Old Ideas for New Communities
As people turn to new construction of old home styles to suit their modern needs and traditional aesthetics, where will these homes be built? New consumers may turn to community structures that harken to historic periods when generations lived together in one house and people walked to work.
In some regions, new generations that more affluent than their parents are building adjoining houses to allow parents, grandparents, and future generations to live close together—though but not quite so close as within the same home.
A recent International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida explored the new/old concept of intergenerational communities with their design for “Three Homes. Three Generations. One Community.” Pictured from left to right is the Gen B House, for Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964; the Generation X House, for the next generation, born between 1966 and 1985; and the Generation Y House, for the Millennials or Echo-Boomers born after 1985.
The Role of Neighborhoods
Our neighborhoods have roots in the past. Some historians say that suburban neighborhoods existed even in ancient times. Others claim that elitist neighborhoods developed in 19th-century England when businessmen built small country estates just outside their villages. Suburban American neighborhoods grew when a developing network of public roads and transportation allowed people to live easily outside the cities where they worked.
Unfortunately, as neighborhoods evolved, so, too, has exclusivity. One remembers how segregated the mid-20th-century Levittowns were and how Joseph Eichler was one of the few developers who sold real estate to minorities. Professors Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder, authors of “Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States,” suggest that the trend toward exclusive gated communities leads to misunderstanding, stereotyping, and fear.
A large and widely respected group of architects and city planners believe that there is a profound connection between the environments we build and the ways we feel and behave. These urban designers claim that America’s tract style homes and sprawling suburban neighborhoods lead to social isolation and a failure to communicate.
Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk have pioneered an approach to urban design known as New Urbanism. In their writings, the design team and other New Urbanists suggest that the ideal community should be more like an old European village—easily walkable, with open public spaces, green spaces, and piazzas. Instead of driving cars, people will stroll through the town to reach buildings and businesses. Diversity—economic, generational, cultural, and genetic—is seen as the key to people living together in productive, secure, crime-free conditions.
- Marianne Cusato. The Skilled Labor Shortage: Where is the Next Generation of Craftsmen? HomeAdvisor Insights Forum, February 2016, PDF at http://www.homeadvisor.com/r/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Skilled-Labor-Report.pdf
- Joseph Truini. “A House With No Nails: Building a Timber-Frame Home,” Popular Mechanics, March 22, 2007, https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/outdoor-projects/how-to/a1506/4213580/
Source: The Spruce