Solving Cities

An urban experiment in rural Maine

Posting in Cities

Just because a county is populated by less than 20,000 people doesn't mean an urban community is out of the question. That's the thinking behind a proposed urban oasis in rural Maine.

Just because a county is populated by less than 20,000 people doesn't mean an urban community is out of the question.

At least that's the thinking behind Tracy Gayton's urban experiment in rural Maine.

On The Atlantic Cities, Sarah Goodyear explores the intriguing Piscataquis Village Project, a proposed village with a distinctly European feel that, if completed, would make for an urban oasis in rural Maine.

Here's how Gayton imagines the 500 total acres that the project would take up, on the project's Facebook page:

Development of the site would be guided by a set of zoning and building covenants specifically composed to create a space, as it is built out, to resemble traditional villages of Europe and early North America, in which foot or bicycle was the primary or sole method of transportation. This site would be declared a car-free zone. Motor vehicles would be parked at the perimeter of the development in a green belt of at least 375 acres, which would also be acquired as part of this project. The green belt, other than the area designated for vehicle parking, would also be a zone for allotment gardens, small scale agriculture, playing fields, outdoor recreation and park-like green space.

Gayton's project is in its beginning stages, Goodyear reports:

Gayton is looking to get interested investors to pledge $2 million to get the project off the ground, in increments as small as $10,000. That amount will get you a building lot, some space in the project’s "agricultural zone," and a parking spot at the perimeter.

But while the project has yet to find a location, 24 families have already committed $290,000 toward the project. If you think the project will go nowhere, Gayton has this to say:

“Anyone who thinks I’m a utopian should get out more. This is the way we’ve been building cities for the last 6,000 years, until the last 100 years.”

You can learn more about the project here.

Can One of Maine's Emptiest Counties Become an Urbanist Paradise? [The Atlantic Cities]

Photo: Werner Kunz/Flickr

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure