Participation in the Blog (Semester 2)


Figure 1

Why should you Blog?

(Susan Geunelius, 2015)

Time flies fast and not all the memories stay in our heads. The university time is approaching to it’s end. This blog was a sort of a diary, a notebook. One day I will return to it again. I will definitely come back here to refresh my university memories and look at a work we have done during urban design master degree. New students will come next year. They will take our places. They will write about their student life, tasks and projects. It will be very interesting to look at the portraits and their short biography. I will be able to learn about the differences between their courses and mine. After frequent blogging experience I feel like I became a better thinker and a better writer. I have been always enjoying  the process of blogging! Each time I took pictures either myself or I created them in Photoshop. I always thought about the ways which would help me to catch attention of my audience. All the posts on this website will definitely help urban designer students from other universities and future students.


Figure 2 

Student Life

(Alina Pavlova, 2015)

There is no doubt that I faced several issues during my posting. I have been waiting for comments on my blog posts from the outside university audience, but only some of my classmates put comments on it. As a matter of fact, it is a big pleasure to read others posts but at the same time it is a big challenge to leave a comment on someones blog post. I always respect other people’s work and I feel that they spend lots of time to writing it before posting. One of enjoyable parts of the process of writing blog is making pictures.. Wherever I went, I tried to take a camera with me because I knew that it might be necessary for my blog. It is a nice process of preparation and editing of pictures before posting. I would like to use the knowledge which I obtained from Urban Design MA Blog posts in order to create my own page where I can describe my current part-time urban design internship with Sunderland City Council. This job is my first job. The first experience is always very valuable and I would like to share my own feelings with other students. I would like to reduce their fear and lack of confidence, which is usually present before the beginning of a new job through the stories about my working days.


Hexham Community Engagement Event

 IMG_2786 (1)Figure 1

Hexham Community Centre

(Alina Pavlova, 2015)

On Saturday 18th my classmates and I took a 30 minutes train from Newcastle to Hexham. The trip aim was to visit Hexham Community Centre. The task for this week was to discuss some issues about design of a future cohousing with invited guests.

The community helped us to find necessary information and provided us with a good introduction to the topic. This event has helped me to obtain understanding about the personal people’s feelings of development of the place. It was very useful that we could talk and study about the existing cohousing and it allowed us to move forward our Hexham design. Hexham cohousing intended to accommodate members of the elderly generation unwilling to settle in a calm environment of standard or retirement houses. For this reasons lively, artistic colourful interior were proposed by community and my group to correspond to a never ageing nature of the residents. A multitude of common rooms and large corridors were included in the plan to allow the pensioners to communicate and spend time with friends (Brenton, 2013). This event provided me with a good overview based on the stories of existing residents of the commune house, which could not be found in books.

Our group were concentrated on a development of Community House. The common house is designed to incorporate a canteen, laundry and other shared facilities and shops which will also be available for visitors. My group prepared 5 questions for the community. Such as:

  1. Who is going to use a common house?
  2. What kind of activities held in a common house?
  3. Where is the best location for co-housing?
  4. Is it necessary to produce some space for guests?
  5. When is the peak time of using a common house?


The community answers us and gave us very valuable responses which we will definitely use in our development of the project.

uuuuFigure 2

 Community Engagement

(Alina Pavlova, 2015)

After a while, we had a tea break and then we started all over again. We swapped groups with our classmates and asked questions from other people about their dreamed imaginary cohousing. The experience of such event is very useful because you have real people with their unique desires. My group mates and I transferred some of the selected ideas into a diagram (see Figure 4).

Communal House

Figure 3

Diagramm of  Common House

(Alina Pavlova, 2015)



1Brenton, M., 2013. Senior cohousing communities – an alternative approach for the UK? Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2015]

2Bradley, C., 2012. Community Planning Toolkit. Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2015]

Visit to Lancaster Cohousing


Figure 1. Shoe-Free Home, Lancaster Cohousing (Alina Pavlova, 2015)

For some people there is nothing so exciting as traveling, and I’m not an exception. This week I  have visited a place called Lancaster Cohousing. It is located in a village called Halton. The place is not far away from Lancaster. Lancaster Cohousing situated on Forgebank and has an amazing rural location next to the peaceful river Lune. It has a south facing slope which facing the river (Alison, 2015). There are many green spaces and it has zero-carbon emission and it is build according to the AECB Gold Standard.

The excursion around the cohousing was led by our teacher Roger and Kathy (the lady from the Cohousing). This trip provided me the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things. I have discussed with the cohousing members about their experience of living in the commune building. They said that it is impossible to be bored in the cohousing. It is easier to live with other people both in terms of cooking and cleaning. If the duties are distributed properly, a schedule is drawn up and closely followed, occupancies may have a great amount of spare time. Life in the Lancaster cohousing provides an experience that is very useful in helping to get along well with other people.

Surely some of the aspects of commune living were also familiar to me from my personal experience of being in summer camps and university accommodations. These places collect people from all over the world and allow them to live together at least for a short time in one sharing community regardless of their gender, family ties, nationality or race.



Figure 2. Cliodhna’s House, Lancaster Coghousing. (Alina Pavlova, 2015)

In addition to creation of a new type of social living, Lancaster is also distinguishable by its special design features. Lancaster had a big variety of common areas. This is intense to encourage the residents to share their activities and live side by side in one united society. If the duties are distributed properly, a schedule is drawn up and closely followed, occupancies may have a great amount of spare time (Young, 2015). This Cohousing incorporates canteens, laundries, workshops, children’s play rooms which helped eliminate the need to cook, wash clothes etc. (see Figure 3-5). The time which was saved as a result of this could be used for work and other practical activities. You are sure not to be bored in the cohousing. Life in cohousing provides an experience that is very useful in helping to get along well with other people.


Figure 3. Common Laundry Room. (Alina Pavlova, 2015)

Food storageFigure 4. Food Storage. (Alina Pavlova, 2015)

Play room

Figure 5. Children’s Play Room. (Alina Pavlova, 2015)

Let’s have a look at Figure 6. This place called cohousing living room. In order to enrich our experience of Cohousing, our tutor asked us to bring food and to cook it (see Figure 6). The cooking activity with my classmates helped me feel more connected with them. It brought so much joy to each of us. We spent time together and spent less money on food. Each of us brought some ingredients for cooking. We cooked lots of different meals and shared it with each other. The place looked like a buffet. You could choose what you would like to eat from a big variety of cooked meals.


cooking timeFigure 6. Cooking Time. (Alina Pavlova, 2015)



1Alison, 2015. Lancaster Cohousing. Available at: [Accessed 10 March 2015]

2Pavlova, A., 2014. Utopian Ideas in Commune Buildings, Dissertation

3Young, J., Stir the Pot, No a relationship: how Cooking Together is a Healthy Date. Available at: [Accessed 11 March 2015]



Towards Sustainable Communities (a short summary of “Creating Cohousing” book)

Inhabitants of Vrijburcht Cohousing

Figure 1

Inhabitants of ‘Alte Schule Karlshors’ Cohousing

(Willem van Gils, 2013)

According to the common definition, the word ‘cohousing’ means a group of people united by living collectively on the basis of common property (Doyle Street Cohousing, 2014). A form of life in a society where individuals share property, work and routine has been present since very early history of civilization. This is different to the current stereotype where families consisting of two or three generations live in a separate flat or in an individual house. In terms of early examples of societies living together without family ties, places such as monasteries, universities, colleges, alms-houses, boarding houses and army barracks can be named. These places were characterised by elements of commune living long before the concept of communes appeared in the beginning of 19th century (Jernstoberiet, 2013). The residents of these places were usually united by a common ideology or an aim, such as studies or religion. Their schedule usually matched because they were enrolled in the same activities meaning they would share their work too (Gils, 2013). This gave them the advantage of being able to request help from their neighbours when needed. The principle of mutual help and care about the co-residents evolved because people living together in such sharing close society feel themselves part of it and related to each other. (see Figure 1).


Figure 2

Swan’s Market in Northern California

(Will Crothers, 2012)

Cohousing provides accommodation for a self-organised community of families sharing common facilities, which can include kitchens, dining rooms, laundries, kindergartens, work facilities and other (McCamant, 2011). Despite these shared facilities, architecturally, cohousing can consist of a number of private homes or flats. This is intended to provide a private space which is sometimes needed for everyone. As the community is managed by the residents, this provides a basis for their interaction and cooperation.


Table 1

Common Characteristics of Cohousing

Thus, the more united and organized the residents are, the easier it is for them to fulfil their daily activities together. In fact, helping each other in such tasks as cooking, cleaning and even raising children can save a lot of time (see Figure 2 and 3).


Figure 3

Cooking Together in ‘Doyle Street‘ Cohousing

(Peggy Heim, 2014)

The main factor in reduction of the price as well as encouragement of communication and cooperation between cohousing occupants is the use of shared facilities and provision of common areas (Southside Cohousing, 2010). Transfer of some of the selected activities, such as cooking and laundry, outside the private space of residents’ apartments can also help simplify daily routine of the residents. Overall, despite many differences from the modern stereotype, advantages of cohousing will always pose an interest for the society creating potential for successful future projects.


1Doyle Street Cohousing., 2014. [online] Available at:  [Accessed 5 February 2015]

2Jernstoberiet., 2013. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 February 2015]

3Gils, W., 2013. Inhabitants of a Vrijburcht Cohousing. Available at: [Accessed 4 February 2015]

4McCamant, K., Durrett, C., 2011. Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities, Canada, New Society Publishers

5Southside Cohousing., 2010. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 February 2015]

“Alte Schule Karlshors” Cohousing


Figure 1

Different Generations Garden Together in ‘Alte Schule Karlshors’ Cohousing

(Sofie von der Pahlen, 2013)

Cohousing first gained its popularity in Denmark in 1960s, but over time similar projects have been developed in many other countries. Nowadays, cohousing communities can be found in relatively large numbers in many European cities, such as Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam and Stockholm (Abrams, McCulloch,1976).

Alte Schule Karlshorst

Figure 2

Living Side by Side in ‘Alte Schule Karlshors’ Cohousing

(Sofie von der Pahlen, 2013)

 There are many cohousing communities in Germany. One of them worthy of mentioning is called ‘Alte Schule Karlshorst’. This self-organised cohousing is situated in Berlin. Similar to many other similar communities, ‘Alte Schule Karlshorst’ appeared as a result of people looking for a cheaper and easier living. (see Figure 1&2). This search is especially stimulated in modern cities by constantly rising cost of accommodation and increasing proportion of ageing population requiring more support. In general, the problem of uninhabited buildings is very common in Germany (Scotthanson, 2004). In order to save buildings from complete desolation, vandalism and gradual disintegration, the government prefers to find them other uses, sometimes temporary, sometimes more permanent. In particular, the changes in demographical situation led to many schools and kindergartens being underused, whereas the existing retirement houses are not capable to accommodate all of the pensioners having physical or financial difficulties living on their own (Cohousing Cultures, 2012).

Inhabitants of Vrijburcht Cohousing

Figure 3

Different Generations Living and Working Side by Side in ‘Alte Schule Karlshors’

(Sofie von der Pahlen, 2013)

Consequently some of the schools and kindergartens were closed and transformed into cohousing estates (Gils, 2013). The building of the Alte Schule Karlshorst community has a long history dating to 1907 when it was built and became a school for Russian officers’ children during Berlin’s post-war occupation (Gils, 2013). Transformation of this historical building into a cohousing has helped to both protect the building and ensure its future use and, of course, provide living space for a multigenerational society (Pavlova, 2014). (see Figure 3). The neighbourhood includes families and single occupants (a total of 60 people, see Table 1).


Table 1

Information about ‘Alte Schule Karlshors’ Cohousing


1Abrams, P., McCulloch, A., 1976. Communes, Sociology and Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.4

2 C. Scotthanson, K. Scotthanson,2004. The Cohousing Handbook: Building a Place for Community, New Society publishers, p.14

3Cohousing Cultures.,2012. Handbook for Self-Organized, Community Oriented and Sustainable Housing, ICS, pp.54-55 Cvetkova, L., 2013. The Village. [images] Available at: [Accessed 02 February 2015]

4Gils, W., 2013. Inhabitants of a Alte Schule Karlshors Cohousing. Available at: [Accessed 04 February 2015]

5Pavlova, A., 2014. Utopian Ideas in Commune Buildings, Dissertation

Participation in the Blog

Blog laptop

Blog NewBlog is an essential way of sharing your thoughts. There are lots of advantages. First of all, it’s a great place of meeting new people. By writing this Blog I can advertise and attract people attention to Urban Design. I can talk globally about certain topics and resolve some issues. It is a great way to inform other people about my current studies in UK. It is wonderful that I can have a chance to ask about others opinion and share my thoughts with them. It another way of communication that has ever existed. Blogging helps connect people who have same interests. These people could live very far away but you could open up your heart throught the Blog and communicate with them.

Maybe it is a simple move to start something big. Moreover, it is a way to promote myself. By writing I am improving skills in eyes of my potential employees and I noticed that blogging create a writter in me. It is holds lots of diferent benefits and will stay with you for the rest of your life. It might help you while you creating a presentation, a book, writting an essay or crafting a postcard for your loved one. It is a perfect way to unleashing my creativity. The number one reason of posting new posts each time is a “passion” for my topic Urban Design.



But there is a space for improvement. I want to make my posts  to be diferent from others. I want to get lots of readers. I want them to be connected with me and my blog. In the second semester I will make sure that I have something absolutely fresh and cranchy. I want to grab readers attention! I think I need to think more about consistancy of my Blog.

I want to be sure that I am bloging for potential Urban Designers. I want to be sure that I am using my Blog in a very very purposeful way. I want to provide high quality content each time I am blogging. I also want to be myself. To attract people who like me and who enjoy me. I want to continue posting acording to my publishing timetable. I would like to spend time ensuring that my titles have maximum impact on readers. Improving my headlines, by avoiding boring headlines I will bring more readers into my post. Each time I am either looking or creating images by myself for the post. I try to catch attention for my audience. I want them to understand that my posts is really worth reading.

Happy holidays everyone! My posts are going for a short Christmas break! May the New Year bring a light to guide your path towards a positive destination!
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I wish all the readers a joyful, bright,
healthy, prosperous and the happiest new year ahead! See you soon in year 2015!!!!


Postcard_Alina Pavlova







My participation in  the Christmas card competition









Does a perfect city exist?


The work of Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639) presented an ideal society concept in his famous philosophy work ‘The City of the Sun’. The publication was composed during the time he spent in prison, where he was put for leading a political movement conspiring against the Spanish rule in Stilo. The aim of the movement was liberation of the town and establishment of a new social order. Campanella’s political views and utopian ideas, which have caused the imprisonment, are reflected in the composition. A significant inspiration was drawn from his knowledge about the development of Inca Empire, which was enabled by the continued discoveries of the culture of Native Americans.

The most interesting feature of Campanella’s imaginary city was a so-called ‘architecture of knowledge’. The city was described to be made up of a number of walls covered with inscriptions containing the knowledge of the sciences known at that time such as mathematics, biology, philosophy and history. Therefore design of the city would become a storehouse of human knowledge. The residents of the city would be expected to educate themselves when passing by the walls carved with information about different sciences. Campanella imagined the city to be separated from other neighbouring living in accordance with old rules and laws. However, because the City of the Sun would stand out positively, the author expected other settlements to gradually adopt the new order.

There would be a large seven story tower located in the centre and surrounded by series of smaller regularly arranged buildings. Each of the floors of the tower contained common living and working spaces and study rooms situated on the ground and first floor. The city described by Campanella was intended to serve as a self-sufficient cell or unit of society and thus could be replicated. A large variety of things in the City of the Sun would be considered to be common property, for example, this includes houses, rooms, beds and domestic appliances. People would share houses they lived in and would be obliged to move to a different place every six months.

Do you know any ohter examples of ideal city? Have you ever heard about other Utopists and philosophers? What kind of theories do they have?


Miles, M., 2008. Urban Utopias: The Buit and Social Architectures of Alternative Settlements, London: Routledge

Schoepflin, M., 2002. Tommaso Campanella: La Citta del Sole e il Capolavoro Dell’ Utopia. [image] Available at: http://www. meteoweb.ew/ 2011/06/tommas0-campanella-la-cite del sole-e-il-capolavoro-dell%E2%80%99utopia/63371/ [Accessed 22 September 2014]

Movement within the City


When I came from a Richard Smith’s lecture, I started to think more deeply about better streets principles & green infustructure and best movement solutions.Today the tendency for a gradual increase in population of urban areas and decline its decline in rural areas is still present. People try to ‘squeeze’ into capitals and large cities, in an attempt to find better opportunities for business – a more prosperous life. However, a growing number of people are also tempted to move away from the cities to enjoy the benefits of the countryside. Roads and public spaces in modern cities have lost their identity.Nowadays, the main shopping streets of England are very similar. The streets are overloaded with shops which are the same in different cities. Architecture of buildings and their facades are hidden behind the shop ads. Urban designers play an important role in facilitation of favorite and pleasant atmosphere. The design of public spaces and streets has to be dictated by their function. I believe that good urban design allows close proximity between home, school and workplace. One of the principles of making a public place successful is to encourage wild life around it. Landscape designers must create a balance between nature and urban environment.


Situation within the Newcastle. Photographs: Richard Smith 2014




Streets and pavements are the heart of every city. Whenever you ask aperson to imagine a city, the person will definitely imagine its streets. Domination of private cells is very high and reduces space which should belong to community. Citizens and areas of social activities with new opportunities are important driving factors of a strong nation. It is necessary to consider people’s thoughts and requirements. Government also plays an important role in reinforcement the requirements for urban design. The attitude of people towards their cities always depends on design of buildings, streets and public spaces. Participation of different subdivisions of society, people with different professions can help prevent the illiterate and underdeveloped design and with the help of collective activities and certain goals urban cities will be improved.Good society can be formed when aspects such as health, education, and jobs are invested into. I believe that modern society is suffering from social segregation and defragmentation.



Putting pedestrians first: London’s Oxford Circus. Photograph: Matt Cheetham/Loop Images/Corbis



A diagonal pedestrian crossing has opened at the intersection of London’s Oxford and Regent Streets, inspired by the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo.

Based on the lecture discussion, I would like to demonstrate the movement analysis. Oxford Circus is one of the examples of busy movement within the city. It is the one of the most busy junction in the world and the most busies place in London. It has two main market streets. Oxford and Region street. But the problem is its restricted movement. There are many street clutters and as the result, uses of the circus experience overcrowding. The work of West City Council, Transport for London and stakeholders have adopted a new solution to this problem.They created:

  • More space for pedestrians through reduce street clutter.
  • Widening the street.
  • New diagonal crossings

As a result nowadays it is more attracted destination for locals and for visitors.

 Dear reader, I am looking forward to recieve some information about movement within your city. Is there provision for all users in your city? Do people on foot have enough space? Do conditions encourage you to walk or cycle? Are your city routes free of temporary or permanent obstructions?


Littlefield, D., 2012. London Regeneration. London : John Wiley & Sons

Walker, P., 2009. X marks the spot: new Oxford Circus crossing opens.[online] Available at: [Accessed 12 December 2014]

Let’s Engaged Community in Urban Design


The idea to create this post came to me after I attended a lecture of Sally Thomas. The lady who came from Social Regeneration Consultants (SRC) and North Star Housing Group. She explained why it is important to engaged community before a design. First of all we need to create a dialog with people. This is an opportunity to share decision making through the process. It is gives people the opportunity to be involved. All we need to do is to get out, ask questions and listen.

What should stay the same and what need to be changed? I realize that we as urban designers should put ourselves in people’s shoes. To think, what would be my concerns or worries are about this proposal? We need keep thinking about that people are busy, that is why we need to think what kind of event we should produce. Should it be on weekends? Should it be on daytime? Thinking about the best ways to involve audience. It is important to be responsive to community concerns, needs and complains. We also need to make sure that we providing proposal in understandable format. We need to understand where people go for the information. Is it newspaper, on-line or radio? We should help people to prepare for the change. I would like to share the video which Sally Thomas shared with us on her lecture.

Sally Thomas (pic1)



Why Consult? Picture from the lecture’s slide, Sally Thomas 2014


A scene of the movie “Falling Down”  youtube, 2006

Let’s look on one of the examples of community engagement within the project. I would like to tell you the story about Prudhoe Allotment. In 2006 the Prudhoe allotments were opened. Prudhoe was part of the old Prudhoe Hospital site. It was a garden, providing stock for the hospital kitchen and for public. Lately, Social Regeneration Consultants was commissioned to consult local people about possible options for the future of the Walled Garden under community ownership.

Prudhoe Sally
Prudhoe Community Allotment, Picture from
the lecture’s slide, Sally Thomas 2014
To achieve this, they should bring the garden back to life. To develop this project, they assign two ways to involve people in these projects. They are: Community Road show events and online survey. Nowadays, Prudhoe Community Allotments are known by its specific facilities for disabled gardening.
Such things as raised beds, disabled toilet and specially designed pathways and entrance with easy access. It is possibl to buy plants and vegetables from these allotments.
Burchardt. J.,  2002.The allotment movement in England, Woodbridge : Boydell & Brewer
Benwell Community Project., 1981. Newcastle in growth & decline, Benwell, Newcastle : The Project
Prudhoe Community Allotment. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 December 2014]

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