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Placemaking /Good Home designs can Build Communities


drbubb

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Good House designs can Build Communities

Says Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs programme

==================================

 

((The article is entitled:

"I’m building a suburb / Can good design create a community?"))

 

Excerpts:

1/

So where is the intelligent home? Where is the super-efficient house that costs peanuts to run, is designed to meet 21st-century needs and comes with a whole host of choices? Where is the building that is airtight and beautifully engineered, yet doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Beats me, guv. Of course, there are efficient, well-designed, one-off houses out there. There are exemplary developments, such as BedZED in south London and the Lower Mill Estate in Gloucestershire, where sustainable construction, ecology and design come together in one feel-good eco-cuddle.

 

But what about everywhere else? Am I supposed to go out and build such homes myself? Well, apparently, yes, I am.

 

It appears that the only way to introduce a bit of blue-sky thinking into the housing market is for someone who has no experience of development to wade in with some ludicrously unproven and theoretical ideas. Which makes me ideally qualified.

 

Obviously, the first thing I had to do was think of a snappy name for my new company and get a posh letterhead. So the company is called Hâb, which stands for Happiness, architecture, beauty. It could have been Sustainability, happiness, architecture, beauty, but that would have spelt Shâb. And besides, sustainability is implied in the idea of happiness for everyone.

 

The next thing was to get a site, an architect and some money (oh, about £8m). Thus far, I have no site (but we are looking at 10, all in the West Country), no architect (but we have asked 50 and are interviewing 20) and no money. Although I should add that Hâb is going to partner the project with BioRegional Quintain, an environmental group that brings unquestionable eco-cred to the party, and which has said that to make a new community work, we will need to build at least 100 homes.

 

2/

Perhaps the greatest challenge — and maybe the biggest contradiction — lies in whether it is possible, while building a new suburb out of brand new housing, to create a community.

 

“Placemaking” is a newly invented, bastardised discipline, born of the inconvenient truth that places cannot be made. They exist, and can grow organically over time. But you can’t invent the historical narrative of somewhere and just hope it will stick in people’s minds and spring alive. Which is where Poundbury, the Prince of Wales’s Dorset development, does not quite work. It sets up a story, not a history.

 

This is the crucial area where housing design moves away from the car industry, because houses don’t have wheels. They ought, like good bespoke architecture does, to look as though they belong where they are and have a relationship, not just with the people who live in them, but also with their surroundings. That means designing them sensitively in response to the geography, culture, geology and the here and now of a location.

 

The design process must give people flexible, shared spaces, such as a community barbecue area or football pitch. Or shared rainwater storage, or a district heating system, or a car pool. All initiatives that help people to meet, work together and reduce their impact on the planet.

 

...MORE: http://property.timesonline.co.uk/article/...2455180,00.html

 

 

= = =

 

So what is "Placemaking"?:

Google Images : http://images.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&am...G=Search+Images

 

- -

PLACES?

I struggle to find a single place built in the 20th century which is as enjoyable and as successful as the humblest street or square, village or urban neighbourhood built in earlier centuries. Is this just nostalgia? Is there a law of nature which says a place must be old to be enjoyed? Surely not.

 

...What seems to have happened is that we have simply lost the art of placemaking; or, put another way, we have lost the simple art of placemaking. We are good at putting up buildings but we are bad at making places.

- -

 

watersideaparts.jpg : http://www.sustainable-placemaking.org/about.htm

 

= = =

 

The art of placemaking

 

So what is placemaking? Here is 'place' defined: Any portion of space regarded as measured off or distinct from all other space. The key word is distinct. Making distinct spaces.

 

What are the principles of good placemaking? That was covered in an October 2003 blog, but it essentially comes down to designing places primarily for people (as opposed to prioritizing planning around cars, for instance). It also involves creating places within places, like rooms within a house. Take the Ponte Vecchio in Florence (pictured) for instance:

 

pontevecchio.jpg

 

The individual homes on this bridge are exquisite homes unto themselves, with perhaps some of the best views in the city. The interior pathway of the bridge is lined with interesting stores offering items you can't typically find. The pathway of the bridge appears like that of a main street, and serves as a grand lobby for both actual and wishful social interaction. Finally, the entirety of it is a work of art.

 

@: http://www.cooltownstudios.com/mt/archives/000215.html

 

"What you will see is something akin to placing the energetic populations of Greenwich Village and Silicon Valley with art-oriented communities like Athens and Ann Arbor into wondrous pedestrian-oriented urban fabrics like Venice and Florence (now filled with tourists and retirees)."

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  • 3 years later...

bump.

 

I may combine this with the Retrofitting Suburbia thread - just because "creating places" is so critical

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“Placemaking” is a newly invented, bastardised discipline, born of the inconvenient truth that places cannot be made. They exist, and can grow organically over time. But you can’t invent the historical narrative of somewhere and just hope it will stick in people’s minds and spring alive.

 

Taking my home town as an example the population of the town exploded during the 1800's as transportation links improved and land which was used for farming was purchased for housing development. The design and layout of the first developments centred around the existing topographical features such as sources of water, transportation routes and proximity to the CBD. It should be noted however, to make the place more desireable a large section of the community were relocated to the very outskirts of the developments into poor/work houses where they were kept out of sight and out of mind.

 

I currently live on the site of one of the first areas to be developed (an area of farmland approx. 60 acres purchased for £7900 in 1862) and there is still a real feeling of living within a community. Probably one of the largest factors that help sustain this sense of community locally is not the design of the estate but the fact all the local children go to the same school, a place where parents congregate and familiarity evolves. The local convenience store and pub, though to a lesser extent, also performs this function and often local community news reverberates from these points of congregation. The local church, though I don't attend, probably also provides this service.

 

True that "places" can't be just built but by providing these local places of congregation (a football pitch really isn't enough!) the foundations of community building can be layed.

 

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CREATING a "Sense of Place"

 

"local children go to the same school, a place where parents congregate and familiarity evolves.

The local convenience store and pub, though to a lesser extent, also performs this function"

 

Mixed use, and some key ATTRACTORS (schools, shopping) combined with good design,

can "set the stage" for a community to develop.

 

In HK, it happens around the MTR (Mass Transit) stations - just naturally.

 

The shopping, restaurants, and cinemas get concentrated there, because there are so many people.

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