Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Real Estate Greenwashing

Greenwashing - the practice of doing something that makes you sound environmentally responsible, but really doesn't amount to much - is not new, but Houston-area real estate blog Swamplot pointed out a new twist on it: an Arizona-based real estate developer is planning new "sustainable" communities around the Houston area. Except, well, there's a problem:

Why do we need the Grand Parkway? [That's a new outer, outer beltway being built on the fringes of the Houston area - just another step toward making San Antonio a Houston suburb! -JW] To connect all those new green-living communities spreading way out into the Texas prairie!

An Arizona development company is master-planning a master-planned community for a tiny 4,000-plus-acre plot in Alvin, linking the Grand Parkway, FM 1462, and highway 288. Yes, that’s bigger than Shadow Creek Ranch.

It’s called Inspiration at Alvin, if you believe the mayor, or Inspiration @ Chocolate Bayou if you believe the Aperion Communities website.

Alvin mayor Gary Appelt announced that the expected population when the project is built out — in 30 years — is 25,000 people. That’s just over six people per acre. No wonder they’re calling it green!

The Aperion web site includes some heady copy (and fairly insipid music - why, oh why, does anyone think a web site should play music without asking first?) like this:
The Inspiration Community family Life District and our Community ConnectionsTM program merge the best of the Internet with traditional social interactions . . . to celebrate life in a whole new way.
Because just talking to the people next door is just so 20th century.

I'm sorry, some marketer is going to hell for writing this stuff. Six people per acre is not sustainable, no matter how many buzzwords you wrap around it.

1 comment:

Lisa Michelle Galley: said...

I just 'stumbled' you since I like the fact that you are exposing one of the ugly truths about how some real estate investors are shamelessly misusing sustainability. I've blogged about greenwashing within real estate myself a few times, but think that there's definitely a need for folks like you to keep exposing this type of problem.