to be slow by design and family-friendly with on-street parking, narrow lanes and regularly planted street trees.
  • The neighborhood includes a variety of public open spaces including parks, sports fields, trails, a playground and a dog park.

Doug’s passion for making the St Alban's neighborhood into a great place for people grew even stronger over time. Doug was keenly aware of every detail and together we refined the design, through many draft plans and illustrations, until it matched his vision. Doug executed the designs with tremendous dedication and the neighborhood today bears a remarkable resemblance to the illustrations.

Doug will be greatly missed, and his contributions as a community builder will be appreciated by generations to come.

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