On Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, a new community is stirring. Imagine a place surrounded by the sea. Imagine tidy island houses on narrow streets, sweeping beaches, rugged dunes, a tropical forest. Imagine a town centre facing a bay, where sailing boats rock idly on their moorings. Imagine the lively bustle of early evening; parrots call from the forest and neighbors mingle in the streets. Imagine simplicity and sustainability, tradition and innovation. All that is essential, and nothing that is not. Welcome to Schooner Bay.
Schooner Bay will occupy 220 acres on Great Abaco Island, between Marsh Harbour and the famed Abaco Cays to the north and the pristine wilderness and fishing villages of rural Abaco to the south. More than half the land will be preserved as common green space. At the approach to Schooner Bay will be an expansive agricultural corridor, then a plaza on a ridge overlooking the sea. Buildings appear unobtrusively from the forest below, ringing the harbour edge. The designs are influenced by the old Bahamas, and will draw on the landscape to optimize form and function, ensuring harmony with the surroundings, and a broad aesthetic cohesion across structures.
The force behind Schooner Bay is not a brand, but a principle. A principle that melds indigenous design concepts with modern environmental sensibility. We believe the world needs Schooner Bay. In recent decades, we have moved further and further from the core of our communities. We no longer live where we work. We know neither the origin of our food nor the source of our water. We walk sparingly and sleep fitfully. The individual has experienced a jarring dislocation from community, and this elemental relationship must be repaired.
At Schooner Bay, form-based codes promote the natural integration of the retail, residential and recreational spheres of civic life, reviving the kind of dynamic community that has been dismembered and sterilized by the single-use zoning codes of modern urban planning. The scale of Schooner will be practical and livable, with all houses a short walk to the village, the forest, the beach and the farms. The village itself will be centered around a 14-acre harbour, with a mix of shops, offices, restaurants and inns. There will be over 50 businesses in Schooner Bay, as well as an all-age school and a community centre, creating regional economic opportunities and a hub for commerce and culture in South Abaco. Opportunities to explore the island's alluring frontier abound, and Schooner Bay will feature an equestrian centre, hiking trails, and the Black Fly Bonefish Club, permitting access to one of the world's most-productive and least pressured fisheries.
Protecting the region's biodiversity and promoting its cultural diversity will be paramount at Schooner Bay. Schooner welcomes all those dedicated to the principles of sustainability, simplicity, community and family. The world is at a turning point. Unprecedented economic turmoil, environmental degradation and civil strife have only increased our collective yearning for a safer, saner world. The sprint to the finish line of prosperity has ended not in victory, but in exhaustion. By drawing on the wisdom of the past and investing in the promise of the future, we can be the change we want to see in the world today. Somewhere this vision is stirring. Schooner Bay.
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