Some Experience of The Blog Writting

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In this semester, I had a great experience by making process in cohousing and landscape urbanism programs, and also by witting this blog about the thoughts and experience of urban design.
Actually I began writting a blog since last semester, and especially for the theme of my subject. In the progress of cohousing and landcape urbanism design making, we read a lot of books, articles, and of course case studies. And I used those experience and knowledge on the posts, to enhance my design thesis and experiences, which I found it is so useful.
In addition, I read all the blogs from my classmates, and their posts are amazingly various range from drawing to experiences, and from those case studies I can certainly get a lot of things that maybe I haven’t thought about and looked about. Also, we left our comments on each other’s posts, and anyone who saw that can build up a conversation easily by lefting comments, which may become a debate or discuss, and this form of interaction is one of what the blog meaning to us.
About the images and diagrams that I used in posts and what in my peers’ blogs, I found they are extremely useful to understanding the theme and points of posts, and a easy way to explain how this article going to tell a story. The diagrams especially, cleared and simplified the tough thesis, and those diagrams are the model of our study.
For those references, I need to say that is a very brilliant way to keep the Harvard system, and this not only can make our posts professional, but also a way of respect authors of our references, as well as for those sources of images. I think we should keep this habit for further writing.
To sum up, this blog writing means a lot to me. The theses, diagrams, images, as well as references, are very useful for my present and future, and it is a better way of keeping it for a long time.

Urban living room

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Nowadays, social communication is gradual happen through remote communication devices such as telephone or computer, the raise of physical social interaction and community building are more considered, even in the field of urban design. Creating public spaces is the solution to solve the social problem, however, which public space  have the positive impact with social issue is still studying. In this blog, i would like to talk about the idea of Urban living room, which in my perspective, it is a good idea for social issue.

The concept of Urban living room is not new but it is a new term, which just appear in some research. According to Gehl (2015), public space should be consider as living room of the city. Therefore, urban living room is a part of public space that mean it must be used by different group; is place where public life happen; is represented the image of society; a part of community system (Thomas,1991). The term itself shows clearly that Urban living room is implied meeting place, gathering place and communicating place, which take place in outdoor area. However, public space contain various section such as urban feature, public realm system, flow, etc; urban living room is focused on place-making, in which seating and communicating are the key.

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Seating with face to face create more chance for social communication.

Where is the attractive seating? First of all, a good place or comfortable place should meet human need including belongingness and love, esteem needs, need for self-actualization, basic needs satisfaction, safety need (Maslow, 1954). Basically, people often sit everywhere they want however, people tend to sit next someone in a typical range, which make them feel safer while guarantee a privacy space Gehl (2010). Therefore, long benches, step or hand railing can make people become closer and create opportunities for communication. However, people can only really communicate with each other when eye-contact is linked. Benches are organized parallel and same orientation like in station, users are not often try to talk with other. In the opposite way, it can be seen that group of people seem to choose a place which they can sit as a circle, face to face. Therefore, urban features which are placed in the right way, can generate chances for social interaction.

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Open-air living room in street.

Urban living room is not required a large space like a square or a park. It can be created in a small scale, a setback space from buildings, a extent part of street, even a transport stop. The setting don’t need to be complicated, it just a few chairs, bench and table in comfort environment. Benches or chairs should be set in the outward way that will send an inviting message to sit down and communicate.

In social aspects, the development of the urbanization process with the massive invasion of the high-rise buildings, skyscrapers;  urban living room creates opportunities for socializing, outdoor activities, gathering and meeting place. In the eyes of the designers of urban planning and architecture, it optimizes the space, transform a dead space into a lively place in any time of the year, turning an non-function space into a attractive destination. In the eyes of investors, it will help them make optimal saving and investment costs, rising land values, increasing the chances of attracting more customers. Therefore, urban living room should be consider more in design of street layout.

 

Reference

Gehl, J. (2010) Cities for people, London: Island Express.

Gehl, J. (2015) Jan Gehl: Architects know very little about people [online],  Available from: http://www.tageswoche.ch/de/2015_12/basel/683236/ [Accessed at  1st  May 2015].

Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Row.

 

The Summary Of Designing Neighbourhoods For Social Interaction: The Case Of Cohousing

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The relationship between design of every residential unit and residents’ behavior is the things which have to be considered in every neighbourhood. In many investigations, it is showed that the formal and informal interaction between design, personal and social factors can give an impact to residents’ behavior. Therefore, cohousing is one of the good example to solve these questions. This type of housing will encourage the community inside the neighbourhood to do some social interaction. It is better than living further apart. However, building the relationship through physical objects are deal with the functional things such as sharing pathways, communal spaces and less private space. Those things can encourage people to engage in social interaction. Actually, there are many other factors affect the social interaction such as personal factors, social factors, the time period and the community.

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Source : http://www.cohousing.org

Cohousing is one type of housing which contain of some private dwellings and many community facility. The forms of the cohousing are private units, semi-private space, indoor and outdoor communal space. The aim of building cohousing is encouraging a ‘collaborative’ lifestyle and independence between residents. Cohousing is more popular than any other housing, There is no social hierarchy and shared economic systems. Moreover, according to objectives and design strategies, cohousing indicates the characteristics of new urbanism. Cohousing has the same social objectives like building community, encouraging interaction and creating convivial spaces. This type of housing also set the environmental objectives for its neighbourhood such as lower resource consumption and the reduction in the ownership and use of private vehicles. On the other hand, the strategies of design are similar with the common housing.

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Source : http://livewellcohousing.ca

There are some design principles for cohousing. First, we need to set up the principle of indoor and outdoor communal facilities; Second, we need to design a good visible road into all communal spaces; Third, we do not allow car to get in community; Forth, we need to focus on gradual transitions between public and private space; Fifth, we need to consider rules of semi-private outdoor spaces close to private units for socializing (buffer zones); Sixth, we need to build access points on shared walkways; Seventh, the size of tendency for private dwellings are smaller than usual unit size (with limited kitchen and laundry facilities provided);Last, cohousing will encourage every resident to use communal spaces more than the private unit. For instance, cohousing will build communal kitchen/dining areas, laundry, gym, workshop/hobby room, guest bedrooms, entertainment room, garden and storage space.

In conclusion, the key design factors of cohousing are density; layout; public and private spaces; the quality, type and functionality of communal spaces. However. It will be hard to rank the effect of those factor in terms of social interaction because of the complexity of inter-relationship between social, personal, design variables and opportunities.

References :

Williams, JO, 2005. Designing Neighbourhoods for Social Intercation: The Case of Cohousing, Routledge Publishers

The Cohousing Association Of The United States (n.d) [online] Available at: http://www.cohousing.org/what_is_cohousing  [Accessed 10 February 2015]

LiveWell Cohousing (n.d) [online] Available at: http://livewellcohousing.ca/discover-cohousing/  [Accessed 10 February 2015]