Stewardship Development: A new approach to land investment, development, and conservation

Around the world, people are recognizing and standing up to the wide range of environmental and social challenges that impact every aspect of human life and economy. Many of these challenges are rooted in our current, dominant models of development. Over the past 70 to 80 years, our civilization has repeatedly—regardless of the nuances of place—simplified, segregated, and centralized our systems for food, energy, housing, and water management. Examples include massive cornfields, huge power plants, sprawling suburbs, and giant dams. These models have failed to adequately safeguard our health, quality of experience, natural systems, and resource security.  

But at every step, we have gained knowledge and technologies that enable wiser options.  The best solutions share common roots in decentralized, biologically inspired approaches. We see evidence in broad shifts toward diversified and organic agriculture, energy-efficient buildings, mixed-use neighborhoods, and natural systems for water management. Such practices often have lower up-front capital requirements, are less reliant on imported resources, and create safer and more comfortable living environments for people.

The next great opportunity is to integrate these advances in the fields of agriculture, energy, real estate, and water into a resilient system in which humans continue to harvest resources for society while simultaneously enriching—rather than depleting—our ecological and cultural riches. The goal of this approach is lasting prosperity, rather than short-term gain.  

And it is an opportunity driven by a growing market for healthy food, clean energy, comfortable housing, and pure water.  Businesses that reliably deliver these products will enjoy strong demand today and in the future.  Businesses that deliver these products while also increasing the fertility of the land will be able to grow both their business and their underlying asset value. Approaching development from this perspective aligns economic drivers with environmental and social aspirations. It harnesses the power of business to regenerate natural systems and revitalize communities.

Our team has spent their collective careers learning the underlying principles of sustainable systems, studying proven models, and planning and developing innovative land and real estate projects. We believe that there is a real opportunity to shift human development models from an “extract and move on” approach to one in which we “enrich, hold, and share” the land’s many resources. We propose a different development model for how people live on this planet—one in which development is customized to place and provides integrated solutions for the lasting prosperity of the community. Systems for food, energy, housing, water, jobs, nature, and recreation are linked together so that each activity supports the others; strength and resilience is built through these connections.  This approach can be applied at many scales and can align the efforts of many different partners and business ventures.

We call it Stewardship Development.