LaFox (2014)


Left to right: Jingwen Zhao, Brandon Clear, Abigail Courtney, Caroline Swinehart
LaFox (2014): Located in fertile rolling farmland currently threatened by sprawl, LaFox (Kane County), Illinois is presently underutilized, a small hamlet located between Elburn to the west and Geneva to the east, occupied by an east-west freight and commuter rail line and stop, a 300-car parking lot, scattered light industrial buildings, and a small cluster of historic houses. The student proposal for LaFox —conceptually part of The Notre Dame Plan of Chicago 2109 vision for metropolitan Chicago— is a network of streets, blocks, squares, and parks that occupy 1240 acres (1.9375 square miles), that built out would accommodate a population of 25,000-35,000 residents in mostly two-story buildings. To better promote local agriculture, manufacturing, and other entrepreneurial activities, the students have proposed and designed a draft of a Land Value Tax (LVT). This would be a single tax to replace all of Kane County’s current taxes and fees, would tax only land based upon any particular parcel’s proximity to socially-created value, and would not tax buildings or other improvements. Its goal would be simultaneously to create both disincentives to land banking and incentives to development, including market development of a greater range of houses and housing. (For an account of how this could happen, see the conjectural fiction “Hunting LaFox.”) Finally and not least, LaFox itself is light on the land. More than 40% of the area within LaFox’s borders is dedicated to public parks, squares, plazas, and streets. Local wetlands, lowlands, and creeks remain open as natural boundaries. And near LaFox’s perimeter are gravity-fed constructed wetland cells, components of a passive ‘natural’ wastewater treatment system that returns local wastewater directly to the ground as purified water. In April 2015 the student proposal for LaFox received a Student Merit Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism.
LaFox Existing and Proposed Conditions
LaFox Existing and Proposed Conditions

LaFox Illustrative Plan
LaFox Illustrative Plan

Proposed LaFox Town Center
Proposed LaFox Town Center

LaFox Town Center plan and section details
LaFox Town Center plan and section details

LaFox neighborhood library and plaza
LaFox neighborhood library and plaza

LaFox Constructed Wetlands Wastewater Treatment
LaFox Constructed Wetlands Wastewater Treatment

LaFox phasing diagrams
LaFox phasing diagrams

Kane County Land Value Tax (LVT) map
Kane County Land Value Tax (LVT) map

LaFox aerial looking south
LaFox aerial looking south