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Just Damn Good Architecture

Good Neighbors: A Look at Building for Open Space and Privacy

Overcrowded roads. Insufficient services. Lack of affordable housing options. Insufficient capacity for aging-in-place.

AUS-Solavera-CommunitygreenspaceThis article in Professional Builder magazine, covers the reasons why it makes sense to create neighborhoods that offer varied housing options, in addition to services and walkability.

As cities and towns increasingly opt for these types of developments, we are seeing the inclusion of well-integrated open space to relieve increases in density.

In addition to setbacks, lot coverage, height restrictions, and building codes, each dwelling becomes another puzzle piece to be added to the overall community. Along with understanding the inherent value of each lot, design housing types, and products to suit – how all the pieces are arranged to work together ultimately contributes to the success or failure of any new development.

AUS-Solavera-privacyWhen builders are working in a master planned community, it is imperative to dwell on the unwritten rules of making each house be a “good neighbor,” affording privacy and adding value to the whole.

Green spaces help integrate houses.

AUS-Solavera-Community07.jpg.mxw605.mxh311“Public green spaces also create places where people love to live, and thus, add value. A mews or commons that’s a green space and walkway immediately at the front door of a house demands a home that enhances the enjoyment of living on a park. Respond by raising front porches above grade a minimum of 18 inches and setting vehicular access at the rear of the lot.

Here, lots can be smaller because the outdoor space is the park in the front. On the lot itself, the house can be arranged to maximize the orientation toward the park, yet the floor plan can be shaped to form a private outdoor courtyard space.

Closely spaced homes on small lots need privacy.

Robson Preserve at Saddlebrooke Sabino CourtyardOn narrower lots, design plans so that one side is more open, with additional windows, while the other is more private. The open side of the house would be the private yard space, and the house plan should become L-shaped or C-shaped to enclose an outdoor private courtyard with as many rooms and spaces opening to it as possible.

The private side wall of the house should limit windows that look across at neighbors by locating service spaces along that wall, with higher window sills to eliminate visibility either in or out from adjoining properties. When done properly, houses like these add greater density without the negative perception of high density.”

For more community design and land development insight visit BSB Design’s Placemaking Studio.