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Meet the Man Driving Sustainable Development in Northern California

“Sustainability” is probably one of the most frequently used words in today’s world, no matter which industry you look at. Ensuring that we “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” is now a priority for politicians, activists, and businesses. With data showing that 44% of Americans worry “a great deal” about the environment, this is not surprising. 

It is often believed that the younger generations are the only ones worried about the environment. While there is some truth to it – as a whopping 75% of young people do worry about it – multi-generational change is already taking place due to the efforts of established leaders and entrepreneurs like Curt Johansen. 

Considered to be a powerhouse of sustainable community development, few people know more than Curt about creating a conservation community in the right way. Curt is the Community Development Director for Triad Development, a highly successful and innovative company based in Seattle, along with his duties as President of The Council of Infill Builders. 

Over his 35 years of experience in community development, Curt has been recognized by his peers not only for his commitment to sustainable development but also for doing it while creating dynamic and financially viable communities. Probably the best example of his unique skills is the development of Triad’s Lagoon Valley, a 1,000-home sustainable, live-work-play Conservation Community in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Built adjacent to a regional park, Lagoon Valley is a masterclass on sustainable development. Not only will the 400 acres of the existing park remain protected, the park benefits from almost $10 million of developer-funded enhancements. Additionally, 1,305 acres of surrounding open space, 45 acres of new parks and wildlife habitat, 121 acres of new conservation easements and wetland preserves, and a 5-acre organic working farm are under construction. All of this adds up to roughly 85% of the total community acreage, with a small residential-commercial-recreational footprint comprising the remaining 15%. 

All of Curt’s projects are centered around 5 principles he has made a consistent part of his work during his professional trajectory. These principles are local organic agriculture, renewable resource energy savings, community education for social and ecological wellness, green homes with a broad range of conservation objectives, and introducing a live-work lifestyle that encourages reduced commutes. 

“It is not the easiest path to achieve sustainable development, and Lagoon Valley has taken decades to plan,” says Curt about creating conservation communities the right way. “Investing in the environment means living on the land as consciously and lightly as possible. We are doing that with this dynamic community.” 

It is clear that Curt not only understands the key concepts of sustainable development but that he knows how to apply them to remove barriers that have become societal challenges for generations. To him, social responsibility and environmental preservation can go hand in hand with economic prosperity… In fact, they always should. This philosophy has accompanied Curt during his time in both the public and private sectors, as a planning commissioner and visionary developer. 

As a father of three and grandfather to one, Curt is well aware of the importance of making the world a better place for future generations. As such, making the change himself has not been enough for him to be satisfied. This is why he has also made it his mission to educate his current and future peers on the importance of implementing sustainable development and how to do it effectively, something he has done since the early 90s. 

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