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The Designers & Developers

Village Homes was designed and developed by husband and wife Michael and Judy Corbett in the mid-1970s with the participation of residents, colleagues, and students.  In many respects, the project was based on earlier principles of planned greenbelt communities such as Reston, Virginia, Greenbelt, Maryland, and Radburn, New Jersey.  Prior to Village Homes, the Corbetts had no development experience.  Though neither is a licensed architect or landscape architect, Michael has a long-standing interest in architecture and Judy studied ecology and environmental psychology at UC Davis.

The development has benefited from the expertise of UC Davis’ landscape architects, among other area professionals. Especially noteworthy is Robert Thayer, one of the first residents, who has over the years contributed to the design of common areas and specific landscapes.  Many of his ideas of sustainable design grew out of his observations while living in Village Homes. (Francis 2003, 48)

Over the years, the Corbetts have written extensively about Village Homes and sustainable development.  In their 2000 book, Designing Sustainable Communities, they reflect:

“When we set out to design and build Village Homes in 1972, it seemed unlikely that we would be successful.  We had no financial assets and no track record in development.  We were embarking on a large-scale project that incorporated numerous untried and innovative features.  The most likely outcome, and the one we expected, was that we would not succeed but would be able to publish a book about our experiences and describe how a forward looking community could be designed.  Our planning concepts and design ideas might then be useful to others.” (Corbett and Corbett 2000, xiii)


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