Have you noticed a difference in how newer subdivisions look compared to older ones? Yes, because of the housing downturn, they tend to be emptier right now, but they also tend to look a little better and are planned more carefully.
The reasons are threefold. First and most obviously, construction methods have evolved. Second, the people moving into subdivisions want more from their neighborhoods, like walkable streets, low traffic and nearby schools. Third, some cities are requiring that subdivisions be ranked, at least in part, on how nice they look.
Maple Grove and Shakopee are two local communities that have taken the appearance of a subdivision into account during the approval process. But now that the city is no longer one of the metro-area leaders in new building permits, Shakopee is backing away from that system. Given the low levels of platting in recent years, it may no longer be as necessary and may even be holding up approval processes on the few proposed construction projects.
Shakopee still wants to work with developers to ensure attractive neighborhoods, but it will approach the issue in different ways.
Developers say they have no interest in building crummy-looking subdivisions. Now is a particularly competitive time for new home construction. Not because there are many people or companies looking to build, but for the exact opposite reason. Because there are so few people that want a new home construction, builders are doing their best to make their properties attractive to buyers and that includes aesthetics.