Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Single Family Neighborhoods of the Future (and Past)

Last week I attended "Design for Livability: Sustainable Cities," presented by AIA Seattle, Cascade Land Conservancy & the UW College of Built Environments. Presentations included discussions of Ecodistricts, Eco System services, and health and built environments.

One presentation that I found very relevant was "Transforming Single Family Neighborhoods." Seattle has been feeling this transition for many years with the introduction of infill townhouses, condos, and changes to the code regarding accessory dwelling units. This trend will most likely continue as more people move into cities (about 13% of the world's population 100 years ago, now about 50%) and cities continue to densify. While I believe that this is probably inevitable in order to conserve outlying land (as with the Growth Management Act) and allow for efficiencies in a city, I am a firm believer that this can happen without sacrificing the quality of life of those who live in single family neighborhoods.

Here is a great project presented by Sandy Fischer of EDAW, for Portland Metro's "Integrating Habitat" Competition.

Bungalow Courts (AKA Pine Street Cottages) in Seattle is an example of a pre WWII compact single family neighborhood (10 houses on a 15,000 SF lot) that is once again in fashion, thanks to a revival by developers Kucher/Rutherford. This document by the Housing Partnership, "The Right Size Home," includes this project and is a very comprehensive look at small single family home alternatives around Seattle.

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