Since 1993, Rick Dover, Knoxville developer and general manager of Family Pride Corporation, has been an avid advocate for salvaging as much of brick-and-mortar history as possible. He has found that this reuse of historic buildings is not only more environmentally friendly, but it helps to preserve the heritage of the communities themselves. In addition to historic preservation, Dover is also a supporter of infill development, a process of developing vacant land within existing urban areas that are already built out.
According to Rick Dover of Knoxville, infill development – just like historic preservation – means capturing the embedded human energy that went into building those buildings in the first place. “We talk a lot about recycling and reusing paper and yet we throw our structures away,” says Rick Dover, Knoxville. “Better efforts need to be made at recycling them and capturing the existing energy that went into those buildings when they were constructed,” he adds.
Future home buyers are definitely more interested in living in walkable cities adjacent to amenities, with alternative transportation like train and buses, without being wholly dependent on cars, cites Dover. Driving less is good for air quality; it saves money and reduces energy consumption. In addition, says Rick Dover of Knoxville, infill development provides infrastructure and services, reduces pressure on rural and resource land, provides more housing and travel choices, and reduces carbon footprint.
Homebuyers interested in purchasing infill lots are encouraged to match the architectural designs in the existing neighborhood as much as possible. A 4000-sq ft home built in a neighborhood consisting of much smaller homes will probably not hold value well, points out Rick Dover, Knoxville developer.
Urban infill creates the kind of opportunities that millennials are seeking. Urban infill also expands housing opportunities for boomers that are looking to downsize.