Coming back up US 70 from a dreaded shopping run to Brier Creek, I decided to turn off and take a look at the so-called Brightleaf subdivision that's going in off of the highway. This "master planned community" will feature upscale vinyl siding-clad houses intermingled with half-million dollar homes (non-vinyl clad, of course). It will be nestled amidst stands of wooded pine (those that survived the bulldozer) and, once the spray-on green chemicals have taken root, I'm sure the grass will even look natural. Brightleaf will also feature swimming pools, tennis courts, and other recreation facilities that duplicate those you already pay for via your local taxes, but choose not to use.
OK, I'm being harsh; I admit it, I am a fan of the old, historic neighborhoods and am more than a bit biased against new subdivisions. Brightleaf actually looks surprisingly tasteful as these things go (compared to some of the things getting thrown up in Spraleigh, at least!) The developer seems to be making a legitimate attempt to incorporate environmental sensitivity (such as respecting the natural grading of the land, preserving creeks, adding nature trails, etc.), and worked with Audubon International's standards to develop Brightleaf as a so-called sustainable community.
They're also adding public art/sculpture to the development and donating land to the Durham Public Schools for an eventual elementary school, which are both nice to see. (As much as I dislike new developments, the wife was looking around a little too interested at what some of the houses looked like...)
However, there were two things of particular interest from an all-Durham perspective that I want to take a moment to dwell on.