OSD breaks ground on nature-based living in the Heart Of Arkansas’ Ozarks

South Cato Springs Master Plan, Aerial View | Image by OSD

OSD designs a master plan for South Cato Springs, a development grounded in the health, wellness and lifelong success of neurodivergent adults and other residents of northwest Arkansas. OSD, SLS Community, South Cato Springs Holdings, LLC and the City of Fayetteville recently came together to commemorate the groundbreaking for infrastructure at South Cato Springs.

The project began with the goal of creating a home for SLS Community – a Fayetteville 501(c)(3) established to provide neurodivergent adults with the essential resources to thrive – and, through a collaborative process, later evolved into a neighborhood that will enhance the quality of life for the broader community in Northwest Arkansas.

OSD’s plan for the new mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood includes much-needed workforce housing, a town square, a center for the University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS), urban agricultural areas and open recreational spaces that tie into the region’s bike paths. The project commences with a $3 million Community Project Funding award from the federal government secured by Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3), and a matching $3.48 million grant from the City of Fayetteville, to kick off initial sewer and road infrastructure.

Micro-Villages for SLS Community | Image by OSD

OSD’s ‘outside-in’ approach to designing the architecture, mobility and landscape is deeply rooted in the innate beauty of the Ozarkian environment; nature informs the layout of buildings, streets and recreational spaces while providing a rich resource for local and sustainable building materials. The design embraces principles of accessibility and inclusivity, supports the growth of fresh food, and prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle networks over cars—the master plan for South Cato Springs unfolds as OSD’s testament to mindful urbanism.

“As Northwest Arkansas undergoes significant growth, we believe new development must find a way to enhance the quality of both the human experience and the natural environment. South Cato Springs presents an exceptional opportunity to create a new paradigm for inclusive living where neurodivergent adults can live and thrive in harmony with nature and the broader community, while honoring and revealing the beauty of the Ozarks.

Simon David, Founding Principal and Creative Director, OSD.
Urban Agrihoods | Image by OSD

The mission for the SLS community in South Cato Springs is to create an innovative “live, work, play” community with specialized housing and services alongside vocational training, educational programs, and recreational activities that make it accessible and affordable for neurodiverse adults to reach their full potential. In this way, the SLS Community is highly integrated within the overall master plan to cultivate a sense of home, well-being and connection for SLS residents within the larger social and natural communities.

Town Square Creek | Image by OSD

OSD’s master plan prioritizes diversity in building typology and landscape topography, from the new mixed-use town square to urban farming and viticulture. The variety and vibrancy of the built environment create a thriving experience for neurodiverse assisted living communities, single-family and multi-unit housing, hospitality programs, event spaces and community parks.

Woodland Recreation | Image by OSD

Pedestrians and bicyclists can also enjoy easy accessibility and an intimate connection with nature through the extensive network of walking paths and bike trails that meander through woodlands and creeks. Designed with nature as the underlying priority, OSD’s approach to circulation, minimized vehicular traffic and direct connection to major regional arteries is a harmonious blend of urban and natural environments.

Site Plan | Image by OSD

South Cato Springs Master plan

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Size: 230 acres

Client: South Cato Springs Holdings, SLS Community

Landscape Architect: OSD

Team: Simon David, Vignir Eythorsson, Ethan Mcknight, Kiran Mohanty, Ezra Royce, Serena Sun

Collaborators: Crafton Tull Associates, Core

About Damian Holmes 3276 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/