RE: Gathering spaces
From: bdsullivan (
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 95 03:14 CDT
>Some ideas about what makes successful  gathering nodes: But I won't 
>call them rules of thumb ok? ;-)
Gehl's philosophy (which I agree with) is that increased chances ofcauual
socialization increases the chance for communities to grow. Causual doesn't
mean deciding to go out to talk to someone, but by being in the space in
the first place, opportunities for socializing increase. Following that
theory, try to move many 'casual' activities to the front of the house.
Gehl uses the term "Soft edges" which is a nice phrase and reinforces the
idea Ron desribed of having a space visable from inside the house and where
everyone walks through it everyday on their way in and out of the house.

One danger here is making the front inside portion of the house too open to
the shared public area. People like some level of buffer and control over
their privacy. Sometimes too much connection is not preferred. This is an
important balance between "community and Privacy."

Think of creating a place where people like to hang out natually, and where
they do daily activities such as gardening, taking out the trash, etc. 

Also, Think of other users than just adults, eg. kids. In fact kids are one
of the great builders of community.
 So some other ideas include:
Places for young tots to play (older kids tend to wander away from the house) 
A garden for people to sit by, show off and to spend time in
Opportunities for people to individualize or personalize their own front,
such as building a porch, planting their own trees or plants, placing their
name up, etc.
Brian D. Sullivan, Lecturer
Department of Architecture
Chinese University of Honk Kong
email  bdsullivan [at]

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