CORE DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Below are a few examples of existing housing developments from which I take inspiration. Called "pocket neighbourhoods" or cohousing, at the heart of all of their designs are these key principles:
The shared spaces feel inviting and are located such that everyone will cross them as they walk to and from their homes to the outside street
Homes are oriented to look onto the central gardens and any activity happening there, enticing people to participate
Cars are kept at bay with parking at the perimeter so the inner grounds are completely pedestrian
By keeping the homes compact and cars in lots around the perimeter, nearly 5 acres of bordering wetland were permanently preserved while developing 25 single family dwellings with generous front porches, shared green spaces and a large common house with various amenities.
(Developed by The Cottage Company in Redmond, Washington)
LILAC (Low Impact Living Affordable Community) is an affordable eco-village built using locally sourced and sustainable materials. Safe, outdoor play areas have been created for children along with community gathering spaces and shared gardens. (Leeds, England)
MOUNTAIN VIEW COHOUSING
Low-rise apartments overlook the entirely pedestrian inner grounds which feature sitting areas, a communal vegetable garden and a large common house with shared facilities. (California)
Clusters of 8 to 12 private homes, totalling 240 homes, form this community that is widely considered to be the first environmentally sustainable neighbourhood in the United States. The clusters are connected with a network of foot and bicycle paths. About a third of the land is used for orchards, vineyards, greenbelts, common areas, and parks. Some of the conservation features include north-south orientation of the houses to allow to them to make full use of solar energy and filtering of storm water back into the grounds.
NEVADA CITY COHOUSING
A multi-generational community in a 34-unit housing development comprised of single-family houses and apartment units. Homes are oriented towards the central pedestrian green spaces.
Situated in Adelaide, Australia, Christie Walk is a development of 27 homes on .5 acre, with very high environmental performance featuring low energy demand and use of renewable energy sources, water conservation, land health restoration, low construction waste, on-site food production and high indoor air quality. Read the blog post on Christie Walk.