The Schooner Bay project is a new town being built in the Bahamas by Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company* and overseen by project manager Kevin Main. Located on the Atlantic coast of Great Abaco Island, Schooner Bay will be a resort town “steeped in the architectural and design legacy of traditional Bahamian settlements,” as seen in Harbour Island. Much like Harbour Island, all daily needs are intended to be met by foot, bicycle, or golf cart. The Schooner Bay model is an attempt to redirect the regional development trend away from sprawl and towards environmental responsibility and sustainability. All aspects of the building process will be environmentally-sensitive. These include strategies for reducing energy use (shading devices, geothermal cooling, and walkable (zero-emission) neighborhoods; stormwater and wastewater management strategies; plans for greywater reuse, catchment and storage; and zero-waste generation.
A buffer along the beach front will preserve natural dunes and vegetation. In July 2009 the landscaping project began, including planting 1,500 coconut palms, thousands of sea oats, and other varieties of dune plants. The dunes were cleared of destructive invasive plants and replanted with indigenous dune plant life. A contiguous greenway permeates the site, designed to preserve the preferred habitat of the Bahamian parrot, which migrates through the area annually.
A program that extends to the greater Bahamian community called the Commons has an agricultural component that will, along with the area fishery, provide fresh and local sources of food through organic farming, and education to the larger community on sustainability and health. The idea is to create an economic and cultural hub for the South Abaco community. There is also discussion on the need for creative food processing of local crops and the possibility of creating a regional food brand. The program will be hosted at Schooner Bay’s new South Abaco Community Centre. Antonius Roberts, celebrated Bahamian artist and environmentalist, will be schooner Bay’s Artist-in-Residence (more on Roberts in a following post).
[*Other sites in the Caribbean where this company is building resort villages include Albany in New Providence, Bahamas; Alys Beach, Seaside, and Rosemary Beach in Walton County, Florida; Marineland, Florida; Windsor in Vero Beach, Florida; Oracabessa, Jamaica; and Isla Pedro González, Panama.]
For views on the pros and cons of this project, see “The Rant: Your Views and Opinions” on the Abaco Forum at http://www.abacoforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2395