Cultivating Community

We strive to create highly-amenitized, context-sensitive communities that embrace their surroundings and provide people with unique places to live, work, and play.


Nolen Communities takes its name from one of the leading urban designers of the early twentieth century, John Nolen. Much of Nolen’s work focused on designing cities and communities on a more human, village-like scale. This was counter to the more popular urban form of the early 20th century, dominated by traditional urban and suburban development.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1869, John Nolen was orphaned as a child and placed in Girard College. After graduating first in his class in 1884, he worked as a grocery clerk and secretary to the Girard Estate Trust Fund before enrolling in the Wharton School of Finance and Economics. In 1903, Nolen sold his house to enroll in the newly-established Harvard School of Landscape Architecture, working under the famed instructor Frederick Law Olmsted. Shortly thereafter, Nolen wrote San Diego’s first city plan in 1908, which he later revised in 1926 after almost 20 years of work.

Read more