Planned communities first appeared in the United States in 1565, in St. Augustine. The industrial revolution saw company towns like Gary, Indiana as the sites of technological innovations and thriving economic fervor. The first modern communities were built during the Florida land boom of the 1920s down in Southern Florida, where the famous Miami suburbs of Coral Gables, Opa-locka, and Miami Springs incorporated the look and feel of Spain, Arabia, and Mexico. The Great Depression drove the Federal Government to build model towns across West Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin with the goal of easing the burden of hard times on coal miners, construction workers, and their families. The remote developments of Oak Ridge, TN; Richland, WA, and Los Alamos, NM cropped up during World War II to accommodate the families of scientists, engineers, and industrial workers of the Manhattan Project. Marcus Hiles points out that blueprinted cities now cover the country, including the national capital of Washington, D.C., and state capitals in Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Utah, Florida, and Texas.
Environmental stewardship is foundation to the principle of renowned Texas real estate creator Marcus Hiles. “Creating communities that work in harmony with nature and lessen humanity’s carbon footprint is a responsibility I embrace,” he notes. Hiles, who is Chairman and CEO of Western Rim Property Services, has transformed his philosophy into action in over 15,000 classy rental townhomes and apartments in the Lone Star State. One key element of his eco-friendly building endeavor is insttalling appliances tagged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as ENERGY STAR. Since the program’s founding in 1992, Americans’ ENERGY STAR usage has diminished carbon dioxide emissions by 283.2 million metric tons. With the average Texan paying $1,650 per year in electrical bills and another $400 annually for natural gas, energy efficient appliances mean utility yields of up to 50 percent.