THE MASTER PLAN FOR HARBORSIDE, a 128-acre chunk of the 1,700-acre new urbanist town known as Lake Carolina, called for a mixture of commercial and residential development. But planners were loath to herald the community's grand entrance with a supermarket-anchored strip mall or big-box retail store.

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After an intensive, 10-day charrette, Harborside became the only community in the Midlands area to allow zoning for urban housing in a suburban development. The mixed-use village now at the heart of this lakeside town has made all the difference. Foot traffic abounds in this hub for community activity, and commerce isn't contingent on driving.

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With its quaint shopfronts and wide, tree-lined streets, Harborside resurrects the homespun feeling of a small town, with an appropriate dash of Southern charm. The architecture evokes historic antebellum homes, but assumes a 21st-century (read: energy-efficient) ethic in a blend of “low country” houses with big, wraparound verandas, and “up-country” Craftsman bungalows.

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Category: Mixed-use community; Entrant/Developer: Lake Carolina Development, Columbia, S.C.; Builder: Harborside Builders Guild, Columbia; Architects: Studio A!, Charlotte, N.C.; Allison & Ramsey, Asheville, N.C.; Mock & Lenker/Richard Mock Designs, Columbia; Moser Design Group, Ridgeland, S.C.; Land planner: Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., Miami; Landscape architect: Southern Vistas, Columbia

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Charlotte, NC.