Why is the kitchen considered more "public" than the living room? (offshoot of: Explaining "built environment" to lay people)
From: David Heimann (heimanntheworld.com)
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 17:06:11 -0800 (PST)

Hello Everyone,

Cat's mention of kitchen windows overlooking the front path reminds me of a question I have about that form of architecture. We have the kitchens overlooking as well the external corridors/paths, done this way because of an assumption that the kitchen is the most public area of a private dwelling. However, I have never found my use of rooms to be that way, whether in cohousing or in previous living situations. Right now, in a 4-room flat, I find the two bedrooms to be private spaces, the kitchen a place in which I spend only the time needed to prepare meals, and the living room as the place where I sit when I most like to see neighbors. For me, therefore, the living room should be the room along the external corridor. However, in actual fact it's the kitchen that occupies that space, which for me impedes my interaction with neighbors when I'm at home (besides which, my kitchen tends to be more cluttered than my living room). So, why isn't the living room (or family room, if the living room is a separate more formal room) on the outside rather than the kitchen?

Thanks,
David Heimann
JP Cohousing


Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2008 11:22:04 -0500
From: Catya Belfer-Shevett <catya [at] homeport.org>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ explaining "built environment" to lay people
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org>
Message-ID: <494D1BAC.8020103 [at] homeport.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

I generally go with "designing for community" and then give examples
like kitchen windows that overlook the front path, front porches, a
scale from private to public as you go from the back of your house to
the main path, that sort of thing.

        - cat


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