Urban design plays a vital role in community building and promoting horizontal community engagement. This video and an associated report, New London Villages: Creating community, (Scanlon, Sagor, Whitehead and Mossa, 2016) explore the concept of villages within the city of London.
In it they identify six characteristics which might define a village within a larger city:
1. Small and intimate
- The area can comfortably be covered on foot
- The scale of the buildings and spaces is suitable and comfortable
- The residential density can sustain a range of key services
- The area has defined boundaries and an identifiable centre
- The area has its own atmosphere and sense of place
- There are community landmarks
Traditions and collective memory
- There are regular community events and festivals
- Residents create collective memory
3. Designed for social interaction
- There is ample public and green space, which is used in many ways
- Facilities are provided for community events and everyday activities
- The central hub generates social interaction, and there is a network of walkable routes
4. Locally driven and locally responsive
- Residents are involved in managing the life of the village
- There is a long-term vision that residents support
- Leaders represent the community and reflect its concerns
- The community is well served by both public and private transport
- Core services are available locally
- There is a mix of uses
6. A mixed community
- There is a mix of ages, backgrounds, incomes and housing tenures
- Residents know and trust each other
- There are long-term residents who provide continuity. (Scanlon, Sagor, Whitehead and Mossa, 2016, p. 13)
Calling something a village can just be a marketing ploy but the above characteristics encourage design that can promote, not only a sense of community, but also diversity and environmental sustainability.
The video and report also discuss the six characteristics in the context of Kimbrooke Village, the redevelopment of a housing estate in London.
Thanks to Emma Molton from Camargue for passing these on to me.
Scanlon, K., Sagor, E., Whitehead, C., & Mossa, A. (2016 ). New London Villages: Creating community. London: The London School of Economics and Political Science. Available from http://www.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment/research/london/docs/FINAL-Villages-report-28.06.2016.pdf
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