Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Pocket Neighborhoods
Old 03-30-2011, 12:24 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 118
Pocket Neighborhoods

Does anyone have any experience with "pocket neighborhoods?"

Cozy pocket neighborhoods have sprawl on the move - USATODAY.com

The idea, pioneered by a Washingtion State architect (Ross Chapin Architects), is to create a grouping of smaller residences, often around a shared open space (e.g., a courtyard or common garden), and is designed to promote a close knit sense of community and neighborliness.

Now this appeals to me! I want to simplify my life. I don't need a McMansion and I want to feel a sense of community, but don't want to share walls with my neighbors (condo-style). I also like the idea of having neighbors whom I can count on to watch my property when I'm away for extended periods. Has anyone lived in one of these, or know someone who has? Whadda think of this?

I'd like to see variations on this concept, i.e., pocket communities designed for people share a common interest (e.g., an interest in gardening, a pocket community designed for RV enthusiasts, etc.).
__________________

__________________
Geoffrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-30-2011, 12:29 PM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
RetiredGypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey View Post
I'd like to see variations on this concept, i.e., pocket communities designed for people share a common interest (e.g., an interest in gardening, a pocket community designed for RV enthusiasts, etc.).
A real life forum.
__________________

__________________
I'm free and I like it!
RetiredGypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 12:30 PM   #3
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,823
Sounds like 8 patio homes, each 1000 square feet, jammed up almost next to each other.

That article used so many loaded words and images, like "charming", "cozy", "cottages", that it really set off my red flags. I wonder if they are taking advantage of some seniors' desire to return to yesterday, when everyone knew the neighbors and nobody played a boom box loudly. Times have changed, unfortunately.

Although I would consider buying a patio home, I don't think I would buy one in that sort of development.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey View Post
Now this appeals to me! I want to simplify my life. I don't need a McMansion and I want to feel a sense of community, but don't want to share walls with my neighbors (condo-style). I also like the idea of having neighbors whom I can count on to watch my property when I'm away for extended periods.
Who is to say that you can count on these neighbors any more than you can count on your present neighbors? I think it's a scam.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 12:31 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey View Post
Does anyone have any experience with "pocket neighborhoods?"

Cozy pocket neighborhoods have sprawl on the move - USATODAY.com

The idea, pioneered by a Washingtion State architect (Ross Chapin Architects), is to create a grouping of smaller residences, often around a shared open space (e.g., a courtyard or common garden), and is designed to promote a close knit sense of community and neighborliness.

Now this appeals to me! I want to simplify my life. I don't need a McMansion and I want to feel a sense of community, but don't want to share walls with my neighbors (condo-style). I also like the idea of having neighbors whom I can count on to watch my property when I'm away for extended periods. Has anyone lived in one of these, or know someone who has? Whadda think of this?

I'd like to see variations on this concept, i.e., pocket communities designed for people share a common interest (e.g., an interest in gardening, a pocket community designed for RV enthusiasts, etc.).
These are common in my in-city neighborhood- not new ones, but mostly dating from 50s -60s. There is one backing up onto my bedroom window. Let me tell you one downside- those places are noisey! Last weekend one of the 6 units was having a party, at 4am people were still shrieking and laughing. It's even more pronounced on the courtyard, as they are often brick with maybe a central fountain or garden, and this reflects voices, music, etc- and here there is not much air conditioning, so all summer windows are open.

I have an idea- a pocket community for people who hate other people!

But as far as a pocket community for RVs, isn't that what a trailer park is?

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 12:46 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
hakuna matata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Small town outside of Seattle
Posts: 444
The basic concept has been around for awhile in various forms. One is an idea called co-housing. That concept is enjoyed by a small community on Vashon Island here in Washington. I initially looked into buying/building there some 20 years ago but opted to not do it.

On the surface I do think it has lots of potential but there is also some downside. It really depends upon what you want out of life and out of a community. The co-housing idea works I think because it tends to draw like minded individuals who wish to share that lifestyle of community. So many of the conflicts that might occur in a for sale neighborhood don't occur.

The reality of the situation though is that we likely will see more and more of these types of endeavors as land prices clash with affordability of home ownership. On one hand I think that is a good thing as it will create more vibrant neighborhoods rather then the souless suburbs, but I do think it will take a mental adjustment by the consumer in order to achieve it. Time will tell but I do think it is the wave of the future in more urban cities.
__________________
"There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way. ~Christopher Morley
hakuna matata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 12:48 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,056
sounds like a nice idea in concept, as long as you're a sociable person and get along with your neighbors. Me, I like looking out the back window and seeing nothing but the woods that border my lawn and stretch back as far as the eye can see...and knowing that, from the back window, I can't even see to the end of the property!

If people want smaller homes, it might not be a bad idea to dust off some of those old Sears and Roebuck floorplans. I know of about 6 or 7 of them that are scattered throughout my neighborhood, a narrow-lot bungalow style that's something like 24x36 feet. They're actually not a bad little setup, if you don't need a lot of space. Livingroom/dining combination that's about 11x23 feet, with a kitchen in back that's 11x11 and has a pantry off of it. Two bedrooms, with some variation, but usually one is around 11x10 and the other's around 11x13. And only one bathroom, which might be a turnoff to a lot of people.
__________________
Andre1969 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 01:15 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,056
Something else I just noticed...it is just me, or does that neighborhood look kinda like the village from "The Prisoner"?
__________________
Andre1969 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 01:31 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,614
I don't know if this architectural feature would be sufficient, in itself, to foster a sense of community. But, it would likely select for people who want to get to know their neighbors (otherwise known as needy, klingy, nosy-neighbor types), so that would work.

It seems a little artificial. The closest neighborhood I lived in was when I lived on a USAF base. It was arranged just like any other housing tract. But everyone had a lot in common, and that was a lot more important in forming a true community than any lot lines or shared common areas.

The most important thing we could do to build communities is to physically get people out of their homes and cars--walking or biking to the store, etc. That's how people meet each other naturally.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 01:48 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 118
I like the concept because the homes are not built around cars and streets. The scale is more amenable to people. This is something I appreciated about many of the neighborhoods in Japan . . . they were built on a human scale, encouraging people to mingle, to use their bicycles, to become a community. I like the idea of shifting the focus from boundry lines (fences) to communal space. When people live in little castles with moats around them they become disconnected and isolated. This may work for some, but I don't think it's really healthy. I also like the idea of smaller, but upscale, cottage-size homes rather than McMansions. These also tend to be "green" developments . . . another plus.
__________________
Geoffrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 02:00 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,056
Unfortunately with some of these neighborhoods, when it comes to cars, some units get the short end of the stick. Here's an overhead shot of one of these pocket neighborhoods:
http://www.rosschapin.com/Home/images/TSCAerial2.jpg
I don't think I'd want to live in those units that back to the parking lot. Unless they're VERY well insulated! My old condo used to overlook the parking lot, and you could always hear people carrying on conversations down there, staring their cars, letting them idle, slamming doors, etc.

On the plus side though, it looks like for even the most isolated units aren't TOO far of a walk from the parking lot. I guess, like any community, it's not perfect. It has its pluses and minuses.
__________________
Andre1969 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 03:08 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969 View Post
Unfortunately with some of these neighborhoods, when it comes to cars, some units get the short end of the stick. Here's an overhead shot of one of these pocket neighborhoods:
http://www.rosschapin.com/Home/images/TSCAerial2.jpg
I don't think I'd want to live in those units that back to the parking lot. Unless they're VERY well insulated! My old condo used to overlook the parking lot, and you could always hear people carrying on conversations down there, staring their cars, letting them idle, slamming doors, etc.

On the plus side though, it looks like for even the most isolated units aren't TOO far of a walk from the parking lot. I guess, like any community, it's not perfect. It has its pluses and minuses.

Looks to me like they are trying to save on land costs... not make it 'cozy'... I, for one, would not want to live there...
__________________
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 03:59 PM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 118
On one level, I'm a little surprised at the generally negative responses to the "pocket neighborhood" concept. However, given the results of the recent net worth survey, perhaps I should not be too surprised that many here prefer a little more room. Although I could afford more traditional housing myself, I am attracted to the concept of breaking down the barriers that we tend to create with our housing developments (especially fencing) and the focus on cars rather than people. I've experienced the honeycombed, narrow streets common in Japan and the smaller scale that the Japanese embrace. In my view, this breathes life back into the community -- life that seems to have been sucked out of many housing developments in the U.S. I would not want to live in a "pocket community" if the focus was simply on saving money . . . but, I am attracted where the focus is on high-end, human oriented design, rather than "bigger is better." Of course, if you simply don't like/want neighbors, pocket neighborhoods wouldn't be for you.
__________________
Geoffrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 04:15 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,961
You're not alone. I have been a big fan of Ross Chapin's pocket neighborhoods (coincidentally received his new book in the mail today) and Susan Susanka's Not So Big House concepts for many years. I would much rather have a nicely appointed, well thought out small home than the maximum sqft per dollar box with builders grade materials McMansions any day. I would also prefer a smaller yard just easier to take care of, my days accepting acres of mowing and maintaining elaborate landscape have passed.

Pocket neighborhoods have had a lot of success in the NW. I have looked at Ross Chapin homes in person. They are not patio homes, nor are they specifically geared for seniors. They are gorgeous, but they are incredibly expensive per sqft. I have to agree you take your chances in a community with a high density of houses, in terms of noisy neighbors or folks who don't take pride in maintaining their home/property. However, I suspect the very high prices are less likely to result in problem neighbors.

So I'd live in a Ross Chapin neighborhood, but I would never afford it, so I'll be looking for a less expensive version of the concept.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 04:49 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,160
I'm a bit surprised too, since I read about people downsizing to condos, apartments, and townhomes. I don't see how the downsides would be any worse than those places, and with no shared walls, it should be a bit better. If the cost is quite a bit higher, that would be another downside, and reading Midpack's post, that appears to be the case. I wouldn't pay a big premium to live in such a place.

It's not for me, because I like my privacy, and I don't like the noise from close neighbors. Like apartments, one bad apple can ruin it for you, whether they are loud or nosy or perhaps even dangerous. Also, that stroll from your car through the grounds to your house might be pleasant on a nice day, but not in a cold rain when you have a week of groceries to haul in.
__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 04:56 PM   #15
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
The pocket neighborhood is a good idea as far as it goes. What I'd really be looking for would be close by services. A neighborhood grocery, for example, and maybe a nice coffee shop or bookstore. I'd like to see the neighborhood integrated with the neighborhood-at-large. If one of these neighborhoods was within ten blocks of Powell's Books, I'd be there, cash in hand.

One of the problems these pocket neighborhoods have is that cities treat them as condo/townhome developments, and zone them out of areas with single family homes. Dodging that often requires building out in the suburban wilderness. (See Danielson Grove and Conover Commons)
__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 04:59 PM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
hakuna matata's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Small town outside of Seattle
Posts: 444
Geoffrey you live here in Washington right? If you are interested in a community like this, you might want to travel to Poulsbo on the Kitsap side. They have a neighborhood there that is similar I think to what you are seeking called Poulsbo Place. I believe there is a second phase being built now.

Here is a paper I found on it (pdf). Go to pages 10-12 which has some images of the original Poulsbo Place. Actually overall it is a good paper and you might enjoy it. Good luck!

http://www.mrsc.org/artdocmisc/M58RightSize.pdf
__________________
"There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way. ~Christopher Morley
hakuna matata is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 06:19 PM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 118
Hakuna Matata, you are partially correct . . . I am a Washington state resident, but I am presently working on temporary assignment in New Orleans (after returning to the U.S. from Japan). I will definitely check these communities out when I return to Washington state later this year. There are tradeoffs with any lifestyle and "pocket neighborhoods" appear to be no exception However, they appeal to me much more than typical condo arrangements. To me, these new developments respond to the same dilemma faced by small car buyers for many years -- small equals "low quality." These small houses appear to offer high quality and, equally important, the developers appear to have focused their attention on what makes a neighborhood really tick.
__________________
Geoffrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 07:20 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
obgyn65's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: midwestern city
Posts: 4,061
My thoughts exactly !
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969 View Post
Something else I just noticed...it is just me, or does that neighborhood look kinda like the village from "The Prisoner"?
__________________
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
obgyn65 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2011, 07:43 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,056
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoffrey View Post
On one level, I'm a little surprised at the generally negative responses to the "pocket neighborhood" concept.
I think I'd definitely prefer one of these "pocket" houses to your typical condo, apartment, or townhouse. And my old condo was 1254 square feet, so it was comparable, more or less, to these things.

But, I guess I just prefer to have a little more distance from my neighbors. Well, okay, a LOT more distance! I gotta admit, I've gotten spoiled by living on 4 1/4 acres. The house really isn't much, a 95 year old former dry-goods store that's been added onto haphazardly, and maybe 1500 square feet at best. Now, as I get older, my tastes may change. But at this point in life, if I do ever move, I figure I need at LEAST an acre. Preferably two. I'm actually not THAT pressed about the house, as long as it's liveable, and not ready to fall down!

But, I can see the appeal of these pocket neighborhoods, for some people.

Something else I just thought of, though...while these "pocket" neighborhoods might help ease the urban sprawl a bit, aren't they actually making congestion worse, by squeezing 8 or 9 homes into the same amount of space that otherwise might only have only 2 or 3?
__________________
Andre1969 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 03:55 AM   #20
Moderator
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 9,336
I work for a civil engineering, land surveying, and urban planning firm. We have been involved in several "pocket neighborhood" developments in the Chicago suburbs. Almost all have been geared for the 55+ crowd, without incorporating any commercial uses in the "pockets". It seems like the conventional younger buyers around here have not yet embraced the idea - they still want their big house with their own yards to play in. Judging from what I hear from younger parents, child safety is a major concern. Child safety seems best provided by the standard residential subdivisions with individually owned lots.

The "pocket" concept rarely fits in a standard category in a zoning ordinance, so they are generally planned as "planned unit developments", where the final planning and design parameters need to be established early in the approval process. Dwelling density, street access, and open space issues are generally the stumbling blocks in gaining approvals. Once planned, designed, approved, and built properly, they can be a great place to live. I would like to see more of these developments around here, incorporating more small commercial uses in with the residential.

Here's an aerial view of one of the "pocket" developments we worked on. The residents love the no maintenance aspect of the development - everything outside of the house walls is maintained by the HOA.

__________________

__________________
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Use HSA $$ or pay out of pocket? Aiming_4_55 Health and Early Retirement 11 01-13-2011 03:28 PM
I need more than one wallet in my pocket easysurfer Other topics 4 05-04-2010 02:09 PM
My Pocket Just Got Picked boont FIRE and Money 31 04-09-2008 09:26 AM
Walkable Neighborhoods Help Older Men Avoid Depression haha Health and Early Retirement 25 05-13-2007 09:24 PM
Loss of Middleclass Neighborhoods. Martha Other topics 23 06-26-2006 03:57 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:32 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.