Randall Arendt is a landscape planner, site designer, author, lecturer, and an advocate of "conservation planning".
He received his B.A. degree from Wesleyan University (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and his M. Phil. degree in Urban Design and Regional Planning from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was a St. Andrew's Scholar. He is Senior Conservation Advisor at the Natural Lands Trust in Media, Pennsylvania, and is the former Director of Planning and Research at the Center for Rural Massachusetts, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he also served as an Adjunct Professor.
In 2003 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute in London. In 2004 he was named an Honorary Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and in 2005 he received the American Institute of Architects' Award for Collaborative Achievement.
In 2008 he was awarded an honorary degree in Landscape Planning and Design by the Conway School of Landscape Design, in Conway, Massachusetts.
Mr. Arendt is the author of more than 20 publications. After co-authoring the award-winning Dealing with Change in the Connecticut River Valley: A Design Manual for Conservation and Development, he produced a 450-page sequel entitled Rural by Design: Maintaining Small Town Character, in 1994, which is listed among 39 volumes recommended by the American Planning Association for "the essential planning library". (It is also required reading for the AICP exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Planners.) His third major work Conservation Design for Subdivisions: A Practical Guide to Creating Open Space Networks (1996)was followed by a companion volume three years later, Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into Local Plans and Ordinances. Also in 1999his fifth book appeared, Crossroads, Hamlet, Village, Town: Design Characteristics of Traditional Neighborhoods, Old and New. His latest book, Envisioning Better Communities: Seeing More Options, Making Wiser Choices, is being published by the APA and the Urban Land Institute, in March 2010.
Mr. Arendt is the country's most sought-after speaker on the topic of creative development design as a conservation tool. He has presented slide lectures in 47 states, five Canadian provinces, and in Europe (most recently in Switzerland). In recent years he has been featured as a key speaker at national conferences sponsored by the American Planning Association, the Urban Land Institute, the American Farmland Trust, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the National Association of Home Builders, the Land Trust Alliance, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. His work has been featured in leading periodicals including the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Wall Street Journal, Landscape Architect, Urban Land, the Amicus Journal, the Smithsonian, and the New Yorker. His articles have also appeared in the Orion Nature Quarterly, Civil Engineering News, Habitat, Land Development, American Farmland, the Land Trust Exchange, Environment & Development, the Planning Commissioners' Journal, and the Journal of the American Planning Association.
site designs have been featured in publications of the American Planning Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors. One community in Livingston County, Michigan, which has implemented conservation design over the past decade has protected nearly 2,000 acres through this approach in the course of a single decade, representing a land value of at least $40 million (its protection cost through more conventional means).
Arendt's designs are "twice green" because they succeed both environmentally and economically. One of his recent designs was praised by the Director of Advocacy of the Massachusetts Audubon Society as "one of the most innovative subdivision plans I've seen".
In Tennessee, his re-design saved one developer approximately $212,000 in street construction costs, while at the same time introducing significantly more quality open space into the layout. By respecting natural terrain and designing around existing site features on an 80-lot development in Texas, he recently cut grading costs by 83%, or one quarter-million dollars (from $300,000 to $50,000). Another design is credited by an Indiana developer as having added $20,000 to $25,000 of value to each of his 40 lots (an added value of $800,000 to $1m), while still providing for full development density.
These lots sell well, as Mr. Arendt has designed "conservation subdivisions" for a wide variety of clients in 21 states. evidenced in one of Mr. Arendt's designs in Florida, where 86 of the 87 lots offered in phase one of the Centerville Farms conservation subdivision sold within the first seven hours (www.centerville-florida.com). At Sugar Creek Preserve in Walworth County WI , the developer was able to pre-sell twice the number of lots which he had expected to (www.sugarcreekpreserve.com).
Read the nomination papers by Richard Rothman FAIA for the 2005 American Institute of Architects' Award for Collaborative Achiement (awarded May 2005). (Requires Adobe Reader.)
This interview appeared in the September 30, 2006 issue of Planning magazine, published by the Royal Town Planning Institute, in London. (Requires Adobe Reader.)
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