Designing for Community

People desire to feel connected.

For the last two years we have lived on a hill in a group of 16 townhomes that are situated in a way that they all face each other with a few common areas in the middle. While we dream about a day when we won’t have to share a wall that we aren’t allowed to paint, I do love living here. Friendly dogs come out to play and neighbors step outside to watch exceptional sunsets. They feel more approachable and I love the sense that if something ever goes wrong we have multiple people we trust within 30 yards from our front door. We’ve seen each other in our PJ’s. I’ve sure they’ve seen my loose my patience with my boys, kiss owies, and us on multiple occasions being too loud as I set off my car alarm on accident yet again.

Community is an important part of design. Having a community surrounding you creates peace and harmony in your own home. People desire to feel connected. 

Ways to design your home to facilitate community:

Design your front yard as you would your back yard. It’s difficult to bump into a neighbor in your backyard. Move your morning coffee from your back patio to your front patio.

 via  Eric Aust.   This home is in the very social and tight knit community of peninsula point in newport beach. The owners enjoy entertaining on their front patio often. 

via Eric Aust.  This home is in the very social and tight knit community of peninsula point in newport beach. The owners enjoy entertaining on their front patio often. 

 via  Richard Bubnowski Design LLC  in Point Pleasant, NJ

via Richard Bubnowski Design LLC in Point Pleasant, NJ

Plant a vegtable garden in your front yard. This will cause you to not only spend more time in your front yard, but it will also spark conversations and give you easy opportunities to share with your community. 

 By  BaDesign  in Oakland, CA

By BaDesign in Oakland, CA

Design your home so that there is more space given to communal areas and less space to private areas. Do you really need a couch in your bathroom? Giving a little more space to invite people in will give you more flexibility and freedom for those spur of the moment visitors. 

 via  Lonny

via Lonny

Don’t feel the need to have seating on the couch and arm chairs for 20 people “just in case”. There are a lot of creative solutions for this. Ottomans, moving a dining chair, floor cushions.

However, many don’t have an option to change these things. So instead...

  • Go for a walk (Doing this the same time everyday will allow you to likely see the same people in the middle of their daily routine, building a relationship over time.) 
  • Bike to work
  • Plan a block party
  • Invite your neighbor over for a meal...they'll love you simply for not having to plan or cook dinner.