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How is a Master-Planned Community Different From a PUD?

April 04, 2023
Street scene of lakeside homes at Southport by Brookfield Residential NorCal

As you shop for a new home, you'll face many decisions, including the type and size of home you want, how much house you can afford, and where you want to live. The neighborhood or community you choose will play a significant role in your life, so it's important to carefully consider your options and what you're looking for in your new location.

If you're looking for an area with a strong sense of community and plenty of amenities, like parks and recreational facilities, consider a master-planned community (MPC) or planned unit development (PUD). While these terms may be used interchangeably, some critical differences exist. Understanding the differences between an MPC and a PUD can help you better decide whether one of these developments is right for you.

The Size of Master-Planned Communities and Planned Unit Developments

How to Define PUD

A PUD, or planned unit development, is a type of real estate development meticulously designed to create a cohesive and functional community. PUDs can range in size from smaller-scale developments, such as a single block or neighborhood, to larger-scale ones, such as multi-block or multi-neighborhood development.

One of the defining characteristics of a PUD is that the development must be based on a site master plan. This plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the specific details of how the land will be used for the development. It will typically include information on the types of buildings that will be constructed, the layout of the streets and sidewalks, the location of parks and other public spaces, and any other features intended to create a cohesive community.

Because of the meticulous planning involved in creating a PUD, these developments are often highly desirable places to live. They can offer a high quality of life, a strong sense of community, access to parks and other amenities, and well-planned streets and infrastructure. Additionally, PUDs are often more environmentally friendly than traditional subdivisions, as they can be designed to reduce energy use, conserve water, and promote sustainable transportation options.

How to Define MPC

A master-planned community (MPC) is a type of planned unit development (PUD) characterized by its large size and comprehensive planning. An MPC is typically defined as a residential neighborhood or development that covers at least 2,500 acres, but can be as large as 10,000 acres or more. These communities can range from just 100 homes to 50,000 homes or more.

The defining characteristic of an MPC is the level of planning that goes into creating the community. MPCs are carefully designed to be self-contained, offering a wide range of amenities and services to residents within the community. The goal is to create a community where residents can live, work, and play without leaving the development. They offer a strong sense of community and a high quality of life, with well-planned streets and infrastructure.

In many ways, MPCs function as small cities. They have the infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer systems, and other utilities. They are also governed by their own homeowners' association (HOA), which sets rules and regulations for the community and provides services to residents. Living in an MPC also provides residents with a unique experience, as they get to be part of a standalone town close to a major city.

Features of Master-Planned Communities and Planned Unit Developments

Since MPCs are a large-scale PUD type, the two developments share key features. A single developer often creates these communities with one or multiple home builders involved. There are also years’ worth of extensive planning given to the shared spaces and amenities within these developments.

MPCs and PUDs are designed to feel like their own town or small city, and the amenities reflect that. These developments often have a variety of recreational options like playgrounds, parks, tennis courts, golf courses, and swimming pools. Larger MPCs may feature commercial spaces, such as shops, grocery stores and restaurants, and some of the largest communities even include schools.

Brookfield Residential’s master-planned community, New Haven, encompasses a wide range of amenities that create the experience of being in a large town without ever having to leave the community:

  • Playgrounds
  • Parks
  • Clubhouse
  • Pool
  • BBQs
  • Picnic Area
  • Tot lot
  • Firepit
  • Dog parks
  • Fitness area
  • Community Art Feature
  • Retail shops
  • Grocery store

Careful management through HOAs help maintain the quality and safety of the community's amenities and can also help to maximize property values. Management may even facilitate community activities, like movies in the park or celebrations, allowing you to meet other residents and create a sense of belonging and involvement in your new community.

The Benefits of Master-Planned Communities and Planned Unit Developments

A master-plan community or planned unit development creates a unique and appealing living experience, whether you’re looking for a new home for your growing family or want to downsize. These communities offer that small-town feeling, and access to appealing amenities without ever needing to leave.

When you live in an MPC or PUD, you will pay fees to an HOA or management company and receive quality benefits in exchange for those dues. These communities typically restrict their amenities to residents only, which means you can enjoy parks, community centers, and other well-maintained community spaces that are not overly populated or overused.

The ability to send your children to the community's schools is a significant advantage. For adults nearing retirement age, a master-planned community or planned unit development designed for retirees can be an appealing, safer, and more accessible alternative to traditional homeownership.

MPCs and PUDs offer a diverse range of customization options and new construction home types, enabling you to tailor your new home according to your preferences.  Wide pricing ranges make these communities accessible to many different home-buying budgets.

Shop for Your Next Home in a Master-Planned Community or Planned Unit Development

As you shop for a new home, consider all the benefits of a master-planned community. Check out Brookfield Residential communities and search for beautiful new homes throughout North America. Let us help you turn your dream of homeownership into a reality. Contact our team when you’re ready to learn more. We’ll be expecting you!