I received my copy of the new book Pocket Neighborhoods by Ross Chapin earlier this week and am eager to explore some of the examples and techniques that the book promises. While working on this post I discovered the website which offers some great content and a Design Patterns section depicting some great examples of built neighborhoods and patterns that have been proven successful throughout the country such as Nested Houses and Active Commons.
I am sure some of my excitement for this book comes from reading Richard Florida’s recent piece The New American Dream: Denser, Smaller, Closer, But Still Private in the Atlantic that summarizes some interesting new opinions from the 2011 Community Preference Survey and what is considered the ideal home and neighborhood. Eight in ten Americans prefer to live in single family detached homes rather than other types such as townhomes, condos, or apartments and a lengthy commute can sway a majority of people to consider smaller homes and lots in order to remain closer to work and other amenities. The ideal home today is in a denser mixed use neighborhood with businesses, parks, restaurants, and schools that are accessible by walking or mass transit.
The pocket neighborhood in its many forms offers some great opportunities for in-fill development to meet future housing demands while working within the existing urban forms of our cities, towns, and underperforming suburban neighborhoods.
It is great to see the some additional resources and public opinion confirmation in support of the creating new housing within mixed use communities that support walkability and an increased standard of living. I have a feeling that we will be working on many of these types of new neighborhoods in the years to come as housing demand increases and large greenfield development becomes less attractive. 5/6/2011
photo credit: Ross Chapin