Traditional Town LLC, David Tomes, Charles Osborn
About Norton Commons
Located 20 minutes northeast of downtown Louisville, Norton Commons is an example of how placemaking is a powerful antidote to suburban sprawl. Though challenged with a less than optimal route to its commercial core, this community has flaunted conventional retail location wisdom to become an authentic destination with no problem luring shoppers, diners and other weekend entertainment seekers. Key to the success of the 60 locally-owned businesses is how the shopfronts are embedded organically into the mixed-use fabric of the town. It has also helped that right next door were an older residential subdivision on one side and a golf course development on the other in need of a center. Town founders David Tomes and Charles Osborne have continued Louisville’s tradition of elegantly planned neighborhoods and parks with their 1997 DPZ master plan. It took a special zoning ordinance and 7 years of aligning all the necessary ingredients, including a Steve Mouzon pattern-book to guide homebuilders that has been ably administered by Town Architect Mike Watkins. Since 2004 Norton Commons has been steadily growing as it largely ignored the recession.
- Local focus: emphasis on homegrown entrepreneurs and restaurateurs.
- Mix of uses & housing: a full range of housing types, from single-family detached homes to apartments, and a sizable amount of office and live/work space.
- Civic amenities: town square, 2 elementary schools, community pool with clubhouse, and a community garden.
- Regulations: DPZ urban code + pattern book.
Defining Design Details
- Community emphasized: many houses are arranged around shared courts and pedestrian passages.
- Local landscape traditions honored: linear parks and greens take their cues from Olmsted designs in Louisville.
- Density done well: consistent massing, materials & detailing help smooth transitions from single-family neighborhoods into multi-family and mixed-use edges.