Re: Streets and driveways.
From: Joani Blank (jeblankhooked.net)
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 23:23:43 -0600
In most condo complexes you have a parking place at or very near your unit
that may make your condo complex feel not too different from neighboring
complexes or other streets or dwellings in the larger neighborhood. Even in
a cohousing community that has a real street that cars "could" go on--and
very few of them do-- it is the fact all of the cohousing residents know
each other very well that makes the community space not feel like "public"
space.

Imagine, if you wil, an arbitrary removal of all the fences and other
architectural and landscape barriers from the back yards in a conventional
older suburb. With the exception of a few kids who might be loose in the
unfenced and now shared community back yard, and some back and forth between
a couple of neighbors on the block who happen to know each other, there
would probably be little interaction among the neighbors and a stranger
wandering in might not even be recognized as a stranger. The feeling of
semiprivacy that is created when ALL the neighbors know each other well does
result in strangers usually staying out unless invited, even though there
may be pathways or sidewalks, and maybe even streets--at least
driveways--into the parking areas or leading directly into the shared
outdoor space (pedestrian street or courtyard. "All eyes on the common
space" with the units open and oriented toward that area really works to
define where the community begins and "public" area ends and in a very
subtle but very effective way. The sense of community is palpable and "no
trespassing" signs should never be necessary. 
 

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