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Sean McAdam

Founder & President

In 1999, Landlab Founder, Sean McAdam, purchased 50 acres of land behind his house in an effort to control the sort of development that would happen there. He quickly discovered that the development industry and municipal governments tend to approach questions of urban planning and architectural design as though they are trying to make life better for cars and trucks instead of people and their environment. McAdam balked at zoning regimes that required oversized roads, the unnecessary separation of land uses, and the imposition of regulations that he felt conspired to degrade the natural beauty of land and, ultimately, the lifestyle of the people who would eventually live on it.

Armed with the view that people are inherently drawn to communities that are built to human scale, McAdam designed that first project around the people he envisioned living there. He insisted on high quality design elements in both the urban planning and in the way that new homes were situated on the land. His approach made his first development an immediate success and further convinced McAdam that the application of standard-issue government regulations and run-of-the-mill development practices not only lets down the people for whom developments are ultimately built, but represents a real lost opportunity for the development business case. The concept of Adaptive Development was born.

For more than 20 years his company has proven that adding value to community adds value to the business bottom line and that, he contends, is a measure of sustainability that is too often overlooked. Cities and developers from across North America have sought McAdam’s advice on community design and the government of his home province of Quebec, Canada now recommends his approach to new development.

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