Thursday, 6 January 2011

House Builders have a role to play in promoting communities.

Coming from a construction background I've long had issues with House Builders. I believe they provide a poor product for an inflated price and offer limited choice.

Of all the things that really gets to me though is that they constantly escape any significant criticism for what I believe is a lack of thought in the planning stages of how their developments will promote safe and involved communities.

Nearly all developments these days feature houses with limited front gardens, enclosed back gardens, no communal spaces and limited parking. One of the consequences of this is that it is generally not safe for children to play 'out the front' and it's certainly not desirable to spend any time in your front garden. After all, who wants to sit beside a road? Where Developers could help is by considering communal areas that houses front onto, with parking at the rear of the house. This turns the front garden into a safe space, but open to interaction with neighbours, while still having an enclosed space at the back of the house. Children could be let out to play with other children in the development away from traffic and within sight of their houses.

I am a big believer that people should know their neighbours, having been raised in areas where this was the case and seeing the benefits it can bring. While new housing continues to be developed without this kind of thought, the trend of neighbourhood communities will continue to fall.

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