The New Earth Living Mission

New Earth Living (NEL), LLC, is a real-estate development company whose mission is to create vibrant neighborhoods that connect people to one another and our shared earth, providing spaces for trust, purpose, play, and ease. The philosophy supporting this mission is simple: Environments that are gentle on the earth and validate individuality while supporting deep connections among people and with the earth are at the core of a vibrant, integrated future. New Earth Living is committed to bringing integrity back to how we live and fundamentally shifting the context of our relationship to the earth and one other.

NEL is achieving this mission by building pocket neighborhoods.

As defined by architect Ross Chapin, pocket neighborhoods are clustered groups of neighboring houses or apartments gathered around a shared open space—a courtyard, a pedestrian street, a series of joined backyards, or a reclaimed alley—that has a clear sense of territory and shared stewardship. The neighborhoods can be urban, suburban, or rural.

In these settings neighbors can easily know one another, empty nesters and single householders with far-flung families can find friendship or a helping hand, and children can interact with non-parental adults who offer support and guidance. With clearly defined boundaries from the street entrances to private front yards, the shared outdoor spaces at the neighborhoods’ center are a key element. Residents take part in the care and oversight of this common space, thereby enhancing quality of life by ensuring safety and a sense of security.

A stranger walking into a common space is likely to be addressed with a friendly, “Can I help you?” At the same time, a six-year-old’s mom is likely to feel at ease in allowing her daughter to explore the “bigger world” beyond the front door. In the daily flow of life, neighbors offer “hellos,” acknowledgments, or stop for a chat, cup of coffee, or glass of wine on a front porch or bench by the garden.

Privacy is also a key ingredient of pocket neighborhoods. Yards have layers of space between the shared commons and the front door, and a “nesting” design ensures privacy between neighbors, as the “open” side of one house frequently faces the “closed” side of the next. Private spaces within the houses are located away from the neighborhood common areas.