When people pick a community, they pick a narrative. One that they believe aligns with their desired persona. Shaping a narrative, and micro narratives, around an ambitious community is a story unto itself.
In recent years, new urbanism development has gained momentum here in America. It first took root about 25 years ago when leaders and planners organized around groups like the Congress of New Urbanism. A manifesto was written and these principles became adopted by enlightened community developers.
Located in Glenwood Park (Atlanta, Georgia) from the beginning, we at Vista Growth have witnessed first hand the positive affects of well-designed communities. So we were pleased to be asked to help capture and communicate the vision for an inspired community in Fayetteville, Georgia called Pinewood Forest.
Pinewood Forest is led by a courageous leader named Dan Cathy. He is most known for other business enterprises than real estate development. He aspires to spark a renaissance in his backyard by bringing commerce and community to Fayette County. Adopting the principles of new urbanism, Pinewood Forest was conceived to be a small Southern town across from a movie backlot, Pinewood Studios. This unique position and identity presented many potential ways to cast vision and establish identity, narrative and belief building systems.
There were many discussions and debates about names, lexicon, spaces, identity and public persona. In the early stages of successional development, much like any start-up company, there is a long list of aspirations and a short list of realities. There is trial, and there is error—all due to the challenges of the early development process. No one is immune. Pivoting is a well known term in the startup community, and real estate developments are no different. Through talent, foresight, cohesive leadership and long-term planning, pivoting can be embraced and channeled resulting in momentum.
The identity and narrative was strategically set around the concepts of storytelling and creativity. The film industry in Georgia generates a significant amount of cultural storytelling product, look no further than your local theatre. And Pinewood Studios across the street enjoys a rich heritage of moviemaking. These were some of the original sparks of the fledging development, and we used video storytelling as a primary vehicle to communicate the community in digital and social environments with short-term "micro narratives".
These video assets were temporary snapshots of the vision and identity taking shape. In all, it will likely take decades to complete a development of this size, so these videos were designed to be the first key steps in a long journey.
Introducing an early glimpse of Pinewood Forest with suggestive and illustrative lifestyle aspects.
Once the infrastructure and streets for phase 1 were complete, builders started developing purchased lots. In April 2017, there was an Opening Day event that welcomed the public for the first time to walk the land, see the designs and celebrate the emerging community.
By engaging local and national earned media, we amplified our messages to the community through traditional and digital channels. This media reel highlights key messages that shaped the development.
There were moments of leadership where a commitment was made to use the smartest technologies to create a healthier community. One big step was to adopt georthermal technologies throughout the residential phases. People needed to understand why this is of great benefit to them. Watch “Geothermal Explained.”
Ultimately, sales and experiences drive adoption. Once a sales and experience place was established, a galaxy of supporting professionals assisted home buyers through the challenging process. This video illustrates that journey.
For eighteen months we enjoyed the challenges of launching an ambitious community.