Cowell Ranch

Contra Costa County, California - 1993

Van der Ryn and SWA Group’s site planning for the Cowell Ranch project demonstrates a model ecological community.  Consisting of 9,000 s and several village-scale commercial centers, the project integrates the built environment and the biological world at all levels of scale.

The overall intention of the project is to create a cohesive and whole community, with long-term ecological and economic viability.  Compact walkable villages and mixed use development reduce automobile trips outside the project.  The cost of infrastructure is further defrayed through the use of simple, non-technical, and localized design solutions, such as narrower streets, natural drainage systems, and solar orientation.