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A Thirst For Something Real

There was a 60 minutes special last Sunday night on the Return of Wolves to Yellowstone Park. The Ranger in charge of the program said people by the hundreds of thousands are flocking to the park to see the wolves. He closed with this phrase, “we have a thirst for something real”. I feel that was powerful, true, and also applicable to Montava.

Maybe a good definition of authenticity is the truest representation we can get of something that creates a meaningful human experience. Why is there a resurgence for real books we hold in our hands and vinyl records we play on turntables? Why do we love fresh squeezed orange juice, real stone walls, true personal friendships (not on social media), and real wood burning fires?

How does this relate to a master planned community? We have worked hard to create an achievable vision of Montava as an authentic community.

I want to share 5 ways we are working to deliver this.

Nature, and the transect design:

The overall design of the community is based on nature. Our planners call it “urban design derived from nature”, or the Urban Transect. As an example, in nature you see things progress from the mountains to the front range. In our case it would be from a more dense urban town center toward a more rural farming environment. Most communities are not designed this way. When done well the experience is much more natural to the world we live in, and impacts our lives in ways we can’t explain.


I feel like we’ve lost something in our modernity. We’ve lost touch with how our food is grown, and the labor required to cultivate it. The Native Hill Farm @ Montava will offer an authentic glimpse into that experience. It’s a real as it gets.

Architecture by Lew Oliver

Architectural authenticity:

This is a hard one to describe, but we know it when we see it. It is simplistic in form, not trying too hard. It includes quality materiality; real wood, stone, fencing tastefully placed. It can also include man-made materials that are not designed to look like something other than what they are; tile, brick, metal. Being true to its nature, simple in its use, and beautiful in its application. By creating more efficient and livable homes this type of design can be delivered beyond normal expectations.

Pinewood Forrest

Integration across community:

One of my favorite photos in the Montava presentation is from Pinewood Forrest outside of Atlanta. It is a community being built by our town architect Lew Oliver and Dan Cathy the owner of Chick-Fil-A. This picture is taken from the living room of a $2MM custom home looking across the street at a 1,200 sf cottage. When a community is intentionally and tastefully designed, this kind of integration is possible.

Personal connection through design:

We often hear that our society is becoming more isolated. This at a time when we are more “connected” through the internet and social medial than ever. Montava is designed to enable real authentic connection that includes schools, library, parks, town center, trails, exercise, health care, farming and much more.

Taking all this into account, in the end I believe it is the “why” that is critical. Why do we build this house, designed this way, in this community, with these opportunities to learn and connect? It is the answers to “why?” that gives us a chance to become authentic.

This is what we hope will cause people to say, “I love this place”.


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