Everything Builders Need to Know About Pocket Neighborhoods
Pocket neighborhoods are small-scale communities that have huge positive impacts on their residents. The concept is unique, so it’s no surprise that building in a pocket neighborhood comes with it’s own set of challenges and considerations.
But, what is a pocket neighborhood exactly, and how can they impact your home builds? If you want to learn more about incorporating these types of projects into your home construction business, be sure to continue reading.
Defining Pocket Neighborhoods
“Pocket neighborhoods are clustered groups of neighboring houses or apartments gathered around a shared open space — a garden courtyard, a pedestrian street, a series of joined backyards or a reclaimed alley — all of which have a clear sense of territory and shared stewardship. They can be in urban, suburban or rural areas.”
Pocket neighborhoods can take on a variety of shapes and sizes, but the most common types feature a garden or park with homes surrounding that shared outdoor space.
In these neighborhoods, everyone tends to know everyone else. Neighbors have a sense of belonging and respect that comes from sharing outdoor spaces, and the residents tend to look out for each other.
Building in a Pocket Neighborhood
If you’d like to build homes in a pocket neighborhood you’ll need to start by learning more about these special spaces. The design considerations are much different than they would be for a standard single family home, and doing your homework will set you up for successful development.
The homes can be built in any style. They can be detached homes, apartments, townhomes or even a combination. However, the homes tend to be smaller, because this promotes spending time outside in the neighborhood’s shared areas. Other design principles include:
- A maximum of 12 homes in the neighborhood (but multiple clusters can be joined by walkways)
- No cars or traffic in the common areas
- Active rooms and spaces, like porches, facing the common areas
- “Nesting” the homes is also common, where houses are built with the open side of one house facing the closed, windowless side of the next
However, how you bring these principles to life will depend on a variety of factors — each pocket neighborhood is as unique as the community it serves.
Resources for Building Pocket Neighborhoods
If you’d like to see more examples of pocket neighborhoods, including design plans that you can use for your future projects, these resources will be invaluable:
- ProBuilder has created an excellent overview that details some of the design options you could use, and each suggestions focuses on walkability throughout the neighborhood.
- Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small Scale Community in a Large Scale World is the go-to book from the go-to source for everything related to these community-driven places.
- Architect Ross Chapin is the founder of the pocket neighborhood term and concept. He has released some of his designs via GoodFit, a curated selection of plans.
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