Craig Ranch’s 2,000 acres have only been zoned for development for four years, and already 4,000 residents mill about in what will become a residential, commercial and recreational center reminiscent of yesterday’s hometowns.

Forget suburban sprawl and the long faces of drivers waiting in traffic, Craig Ranch master planner David Craig ’78 told a master’s of land economics and real estate class in late February. Instead, think “new urbanism”: a functional commercial center within walking distance of homes, parks and entertainment venues that reclaims a heyday of the American past for families in McKinney, Texas.

“What we’re doing is really turning back the hands of time,” Craig explained, pointing to the diagrams of the recently-opened Cooper Aerobics Center and the Tournament Players Club at Craig Ranch, which held its first golf rounds in 2004 as an official course of the PGA Tour. “There’s nothing new about urbanism, but when you put it in a suburban setting, that’s pretty new.”

Craig’s development will create a city-within-a-city, complete with a water park, ballfields, a soccer complex, bank, medical complex, houses and condos, a veteran’s memorial and dancing fountain, and a Montessori school. The idea is to create a commercial tax base to support the residential tax rolls in an area that has experienced double-digit growth over the past 15 years, Craig explained.

And such designed communities are also the new wave of real estate for those who love dirt and development, Craig told the future real estate professionals. “Create destination locations, communities that foster family,” he said. “You’ll never be bored in this industry — there’s so much happening and changing every day.”

Visit to learn more about Craig Ranch’s new urbanism concept.