Olowalu Town is a traditional neighborhood development located on a coastal site along the western shores of Maui, Hawaii. By referencing the natural surroundings, the plan aims not only to enhance the existing community but also to complement the beauty of the surrounding environment. Ecologically sustainable design was also at the forefront of the discussions, and became crucial to the development of the plan.
The community’s layout, structures, density and land uses all contribute to creating a compact and pedestrian-friendly environment. The basic organizational pattern divides the site into three distinct neighborhoods, each of which will provide residents with the basic amenities for daily life within walking distance of their homes. In addition to the individual neighborhoods, two town centers will feature facilities and amenities for the larger community, including retail and commercial spaces, civic buildings and public open space. A wide range of housing types will also be available, including a substantial provision of much-needed affordable housing.
A main element of the plan was the incorporation of local ecological features. Most significantly, the development of the master plan was strongly influenced by the “ahupua’a,” the traditional Hawaiian transect. DPZ adopted and updated this transect, which marries traditional settlement patterns with sustainable ecological strategies. Additionally, the neighborhood boundaries are defined by a cultural preserve that runs north-south across the entire site, from the West Maui mountains down to the Au Au Channel. Each neighborhood comprises a delicate and intimately-scaled system of blocks, buildings and streets oriented towards the water or towards the mountains, providing views deep into the site by way of pedestrian and/or green linkages for a maximum number of residents. This rich public realm will encourage public use and interaction between all residents and will contribute significantly to the community’s livability, vitality and environmental health.
By using these site-specific design techniques, the plan presents an approach to building a beautiful, high-quality human habitat that enhances a stunning landscape. In this regard, Olowalu Town strives to use its finely-crafted urban fabric and well-defined public realm to be a model urban community for Maui and a destination for the region at large.